Error message

  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 19 in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 19 in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 19 in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 19 in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 19 in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 19 in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3697 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3698 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 36 in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in user_node_load() (line 3699 of /var/www/html/toolbusiness.co.uk/public_html/modules/user/user.module).

TIMco C2 Multi-Purpose Screws Twin Cut Speed

A bit of history first. The company, TIMco, (T I Midwood and Co Ltd) was established in 1970 and was in the business of importing and wholesaling screws, fastenings, fixings and power tool accessories. By 2016 it had a workforce of approximately 110 and a multi-million-pound turnover. The company also owns the Addax brand of specialist power tools, and in 2010 acquired FirmaHold, a leading brand in collated nails and fuel cells. Based at Nantwich in Cheshire, with offices in Ireland and Taiwan, the company trades throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe. From its HQ in Nantwich the company aims to deliver within the UK in 24 hours, or to Europe within 48 hours.

The point of all the above is to show that TIMco is a well-established supplier with deep connections in the fastenings and fixings business, and, having sold literally billions of screws, it deserves to be taken very seriously.

I was sent a few boxes of the TIMco C2 Multi-Purpose screw to try out for this review. It is a development of the popular TIMco Classic that has sold over 4.5 billion items during its shelf life.

Things never stay the same, in screws as well as most other areas of life, so the C2 was evolved to meet current standards and preferences, reflecting some of the changes and developments in driving technology, regulation and end-user demands.

The first thing to notice about the C2 Multi-Purpose screw is that it uses a patented twin-cut technology that in tests has achieved a 43% quicker screw time, using half the torque from the drill driver. This means that cordless driver batteries last longer and users expend less time driving screws.

A very close look at the tip of the C2 will show you what the twin cuts are all about. Right at the very sharp tip, a slot has been cut into the thread pattern. This slots acts like a cutting edge when the screw is driven, effectively drilling its own pilot hole. Then, just a little further up the thread, a similar slot is cut. This slot not only cuts but also clears, allowing the screw to speedily make its way through the material. The slots are not randomly placed on the thread, they are positioned exactly relative to each other in the same places on every screw for consistent results and performance in a wide range of materials like wood, plastics and even sheet metal.

I like having a sharp point on the end of a screw to enable quicker starting. The C2’s point is so sharp that it can be pushed into the timber (especially softwood) even when mounted on the end of a driver bit so that all that it takes to start the screw is to push the trigger on the driver.

Without all the official measuring equipment need to confirm the speedy starts and reduced torque needed to drive the TIMco screws, I just drove several score of them into a variety of materials like softwood, plywood, MDF and some plastics. They do perform well and are very easy to start. To drive the screw straight into the wood it helps if you utilise the sharp point to get it at as near as possible to right angles to the material before activating the driver. The drive from the thread and point is so quick that if you are not careful they go in so fast that they defy correction to right angles.

A close look at the thread will confirm that it is quite widely spaced but very sharp-edged. The thread is also well defined so that it will cut into the substrate material and hold firmly. It reaches almost all the way up the straight shank of the screw, leaving just a few millimetres clear between thread and head.

The design of the head of the screws has been developed with several “ribs” underneath that allow the screw to seat properly in a countersunk hole and effectively make the screw self-countersinking. The “ribs” also help to reinforce the head for strength – needed with modern, powerfully-torqued impact and drill drivers.

Finally, we come to another key element of the C2 design, the driver recess. I have actually junked part-used boxes of screws with driver recesses that will not co-operate with me. They waste my time and I hate the noise of a bit camming out of a badly designed slot - to my mind, the sound of failure. Some will say I need to replace my driver bits more regularly – I do, and they are good quality bits, so there!

The C2’s recess are deep and accurately machined and will hold onto a decent driver bit by friction alone – helpful sometimes in offering up a screw to the workpiece.

Also included in my package of C2 Screws was a box of C2 Exterior screws with a silver ruspert plating. This is said to offer superior corrosion resistance and is designed to be used on everything from decking and fencing to fixing external latches and hinges. Maybe I will get the chance to tell you how I got on with those in a year or so!

All in all, the C2 Multi-Purpose advanced screws are a quality piece of kit that has all the features needed for general purpose users, whether for internal or external applications. Pity I used so many for testing, they could have been more useful on an actual job!

For retailers TIMco makes the packaging and display options easy too. There is the option of the C2 Trade case – a metal case with over 1,800 screws in it – ranging in sizes from 3.5 x 16mm up to 5x100mm. Easy to stock for retailers and easy to carry for end users.

