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Tool Blogger UK

Expertise, Experience and Excellence

Tales from the counter-side

I haven’t written to this blog in a while and thought I’d post something a little different. 

During our time working in retail, hardware, engineering supplies and tool sales.  We’ve met some interesting people.  Many have been weird, wonderful and some have been just totally mad or strange.  I think for the most part, mistakes, misinformation and misunderstandings are what this comes down to, for the most part…

Here’s a few comical examples of 30 plus years working with the public.  I think the title and the original “two ronnies” sketch says it all “I’d like four candles!”  And here it is if you’ve never seen it.

And there seems to be a trend; when you don’t know the name of what you want, make the name up!  I can’t fault this for the most part, although sometimes it can be annoying when a customer insists on using a term which is wrong or you just don’t understand what they are saying. The amount of times I’ve been asked for a gromet, a thing-amy-jig, or even an bolt – all of which can be anything at all to anyone who’s asking.

The “wags” over at British Rail, Ford and Sterling (among others) would send their neophyte fresh-face workers into the shop on a wild goose chase. Having an official purchase order in hand or just verbally told “Get over to the supplier, we are in urgently need…..”.

A recipricating bore. Tartan paint (pictured below). A left or right handed coat hook. Glass hammers. (although apparently Yoko Ono actually created one in 1967!) A Teep-Opt with four digi-stiff display. Skirting board ladders. An “I-M-nu”. Or a “long wait”, and of course “four candles….” to name a few of the items asked for.

A good example of misunderstandings is when I was asked for an “Axsaw” To this I naturally said, “Do you mean a hacksaw sir?” The man looked angrily at me saying, “NO, an Axsaw! A. X. S. A. W!”…..This is when we get the tool catalogue out to show the customer, to discover what the customer means as communcation has failed.   I always say that if we the assistants/counter staff/shop keeper/Sales team are doing our good job right, we are part detective and can usually get to the bottom of what it is they’re after.

On a side note – It turns out, there really is something called the “axe saw” (see picture below) however, this wasn’t really what he wanted and didn’t exist at the time – he wanted a Hacksaw, and confirmed this with the catalogue pictures.

This of course is the tip of the iceberg.  The word “Gromet” seems to cover almost any small item that a customer is searching for from a small piece of rubber (yes, a real gromet) to a furniture cam or roll pin.  “What’s one of those? ” I hear you say….

Give us a screw…

Screws are a huge source of humour, until you’ve heard that joke everyday for 10 years. “I’d like a screw please! No not that kind!” There was actually a well known brothel….er massage parlour very close to where our shop was, within crawling distance.

There’s many a time a customer has come into the shop for a “bolt” and it turns out they want a woodscrew or machine screw, a padbolt or a chutebolt. Yes these are all different as a customer can tell when they look at you like you’re insane when you bring the “bolt” back.

No good deed….

Then there’s the maxim “No good deed, goes unpunished!” which I have personally felt the sting from more than once. Sometimes we would get customers come into the shop who desperately need something “fixed”. I fell into this trap many times, notably with one lady with a leopard print shopping trolley (Yeah, snazzy). Unfortunately she was constantly overloading it and the metal reinforcements had broken, along with the wheels, and most of the rest of it. She kept coming in to fix it so I thought, I would do her a favour and fix the cart for her. I was at it for a hour, she wasn’t grateful in the least in fact she didn’t like the fix and complained. So I fixed it in a different way with some jubilee clips, which she was much happier with. By the time this was done I’d been with her for an hour and a half before she was satisfied, until I told her the price. £5…Yeah for an hour and a half’s work and the goods to fix her cart. She looked at me like I was cheating her!

Irregular regulars

Then we get the “regular customers” who treated the business like their very own hire purchase establishment. Having “a tab” (although this was stopped very quickly because of lack of funds the shop’s direction) that he would put goods on and then pay for later….Much much later. Sometimes bringing back goods that were purchased 6 months earlier and expecting us to take them back or swap them. Some of these items were hundreds of pounds.

The undesirables

Yes, you get thieves, con men/women and aggressive customers if you work with the public in any way.

Three are more noteworthy than most (that I can mention here); the first a woman who came into the shop with her two kids picked up a 5 liter tin of cleaning solution (I saw her) and proceeded to ask for a refund for it! Saying “Sorry, I don’t have the receipt for it…” To this was said “You can’t have a refund then! When did you buy it?”….She said “Ok, I’ll just take it away again and look for the receipt!”….How about we call the police and see what they say, we’ve got video evidence of you picking it up from the shelves!

The second was stranger. A customer came into the shop asking “Can you come and have a look at this miter saw I want to buy?” I said “Yes Sir I’ll just come over….” to this, the customer leads me down the aisle of the shop and out the front door. I said “where are we going? I thought you wanted me to look at a saw that you want to buy?” He said “I do, it’s out here!” He lead me to a transit van outside where an Irishman was standing in front of opened its open doors. I looked at the miter saw, then at the customer. “This is a fake…..Hold on a minute!” I went back into the shop and got my colleague who had worked there 25 years out to have a look. He couldn’t believe it, there was some guy selling counterfeit powertools out of the back of van in our car park! We told the Irishman to leave our car park and we were calling the police! To this the Irishman said ” Don’t be cheeky….”. The customer who called me out to look at the saw, looked at me bewildered saying “thought it was too good to be true” and left.

The third was just odd and very quick. A eastern European man came straight into the shop, and into our large showroom. Then immediately turned around and walked straight out again. However, while leaving he had a new DeWalt hat on his head which no-one missed and a chorus of 4 counter staff shouted “Oi! That’s not your hat!” To which the man turns and feigns ignorance….takes it off, throws it on the floor and runs.

The other side of the coin

Then there are the very strange people who work for the company. Yes, it takes all sorts to make a world….

