Choosing the best cordless nail gun

Monday, March 11, 2019
Have you ever seen the Netflix show 'Nailed It'?

It's a cooking show where 'young gun' contestants try their hand at making their best versions of professionally made cakes and candies.

They usually completely suck it's usually a case of 'failed it' than nailed it.

And when you're putting up power frames, making fences and nailing wood into place, a quality nail gun will ensure you don't end up looking like a wannabe chef with egg on their face on some Netflix show.

It doesn't matter if you are a seasoned builder making a fence or a weekend 'DIY' warrior doing woodworking or a pallet project, a good nail gun will serve you well.

But what kind of nail gun to use?


There's plenty of brands out there and they all have ranges of quality but the when choosing a cordless nail gun, it comes done to the job you need it to do and how you are going to go about it.

But if you are in a hurry, here are our three recommendations:

Dewalt DCN692B 20V Max XR Brushless Dual Speed Nailer


The Dewalt Brushless 2 Speed Nailer uses the power of a brushless motor to drive in nails anywhere from 2 inches to 3-1/2 inches long. 

With two operating modes, you can use your tool in sequential mode, for precision in placement, or bump mode, which provides speed for finishing quickly, which can be pretty handy when you have a day's work to get through. 

The dual speed option on this cordless nailer also allows for the use of different nail lengths which is handy when different projects have different needs. 

For user safety, there is a trigger lock to disable the trigger when the tool is not in use. 

The top cap of this Dewalt nailer is impact resistant, for your peace of mind, and removable, for easy machine troubleshooting. The nose cap is similarly easy to access to remove jammed nails safely and simply. 

This unit weighs 7.7 pounds so is a heavy duty tool that will be fine to use on tough job sites. 
  • Brushless Motor and engine design provides the power to drive 3-1/2" nails
  • Sequential or bump operating modes
  • Dual Speed optimizes the motor for different nail lengths
  • Accepts 30-34 degree paper tape nails, clipped and offset round head
  • Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts. Nominal voltage is 18.

Here are some honest reviews from actual users of the Dewalt nail gun, where they have used it out in the wild.

"All in all, this is a very solid unit, and more than capable of DIY use, and I suspect it would be good for construction also. I’ve got the 6 AH battery loaded and haven’t recharged it yet, and am about 2 weeks into using it. It is MUCH more convenient than having to lug the compressor upstairs and deal with the hose, and waiting for the compressor to recharge. It is a tad heavy when working over your head though.

All in all, I find this to be a very solid unit, that is more than capable of delivering on its promises. At the risk of sounding like a DeWalt fanboy...I HIGHLY recommend this nail gun."

"This nail gun is extremely picky about what nails you use. Paslode, and Bostitch work the best, I sink every nail perfectly with thosenail, grip right nails, on the other hand, don't shot worth a darn.

This nail gun has a learning curve like most tools, take some time to learn what your gun likes and dislikes. However you have to remember this is a cordless framing nailer not pneumatic, it shoots quick for what it is.

It has served me very well when I don't feel like dragging out the airlines and fire up the ole air compressor. For the most part, come to think of it I haven't used my pneumatic nail gun since I got this nail gun."


Paslode 905600 Cordless XP Framing Nailer

The  Paslode cordless framing nailer system is designed to deliver 15% more power to increase productivity.

Less standing nails and better drive performance into harder woods means you can put your hammer away and let this cordless nailer do it all.  Designed with an 'all season formula' that lets you keep working in temperatures down to 14⁰ Fahrenheit when compressor hoses are probably freezing.
paslode nail driver
Paslode Framing Nailer specifications:

  • Drives nails flush, even in Laminated veneer lumber and hard woods.
  • Ready to work when you are. Works in All-Seasons down to 14° fareinheit.
  • It's a lightweight unit at 7.2lbs which allows for comfort and control while working overhead or in tight spaces.
  • Shoots 2-3 nails per second at a consistent rate
  • Limited downtime. Paslode provides non-stop nailing with fuel that will last a full day.
Here are reviews from users who have brought this unit from Amazon and put it through its paces.

"I wanted a nail gun for years but waited because of the price. I'm glad I did. This was not only the best price ANYWHERE I could find on the entire internet but this gun does what it is supposed to do, drive nails without problems and that is what it does.

Fits ergonomically in my hands with no cramping during usage. The balance on this gun/drive is awesome. Its new design with the depth setter without tools is great. Battery keeps a long charge but is a little difficult to pull out of the gun. I can live with that.

There are so many pluses with this nail gun. I did months of research and tens of hours on the internet before I purchased this gun and before I purchased it here. Do your self a favor and just buy it here!"

"Love this thing! Wow, if you, like me, are concerned about this thing having enough power to drive 16's, don't be! This thing drives the living sh_t out of nails. You need to back it off a bit actually! Ex-contractor here so I get it. This thing is nice. Been through about 5,000 nails into mostly douglas fir and some hardwood (with a mix of 8's and 16,s) and NO jams but plenty of misfires.