Standard cardboard boxes of TIMco C2 screws are marked for identification for size and gauge in easy-to-read black letters on a white background – my aging eyes are grateful for such clarity.

 

TIMco C2 Multi-Purpose Screws

TIMco (T I Midwood and Co Ltd) was established in 1970 and was in the business of importing and wholesaling screws, fastenings, fixings and power tool accessories. By 2016 it had a workforce of approximately 110 and a multimillion-pound turnover. The company also owns the Addax brand of specialist power tools and in 2010 acquired FirmaHold, a leading brand in collated nails and fuel cells. This shows that TIMco is a well-established supplier with deep connections in the fastenings and fixings business.

I was sent a few boxes of the TIMco C2 Multi-Purpose screws to test - they are a development of the popular TIMco Classic that has sold billions.

The C2 was evolved to meet current standards and preferences, reflecting some of the changes and developments in driving technology etc.

The C2 Multi-Purpose screw uses a patented twin-cut technology that in tests has achieved a 43% quicker screw time, using half the torque from the drill driver.

A close look at the tip of the C2 will show you the twin cuts. Right at the very sharp tip, a slot has been cut into the thread pattern - it acts like a cutting edge when the screw is driven, effectively drilling its own pilot hole. Another slot further up the thread not only cuts but also clears, allowing the screw to speedily cut through the material.

A sharp point on the end of a screw enables quicker starting. The C2’s point is so sharp that it can be pushed into the timber (especially softwood) for easy starts.

A close look at the thread will confirm that it is quite widely spaced but very sharp-edged. The thread is also well defined so that it will cut into the substrate material and hold firmly. It reaches almost all the way up the straight shank of the screw, leaving just a few millimetres clear between thread and head.

The heads of the screws have several “ribs” underneath that allow the screw to seat properly in a countersunk hole and make the screw self-countersinking. The “ribs” also help to reinforce the head for strength.

Another key element of the C2 design is the driver recess. The C2’s recess is deep and accurately machined and will hold onto a decent driver bit by friction alone.

I also tried a box of C2 Exterior screws with a silver ruspert plating. Designed to offer superior corrosion resistance to be used on decking, fencing to fixing external latches and hinges. Maybe I will get the chance to tell you how I got on with those in a year or so!

For retailers TIMco makes the packaging and display options easy too. There is the option of the C2 metal Trade case with over 1,800 screws in it – ranging in sizes from 3.5 x 16mm up to 5x100mm.

Standard cardboard boxes of TIMco C2 screws are marked for identification for size and gauge in easy-to-read black letters on a white background – my aging eyes are grateful for such clarity.

 

WhyBuy..? 

  • Premium quality screws
  • Comprehensive range
  • Corrosion protected
  • Easy start/drive design
  • Different variants for a multitude of jobs

CAMPINGAZ Garden Torches –Fiery Weed Control!

To say that I suffer weeds badly is an understatement. I hate the wretched things, but here in the rural south-east they make a permanent onslaught on my garden, even in winter. It doesn’t help that I am the world’s worst gardener, and what I always look for is a quick and easy solution to problems, since I don’t have the patience to undertake a long-term weed killing strategy.

Having tried chemical weed killers that offer what seems to me a thorough solution to regrowth, I think my weeds are much tougher or I am not doing it right – because they always grow back.

So, when I received the CAMPINGAZ garden torches I was encouraged that at last I had a solution to my weeds. One that wouldn’t poison the local cats (although I still have a vendetta with the nasty black one that kills birds and messes in my garden) and one that would also be quick and easy to do, even if it needs repeating during growing season.

I was sent two gas-powered garden torches – the CAMPINGAZ GT 3000 PZ and the CAMPINGAZ GT 2000 PZ. For easy display in shops the torches are blister packed so that purchasers can examine the business end where the burner is but the gas cartridges are safely inside the packaging. Both torches use the CG3500 GA gas cartridge which is clearly labelled as Garden Gas and is a butane/propane gas mixture.

As tools they are both very simple. They are V-shaped with the burner end of the V, elongated enough for the burner to reach comfortably to the ground while held by an average height user. In the middle of the V there is a plastic handle that provides grip and comfort as well as protection from any heat. On the other end of the handle is the gas valve onto which the gas cartridge is screwed. This valve has a built-in O-ring that provides a safe seal when the cartridge is in place and the cartridge itself has a valve so that it can be safely removed for separate storage when not in use.