One assistant, we will call “Rambo” the reason for which you will find out soon. Worked for the company for around a month, maybe a little less, but left a trail of angry customers and destruction in his wake and finally was “let go” because he came in late shirtless claiming he was “beaten up” at the nearby train station. He had only scratch marks over his chest and stomach. (self inflicted?)

Another assistant had literally breath-taking extreme halitosis! Having a conversation was difficult because you couldn’t breathe or you would choke and gag. His breathe could peel paint from a wall without any paint stripper or heat gun involved. I ended up offering him a mint every time I saw him.

So it can be fun, weird and interesting working for an Engineer’s suppliers as you can see.

A brief history of light…

From the discovery of fire to the illumination of the night…

It’s been a while since our last blog post, and so with the new year 2019, we hope to set it off to good start!

From the still red embers of fire discovered in the darkness of the past to the dazzling bright future of illumination from LED’s and beyond; fire, burning torch, oil lamp, candle, the innovation of batteries and utilisation in lights. It’s been an interesting journey to get to today’s point of progress.

And then there was fire.

It’s been a while, and no one really knows how fire was discovered, and I suppose it depends who you speak to. Whether Prometheus stole the fire from the Gods to give a flaming torch to man, or if there was a forest fire caused by lightning that some clever proto-human managed to salvage a flaming piece of wood from. It’s difficult to know how things went, but according to “English Heritage” around 120,000 years ago the secret of fire was discovered independantly around the world, however according to the History Channel and Science Daily caves have been found in South Africa that are 1 million years old with proof that fire was tamed and used by the hominin humans that were living there.

Fire was literally light, life and power! So to harness this was very important to humans becoming what they are today.

The next steps…

The natural progression of wanting to see in the dark, to keep warm and/or to keep predators away meant the transferring of fire from place to place was nessassary if not extremely important to remaining alive. Especially when humans discovered the joy of cooking their food.

So, humans had to initially learn how to transport their fire from one location to another and then the innovation of creating a fire itself. Which was probably found while using flint hammers against rocks (see the history of hammers on this blog); creating sparks and setting dry kindling on fire.

You may have seen old films where the hominin people just happened to live next to tar pits where fires rage, the hominin dips some fabric into the tar with a branch of wood so and it instantly ignites this new firey torch to illuminate the night. According to Wikipedia and other sources clothes were first worn around 170,000 years ago; although clothes, fabrics, hides and animals skins wouldn’t have survived through till now. So there’s no definitive evidence of when torches like this could have been created. So the earliest we can say that torches could have been made is 170,000 years ago.

Something more illuminating..

So man and fire where united and unleashed on the world.

Fire creating cooked food, heat, warmth and a safe environment for all the tribe. Over time these early people became more expert with fire, and how they used and controlled it. Cooking food had usable side products including fats, tallows waxes and oils when used with a wick would last much longer and be more controllable than the large firey torches. Which brings me to the oil lamp which was first seen 70,000 years ago according to the history of lamps website, probably first used with cut out wood, shells or stone. Then refined later on with the advent of pottery (4,000BC), bronze (1,500BC), Iron (800BC) and other containers became more widespread and better designed

These oil burners became widespread through-out the ancient world from Greece, Rome to Egypt. Along with the later oil burners the candle makes an appearance around for 1,000BC with wicked candles. Unfortunately because of the nature of candles there’s little evidence remaining of when exactly candles were first used and created, although there are bronze, iron and other candle holders through to the present day. Gradually become widespread throughout the world to be the main source of light until the early 1800’s.

The death of the candle and the oil lantern in the home was heralded with the widespread installation of gas heating and lighting. However this didn’t mean the end of the storm lamp/lantern when needing a torch to light your way in open country or anywhere without street lighting

A revolution of batteries…

With the revolution of the battery in 1887, quickly industry wanted to utilise this incredible new harnessed power! With many new innovations and designs, the now familiar handheld torch (flashlight) was created in 1899 and became a public success! This were called flashlights because they couldn’t keep the light on for too long or the torch would get hot, burn out the bulb or just stop working! This basic model used 3 battery cells to shed very little light in a wide scattered beam using a polished brass reflector, using a contact switch to active the torch.

After the first world war by the 1920’s the design of the torch developed with the arrival of better quality battery technology, better more economical bulbs, thinner glass lens and a better reflecting lens. Making a more popular, more user friendly, easier to use and a higher quality product. Notably the Rayovac flashlight which is significantly brighter and more ergonomic than the earlier torches.

Another war and the invention of the transistor changed the torch again; although it had the same old familiar design externally, it revolutionised the all the internal components. Gradually miniaturising, improving and re-designing the torch. Initially made of steel, brass or other metals, these newer torches were gradually made out of bakelite, rubber and finally plastics. All the way through to the late 1970’s where plastic was the most material a torch was made out of.

Innovation provides.

Progress came fast and furious with the end of the 80’s with improvements in battery cell technology; today using Nickel Metal Hydride and Lithium ion. With light bulbs; today using LED’s or HID’s shedding thousands of lumens of light without the heat created of the incandescent or halogen bulbs. Utilising electronics rather than wires making electrical contacts much more efficient.

Although aesthetically is essentially the same all put together makes a quantum leap from the 5 or so candle power (65 lumens) and only having 10 minutes of ‘on’ time of the first torch, to the modern torch supplying 3,200 lumens for 40minutes in only 110 years.

The future of the torch is definitely getting brighter!

More battery news.

 

Over time, there are more innovations, updates and tweaks in technology.   With an eye on the future, another on the past, and yet another on their competition, Metabo have released (2017) a new battery range.  It’s the new LiHD (lithium ion high demand) battery which is backwards compatible to be used with existing machines and chargers; a policy that Metabo has had since 2009.  Metabo trying to deliver a cordless tool, with the performance of a corded power tool.

 

 

What’s the difference between the new and the old technology?