Not sure what that's about but it does misfire once in a while. Runs on fuel and battery. Battery for spark and cooling fan I guess. Claims are 1,000 nails per fuel cell. I'm not getting anywhere near that (maybe 500-600) but I'm OK with it because this thing is so dang convenient! I charge the battery every day or two since most of the power comes from the fuel. I saw somewhere that you can get 9,000 nails per battery charge which, if true, would require around 15 fuel canisters."

Makita TP03Z 12V Max CXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Pin Nailer


The Makita 12V max CXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Pin Nailer is a hose-free solution for finish and trim work.

The TP03Z is compact and powerful and drives up to 1,250 pins on a single charge of a 12V CXT 2.0Ah battery (which is sold separately).

It will drive six different lengths of 23 gauge pins (5/8", 11/16”, ¾”, 1", 1-3/16", 1-3/8") with a magazine capacity of up to 120 pins.

The nailer sports an anti-dry fire mechanism engineered to prevent driving blanks, tool-less depth adjustment for precise flush and countersink finish and a contact trigger for improved accuracy and precision.

With Makita 12V max CXT Lithium-Ion slide-style batteries users get improved balance and ergonomics over pod-style batteries. 

For added convenience, the batteries include an on-board L.E.D. charge level indicator.


best makita cordless nail gun


  • Refined firing mechanism reduces recoil; reduces force required on the work surface when driving pins
  • Drives 6 different lengths of 23 gauge pins (5/8", 11/16", 3/4", 1", 1-3/16" and 1-3/8"); Magazine capacity up to 120 pins
  • Anti-dry Fire mechanism engineered to prevent driving blanks and damage to work surface
  • "Tool-less" depth adjustment for precise flush and Countersink finish
  • Cordless for increased convenience; eliminates the need for a compressor and air hose

Nail Gun user Safety tips:


Always remember, that like a chainsaw, nail guns and be pretty lethal objects if misused, even with the best of intentions.

Here are some user tips that will help you prevent getting a nail through a metacarpal or worse:


  1. The full sequential trigger model is the safest trigger mechanism for all jobs because it will only fire a nail when the controls are activated in a certain order.
  2.  Never ever, ever, attempt to bypass or disable your nail gun's safety features. They are there for a damn reason eh?
  3. Get some training before first using the tool. At the least properly read the manufacturer's user instructions. If you don't like to read, watch a  safety lesson video on Youtube.
  4. Check your target lumber for knots, nails, straps, hangers and the like that could cause recoil or ricochet before nailing
  5. Wear safety gear such as eye googles and gloves.
  6. If using a pneumatic, always disconnect the gun before performing maintenance and move to a safe work area.
  7. Do not carry the nail gun hugged close to your body in case of misfire. To that end, we feel we need to state the obvious, don't point your tool at anybody!
  8. Watch out for co-workers or other parties in your workspace.

Can I use vegetable oil for lubricating my chainsaw?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
vegetable oils for chainsaws

How do I use vegetable oil with a chainsaw?


In a world where manufacturer's make oil designed especially for use on a chainsaw's bar and chain, it could be a considered an odd question.

But, can you actually use vegetable oil as a substitute for chainsaw oil?

The short answer is you can but it's not without some pros and cons of which you should properly consider before adding some cooking oil into your chainsaw!

First up, let's consider why some woodmen and women may want to do this.

Is it a cost saver?

Is it better for the environment?

Does it make the chain cut better?

Regards the last question, we doubt this very much.

Let's discuss the environmental side of the equation. 


Standard chainsaw bar oils are derived from petroleum so each and every time you use your chainsaw, this product is being left in the environment. You know this because it comes off the chain attached to the sawdust. The continuous operation of the saw sees the bar being continuously oiled.

So the issue then is petroleum based oil products being deposited on to the land and cause an environmental risk.

The use of veggie oil, which is of course plant-based, poses no such risk to the environment and by using it you, your chainsaw saw is a lean mean, environmental friendly machine!

If you are storing your chainsaw for a time (say over winter when it's cold in the shed) then you should drain the vegetable oil from your unit's reservoir.

And what about cost savings?


Canola oil is, as a general rule of thumb, half the price of bar and chain oil so there are some real cost-saving incentives there.

Can vegetable oils work in cold conditions when using a chainsaw?


This is where petroleum-based oils win out over veggie oil every time. The cold-temperature properties and oxidation stability of vegetable oils mean that they will not perform as well as they do at warmer temperatures.

That said, there are now vegetable based chain oils that have additives to combat the cold.

I'm sold, BRB, just gonna grab some canola oil from the kitchen


Not so fast, you environmental hero.

Before you grab some oil from your kitchen or supermarket, you bear in mind that there are manufactured bar and chain oil products that are environmentally friendly and they will biodegrade when left on the earth.