Also on the long end of the V is a small piezo button that, when pushed, provides a spark to ignite the gas. This worked pretty well first time, every time I used the torches, even after a long interval between “burns”.

The V shape also allows the user to balance the tools in the hand so that they can swing easily forward and back and from side to side to provide maximum coverage when killing weeds.

It is important to read the instructions contained in the pack, not only for safe use of the burners, but also to understand how to use them most efficiently.

These gas burners work by scorching the leaves of the plants. This causes them to die back and become unable to absorb the light and nutrients necessary to survive. It should not be necessary to reduce the plants to ashes – merely to scorch them. In fact, if the burning is too intense, there is a danger of fire that could spread to plants and other things nearby. Care is definitely needed to target the unwanted plants and avoid peripheral damage.

I mostly used the GT 2000 PZ gas burner because I was tackling the weeds growing up between the slabs in my patio and on my front path. This burner is about 100mm long and 15mm wide and hidden underneath is a series of small holes that cause the flames to jet out of the burner quite intensely. This helps the flames to wilt bigger leaves quickly and also enables you to get close to edges and borders. Don’t try using these garden torches in wet weather because the wet leaves wont wilt away as easily.

The GT3000 PZ with its 50mm diameter burner claims that it is up to four times faster at killing weeds than the standard 22mm diameter burner nozzle. I used it on some stubborn grass growing on my path and patio. The flames are fierce, as evidenced by the pressurised gas “bubbling” noise that you get from the burner. And they are also efficient. The burner also contains the flames from going too far so that you can direct them pretty accurately to where you want them. Definitely good for the stubborn individual dandelions growing on the grass.

I was able to use these garden torches over a period of several weeks and I found them easy to use. Getting them out of the shed and attaching the gas cartridge (stored separately for safety) takes only a matter of minutes. Covering areas and individual weeds is effortless and can be done without bending down. Accuracy is good too – it is fairly easy to avoid burning plants that you don’t want to target.

In my experience of using these garden torches, they are a very useful way of controlling weeds since they provide one more weapon in the armoury. There are still certain places (like near the oil line leading from my oil tank to the boiler) where clearly it would not be advised to use the torches. Also, chemical weed killers may be needed for some other situations where the flames may not be the right solution. I found that I had to “reburn” every couple of weeks or so to keep the weeds permanently down, simply because some weeds are very tough and need repeat treatment.  Also, new weeds germinate and grow in between treatments and can get quite big surprisingly quickly.

I don’t think that the CAMPINGAZ torches turned me into a better gardener, but they certainly made weed control a quicker and more efficient process and one that can be used when the weather is dry. Chemical weed killers have a lot more stipulations as to how and when they can be used as well as being less environmentally friendly.

Sanding Innovations from National Abrasives

Anything that helps to minimise effort, time and mess when sanding big areas is worth a look as far as I am concerned, and the kits from National Abrasives looked useful.

The Multi-Purpose Sander Quick Change System consists of a pole, a large, 220mm diameter sanding disc, a handle and a pole adaptor. Each of the pieces can be used in a variety of combinations according to need. The glassfibre pole can be used with both round disc and corner sander discussed below.

Because of its flexible universal joint, the adaptor allows the user to sand in every direction and follow junctions like skirtings and covings with ease.

To reach other areas, maybe lower down, simply remove the pole adaptor and attach the handle to have a big area of sanding literally at your fingertips.

Users have the option to attach wipe-down sponges or microfibre cloths to the disc (with pole or handle) for the final step.

By using either the gold aluminium oxide optional disc, you can sand fillers, wood, paint and metal quite aggressively.

The tungsten carbide disc can smooth concrete and masonry - not a job I fancy – but the small trial piece I did worked well.

All of the pieces of the kit can be replaced, including interface pads, thus making for a kit that can be added to as well as renewed as necessary.

The Multi-Use Corner Sander is a similar concept – its main part is the right-angled ABS plastic corner sander. Sanding sheets can be attached to either or both of the arms of the right-angled legs. When sanding right up to the edge of a floor for example, you can leave the abrasive off the angle facing the skirting so that it is not sanded.

For a softer touch on the sanding, there are additional foam pads with hook and loop surfaces.

There is also the option to attach either the handle or the pole adaptor. Using the handle I found it really easy to sand right up to doorframes since the abrasive reaches up to the corner and maintains its right-angled shape. Using the pole allows the reach for coving, corners or ceiling/wall junctions and it is efficient too.