 

Compared to the old Lithium Ion batteries, the new Lithium HD batteries  have 67% more power, and 100% more run-time!  With an ultra low profile and a 100% compatibility with old chargers and machines.  These look like the perfect upgrade for a already purchased machine.  Here’s what Metabo say themselves.

Revolutinary LiHD high-performance cells: Completely new electromechanical design with significantly stronger conductors, which in combination with more active material, permit a

  • significant increase in the accessible power output
  • resulting in more usable energy for you


Massive power rails capable of handling high currents,
enlarged contact and cell connectors made from a special CU alloy, conduct the current with reduced losses.

Increased run time thanks to:

 

  • an increase in active cell material
  • high-quality materials (silver and copper) in combination with stronger conductors – this permits a more efficient energy flow

 

These 18volt batteries come in three AH versions 7AH, 5,5AH and 4AH costing around £110, £85 and £69 respectively.

 

So what’s next?  What’s next, is the innovation and redesign of Metabo’s power tool line-up to work more efficiently with their new battery.  More efficient power governers, more effecient brushless motors, a change back to a metal or carbon fibre gearbox,  even further and better ergonomic design.  The list is endless, difficult to keep the tool under an affordable price, and this is a problem for a lot of power tool companies.   So stayed tuned for more innovations!

Hammers. Hammers! Hammers?

As a follow-up to my recent post regarding all things hammer, I’m writing this article to complement the previous post.  This time it’s a comparison of three claw hammers rather than more on the evolution of the hammer which I covered pretty comprehensively in my last post.  We’ve chosen three in an attempt to be scientific with our testing.

So, what’s so special about these hammers?  Isn’t a hammer, JUST a hammer?  Well, yes, it’s a hammer and essentially they’re the same thing; it’s used to hit things with!  However (according to experts, designers, trade professionals and the manufacturer) , there are some interesting nuances between the three hammers I’m looking at.  The first is a very popular old classic from Estwing, who you will know if you read my other blog post about hammers has been making hammers since 1923, their E3 claw hammer being one of the most popular hammers for professionals all over the planet.  The second hammer I’ll be looking at is a new innovative design by Vaughan, an American company that’s been making hammers since 1869; it’s their Dalluge style straight claw titanium hammer!  And finally our control or baseline for a reasonable everyday hammer, so I chose the Stanley 51-621 hammer created with a fibreglass handle to reduce vibration.

So let’s look at the three and their attributes.

The Stanley hammer 51-621

 

The heat treated forged high carbon steel curved claw head is fully polished and rim tempered for durability and safety.
The fibreglass handle absorbs shock and vibration and the textured rubber ensures a comfortable, secure grip.
High visibility yellow makes the hammer safe and easy-to-locate in work areas.

So, basically an everyday and cheap hammer, for around £12 inc VAT at your local shop or online.  Not pretty to look at with a rubber grip and fibreglass handle that in reality does little to cushion the blows you land.  Yes, it’s better than cheaper hammers, a little. But it doesn’t really match up to the other two.  So this is our baseline hammer, everyone at home has something of this quality or slightly better.

 

The Estwing hammer E3/16

 

The Estwing E3 series curved claw hammers have a vinyl grip made from liquid vinyl bonded on to the shaft during production, offers the utmost in both comfort and durability, while reducing vibrations caused by impact.

The conventional carpenters’ curved claw hammer offers unsurpassed balance and temper.

Made in the USA from high quality steel.

As I’ve already said earlier, the Estwing E3 claw hammer is the go to tool of the professional, the workhorse of the construction site for the carpentry teams.  The steel shaft goes the length of the hammer with the vinyl handle molded around it to create the soft handle.  This hammer would set you back around £50!  I’ve known carpenters who have their Estwing hammer for 20 years.

 

The Vaughan “Dalluge” style straight claw hammer

 

Weight: (16 oz.).
Handle length: 430mm (17 inch)

The lightweight DDT 16, with its patented deep “V” head design, provides faster, greater power at point of impact with less stress and arm fatigue.

The DDT 16 hammer features a patented titanium head with overstrike guard. It’s exclusive Double “D”™ Magnetic Nail Holder has the ability to hold both standard and duplex nails and provides increased reach for one-handed nail starting, while the Sidewinder™ Nail Puller provides extra leverage for removing nails without ripping up forms. For fast and easy tear downs and rip outs the Short Stack™ Claws on the DDT 16 hammer are reinforced to provide increased strength for prying. Heads made in China. Handles made in USA. Assembled in USA. MADE IN CHINA

So Titanium hammers have been around for a while now.  You will get this Vaughan hammer from the internet or if you’re very lucky from a shop but it will set you back £220!! So it makes sense that you’d want to check it out before you put that kind of money into buying this hammer.  Why does it cost 4 times the price of a regular high quality claw hammer and, what would it take to convince anyone to pay this much money for it?

 

The good, the bad and the not so bad…

 

In a direct comparison between the three hammers.

The Stanley is cheap, it’s rubber grip isn’t great but is usable, the fibreglass, anti-vibe handle doesn’t stop the softer vibrations and I suppose would do if you had nothing else to use.  When we decided to do this test, we did think about using some kind of kenetic testing equipment to compare the impact force and the vibration carried back down the handle, but this equipment is really expensive and we decided against it.   In the end the hammer is heavy and unforgiving. At around 10 nail mark your arms starts really feeling it, and honestly you want to take continue much longer…

The Estwing is heavy like the Stanley, but the handle feels much better in your hand.  There’s a certain amount of anti-vibe through the vinyl grip but not much.  It’s heavy but it hits nails perfectly, and once again is unforgiving in the long run.  Around the continuous 10 nail mark again, your arm starts feeling it.  It’s better with vibration than the Stanley.

The Titanium Vaughan hammer is much lighter, and the wooden handle helps with vibration, so lots of anti-vibe characteristics.  So light you don’t feel any strain from hitting in 20 nails continuously!