These 'green oils' can be found at your local chainsaw store or on Amazon.

Brands like Stihl make their own such oils and state their products feature no loss of lubrication or adhesion when compared to traditional oils.

These green oils contain products which help the oil before like traditional oils.

The benefits of using vegetable oil on a chainsaw

  • Environmentally friendly as they are biodegradable
  • Cost effective and cheaper than standard oil
  • Can be quite 'sticky'
  • Easier to clean from clothes and equipment.
  • Users also experienced less skin irritation.
  • If using a saw to cut meat, then vegetable oil is the obvious choice so the meat tastes good (you can use sunflower, canola, palm oil etc). 
  • You won't breathe in carcinogens that you can get from petrol based oil

The disavantages of using vegetable oil on your cutter

  • Occasional chainsaw users may find the cooking oil will dry up and hold the chain like glue (if you use a specially formulated 'green oil' then you should not have this problem.
  • Kitchen oils are not necessarily designed for use on a chainsaw in the long term which could cause maintenance issues, so we'd recommend the use of a vege oil designed for your chain.

The best lawn mower covers that are waterpoof

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
best push lawnmower cover

Choosing the best cover for your lawnmower


If you don't have a nice and dry place to store your lawn mower or you want to store your mower for the long term, a waterpoof cover will help keep the mower free of dust and rust.

It doesn't matter if you have a push or sit on mower, both kinds of machinery can succumb to the elements if not stored under some form of cover properly so it's really important to get some heavy duty cover care.

Have you ever had to replace a spark plug in a mower because it rusted out? Chances are poor storage was in part to blame as it was exposed to moisture.

It also doesn't matter if your grass cutter is a gas or electric powered, both kinds of engines need protection from the elements.

What to look for in a lawn mower cover?

  • Needs to be waterproof to keep moisture off the engine
  • It should be made of heavy-duty, tear-resistant material
  • Easy to take on and off
  • Is a universal fit
  • It is resistant to mold building up
  • Will block UV light radiation

Our recommended product is the ToughCover Premium Waterproof Lawn Mower Cover - it meets our criteria and is good value for money:
The ToughCover features a drawstring around the base to help keep everything snug and will help keep it attached should it be subject to windy conditions if stored outside.

If you are planning to store the lawn mower outside, it clearly needs to be resistant to all kinds of weather conditions - water is the obvious one but it's got to be able to keep the wind out as the wind will place dust and dirt on it. In some parts of the country snow is a problem and so the cover needs to be able to keep that out too - especially when the snow melts!

The WeatherPRO is a slightly cheaper cover:


WeatherPRO decree their cover is made with 100% Marine-Grade advanced Polyester material with special co-polymer additives which assures it offers UV protection and water repellency.

A user left a review on Amazon:

"Very nice cover. I had been using a much more flimsy style cover from another source. Seemed like that particular cover would never last more than a few months in the elements, so I searched Amazon and gave this one a try for a change. This one has been on my mover for a few weeks now, and it does a great job covering pretty much the entire lawn mower. Much more coverage than my old cover did.

It also holds up in bad weather much better than any I've had.

We've had several bad thunderstorms, with the covered lawnmower out in the open, and this cover takes torrential rain and heavy wind like a champ. Lawn mower bone dry under the cover even after the bad storms. Amazed by how nice this cover is for the price. Awesome product"

If that spins your wheels, check out the price on Amazon:
Briggs and Stratton and Husqvarna all make covers but remember, you can simply buy generic, one size fits all options at a cheaper price if you want!

What's the best cover for a ride on lawn mower?


Ride on lawn mowers naturally benefit from covers, especially if you don't have a shed or shelter. As as the weather, ride on covers protect against pollen, bird shit and debris such as pine needles.

All the big brands such as John Deere make them, and so we're featuring Deere's product:

best ride on lawn mower cover
  • Dual vents let air circulate and help prevent ballooning in winds
  • Elastic shock cord in bottom hem for a quick, custom fit
  • Coated fabric for maximum water protection
  • Handy storage pocket reverses into an attractive storage case
  • Fits all 100 - X300 Series riding mowers.
This covers should fit most standard size ride on lawn mowers. If you need a bigger size, John Deere has it

If you are looking for a cover that's more economical, then we're heading back to Tough Cover for their handy product.

  • The Tough Cover is crafted with 600D marine grade fabric and features double-stitched seams for enhanced durability over its long lifetime.
  • The durable fabric cover is designed to suit most common-size lawn tractors with decks up to 54" and to ensure convenient application and maximum protection.
  •  Allows an effective coverage of the entire surface of your riding lawn mower and comes with a practical storage bag for your convenience.
Check out the price on Amazon:

Choosing the best ph strips for Kombucha

Monday, February 25, 2019
ph test strips for kombucha

Kombucha is the health drink of this generation.

It seems that everywhere you look, some punter is trying to sell you Kombucha.