There are some excellent accessories as well. A set of wipe-down sponges makes it easy to get the dust out of corners, and a made-to-measure microfibre cloth gives a good final wipe down in preparation for painting etc.

I found these kits a lot easier to use than I thought. The pole sanding options were actually much more efficient and easier to control because the backing discs are rigid and the hook and loop fixings are secure. The universal joint on the adaptor allows really flexible movement of the pad and discs, without losing control or accuracy.

WhyBuy..?

  • Very versatile – used on a pole or by hand
  • Reaches to ceiling height without a ladder
  • Sands right up to edges
  • Quick
  • Easy to control
  • Different surfaces sanded with different discs
  • Easy to swop abrasives via hook and loop
  • Economical way to sand big areas.

 

Sanding Innovations from National Abrasives

Walls, Floors, Ceilings and Corners Get the Treatment

Most of the time I hate sanding – especially when faced with a large wall (or sometimes more than one) that needs to be pristinely smooth before rolling on the paint. It is the dust, the effort, the reaching up and the odd angles your arms have to get into that makes sanding a chore.

On the other hand, sanding pieces of furniture I have made, usually involves a random orbit sander and vacuum extractor. This is quicker, less dusty and it makes for a much more pleasant experience. So, anything that helps to minimise effort, time and mess when sanding big areas is worth a look as far as I am concerned, and the box of goodies that I got from National Abrasives looked very interesting in that regard.

The first set I looked at was the Multi-Purpose Sander Quick Change System. It consists of a pole, a large 220mm diameter sanding disc, a handle and a pole adaptor. Each of the pieces is able to be used in a variety of combinations according to need and circumstance. I started by attaching the pole via the strong acme screw thread to the pole adaptor. This in turn is clicked onto the back of the circular disc and with a 220mm diameter sanding sheet attached it will tackle quite large areas. It is actually amazing how quickly the disc will sand down quite large areas of rough paintwork or plaster. If you need a softer backing for more sensitive areas of plaster, and a must for Drywall, a 15mm thick foam disc can be hook and looped to the backing disc and the abrasive attached on top of that.

A quick word about the pole – it is made of a quality glassfibre and is very strong and rigid. Apparently, the aluminium pole on the prototype split because of the amount of effort that could be applied to the target sanding area! The pole means that even a short mortal like myself can reach up to a standard height ceiling without strain. Because of its flexible universal joint, the adaptor allows the user to sand in every direction and follow junctions like skirtings and covings with ease.

Should you then need to reach other areas maybe lower down, simply remove the pole adaptor and attach the handle – complete with comfy rubber overmould – to have a big area of sanding literally at your fingertips.

Of course, the job is not done until all the dust is wiped off the prepared surfaces, and users have the option to attach wipe down sponges or microfibre cloths to the disc (with pole or handle) for the final step.

But it doesn’t end there, by using either the gold aluminium oxide optional disc, you can sand fillers, wood, paint and metal quite aggressively. I tried it on a wood floor around an edge where the big belt sander doesn’t reach and it worked amazingly well because the disc allows you to get right up against the skirting.

By attaching the tungsten carbide disc, concrete and masonry can be smoothed – not a job I fancy – but the small trial piece I did worked well. I think doing a large masonry area by hand might be very tiring!

All of the pieces of the kit can be replaced, including interface pads, thus making for a kit that can be added to as well as renewed as necessary.

The Multi Use Corner Sander is a similar concept and development of the disc sander and they complement each other very well.

The main part of the kit is the right-angled ABS plastic corner sander. Sanding sheets can be attached to either or both of the arms of the right-angled legs so you can have the choice of what bits you need to sand. When sanding right up to the edge of a floor for example, you can leave the abrasive off the angle facing the skirting so that it is not sanded.

For a softer touch on the sanding, again a must for Drywall, there are additional foam pads with hook and loop surfaces that can be easily stuck on.

Of course, there is also the ingenious option to attach either the handle or the pole adaptor. Using the handle I found it really easy to sand right up to doorframes for example since the abrasive reaches right up to the corner and maintains its right- angled shape. Using the pole allows easy reaching into coving, corners or ceiling/wall junctions. Again, I was surprised by how much sanding action I was able to apply where I needed it and how quickly the sanding proceeded.

Just like the sanding disc set, there are some excellent accessories that are worth considering. A set of wipe down sponges makes it easy to get the dust out of corners and attaching a made-to-measure microfibre cloth gives a good final wipedown in preparation for painting etc. Obviously, these will wear out with use, but these too are available as “spares” to keep the system in good-as-new nick.