So the bottom line?  To me the titanium hammer isn’t just a fad, it does help with it’s weight and you won’t suffer from a sore wrist afterwards; or will need to nail twice to three times as many nails as the steel hammer to get the same effect.  Saying this, the price IS a down side, so  the titanium hammer is really just for the professional who works all day at hammering or a dedicated DIYer who doesn’t mind paying out the high price!  But for most serious professionals it’s the trusty Estwing!

If you’re interested in trying and buying any of these three hammers here’s a link to each.

 

Stanley glassfibre hammer 51-621 hammer – £11.94 inc VAT

Estwing E3/16C Vinyl grip hammer – £49.26 inc VAT

Vaughan ‘Dalluge’ Style Straight Claw Titanium Hammer – £220.96 inc VAT

The history of the hammer from its prehistoric beginnings.

The modern day hammer has had an incredible evolution since its origins when man needed to hit and smash shells or bones to get food.  Initially. I thought a post about the evolution of the hammer may be interesting, but I’ve found that hammers are much greater than just a hand tool, they are literally the great grandfather of every tool ever made!

The basics;

A hammer is a tool for striking another object or substance, whether wood, metal, stone or anything else. The modern day hammer has many variations, looks and sizes. Creating an extremely versatile tool.

Then man created the hammer;

Archaeologists have now discovered the first appearance of a tool used as a hammer was 3.3 million years ago (149 found in Lake Turkana in northern Kenya in 2015) when a “hammer stone” was used to splinter more brittle stones like flint, into cutting and killing tools.  After they began to perfect their technique, they formed and shaped axes, knives, then more intricate arrow heads and spear heads. Still later these proto-humans used the formed shards into carving tools for wood, to break open animal skulls, bones, shells and even make jewellery.

This embryonic hammer, was little more than a heavy elliptical stone between 300 grams to a kilo smoothly formed at the bottom of a river bed, or from the sea.  The stone was used to hit an object, which was sitting on a large flat stone below it, like an anvil.  If a more intricate point was needed, the stone hammer would be replaced with a smaller stone, bones, ivory and antlers using more finesse for finishing the new cutting tools.

 

 

Then around 30,000 BC, an incredible 3.27 million years later. The next stage of the hammer’s evolution came into being. The addition of a handle; the stone being tied to either a piece of wood or bone with leather, vine, sinew, hair or similar substance tying the head to the handle. Creating the more familiar modern day looking hammer, similar to those made by native americans in the 1800’s.

This addition may not seem a big one, but it enabled the user to have more control over what they were hitting, and the accuracy of the strike. It meant that this new hammer could be used for more intricate work and meant the creation of a more artisan society. With the advent of the handle this meant the hammers evolution to what we know today advanced exponentially. Having a handle also allowed the user to have less accidents with the wielded tool.Then hammer’s next advance was the coming of metal and the bronze age. Around 3,000 BC, 27,000 years after the last important update of the hammer. Hammer heads were forged with bronze, making them more durable as far as binding them was concerned. The first hammer heads were probably melted bronze bound with similar bindings to stones, and evolved with the onset of forging and casting processes. This allowed a hole to be put through the bronze to take the handle. With the invention of forges and casting other copper and bronze products were made including nails.

 

Bronze age hammer face.  The hammer was fitted on to a piece of wood or bone, then used as a hammer.

Although iron was around in it’s raw form since the beginning of the bronze age, with meteroic iron. Which was found and used for tools such as hammers. It wasn’t until 1200 BC that iron was properly extracted and used to make tools and weapons. Making the old bronze hammers and equipment obsolete. Hammers started to evolve their shapes at this point in their history. Having round faces, square faces, cutting edges, reliefs, and so on. Among the new shapes of hammer the claw head was created for recovering bent or damaged nails for re-smelting. Also meaning you could reuse the precious iron or bronze nail.

 

Iron age (post medieval) hammer head.

The discovery of Steel was the advent of modern day hammers and tools. From the unrecognisable embryonic eliptical stone of 3million years previously. Originally created around 1800 BC, but spread across the world properly in the 11th century. The process was refined and augmented by the 1500’s with the birth of today’s standard of steel making.

From 1500’s on the evolution of industry came the evolution of the hammer, during which the refining of hammer types and their nuances was developed and experimented with to make a different hammer that was ideal for each job. Coachbuilding, house building, brick layers,blacksmiths, masons, miners and any number of other jobs.

A copy of a steel headed and handled hammer. (circa 1760)

The Hammer’s produced next were “forged” by the industrial revolution starting in 1760 and 1870 the explosion in industry and the need for tools to repair and maintain the new machinery created. Also mass product of hammers, made them all similar and had to be produced to the same standards. These processes also meant that wood, rubber, copper, lead, brass, hide and broze hammers and mallets were easier to make and made more popular. With these new industries came bespoke hammer product such as larger moving and slogging equipment.

With the coming of the new century in the 1900’s came the invention of new materials; Bakelite, casin, and new metal alloys mean hammer faces and handles could be used in a new and different ways. With the development of physics to explain why a hammer works and man has learned to make it more efficient at its job, and so the development of the hammer has continued to become advance, along with its aesthetics. Leading to the modern hammer we see today, made by companies like Stanley, Thor and Estwing, all founded in the early 1920’s. These commercial companies essentially creating the sophisticated hammers the we still see today, from the invention of massive powered steam or electric hammers, to the smallest archeological or surveyor’s hammers.

The modern claw hammer. Mass produced since the 1920’s

 

In the next post I shall go through the best modern hammers, who makes them and where to buy them.

Stanley/Black and Decker to buy Irwin tools!

 

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Interesting news from the USA!  Stanley/Black and Decker who own Stanley, Black and Decker, DeWalt, Porter Cable, and Facom to name a few.  Are hoping to own another large part of the hand tooling industry.  They’ve put in a $1.95 Billion offer for Newell brands which owns Lenox, Hilmor, Dymo and Irwin tools.