Look at the supermarket shelves and they are full of cider, raspberry and lime flavored Kombucha drinks.

Craft brewed or factory made, you can guarantee that each batch was tested to the correct pH level before it was canned and shipped off to the health conscious.

But at three bucks a bottle in my supermarket, many drinkers are choosing to make their own Kombucha and part of getting it to taste right, you need to test the pH level, and for the average brewer, this means using pH test strips on a sample of Kombucha to ensure the level is just right.

You test the kombucha for two reasons, one to past the taste test and the second to ensure the level is sufficient enough to prevent any nasty microbes from taking the brew. A lower pH will also give the kombucha a chance to grow its own cells - which is exactly what you want for a healthy brew.

So, what are the best pH indicator strips for testing your homemade Kombucha?

You want to use any food grade pH strips you can get your hands on. This ensures there's no chance of spoiling your batch (if you are testing directly) but even then, we'd recommend you always isolate a small sample for pH testing.

A popular pH test indicator kit made for Kombucha is the Kombucha Chemistry range:
Featuring 100 pieces, the Kombucha Chemistry strips are ready to use straight out of the box.

✅ No tricky scraps of test paper to cut to length or tear-off
✅ No finger or bench staining to worry about
✅ Just test your batch and place the used strip in the waste

If you want to know a cool trick on how to double the number of strips, simply cut one down the middle with a pair of sharp scissors and you suddenly have two strips!

Great if you intend on making many batches! But frankly, 100 strips is probably enough to last most brewers a couple of years if you are making a batch of kombucha a week!

Check out the price on Amazon:

How to use Ph strips for testing Kombucha


It’s important to test the pH level of your kombucha both at the start and end of the 1st ferment

Testing before ensures that it will be free of harmful microbes. So aim for the starting pH of your kombucha first fermentation to be 4.5 or below.

After fermentation is complete, the target pH level for your kombucha is between 2.5-3.5 - this means your brew ready to bottle or drink.

So take a small sample from your batch and place it in a clean container - such as a washed shot glass. Add you strip and note which color it changes to. Compare this color with the guide that comes with your strips to determine what the level is. The closest matching color is the approximate level.

How to choose the best safety gloves for chainsaws

safety gloves chainsaw

Any chainsaw operator will know that they can be bloody dangerous machines to use and it can literally be life and limb when things go wrong.

This is why proper use of safety equipment such as chaps and helmets is so important.

Did you know though, un-gloved hands are one of the most likely parts of the body that get cut by chainsaws?

Especially the left!

This is due to the way chainsaws are held.

And that is why safety gloves are crucial when sawing.

Quick recommendation: If you want the best gloves to protect your fingers, then Husqvarna protection gloves are an ideal safety product.

You can find horror stories about fingers and hands being cut off on every corner of the internet. This former police officer cut his fingers and then hand to have them surgically removed.

Apparently, a chainsaw accident will involve, on average, 110 stitches.

Legendary golfer Greg Norman nearly cut an artery in his wrist.

Accidents can happen to the best of them and they can happen to you.

What to look for when choosing safety gloves


The best gloves for using a chainsaw will feature two layers.

The outmost layer exists to protect the inner layer until it needs to come into play. The outer layer will protect against trivial damage but is not designed to protect against a charging chain.

The inner layer of the glove is the most important. Like a good pair of safety chaps, the inner layer will be comprised of long loose fibers such as nylon or Kevlar (yes, like the bulletproof vests). These fibers are drawn out from the glove and quickly get caught in the chainsaw's sprocket. This causes the machine to lock and halts the chain.

So when choosing which glove to use, those with these fibers are the best and will go along way to reducing or preventing harm than an ordinary pair of gardening gloves!

You should also consider if the gloves meet a recognized safety standard. Many responsible manufactures ensure their gloves meet the requirements of EN 381:1999 which is specifically for protective gloves.

You'll also want gloves that offer enough flexibility for you to properly hold and operate the saw itself.

So here are some cut resistance glove recommendations to help you keep your fingers where you like them.

Husqvarna's Protection Gloves

You know this brand.

You know what it stands for.

Husqvarna is a tried, true and trusted brand when it comes to chainsaws. Their safety gloves have the same level of quality that should give all users the confidence to use them.

Husqvarna's gloves feature cut resistance in the left-hand glove which is industry standard for those serious about chainsaw safety.

Both gloves feature a spandex fabric back, goatskin palm, high visibility colors.

Here's a review left on Amazon from an actual user of the gloves:

"The fit is comfortable and as the old saying goes "they fit like a glove". The materials allow your hands the flexibility and comfort needed to operate a chainsaw for a number of hours. The grip is excellent and the padding on top to protect your hands does not interfere with maneuverability or functionality. Hopefully, I won't have to find out how they are at protecting me from a chain kickback.