Having used powered wall sanders with built-in dust collection I was fully prepared to find that these two sanding kits would be a lot like hard work, but I found them a lot easier to use than I thought. The pole sanding options were actually much more efficient and easier to control than I thought because the backing discs are rigid and the hook and loop fixings are secure. The universal joint on the adaptor allows really flexible movement of the pad and discs, without losing control or accuracy.

Also, it really helps to have several thicknesses of disc backing to enable you to get the right finish on various materials. Highly innovative and great multi purpose tools.

If I was a professional plasterer/decorator I could easily find a place for these two kits in my tool collection – in addition to a powered wall sander. The powered sander would still be needed for very large jobs, but it could actually be quicker, simpler and cheaper to sand and prepare smaller areas by hand using the National Abrasives disc and corner sanders. Keen DIYers would also be able to get full value from them as well as improving the quality of the job. A Good Idea indeed!

Draper 160L 230V Cement Mixer

For a long while I think it was assumed that a certain orange-coloured cement mixer had cornered the market. But as you know, I am very much in favour of competition, since it most often leads to lower consumer prices and better tools.

This new mixer from Draper was the result of many requests from Draper dealers about adding a Draper-branded product to the competition. As experts on sourcing, Draper went about finding a suitable machine, and the 160-litre mixer is the result – also an orange colour, I might add.

There is a special logic to this mixer that sets it apart from others – the 160 litre capacity means that it can use one 25kg bag of cement per mix – making it much easier for users to get a consistent mix, as there is no need to split a bag of cement and then have to estimate how much has been used for the next mix. A full load of sand/aggregate mixture, cement and water is roughly 90 litres, so with an actual mixing capacity of 110 litres, there is more than enough space in the drum for adequate mixing without spilling out or overloading it. By being able to use a full bag this saves time in mixing, whereas many of the similar sized competitors' machines are unable to take the full bag.  

I must admit when I saw the cardboard box that it arrived in I thought that there was no way that a whole cement mixer was inside. However, I was wrong – it contained all the bits for a very satisfyingly well-built machine – all I needed was to put them all together. Self-assembly is the price we pay for value for money items, whether in IKEA or in a tool shop.

I know that some people just ignore instruction booklets, and I have been guilty of this myself, but in this case it would be very good advice to familiarise yourself with the parts and the sequence of assembly – ten minutes on that will save a lot of pointless mistakes later on. Not least because there are certain lengths of bolts that can only be used in certain places.

The other thing is, that although single-handed building of the mixer is possible, it really helps to have a second person to lift the heavy bits and occasionally hold a spanner in some of the awkward places.

 The drum – a key part of the mixer, is strongly made from pressed steel and comes in two parts that have to be bolted together. This is actually easier than it first looks because the rubber gasket has small rubber “pins” on it to help locate it on the drum. These are then sacrificed when the bolts are pushed through and tightened up.

Assembling the tubular steel tall stand is also a case of putting the right bolts in the right place, but it results in a sturdy stand that has no trouble in supporting a fully loaded machine.

The frame that supports the motor and drum assembly is also made from sturdy steel tubing and it has wheels that are big enough to cope with rough ground on sites. Finally, the tilt bracket is a solidly welded construction that is used to tilt the whole machine when used on the tall stand. On my machine it took a tiny bit of customising with a hammer to fit the slots, but the pin hinges and safety pin fitted perfectly.

I liked the idea of keeping the motor completely enshrouded in its own plastic and, I guess, largely waterproof, housing. It is simply lined up with the drive shaft and bolted into place onto the frame with no electrics to connect other than a standard UK plug. When running, the motor is amazingly quiet and there wasn’t much noise from the drive gear on the drum either. I guess that might change when the inevitable dust gets onto it, but there is a protective shield over it and it can be cleaned easily.

As I have mentioned before, the wheels are a full 230mm in diameter and 50mm wide, and make the mixer easy to move. With solid rubber tyres there is no danger of a puncture.

Getting the mixer onto the tall stand can be done by one person if it is empty and also if the ground surface is not too slippery. The instructions provide an illustration of how to do it safely and the height off the ground is good even for loading some of the bigger barrows we see on sites nowadays.

The freezing weather has not been conducive to mixing and laying concrete so I had to choose my time carefully. I am in what seems to be an interminable process of building myself a shed, so I decided to dig and fill a few of the inevitable foundation piles I am going to need for it. When the warmer weather comes, I will finish the rest, since my clay soil is either sodden or frozen at the moment. However, whatever I learn from doing these few piles can be applied at a later date.