As a result of this bid it’s sent Stanley Black and Decker’s share prices through the roof.  But what does this mean to you? And what does this mean to the tools in your tool box?  Will they be the same?  Will they be as good?  Will the tool lines be streamlined?  All good questions.

If we take Stanley as an example.  When Black and Decker purchased Stanley, they were a world renouned brand and extremely popular; a popularity well earned from years of producing high quality tools.  Unfortunately for some, the new company formed streamlined Stanley’s range.  Getting rid of less used and more expensive items; including their Yankee driver range, various artisan files, planes, rules, and tapes.  Many would say this is updating the company, and is progress to fit a fast passed and innovative industry.   Most of the new stanley range of products is built to the same high standard, and is still very popular.  With the influx of more in the way of power tools, many would say that Stanley is indeed on the front edge of innovation and is keeping the company current and viable.

Personally, I think Stanley products are still excellent and ever evoloving.  If they’re not popular with the customers, why make them?  So I believe that Irwin, Lenox, Hilmor and Dymo are in good hands with Stanley Black and Decker.  They may get streamlined, but hopefully they’ll be around with their most popular products for another 100 years.

If and when the deal goes through, we shall see what happens with both Stanley and Irwin.

Rodcraft. Who are they?

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To Lang’s surprise, many people who buy tools don’t actually know who Rodcraft are.  Well, I suppose this isn’t SO surprising as they are mainly European with only one main supplier (F G Langs!) who sell their goods in the UK.

So, as an attempt to help people with just who Rodcraft are, we’ve decided to write this post to explain and to help you discover them if you’ve never heard of them.  If you have heard of them, we hope to be informative to how large a range of equipment they produce.

So firstly…..

What do Rodcraft do?  Well this is what Rodcraft say on their website.

 

Since 1974, the Rodcraft brand stands for high-quality products and services. Founded in Germany, Rodcraft has grown steadily to become one of the world’s leading brands of pneumatic tools and workshop equipment dedicated to the vehicle service and industrial maintenance applications.

Through constant investment in research and development, the Rodcraft products feature many patented designs such as our composite sander series and latest impact wrenches.

With a strong European-based distribution channel, and local sales offices around the world, Rodcraft covers over 80 countries on a daily basis. We are close to our clients and able to provide fast service and support.

To ensure and guarantee long-life performance, many strict testing and quality inspections are conducted through the tool and equipment design, production and assembly stages.

When buying a Rodcraft product, you can be sure you are choosing quality and performance and getting one of the best designs available on the market today.

 

So now you know the background.  Rodcraft have been around for 40 years, and in a very competitive European market place.  They have only just begun to touch the UK marketplace.

What range of products do Rodcraft produce?

 

rc4105rc2530

 

 

 

From small 1/4inch capacity air drills RC4105 to massive 1 1/2 inch drive impact air wrenches RC2530; Die grinders, angle grinders, percussion tools, sanders, screwdrivers, drills, impact drivers, impact wrenches, impact sockets, jacks, lights and other accessories and workshop equipment.

 

 

 

 

In Germany Rodcraft is synonymous with Desoutter and Chicago Pneumatic, known for their well built and presicion made products.  Their most popular product being the 1/2 inch drive RC2277 The Beast; boasting 1250 Nm maximum real torque in reverse,  Aluminum alloy clutch housing, Twin hammer mechanism, Full teasing trigger, NEW power setting system : 1 hand-operation, 1 position in reverse & 3 positions in forward and 360° swivel air inlet! Making it a must product for any car, bike or truck servicing center or garage when it’s so well priced @ £267.94 plus VAT (-30% discount from Langs.) £187.56 plus VAT!

 

So if you didn’t know who Rodcraft were, you may be surprised at how big their range is and what may interest you from their products.  Take a look at Rodcraft’s website for more information http://www.rodcraft.com Or http://www.langsindustrial.com for UK prices and availability.

Urgent appeal. Cat found in Dagenham.

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

Normally I wouldn’t post on here for personal appeals, but I think this is worthwhile.  Let me repost what has happened.

From Louise Fuller

Still haven’t found owner 😢😢😢

1.6 k shares so far!!

Please keep sharing! If owner isn’t found she will be going to a loving new home! Just wanted to give the owners a chance to come forward!

 

 

Louise Fuller

Found this cat tonight scared and in the middle of the road outside Favourite Chicken Shop Becontree DAGENHAM.. took her vets and isn’t chipped, she has also recently had a major operation so she isn’t a stray. Need to find the owner!! PLEASE SHARE!!! Inbox me if you are the owner please!

So if anyone can help with finding this cats home please contact Louise Fuller on the facebook link above.

Thank you for your assistance from all at F G Langs Ltd.

DeWalt FlexVolt; Gimmick or break-through innovation?

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Continuing on from our previous post “Batteries: Past, Present and Future”.  We see from the news that DeWalt has finally put a Duel voltage battery 18v/54v and various tools on the market as of Autumn 2016.  And later on 60V and 120V.  Is this only a gimmick?  A chance for DeWalt and other power tool companies (who follow suit) to cash in with the newest “must have” but may not be the innovation it claims to be?

DeWalt have been creating power tools for a long time; it’s mother company Black and Decker have been synonymous with tools for over 100, finally merging with Stanley tools in 2010 to become the biggest tool company in the world.  So they have the backing and development ability to make this new product state of the art.  But is it?  Cynically speaking, is this really that much of an innovation and what does it provide for its users, how much does it cost and is it really worth buying, or will there be another “better” product just around the corner?  To answer all these questions we will have to look at the nature of the power tool industry and remember the underlying truths about these companies;

1 . they are in business to make money!  However, sales are dependent on the quality of the product they’re selling.  Too expensive and it will fail, even if it’s a excellent product.

