Tool Guide: Tools You Should Know About
Crain 585 Laminate CutterCrain Cutter Co.'s new 585 Laminate Cutter is designed to cut 7-, 8-, and 10-mm planks with ease. There is no dust and the tool can be used in the house right in the room you are installing. No walking outside, or to the garage to use a saw. The 585 comes with an "A" shape support to hold the end of the plank. (Photo 1)
Another question I have heard is, "Will the 585 cut 12-mm laminate or engineered wood?" The answer is yes, with a but. Engineered wood and 12-mm laminate are as narrow as 3 inches wide. When you are cutting something that narrow, there is no leverage left in the handle arch. The solution? Use a scrap to shim the piece you are cutting farther into the shearing field where you have the advantage of leverage (Photo 9). You probably noticed the 585 is sitting in a box. Mike Drinkard from Crain showed me this trick. All the cuttings fall into the box, so at the end of the day, just empty the box into the trash. This leave very little mess in the room you are working.
Seamer Down NowThe "Seamer Down Now" (SND) is a vacuum seam weight. Yeah, I know; I scratched my head and said huh, when I first heard of it. The way it works is that it pulls the carpet flat up against it and pulls the melted thermoplastic adhesive from the seam tape deep into the back of the carpet. If that is not enough it will cool the tape to the point you can power stretch in 20 seconds. Yes, that is correct, 20 seconds. (Photo 10)
Think about it. For pattern carpet with pattern elongation, now you stretch up the short side and stay-tack. With the SND, stretch up the short side, lock your stretcher, seam up to the stretcher, and release the stretch. Move the stretcher farther up the seam, pull the pattern even and keep seaming. The SND cools the seam so fast there is no need for stay-tacks, same thing with a bow or skew. Also it will cool the seam so quick that it helps to prevent discoloration at the seam caused by the seaming heat. This is especially a problem with wool carpets
Carder 141 Carpet HeaterCarder Industries has a new tool you boys in the northern climes will appreciate. It is for warming up carpet so it is installable. The 141 Carpet Heater is a powerful blower with a 750 watt heating element. It can be used a couple of ways. Either open the carpet and stick the nose, with or without the included hose (Photo 14), (Photos 15 and 16) under the edge and turn it on or block one end of the roll, put the nozzle of the 141 in the other and let it warm the carpet from the center out. It may not feel that hot to your hand, but trapped under the carpet the air gets warm enough, kind of like the carpet over a heating vent.
Crain 508 Stretcher Legs KitThis is not a new tool, but one you should know about. Ever get stuck in a hallway with offset doors, or only doors on one side, so there was no way to span doorways with a 2-by-4? Of course you have. Here's a solution. (Photos 17 and 18)
When using the 508 it is important to have the engraving on the hip joint facing up and the wheels of your tail block facing up. This keeps the hip joint flat on the floor when stretching, so the force is transferred straight to the walls. I have also found it is advisable to fold back the carpet off the strip where the tail blocks meet the wall (Photo 20). This allows the carpet to stretch under the Tail Blocks.
An other tip: when stretching long hallways (40 feet or longer) stick the nose of an electric leaf blower or the Carder 141 Carpet Heater under the carpet. This will float the carpet on a cushion of air and make stretching those long hallways a breeze. OK I know bad pun, but I couldn't resist.