The instructions say that you should put half the required water into the drum first, followed by the aggregate, the cement, the remaining water and then the sand. Since I only needed small quantities, I bought bags of ready mixed concrete and added these to the drum that had some water in it. This was then followed by the rest of the water, and after a few minutes I had a perfectly smooth mixture of concrete ready to pour. This I did by simply using the wheels to manoeuvre the mixer to the hole and then tipping the required amount into it. Really, not difficult as the fulcrum seems to have been well calculated for relatively easy tipping.

My biggest bugbear with mixers is cleaning them afterwards. Try as you might, there always seems to be a small amount of cement mixture trapped behind the paddles that gets bigger after each use - hence the rather battered drums that you see on some mixing machines – the lump hammer solution to drum cleaning. Therefore I prefer plastic drums – they stick less and don’t respond so badly to lump hammer-cleaning methods.

However, the Draper with its relatively new paintwork and smooth drum interior was fairly easy to clean with a jet nozzle on an ordinary hose – but it does use a lot of water to do a thorough clean, as any jobbing builder will confirm, whatever machine you use.

I am hoping that I can hold onto this mixer until early spring because it made the job of mixing concrete VERY easy. I found that it handled well and was very quiet in use. The drum is big enough to do a solid lot of concrete so that even a concrete base for a decent-sized shed could be done in a day. Certainly a useful addition to the Draper catalogue. 

 

HYPERTORCHES from Campingaz

The two gas torches from Campingaz’s HYPERTORCH range are both suitable for skilled DIY and trade use – using a mixture of butane and propane gas to deliver enough heat for soldering copper pipes and removing paint etc. Campingaz claims that the mixture gives an extra 35% of heat energy compared to a single gas.

Both of the torches come in a simple and PZ version. The PZ version is lit using the piezo switch that provides the spark to light the gas, while the simple version will require a lighter.

The HYPERTORCH A2000 PZ has a pistol grip and small gas canister. It stands roughly 20cm high and is 27cm long with a brass nozzle that stands out to direct a flame onto the work area. The body is made from a solid plastic. Areas of ‘manual use’ are picked out in red – like the piezo switch.  The handle itself is large enough to fit a large gloved hand. It has some grippy checkering and finger grips and the piezo switch is placed where it can be flicked by a thumb. Just behind the switch is the adjustment wheel marked with a clear + and – to indicate on and off for the gas.  

The instructions and safety guidance provided with both torches are clear and explicit on how to use the torches safely, how to mount the gas canister and how to deal with some of the safety issues that might occur. The simple line diagrams are clear and referred to in the text so users can ensure they are doing the right thing.

Using the torch does not need a degree in engineering – all controls work easily.

The first time it took a matter of minutes to get it going.  The click-on plastic base is wide enough to provide a very stable stand for the torch. And it can be removed when the gas canister needs to be replaced. With the wheel valve in the closed position, the gas canister is screwed on slightly more than finger tight until it is sealed against the O-ring on the valve assembly. Then open the valve wheel and flick the piezo switch until the flame is lit. Once the flame has stabilised, use the valve wheel to get the sort of flame you need for the job in hand. Plumbers will be happy to know that this torch can be used in a full 360 degrees once the flame has been stabilised.

The HYPERTORCH A3000 PZ has a bigger (and therefore longer-lasting) gas canister and the long slim shape helps reach into spots where the A2000 cannot. Again, the plastic base means that it can be put down safely.

The torch head is solid plastic with working parts picked out in red and the piezo switch doubles as the gas valve – making one handed use a possibility. Ergonomically shaped bulges and bumps allow the user to hold the nozzle onto the work area while keeping fingers clear of the heat. There is also a loop stand to hold the torch flat. It could also be a hanging hook for the back of a van.

 It takes minutes to get this torch operational with a flame adjusted for work. It too can work in 360 degrees so the user can get the best angle to work.

Campingaz offers these professional torches with a limited 2-year guarantee, and from my experience of them they will withstand the bumps of a worksite.

 

WhyBuy...?

  • Light
  • Easy to handle
  • Full 360 degree burn
  • Cartridges easily available
  • Enough heat for trade use
  • Base stabiliser included

Draper 160L 230V Cement Mixer

There is a special logic to this mixer – the 160 litre capacity means that it can use one 25kg bag of cement per mix – making it much easier to get a consistent mix. A full load of sand/aggregate mixture, cement and water is roughly 90 litres so with an actual mixing capacity of 110 litres, there is more than enough space in the drum.