2. built in obsolescence! Yes, the company will give you a guarantee but only on the tool, not on the battery!  They build products to last for 2 years (some 3 years), yes they may last longer, sometimes to the detriment of a company.  Meaning, there is a massive amount of money tied up in spares, accessories, maintenance, call out, repairs and so on.  Many companies get more incoming from this area; try building your powertool from scratch using just spares and you’ll find you’ve paid £500 for a £150 drill.

3. Every time a new technology is made, the company rarely makes the technology backward compatible. Does this make your previous set of tools obsolete too?

 

What are it’s selling points?

 

What DeWalt say about this technology:

Engineered a new type of battery…..Reinventing the way current flows….A revolutionary new technology….Unlike anything that has ever been seen before…..The transformation of raw power to supply a bigger force…..The power of Mains electricity in your hands….This is the dawn of a power revolution…..DeWalt XR flexvolt; the game just changed.

XR FLEXVOLT is a range of 54V power tools that offer runtime and performance which has never been seen before – for the first time, professionnal tradesmen can reliably undertake heavy-duty construction applications without the need for mains power.

This innovation means that you can have 54V power across a whole range of tools without the inconvenience of a cable. DEWALT XR FLEXVOLT is the only battery on the market that can switch from 54V to 18V, making it backward-compatible with your existing XR powertools.

 

What does this mean to you and me as customers?

 

So this answers my 3rd point regarding backward compatibility, so this could be a massive difference from other powertool upgrades with the news that you can use this battery in your current XR powertools.  Of course, you must have XR powertools for this to be of any use.  So you won’t need to get rid of every tool you have and buy a whole new range, just purchase the newer batteries and charger, to upgrade your present tool kit.

Having much more power than before 54Volt and being able to run it for up to twice as long as DeWalt’s previous batteries.

Being able to run larger saws, breakers, grinders and tools that cordless tools wouldn’t be used for.  It will help for running time of your tool, meaning you won’t be worried about the battery dying on you at the worst time possible.

Changing from 18v to 54v means you’ll be able to use the battery in DeWalt’s new range of tools in 2017 which will incorporate this and higher voltages.

The battery automatically changes voltage to the tool, so you won’t have to remember to it before each use of the battery.  You know you’d forget!  I know I would!

 

The verdict

 

Obviously we’ll have to see how reliable this new battery system is, but the base technology (Lithium Ion) is tried and tested.  If it is half a good as DeWalt are hyping, then it will be worth waiting for; much more power, much longer working, and much higher reliability.

Pricing…..The DCB546-XJ 6AH Battery has a list price of £234.21 plus VAT! (£281.05 inc VAT) So pretty pricey, when you look at the DCB182 4AH Battery has a list price of £224.54 (£269.45 inc VAT)  However, you can find the 18Volt 4Ah battery for around £100 commercially!  If this turns out to be the case for the similarly priced new flexvolt battery then yeah £130 would be well worth the cost.  An extra 2 hours of work for your extra £20-£40 investment.

 

So the bottom line….

 

As with all technology before it’s been proved, it’s going to be a risk.

However, DeWalt does have a proven record, with only a few glitches along the way.  Many people love DeWalt and will buy this product just because it’s yellow, black and got the DeWalt logo on the side.

Most others are interested in the tool build quality, its longevity, its reliablity, and to these people I say if these products are discounted resonably and are the products they’re claimed to be then they’ll be worth purchasing.

Alternatively, you may want to just purchase the battery and charger as a step into the latest technology of 54Volts which will be widely available and easy to upgrade into through 2017 and beyond.  So if it’s really as good as DeWalt say, then yes, it’ll be an awesome innovation to a more powerful new, more reliable set of power tools for the next 5 years.  It will also be a perfect way to upgrade your current powertool’s performance, even if they don’t buy the new powertools.

 

The first XR Flexvolt products we’ll see are: (all naked or with 2 batteries and a charger)

 


DCS777T2

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This full-size 216mm Mitre Saw is powered by a single XR FLEXVOLT battery but still offers the same power as an equivalent corded saw. In addition to an impressive capacity of 270 x 60mm, it also offers up to 140 cuts of 75 x 50mm pine on a single battery. A built-in XPS LED provides long term accuracy and clear cut line, even in bright sunlight. XR FLEXVOLT tools combine the flexibility and convenience of cordless with all the power and performance of the corded equivalent. Whatever your trade, XR FLEXVOLT will change the way you work.

Features and Benefits:

  • The classic saw design improved and updated for the modern cordless user
  • XPS shadow line cut indicator provides fast accurate alignment of the blade while illuminating the workpiece for increased productivity, no adjustment required
  • Improved dust extraction efficiency
  • The base and fence have been machined to meet the accuracy of the most demanding applications
  • Head lock functions allow the head to be fixed restricting the traverse function for trim applications and ease of transportation
  • Integrated positive mitre stops at 15 – 22.5 – 30 – 45 degrees, quick release mitre mechanism up to 50 degrees
  • Sliding left hand fence with measuring scale for improved material support and management
  • Compact internal rail design for huge cutting capacity in a highly transportable format

Technical Specification:

Voltage – 54
Blade speed – 6300rpm
Blade diameter – 216mm
Blade bore – 30mm
Bevel capacity – 48°
Mitre capacity left and right – 50 / 50°
Cutting capacity at 90 deg / 45 deg W x H – 173mm x 62mm
Cutting capacity at 90 deg / 90 deg W x H – 270mm x 62mm
Cutting capacity at 45 deg / 90 deg W x H – 189mm x 62mm
Max. cutting capacity at 45 deg/ 45 deg – 190 x 48mm
Max. depth of cut (saws) – 80mm
Weight – 14kg
Depth – 550mm
Length – 490mm

Supplied With:

TCT tooth saw blade
Blade spanner
Material clamp
2 x 54V FLEXVOLT batteries

List price – £1142.11 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)

List price – £713.16 plus VAT (naked)


DCS7485T2

DCS7485T2

 

A World’s first, the 54V XR FLEXVOLT Table Saw provides complete freedom of movement on a construction site. Key features include a 610mm rip capacity, 65mm depth of cut, and outstanding runtime. The product applications include fitting solid wood flooring, general sizing of panels, concrete form work, sizing timber for joinery, fitting out decks and much more. On a single battery, it can saw up to 50 metres of 18mm OSB. XR FLEXVOLT tools combine the flexibility and convenience of cordless with all the power and performance of the corded equivalent. Whatever your trade, XR FLEXVOLT will change the way you work.