While I infrequently do this type of work I can see these gloves lasting for a long time. I compared these gloves to other makes in the local hardware store and for the price and comfort I believe I got a good deal and with great quality."

Endura Hi-Viz Vibration-Dampening chainsaw gloves


You'll find Endura's cut resistant gloves are amongst the most popular and widely recommend safety gloves.endura safety gloves for chainsaws

Why would this be?

They are comfortable and dexterous meaning that you can ably use the chainsaw for many hours. Crucially, the left hand (remember most accidents happen on this hand due to the way the chainsaws are held) features woven Kevlar to stop a chainsaw.

The leather palms are abrasion resistant. The nylon backings are water resistant and the gloves themselves will keep your hands free of debris thanks to the elastic wrists.

The reviews from users on Amazon show these Endura gloves do the business:

"I use a chainsaw a lot and finally got gloves that offer more protection than the run-of-the-mill work gloves. I have used them several times and like them. They fit well and seem to be well-made as far as both material and workmanship. They are comfortable to wear and I have no problems with grip. Another season of cutting should give them a test of durability, but at this point, I am happy with my purchase."

"These gloves go on easy and fit snug while using them I hardly felt them on. Non-restrictive, very comfortable, of course, have not fully tested them as in getting cut by chainsaw blade, but they feel very thick, better than most gloves I have used."

Youngston gloves for chainsawing

youngstown glove utility

Youngstown's utility gloves feature Kevlar fibers throughout the whole glove to offer all round protection from cuts and digital calamity. 

Youngston Glove Company states in their marketing that the outer glove features "non-slip reinforcement on the palm, fingers and thumb for lasting grip and durability".

You better believe it as the gloves meet the ANSI safety standard of ANSI Cut Level 3 and ANSI Puncture Level 4.

Never mistake wearing gloves as being cut proof 


As with all chainsaw safety equipment, gloves are designed to reduce the effects of a chainsaw chain to the hand.

cut resistant utility glove
Youngston's cut resistant utility glove
You could still get cut wearing them as it all depends on the scenario of the cut incident.

They could, however, mean the difference between losing some fingers or simply receiving stitches for your trouble.

Extra benefits of wearing protective gloves


Gloves will, of course, help protect your skin from abrasions and small nicks and cuts when coming into contact with branches, thorns, brambles and the like.

You should also wear your gloves when tensioning the chain to prevent cutting yourself!

How to order the correct size gloves


Your cut resistant gloves won't help your fingers much if they are the wrong size.

A well-made pair of gloves can slide off your hands if they are too big for you. Spending some time checking that the gloves will fit and allow you to do your intended work is obviously really important. Check the size carefully and measure your hand against the stated sizes. Many manufacturers offer size quides on their websites. 

The four basic rules of chainsaw chain maintenance

Sunday, February 17, 2019
how to care for a stihl chain

Your chainsaw's chain is vital to a successful cut.

Obvious right?

Just like the barber's blade is a well-honed instrument, your chainsaw blade needs to be given the same love and attention so that stays sharp and cuts the wood just right.

In effect, the chain is the most vital and important part of the saw. It's also the part that needs the most maintenance - the beauty of this though is any user with a little bit of know-how can maintain the chain really well.

A dangerously undermined chain can increase the risks of a safety incident - incorrect sharpening angles, incorrect depth of gauge setting, a poorly tensioned chain and of course a dull and blunt chain can all cause real issues for the operator.

The Four Basic rules of chainsaw chain maintenance


There are four simple rules that will ensure that your chainsaw chain performs up to spec.

The operator should keep the chain:

  1. Properly oiled; 
  2. Correctly tensioned correctly; 
  3. Sharp, cutter angles correctly made; and 
  4. The depth gauge height to consistent and correct. 

Let's work through these now.

A chainsaw chain needs to be properly oiled

The chainsaws guide bar and chain are designed to be constantly supplied with oil. It's just how they work. If they did not get oil, the parts would overheat and seize and not cut properly. They would also suffer friction deterioration.

One should then regularly check that the chain oiling system is supplying oil. We recommend you use oil designed for chains and chain bars - not waste oil from other engines. Chainsaw oils are designed to stick to the chain, whereas used car part oil has no such properties and is probably filled with impurities and metal that could damage your gear.

chain maintenance tips

A correctly tensioned chain is a safe chain

At best, a loose chain is not cutting properly and at worst, it is likely to fly off the chain bar - causing you to lose time putting it back on and also run the risk of injury to hands or legs (unless you are wearing safety gloves or chaps!)

A loose chain also increases the potential chance of a kick back from happening. And no one wants a kickback blade to the face. 

An incorrectly tensioned chain will also place more pressure on the sprocket, causing it to wear.

A properly tensioned chain is one that has been adjusted to that it is touching the whole way around the guide bar. It should feel like a snug fit but still be easily pulled forwards from the chainsaw body towards the guide bar tip.

