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I've seen a number of questions about various tools and so I figured I should just ask you all at the source: what tools or equipment would you like to test out and answer questions about on the site?

As part of the CHAOS initiative, I'm here to help promote the site. One way that we can do this is to be the place to go to for information about specialty products. It's a thought.

If you have other ideas for swag -- flashlights, laser levels, toolboxes, whatever -- let me know. We'll see what we can do.

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Another idea could be to review new and/or interesting products for the blog.

This would solve the "problem" of having to ask a question about the product and then the blog could be used as a potential reference for any future questions that others may have.

  • Wait, we have a site blog? That said, yes that's one option. In this case, I was thinking along the lines of gaming -- "How do I make this laser level determine the right angle for such-and-such?" "Why does my saw make a whirring noise if I do this-and-that?" and so forth. We have lots of questions about faucets, AC units, and other small and large things. – Aarthi Aug 15 '11 at 20:13
  • @aarthi - no blog yet, but we could if we got ourselves organised. But your questions idea is also good. – ChrisF Aug 15 '11 at 20:17
  • It's similar to the strategy we're using over on Gaming, Android, and Apple. There, the CHAOS folks are working to prime us as being the place to go when something new drops and people have questions, as having the questions in place already means we'll rank well in Google searches. I figured we could do/be something similar if we wanted, but I want the community to be on board with it. – Aarthi Aug 15 '11 at 21:41
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Throwing out a few ideas: - The staple for dead-trees home improvement mags (JLC, Fine Homebuilding) is tool reviews. They get a bunch of tools, ship them to three or four different people, and those three or four people give their feedback after using it on the job. Alternately, they do a set of the same relatively scientific tests (such as driving a certain kind of screw into certain materials) using a tool and compare statistics.
- One forum that I am on keeps a 'tips and tricks' thread for specific tools that are common but potentially troublesome, like the DeWalt D24000 Tile Wet Saw ... stuff about how to get the blade and shelf aligned perfectly, tips about maintaining the tool, where to find it and find good deals on it...

The first could be done either collaboratively by people willing to share tools, or separately by people willing to put their personally owned tools through some exhaustive tests.

The second would just require a good place to do it that wouldn't clutter up the front page or other areas.

  • This was actually something I was really considering. However, as I'm not very, uh, aware of the movings and shakings in the tool industry, I'd need one of y'all to inform me. I'm more than happy to "gift" a tool to a user, provided they asked questions about it here, and the community was able to answer them. – Aarthi Aug 17 '11 at 13:49
  • Aarthi, does your local library have JLC (Journal of Light Construction) or Fine Homebuilding? If so, go check out a few of the issues to see what they do. My concern is that I don't think the question/answer format is going to be best for a tool review unless the "question" is a community wiki question, i.e. "What is the best reciprocating saw?" – Karl Katzke Aug 17 '11 at 16:29
  • What might work in this case is having product comparison questions -- two new, oh I dunno, cordless drills come out onto the market and we have a "which is better" kind of post. Or something. Either way, I want to elicit more activity from our members somehow, as well as reward top new users and stuff. – Aarthi Aug 17 '11 at 16:59
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I wouldn't mind posting some reviews on things I've used. A couple gizmos I've tried out in the past year include a dryer vent cleaner and a chimney sweeper, both very DIY.

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It would be nice to see some standardized testing done. If you don't have a standardized test, you'd have to test the tools over and over again. You can't have one test drilling 1/2 holes, the next drilling 5/8 holes, the next 3/4, the next 1/2 with different bits, the next 1", the next 5/8 in different wood, the next 1/2 in different wood, etc. The tests should be discussed before any testing is done because people might have some good ideas that might not be obvious, such as measuring the trueness of a cordless drill.

It'd also be nice to test things like the cordless rotary hammers to see if they're powerful enough to replace the corded versions. In fact, we should probably use corded tools not only in terms of seeing whether or not the cordless versions can keep up, but also as reference points since their longevity is superior. (You could even use a Kill-A-Watt meter to gauge how hard each different set of wood is. Not sure what level of precision those things have, but if they have 1/10th of a watt precision, that should be fine.)

I'd also like to see little gadgets that people have found and liked. I picked up this at Home Depot and was pleasantly surprised. First day I got it, I wanted to see how strong it was, so I drilled a 3/4" hole into wood. Much to my surprise, it worked perfectly fine. A little bit of the drill's strength was lost (maybe about 10%,) but that's still many times stronger (~450 in-lbs) than a true right angle drill (~150 in-lbs.)

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