Features and Benefits:

  • 22kg weight and optimised footprint make this the most portable table saw in its class
  • Steel roll cage protects saw against drops and jobsite knocks
  • Rack and pinion fence system, front and rear fence lock and large clear scales combine to give an extremely accurate and easy to use saw
  • Powerful 54V motor for high performance in all applications
  • Fence system provides 610mm of rip capacity in a portable design for cutting large sheet material to size
  • Cast table top design to ensure accuracy and precision
  • Overload protection system ensures powerful

Technical Specification:

Blade speed – 5800rpm
Blade diameter – 210mm
Blade bore – 30mm
Bevel capacity – -3 to 48°
Max ripping capacity right – 610mm
Max ripping capacity left – 318mm
Max. depth of cut at 90 deg – 65mm
Max. depth of cut at 45 deg – 45mm
Table size – 485 x 485mm
Depth – 605mm
Length – 605mm
Height – 330mm
Sound power – 100 dBA
Sound power uncertainty – 3
Weight – 22kg

Supplied With:

2 x XR Flexvolt 54V 6.0Ah batteries
DCB118 fast charger
Soft carry bag
24 tooth series 30 saw blade
Mitre fence
2 blade spanners
Parallel fence
Dust port reducer
Push stick

List price – £1428.95 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)

List price – £989.47 plus VAT (naked)


DCG414T2

 

DCG414T2

The Dewalt DCG414 is a powerful XR Lithium-ion premium angle grinder fitted with a powerful, maintenance free brushless motor for maximum power and durability. Powered by the 18/54V XR FLEXVOLT battery. This cordless, heavy duty construction angle grinder has all the accuracy, capacity and power of corded with the freedom of cordless.

Features and Benefits:

  • 54V Brushless motor enables improved performance in demanding applications
  • Electronic Brake stops the wheel quickly when the trigger is disengaged
  • Electronic Clutch reduces the kickback reaction in the event of a pinch or stall
  • Rubber overmold provides enhanced grip and comfort
  • Recessed spindle lock design allows max depth of cut and greater protection to button when using in confined spaces
  • Two position side handle offers greater comfort and control

Technical Specification:

Power Input – 1 Watts
No Load Speed – 7000 rpm
Max. Disc Diameter – 125 mm
Spindle Thread – M14
Weight – 2.2 kg
Length – 400 mm
Height – 125 mm
Hand/Arm Vibration – Grinding – 5.9 m/s²

Supplied With:

2 position side handle
Keyless protective guard
Blade Wrench
Multi-voltage charger
2 x 54V XR Flexvolt Li-Ion battery packs with state of charge indicator

List price – £831.58 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)

List price – £389.47 plus VAT (naked)


 

DCS575T2

DEW-DCS575T2-GB-2

The Dewalt DCS575 is a powerful XR Lithium-ion premium circular saw fitted with a high torque motor for maximum power on the job site. Powered by the 18/54V XR FLEXVOLT battery. This cordless, heavy duty construction circular saw has all the accuracy, capacity and power of corded with the freedom of cordless.

Features and Benefits:

  • Scale for precise cutting depth setting to 67 mm
  • General purpose ripping, cross-cutting and bevelling circular saw for wood and other construction materials
  • High torque motor for durability and power for cutting job site and joinery materials
  • Stable block construction for low vibration running and long service life
  • Additional handle for safe two-handed work
  • Variable adjustment of the bevel angle to 57 degrees

Technical Specification:

No Load Speed – 5800 rpm
Blade Diameter – 190 mm
Blade Bore – 30 mm
Bevel Capacity – 57 °
Max. Depth of Cut at 90º – 67 mm
Max. Depth of Cut at 45º – 49 mm
Weight – 4.0 kg

Supplied With:

Precision 24 tooth saw blade
Rip Fence
Blade Spanner
Dust Extraction Spout
T-STAK
2x 54v XR FlexVolt Batteries

List price – £831.58 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)

List price – £389.47 plus VAT (naked)


 

DCS397T2

DCS397T2

The Dewalt DCS397 is a powerful XR Lithium-ion premium alligator saw fitted with a powerful, maintenance free brushless motor for maximum power and durability. Powered by the 18/54V XR FLEXVOLT battery. This cordless, heavy duty construction alligator saw has all the accuracy, capacity and power of corded with the freedom of cordless.

Features and Benefits:

  • New 54V FLEXVOLT Li-Ion saw enables corded performance from a cordless tool.
  • Ideal for cutting Class 12 clay block (Poroton).
  • Durable high power Brushless motor for the toughest applications.
  • Two long life and durable saw blades running in opposite directions so the material will not move while cutting.
  • Dust sealed gearcase and bearings for increased durability.
  • Aluminium gearcase housing for lower weight and excellent durability.

Technical Specification:

Battery chemistry – Li-Ion
Voltage – 54 V
No Load Stroke Rate – 2400 spm
Stroke Length – 40 mm
Blade Length – 43.0 cm

Supplied With:

TCT Class12, set of blades
Hex key
2 x 54V FLEXVOLT batteries
1 x Battery Charger

List price – £1073.68 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)

List price – £673.68 plus VAT (naked)


 

DCS388T2

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The Dewalt DCS388 is a powerful XR Lithium-ion premium reciprocating saw, an efficient cordless solution for wood and metal installation trimming and demolition cutting applications. Powered by the 18/54V XR FLEXVOLT battery. This cordless, heavy duty construction reciprocating saw has all the accuracy, capacity and power of corded with the freedom of cordless.