Some tension tips:

  • Tension the chain prior to each session. Tension the chain often, or at each occasion of refueling.
  • Never tension your chain right after cutting wood.
  • A chain tensioned while hot can cool and then shrink, causing tension to be too tight which will break shit.
  • Let the chain cool first before doing anything.
  • It's a smart idea to wear protective gloves, especially if you have diligently sharpened your chain or it's a brand new chain - those things are factory sharp!

Here's a handy video which demonstrates how to correctly tension the saw:


A sharp cutter makes a sharp cut

It just seems so sensible to ensure that your chains cutters are well maintained - damage free and sharp.

The basic rule is that you sharpen inline with the manufacturer's recommendations for your chain.

At the most basic level, you simply need a round file with a handle and also file guide to sharpen the chain.

Your goal when caring for your chain is for the cutters to be kept at an equal length and shape for the life of the chain.

It's best practice to use a file guide to ensure the file is held at the proper depth and angle.

Here's our guide to sharpening a chain. The basic method is to file from the inside out with firm and smooth strokes of the file. This should be done in conjunction with a file guide to maintaining the correct angle.

Complete one side of the chain and then swap over. If they are damaged, file and repaired as necessary. If you have had to make a replacement cutter then you need to ensure the cutter is the same length as the rest of the chain else it will lead to a less efficient cutting rate.

Check out this video tutorial which shows how to sharpen the chain:


The correct depth gauge setting 


This is a part of chain maintenance that is easy to overlook or ignore but as always, doing it right will mean a good and safe cut.

The depth gauge controls the thickness of the chip the cutter will remove from your wood target.

The basic tools required for this task are a flat file and the correct depth gauge tool as recommended by the manufacturer of your device.

To ensure the correct gauge once places the depth gauge tool in position over the cutter.  The excess is filed off from the inside of the cutter outwards.

It's good practice to check the depth gauges after 4 or 5 sharpenings.

Another really important component of chainsaw maintenance is ensuring you keep the chain and bar well oiled.

Review: Dewalt DCE511B Jobsite Fan

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


best work fan for job site - dewalt

The Dewalt job site fan is one of the most popular fans on the market today. 


A hard-working unit, this fan will run off the Dewalt battery system for hours, almost effortlessly - meaning it is a nice and quiet unit. 

Obviously, its rugged design means it works just as well outdoors and indoors and it can take the bolts and jolts that are the usual hazard on work sites

It's not so big that it can't be easily stored away when not in use and it on the pack of your ute or pick up with no worries. 

You can plug in the standard 120-volt cord or connect a Dewalt battery (20-volt maximum)  to it. As the reviews below show, you will get plenty of 'air time' with this Dewalt fan

Here's the specifications from Dewalt:

  • Corded or cordless use (the extension cord will need to be bought separately) 
  • Multiple hanging arrangement options - freestanding, hang hooks, and standard wall mount 
  • Variable speed control - wide-range so you control the speed you want; Airflow - 500 
  • Testing to IP54 standards - meaning it has 'ingress protection' from dust, dirt, splashes of water etc.
The unit has three blades which are 7 inches long and they will turn and turn all day to keep the air moving to keep you cool and to also help expunge unwanted smells such as smoke from soldering or other discharges. 

You can even use it to help dry painted walls, dry wall, and plaster mud.

worksite fan battery powered dewalt

But if you want to know if the Dewalt fan truly is worth your time and money, check out these reviews from actual users who have ponied up their cash on Amazon:

"Love this fan so far. The fan pivots back more than 90° as you may see from my picture. I was concerned the bigger flexvolt battery wouldn’t fit in it but it does with ease. I’m currently conducting a run till dead test to see how long it will run at high-speed with Dewalt’s strongest battery the flex volt 9.0 AH battery. Seems pretty well-made, however, I’m going to hang on to the box to carry it in just to protect it. I hope the DeWALT comes out with a carrying case for this. The hooks pull out from the base allowing you to hang the fan on the job site, which is a nice touch. As many have already posted you can plug it in but not while you have a battery in the battery socket. To use AC will need an extension cord with a female plug on one end just as the DeWALT power pack inverter uses."

"I am very Happy with this unit after day one. I placed a DCB203 20V Max 2.0AH Compact XR Li-Ion Battery Pack (Smallest they make) into the Fan, turned it on low at 10:45am. At 10:28 PM then unit is still running. On Low speed, you can not even hear the unit running. Will be running the unit on Medium speed this weekend, same battery."

So it will run all day. 

"This thing is made STRONG. This last week at the market I was pulling it down and it slipped. It fell from about 6ft and hit concrete. Didn't even scratch it. I'm not saying drop it on purpose but I thought for sure it would have been damaged if work at all. And it turned in and worked perfect! I love tho fan!

It's tough and durable. 

