Latest Tools Make Carpet Installation and Removal a Snap
April 2, 2007
Have you ever been given or picked up a tool or something that you were immediately impressed or excited with? That was the way I was with the Ultimate Scraper Blade.
I was given one at the CFI convention a couple of years ago. I immediately thought “Yeah I’m going to like this.” The blade has flanges or skirts that don’t allow debris to get under the locking flanges of your scraper, allowing for the blade to fall or pull out easily. How many times has that happened to me over 40+ years of installation?
Another nice feature of the blade is that it can be re-sharpened if need be. In the two years I’ve had mine I haven’t needed to do that yet. I’ve scraped paint, drywall mud, concrete slag, old glue and staples with it. So it holds up quite well.
A word of caution: it is extremely sharp, so be careful when using it or you may find out what the term we installers use, “Bloody Mary” really means. It comes in a locking plastic container that you may want to return it to after using it. Or turn it around and put it back in your scraper so you don’t run your hand into it in the bottom of your toolbox.
They come in three sizes: 4, 5, and 8 inches.
Upon seeing these two scrapers my first thought was how heavy duty they were. Well let me tell you, they are. The 80184 has an ergonomic handle, and the 809194 has a steel end cap. I have seen the scrapers with the steel end before but joked about them. Kind of like, what’s that for? To thump your helper with if he or she wasn’t working hard enough? I came to find out it is for hammering on if you run into a tough spot. I can’t say I’ve ever had to hammer on a scraper but I sure have seen a lot of scrapers out there with mushroomed handles on them. One thing I found out handling the tool is that it was very well balanced in the hands. I’m sure that means a whole lot less fatigue in using the tools.
The scrapers are 18 inches in length and I am told the handles are interchangeable. I couldn’t get the ergonomic handle off the 10184, but could get the steel cap off the 10194. I was also told there is a “D” handle that can be put on for greater leverage. Wouldn’t that be great for the tough spots?
The pictures are of my stepson, Kevin Torrey, using both the scrapers to remove some VCT tile. I had to fight him to get the scrapers back. He won!
I was really impressed on how heavy duty they are, especially after seeing some lightweight ones in the supply house.
KnivesBetter Tools has an assortment of knives from utility to knives that the blades break away. I used a couple of the knives that caught my eye. One of them was the Quick Change Folding Carpet Knife. Quick Change meaning you push a button to release the blade and reload the knife. No screwdriver needed. Just make sure the blade is in all the way when reloading so it doesn’t possibly pull out. The thing that surprised me is that there is no belt clip and it is a little bulky for in-the-pocket use. There is a pouch that is separate from the tool; that is kind of unique. It can be put on your belt, either in the up and down position or sideways. Sideways works good for me because of that love handle I have above the belt. The knife itself is probably something I wouldn’t use constantly, but is sure nice to have for a little repair like missing a doorjamb on the trim in, things like that.
The other knife I used was the 70504 Quick Change Knife. The knife caught my eye because it was colored like a bumblebee. But the feel of the knife in the hand was really great. It is thinner than most carpet knives, I believe. Rick Rousseau and I did a job and were trading the knife back and forth. We both agreed the feel of the knife was very good. But the one fault we had was there is a flare at the bottom end of the handle that threw the angle of the blade off for cutting rebond pad. But we still liked the feel of the knife when using it.
I was kind of curious how strong the button release was, so I went after it with a pair of needle nose pliers and tried to pull the blade out. After a serious tug it didn’t move.
Inside the handle of most of the knives is a magnet to keep the blades in place to keep them from bouncing around and dulling. I thought that was a good feature.
Carpet PullerWhen I found out I got to do an article on the Jackrabbit carpet puller, I couldn’t have been happier. I have read so much about the tool on the Internet. I wanted to see it in action.
Well happiness turned into now what when I found out I only had five working days to get this done before I left for Surfaces and a function for a couple of days afterwards.
I received the tool on Monday and had found a take-up job that was supposed to have started on Tuesday. I didn’t know if the job was a tough take up or not, as Mr. Marizzaldi had told me it was meant for the toughest of take ups. Nice man to talk to on the phone, by the way. Anyway I get a call at the last minute saying the job has moved to Wednesday. We all know how that is, don’t we?
Wednesday comes and my friend Rick Rousseau and I meet up with the installer Jason Fournier and his crew to see how the tool works. When I meet Jason he says it is an easy take up. No kidding, it came off the floor with hardly any effort. The kind of take up we all want always. There were a couple areas that were a little harder to remove so we hooked up the Jackrabbit but it was just no effort at all. It was taking us longer to get it hooked up and we were actually holding them up.
So now what? January and February are not the time of the year to find take-up jobs or even work for that matter here. Time to jump on the phone and start making calls to all the stores in the area and I got the same answer. No, Nada, Zilch, sorry no jobs. Thursday and Friday it’s the same thing.
Saturday rolls around and I’m kind of vegging, and I don’t turn my cell phone on until about 10:30. I have voice mail from Tony Cheshier of Elite Floors. They have been on a 66-yard job since 8:30 and only have about half of it up with one of the electrical machine pullers. I called and said I’d be there in about 20 minutes.
When I get there they are still struggling with the last half and I hear the electrical machine being stalled.
So Tony and I hook up the jackrabbit and went to work. Oh yeah, did I tell ya the carpet was a replacement and only had been down for six months? Also, that it was on top of terrazzo? Tony installed it originally and let me tell you he is not afraid of the glue not getting out of the bucket. This carpet was stuck tighter than the bark on a tree. It was stuck to the point the face separated from the back of the carpet and you ended up with a mass of yarn and the backing still stuck to the floor. If you stepped out onto an area that had been taken up it ripped off your shoes.
On the easy pull job we had a little trouble keeping the jackrabbit from rolling back when you wanted to ratchet the handle. On the tough pull we didn’t have that trouble at all. The only time it stalled is when I ratched the handle back or took a breather.
The tool only takes up a 6-inch-by-48-inch area in your truck, van or whatever you use. If needed, it probably could be delivered to your jobsite on a motorcycle. It weighed in when it arrived in the box a total of 33.5 pounds. I’m told it has a lifetime warranty and there are about 1500 of them sold so far and there have been no call backs.
All I can say is, where were these tools when my back was still in good shape?