Self-assembly is the key to the pricing of this machine, but it is not difficult if you follow the correct sequence – USE THE INSTRUCTION BOOKLET!

Although single-handed building of the mixer is possible, it really helps to have a second person to lift the heavy bits and occasionally hold a spanner.

The tubular-steel tall stand is sturdy stand and has no trouble in supporting a fully loaded machine.

The frame that supports the motor and drum assembly is also made from sturdy steel tubing, and the wheels are big enough to cope with sites. Finally, the tilt bracket is a solidly welded construction that is used to tilt the whole machine when used on the tall stand.

The motor is shrouded in its own plastic waterproof housing. It is simply lined up with the drive shaft and bolted into place onto the frame with no electrics to connect other than a standard UK plug. The motor is amazingly quiet and there wasn’t much noise from the drive gear.  

Getting the mixer onto the tall stand is a one-person job if it is empty and the ground surface is not too slippery. The instructions provide an illustration of how to do it safely, and the height off the ground is good even for loading some of the bigger barrows.

When testing I bought bags of ready mixed concrete and added these to the drum that had some water in it. This was then followed by the rest of the water and after a few minutes I had a perfectly smooth mixture of concrete ready to pour. This I did by simply using the wheels to manoeuvre the mixer to the hole and then tipping the required amount into it.

Cleaning mixers can be problematic - there always seem to be bits stuck that result in the lump-hammer solution to drum cleaning!  I prefer plastic drums – they stick less and don’t respond so badly to lump-hammer cleaning methods.

The Draper, with new paintwork and smooth drum interior, was fairly easy to clean with a jet nozzle – but it does use a lot of water to do a thorough clean.

Why Buy..?

  • Well priced
  • Good capacity
  • Two operating heights
  • Big wheels for easy moving
  • Compact enough for a van 

 

HYPERTORCHES from Campingaz

Admittedly from a kid’s perspective, I can still remember the fun (?) and excitement of getting the old-style paraffin blowtorches going. The smell of the paraffin and the inevitable mild swearing from my dad somehow gave the event the significance of a scientific experiment that might go wrong. If it worked, then the job would go ahead. If not, then there was a lot of clearing the jet with a fine wire and other disassembly and probably more bad language. Even if all went well, firing up the blowtorch was a job that took at least twenty minutes.

Step forward in time to the advent of gas in cartridges, and we now have concentrated heat quickly and safely delivered to where we want it - and with no reasons for swearing. The two gas torches I was sent to try out are from Campingaz’s HYPERTORCH range and both are eminently suitable for skilled DIY and trade use, as they use a mixture of butane and propane gas to deliver enough heat for soldering copper pipes, removing paint and lighting charcoal barbecues – and a whole lot of other jobs too. Campingaz claims that the mixture gives an extra 35% of heat energy compared to a single gas, so you get to work faster – not something that I can test directly without a laboratory, but I didn’t have any trouble doing some sample soldering of copper pipes.

Both of the torches come in a simple and PZ version. The PZ version is lit by simply flicking the piezo switch that provides the spark to light the gas, while the simple version will require a lighter or a match to get it going.

I started by looking closely at the pistol grip version – the HYPERTORCH A2000 PZ. From my work running focus groups with plumbers I know that they often use a pistol grip torch because they are smaller and are easier to put down safely due to their lower centre of gravity. The A2000PZ stands roughly 20cm high and is roughly 27cm long with a brass nozzle that stands out far enough to direct a flame onto the work area. The whole body of the tool is made from a solid plastic that is robust enough to withstand some serious site use. Areas of “manual use” are picked out in red – like the piezo switch and nozzle retainer.  The handle itself is large enough, and shaped to fit even a large, gloved hand. It has some grippy checkering and finger grips and the piezo switch is placed just above where it can be easily flicked by a thumb. Just behind the switch is the flame adjustment wheel marked with a clear + and – to indicate on and off for the gas stream. Users need to be able to reach this control quickly and easily because it is often safest to turn the gas off when the torch is put down.

Just a quick comment on the instructions and safety guidance provided with both torches – of course they come in many European languages but the English versions are clear and explicit on how to use the torches safely, how to mount the gas cartridge and how to deal with some of the safety issues that might occur. The simple line diagrams are clear and referred to in the text so users can ensure they are doing the right thing.

Using the torch does not need a degree in engineering – all it requires is that the gas cartridge is mounted correctly, the piezo works properly, and you can adjust the flame to the required heat by using the thumbwheel. All the above are easy to do, even by a first time user who has read the instructions carefully.