This is the 2nd fan I've bought. I love it! I use it for a weekly Farmers market tent. I hang it from the frame and it keep my customers cool while they shop. My original purchase was for the fan, battery set and charger. A full charge battery will run this fan on high from 8:30am-2:00pm and still have over half charge. It creates a nice breeze. Made 100* market days much more bearable. Highly recommend this little workhorse."

Does the business required. 

"I purchased this fan for the specific purpose of having some kind of cooling device available during a power outage. As such, I wanted to know exactly how much cooling time I would get from one battery. I'm using a 60-volt, 6.0 Ah "flex-volt" battery; however, my 20 volt, 4.0 Ah battery also (obviously) works. I turned on the variable speed fan to half speed; it's VERY quiet. The design of these batteries is such that they don't slowly wear down--instead, they just quit when the voltage drops too much--so, I suppose it could quit at any moment. But, after twelve hours, the fan is still going strong, and the battery still has 2 of its 3 charge level lights on (3 lights would be a full charge). I have to tell you, I am damned impressed! Well done, Dewalt!"

If that doesn't convince you, check out the unit on Amazon.

Dewalt not only make fans, drills and other tools - they make quality safety glasses!

Best 4-way Chuck Key for Drill Presses

Monday, February 11, 2019
multi size chuck key

Universal Chuck Key for Drill bits


What's worse than losing your car keys?

Not having a chuck key when you need to lock and unlock your drill. 

Chuck keys are brilliant little devices for securing hammer drills and all kinds of other drills. They also help with the quick change of drill bit heads. 

Drill locks do come in varying sizes do this 4-way Chuck Key for Drill Presses by Bastex is a handy tool to have in your kit, especially if you have all kinds of tools, presses and devices hanging out in your shed.

It has the following key sizes:
  • 1/4” (6mm)
  • 3/8” (10mm)
  • 1/2” (13mm)
  • 5/8” (16mm

If the universal key is not what you want, you might be interested in the thumb handle style of chuck key. These T-handle devices mean you can really get some could finger pressure to tighten the drill bit:


We personally think tools that need these kinds of devices should go the way of the dinosaurs and keyless drill chucks are the way to go! 

Each to their own though.

Remember, even if you have a Ryobi, Dewalt or a Makita drill, you do not need to buy the branded tool - most drills have universal parts so 'off brand' or OEM parts will work just fine. 

You can also buy holders that help prevent losing your key! We suggest you consider the rubber or magnetic kind. 

>> How to choose the best oil for your lawn mower

Sunday, February 3, 2019
adding oil to lawnmower

How to choose the best oil for your lawn mower


Just as you should regularly change the oil in your car or truck or chainsaw, the same should be done for your lawnmower.

If you want to have the best looking lawns in the street, you'll need your lawn mower to have a sharp blade and to be filled with the best oil so that while you are pushing the damn, thing, the engine operates well.

You could be tempted to think of your lawn mower tas being 'just a lawnmower' so any kind of auto oil will do but that could mean the difference between extending the life of your lawn mower or causing it to clog and become inoperable.

So if you want the 'good oil' on what to put in your grasscutter, read on.

What kind of oil do I need to use in my lawnmower?


The temperature of the climate in which you will operate the lawnmower will have an influence on your oil needs.

Lawnmower engine experts Briggs and Stratton advise that "Engines on most outdoor power equipment operate well with 5W30 Synthetic oil. For equipment operated in hot temperatures, Vanguard 15W50 Synthetic oil provides the best protection."

What that means for you as the oil user is that you need to check what range your engine will run on. The easiest way to do this is to check your engine's user manual for the manufacturer's recommendation. If you have lost the manual or never had one, then use a search engine to find a PDF of it. 

A general rule of thumb though is that engines on most outdoor power equipment operate well with 5W30 Synthetic oil.

Here's a handy guide produced by the engineers at Briggs and Stratton to help you decide:



Once you have found the right kind of oil, it's now time to consider what brand of oil you want to use. 

Cheap and cheerful or bespoke oil made for exact kind of engine? 

We typically recommend you avoid the cheapest range of any tool or safety gear or oil and most certainly do the same with lawnmower oil - we suggest you used tried and trusted brands - because these oils have been road tested in many machines being pushed many thousands of miles. 

If those brands didn't cut it, they wouldn't survive in the market. If you don't believe me, read this tale of how Slitz turned a quality beer into a joke and ran their brand into the ground.

One rule of thumb to bear in mind is that the older your engine is, the more likely that it will suit the traditional SAE30 oil ranges.

Recommended oil: Briggs and Stratton Small Engine 30W

If you want tried, trusted and true, Briggs and Stratton oil is for you.

best small engine oil

Briggs and Stratton is arguably the biggest named player in the lawnmower engine market. Their engines are known for 'going and going' so much so that other big name brands simply use the Briggs and Stratton engine on their own branded machines as a selling point.

So, the biggest name in lawnmower technology is sure to have a quality oil product for their machines and their version of 30W for small engines is most likely what your engine would benefit from.