Features and Benefits:

  • Lever action keyless blade clamp for quick and easy blade changes
  • Intelligent variable speed trigger, lock off switch and electronic motor brake for quick controlled cuts and enhanced work safety
  • Two position blade clamp allows for flush cutting and increased versatility
  • Pivoting adjustable shoe with open top for high stability and blade visibility during a cut
  • Improved ergonomic design

Technical Specification:

No load stroke rate – 0-3000spm
Stroke rate – 28.6mm
Max. cutting capacity wood – 300mm
Max. cutting capacity steel sections and pipe – 130mm
Max. cutting capacity PVC – 160mm
Weight – 3.6kg
Hand Arm Vibration cutting wood – 12 m/s 2
Uncertainty K 1 Vibration – 2.3 m/s 2
Sound Pressure – 86dB(A)
Sound Pressure Uncertainty – 3dB(A)
Sound Power – 97dB(A)
Sound Power Uncertainty – 3

Supplied With:

DCS388 – 54v XR FLEXVOLT Reciprocating Saw
2 x XR FLEXVOLT 54V 6.0Ah battery packs with state of charge indicator
Fast charger
Heavy duty kit box

List price – £831.58 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)

List price – £389.47 plus VAT (naked)


 

All these products will be available in Autum this year!  So if you’re off to trade shows this year you’ll see them being demonstated.

Buy your new XR Flexvolt from F G Langs (Grays) Ltd, phone us today!

Take a look at this new battery and tools for yourself – http://www.dewalt.co.uk/

Power tool batteries: Past, Present and Future!

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The different types of battery, what they’re used for and how they work.

Basic battery science and history.

There are actually quite a few battery types in the world and they work in much the same way. They’re in two parts; a cathode (positive pole), an anode (negative pole), with an energised liquid (an electrolyte, usually an acid) floating around both poles. When the circuit is activated the energised liquid wants to get rid of its charges, this creates a current of electrons from negative to positive, creating electricity from the positive electrode.

The most basic form of this was discovered by Alessandro Volta; which is where the word Volts is derived from. Volta experimented using sulphuric acid, copper and zinc to create the first batteries. This developed over time.

The first mass produced commercial batteries (which are still used today) were Lead acid batteries, developed by Gaston Planté consisting of a Lead anode, a Lead Dioxide Cathode and sulphuric acid as the electrolyte. The good thing about this type of battery was that it could be charged quickly and could be recharged after its energy was depleted.

Around 1900 the first alkaline battery (NiCad – Nickel Cadmium) was created by Waldemar Jungner another battery still used today. It was commercialised in 1910 and is still used today to power tools and household batteries today.

In the late 1980’s the first Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries were produced as a substitude for the NiCad battery. These newer batteries had a greater charge and lasted longer than the older NiCad battery, they were also not as toxic to the environment. Used for much smaller components, computers and electronics.

The newest innovations in batteries are Lithium, Lithium Ion and finally in the late 1990’s the Lithium polymer battery (Used in today’s mobile phones.)

So how does this help with your battery?

Well, lets take them in order, of discovery and the drawbacks of each.

The Lead acid battery.

This battery is generally pretty heavy, and can be dangerous is overcharged or charged wrongly, boiling the electrolyte! The charge held is much less than other newer, more developed batteries like the NiCad. But it can be recharged to it’s former charge levels, however will dissipate from the solution over time. It’s a reliable performer, especially in it’s newer gel form.

The NiCad battery.

The greatest factor controlling this battery’s life-span is heat. If you purchase a new drill with a NiCad battery you will have lots of uses out of it. However, you will discover that if you recharge the battery while it’s hot, the battery won’t charge as effectively. This will become a cycle of reduced effectiveness over time. This can be described as “battery memory effect”; the battery doesn’t charge to the capacity at factory and gradually reduces over time. This effect is also induced of overcharging the battery!

Sometimes the battery can be “restored” by the use of a diagnostic charger, a deep charge then discharge cycle or by being put into a freezer and then charged.

The NiMH battery.

Sudden drop off of power rather than a slow drop off with NiCad. Temperature can not be subzero else the battery can be damaged. However, this battery is very good for discharging high amounts of energy if needed over a long period of time.

The Lithium, Lithium Ion and Lithium Polymer batteries.

The biggest pro for this battery is its capacity, up to 50% higher than the NiCad battery of equal size. It can be recharged at any point in it’s battery capacity without any adverse effects. However because of the battery’s internal resistance it can not deliver a high yeald of energy quickly in the same way NiCad and NiMH batteries can.

Other good points are the Lithium polymer battery can be moulded and is very versatile with it’s size delivering constant charge throughout its life.

The future…And what’s likely to be powering your drill within the next 20 years.

Graphene Batteries…

Yes, a form of graphite made of honeycomb sheets is at the center of this battery. It’s in development and could mean a revolution is battery efficiency, size and durability. This means future batteries could be miniturised to nano proportions. Companies are already looking into using graphene for electric car batteries, giving them a 500 – 600 mile range before needing to recharged.

Foam Batteries….

Yep, foam. You read that right. Using a copper foam substructure a company called Prieto has develped a battery that is much more durable, has a higher capacity and is much smaller than anything before it.

Alfa Batteries….

This battery has 40 times the capacity of a similarly sized Lithium Ion battery! Using Aluminium, air and water! Believe it or not, these batteries will be released in 2016 for commercial use. So could be running your mobile phone within the next 5 years if developers get their hands on it and developing the battery.

So watch this space!