When I used the torch for the first time it took literally a matter of minutes to get it going.  The gas cartridge has a plastic base that is simply clicked onto the bottom of it and this is wide enough to provide a very stable base for the torch when not in use. And, of course, it can be removed when the gas cartridge needs to be replaced. After making sure that the wheel valve is in the closed position, the gas cartridge is simply screwed on slightly more than finger tight, making sure that the threads bite correctly and it is sealed against the O-ring on the valve assembly. Then open the valve wheel and flick the piezo switch until the flame is lit. Plumbers will be happy to know that this torch can be used in a full 360 degrees without losing power, after only 5 seconds' pre-heat time, allowing you to flip it upside down and quickly get to work on those hard-to-reach jobs.

The HYPERTORCH A3000 PZ has a layout that is more commonly used by plumbers because it has a longer (and therefore longer lasting) gas cartridge - and I guess the long slim shape helps reach into spots where the A2000PZ cannot. Fortunately, the plastic base provided for the gas cartridge means that it can be put down safely.

The torch head of the A3000PZ is again made of a solid plastic with working parts picked out in red and the piezo switch doubles as the gas valve – making one-handed use a possibility for those with strong fingers. Ergonomically shaped bulges and bumps allow the user to hold the nozzle accurately onto the work area while keeping fingers clear of the heat. There is also a strong metal loop that acts as a stand to hold the torch flat when needed. It could also be a storage hook for the back of a van so that the torch is not kept in the usual crush of a plumbers’ toolbag.

Again, it took only a few minutes to get this torch operational and with a flame adjusted for work. It too can work in 360 degrees so the user can get the best angle of the flame to present.

Campingaz offers these torches with a limited 2-year guarantee, and from my experience of them, I think they are professional quality tools with enough toughness to withstand professional use and the kinds of bumps they would get on a worksite. They follow classic designs that have proved popular with the trades, and are simple to use – there is just no excuse for bad language!

 

Sanding Innovations from National Abrasives

Anything that helps to minimise effort, time and mess when sanding big areas is worth a look as far as I am concerned, and the kits from National Abrasives looked useful.

The Multi-Purpose Sander Quick Change System consists of a pole, a large 220mm diameter sanding disc, a handle and a pole adaptor. Each of the pieces is able to be used in a variety of combinations according to need. The glassfibre pole can be used with both round disc and corner sander.

Because of its flexible universal joint, the adaptor allows the user to sand in every direction and follow junctions like skirtings and covings with ease.

To reach other areas maybe lower down, simply remove the pole adaptor and attach the handle to have a big area of sanding literally at your fingertips.

Users have the option to attach wipe down sponges or microfibre cloths to the disc (with pole or handle) for the final step.

By using either the gold or aluminium oxide optional disc, you can sand fillers, wood, paint and metal quite aggressively.

The tungsten carbide disc can smooth concrete and masonry - not a job I fancy - but the small trial piece I did worked well.

All of the pieces of the kit can be replaced, including interface pads, thus making for a kit that can be added to as well as renewed as necessary.

The Multi Use Corner Sander is a similar concept –its main part is the right-angled ABS plastic corner sander. Sanding sheets can be attached to either or both of the arms of the right-angled legs. When sanding right up to the edge of a floor for example, you can leave the abrasive off the angle facing the skirting so that it is not sanded.

For a softer touch on the sanding, there are additional foam pads with hook and loop surfaces.

There is also the option to attach either the handle or the pole adaptor. Using the handle I found it really easy to sand right up to doorframes since the abrasive reaches up to the corner and maintains its right-angled shape. Using the pole allows the reach for coving, corners or ceiling/wall junctions and it is efficient too.

There are some excellent accessories as well. A set of wipe down sponges makes it easy to get the dust out of corners and a made-to-measure microfibre cloth gives a good final wipe down in preparation for painting etc.

I found these kits a lot easier to use than I thought. The pole sanding options were actually much more efficient and easier to control because the backing discs are rigid and the hook and loop fixings are secure. The universal joint on the adaptor allows really flexible movement of the pad and discs, without losing control or accuracy.

WhyBuy..?

  • Very versatile – used on a pole or by hand
  • Reaches to ceiling height without a ladder
  • Sands right up to edges
  • Quick
  • Easy to control
  • Different surfaces sanded with different discs
  • Easy to swop abrasives via hook and loop
  • Economical way to sand big areas.

Pages

Scroll to Top