Tool Guide: 'Tis the Season for Tools
January 17, 2008
How about this? It is Christmas at my house in December, and I just got the tools for this article. I know you’ll probably be reading this in January, so I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season.
The tools I received for this article are a “new” Roberts 24-inch tool box #10-161, a Roberts GT2000 XL knee kicker, an Arrow ET 155 Proshot 3 electric stapler, and Better Tools 4” x 13” 80144 scraper with additional handles and an adaptor.
First up is the Roberts 10-161 Tool Box. Now this is one heavy tool box. It weighs 18 lbs empty. It is made from very heavy gauge steel; this is one tool box that is designed to take a beating. As soon as I picked it up, it brought back memories of a luggage commercial that was on TV years ago where a suitcase bounces out of the back of a pickup and down the side of a mountain without opening up.
It has a tray that is divided into 5 compartments. Two of the compartments will fit a box of staples for the pad stapler, and there are two smaller compartments with a larger center compartment for the pad stapler and other tools, strip cutters, etc. I kind of like to have my tools in the order that I use them. The underside of the tray has a vented plastic plate so the tray can be used for a seam weight. It is not against the bottom of the tray, so that there is space for airflow. The handles and latches are all heavy duty, and there are also handle on each end of the tool box.
Since I am talking about Roberts, let’s go to the Roberts XL Knee Kicker 10-2000 GT, XL meaning extra large. It has a wider head with 4 nap grippers and 5 rows of teeth. It has a heavier body and a thicker cushion. The teeth are adjustable up and down.
My friend Rick Rousseau and I did a job where we put the kicker to the test. Again I thought that the bigger the head that it would be harder on the knee when using it. That was not the case as the kicker pad made up for it. The pad is quite soft. That’s a good thing for this old man who has had 4 knee surgeries from all the years of abusing them.
Rick said, “This is the first kicker he has ever used that kicked back.,” meaning that after the first intial kick of the pad, it feels like it is kind of pushing back. I think that it is attributed to the softness of the pad, which is not a bad thing.
Here’s a trivia question about Roberts. In the ‘50s, do you know what other name was on Roberts tools? Go to www.robertsconsolidated.com and check out all that Roberts has to offer.
The next tool that I received was the Arrow ET155 Proshot 3 electric staple gun. It came with a nice plastic carrying case and 2 boxes of staples of different sizes, 1/2” and 9/16” in length.
The stapler has a couple of different and nice features that I haven’t seen before. First, it has a power switch on the side of the handle that you can use to adjust the amount of power to the driver when working with hardwoods or softwoods. The other is a latch that will let you remove the plate on the nose to un-jam it if you have a staple jam. I made good use of that feature as the staples that came with it were in pieces of 2 or 3 staples, as the box must have been dropped over that mountain I was talking of earlier. I jammed it a couple of times.
For pictures and use of the stapler I hooked up with another friend I used to work with, William “B” O’Neal. “B” was doing some apartment work with stairways, and I wanted to see how well it fit up under the nose of the step; it fit very well. It also has the power adjustment feature. We had to turn it to the maximum, as “B” was working off a lightweight extension cord from the apartment next door. It still buried the staple into the step.
In Arrow’s warranty it states to use only Arrow staples, but sorry Arrow, I had to use someone else’s staple because mine were trashed. I also had read that on the FCI message board.
I did have a couple of problems with the stapler. One of them, I’m sure it’s just a little adjustment item; in use, the kickback of the stapler let the slide open up and it dropped out the staples in the throat. The other problem was that the cord is covered with plastic and me being in cold climate, the cord was like a pig’s tail and wouldn’t uncoil from the storing.
Here to me is a real big plus: On the side of the tool it says “MADE IN AMERICA.” You sure don’t see that much anymore. Visit Arrow at www.arrowfastner.com and see what they have to offer.
The next tools I have are from Better Tools. They are the “80144 4” x 13” Scraper and attachment. Last year they sent me their 80184 scraper with the ergonomic handle and the 80194 scraper with the steel end cap. They were both 18 “ scrapers. Better Tools also has adjustable scrapers up to 30”.
With any of the Better Tools scrapers that come with the steel end cap, which can be hammered on, you can also get interchangeable handles and an adaptor. There are 4 different types of handles and the adaptor. They are the 80120 rubber palm grip, 81100 “D” handle, 80110 “T” swivel and the steel end cap. The adaptor is the SDS adaptor. It is used to adapt the scraper so that a rotary hammer will fit on the tool for the really tough take ups. I don’t have a rotary hammer, so I couldn’t see that in use. But I’m guessing that if the take up is really tough you would really be rocking. When using the rotary hammer, the Ultimate Scraper Blade is a must. Any others will shatter. As far as I’m concerned, the Ultimate Scraper Blade is a must anyway.
I think that Better Tools has the finest scrapers on the market. They are super heavy duty and very well constructed. I probably have a 1/2 dozen of the other scrapers that are actually wall paper scrapers that are worn out that just didn’t hold up, in my opinion. Besides, where else can you get a scraper that you can get a handle to fit your individual needs?
Along with the scraper, I received a new dispenser pack of 100 4-inch standard scraper blades. For people who use a lot of scraper blades, the 100 pack may be the way to go. The dispenser pack not only dispenses the blades but it also gives you a place to put your used blades. That way maybe they aren’t left laying on the floor for a little kid to pick up and hurt themselves with. The dispenser brings the blade up for you without any exposed edges until you pull it out. That’s a nice safety feature. Check out Better Tools at www.bettertools.com They have quite a bit to offer.
If you are going to Surfaces, I’m sure these companies will be there. Tell them Daris sent you, and see if they look at you kind of strange. Now for the answer to the trivia question: “Made Rite”