We think this review from a user on Amazon is just perfect:

"Bought a brand new lawnmower, and didn't want hubs to blow this one up too because he forgot to put oil in it."

Classic and it's always worth a reminder that if buying a new lawnmower, you need to add oil before you use it or you will destroy the engine.


How often should I replace my lawnmower oil?


Many car owners change their car's oil once a year as part of an annual tune-up up. It lengthens the life of the engine as its parts are protected from wear.

For smaller engines, the comparison is the same - many lawn mowers will change their oil once a year in the spring when the grass starts to grow long and the mower is used more regularly. 

This is tied into the use of the mower - your mower can have varying needs depending on use hours. A lawn that's mown for half an hour once a month, may only need a change once a year but a weekly mower of a larger lawn may require two changes. 

A ride on mower is probably more likely to benefit from a change at 100 hours of run time and annually. 

If you feel your engine isn't performing well, a change may help. As we always recommend, your user instruction manual should be able to give you advice - and it will be good advice too because the dudes and dudettes who made the engine have tested it to the ground in the lab so they will know how their machine works under so many conditions. 

How to remove old oil from a lawnmower


When it comes to changing lawn mower oil, there are certainly a few tips and tricks that you can do to make sure you have an oil splash free transfer.

So now you've understood the reasons why you need to regularly change your engine's oil, the next question might be how!

Items you may need to change the oil:
  • A pan or contain to catch the old oil 
  • some old rags or cloths 
  • A wrench with appropriate socket size for the oil drain nu 
  • Engine oil that suits your needs 
  • Funnel 
  • Siphon or oil kit system if you are going to siphon rather than drain

Location of the oil change


The first thing to do is consider the location where you will drain the oil already inside the mower.

Naturally, you'll want to avoid doing this operation on your grass lawn or near your garden in case of spillage.

To that end, concrete surface such as a driveway is ideal. You'll, of course, want to lay down newspaper or cardboard to catch any oil drops that may collect to avoid staining the concrete.

Warm the engine before you drain the oil


It is best to have turned the lawnmower's engine over for a few minutes before you drain the oil. This is because particles that have collected will be floating around in the old oil.

Take care that when draining the oil that the engine parts are not too hot - you may need to use gloves if you have run the engine for a while.

It's also now time to disconnect the spark plug to prevent any accidental ignition of the engine.

There are two ways to remove the oil:

1. Using the oil drain
2. Using a siphon pump

Locate the oil drain plug on the underside of the mower

Clean the general area with an old cloth to prevent any external debris from falling into the crankcase when you open the drain plug.

Tilt the mower deck and then position some newspaper and an oil pan or jug beneath the mower.

Then take a socket wrench to run the plug counterclockwise. This allows the oil to drain into your collection device. Once the oil has fully drained, secure the drain plug by twisting clockwise and tightening gently with the wrench.

If your mower has an oil filter, its the opportune time to replace it as well.

Removing the engine oil with a siphon kit


If your preference is to siphon via the oil entry point rather than drain, a siphon kit might be just the ticket.

Once you have your siphon at the ready, place one end of its tube into the oil fill hole and make sure it has reached the bottom of the reservoir. The other end of the tubing needs to be placed into a container that will not knock over during the process.

Engage your siphon and do your best to empty as much of the used oil as you can.

Tilting the engine on its side slightly can help pool the last of the oil and the tube can be manipulated into a position to collect the last of the oil.

These kits can also be used to transfer fuel from your car or fuel container directly into the lawn mower's fuel pump. A handy way to make an efficient transfer!

Once you have completed the siphoning, you are ready to add some new oil. And what could you use?

How about Toro Synthetic oil?


Designed to work across a range of extreme conditions, Toro synthetic oil will handle the heat and the cold to help you get your lawns cut. It will work especially well with new model mowers that are designed to work with this type of oil.

toro synthetic small engine oil

Toro is a massive brand worldwide, in addition, to push lawn mowers they produce golf cars, ride on mowers, spray equipment, diggers, bunk rakes, and top dressers.

So they know engines and they know oil so you can be sure the oil its engineered and tested to meet the needs of their machines.

This means due to its quality, Toro oil will do most lawn mowers a favor in terms of performance. It certainly meets the performance requirements of brands such as Briggs & Stratton, Kohler, Honda, Tecumseh and Craftsman!


So you've got your oil, it's now time to add it to the engine.

How to add oil to your lawn mower

This is the easy part of lawn mower maintenance! 

  1. Open the oil dipstick and remove it and check that you do actually need oil! 
  2. If the reservoir is empty, add the manufacturer's recommended amount. 
  3. You can pour the oil directly from the container or use a plastic funnel (or one you have fashioned from some scrap paper). If you make a mess, wipe the oil up with an old rag or paper towel.
  4. Screw the dipstick back in place and run the engine for 30 seconds so the oil can get around the engine's internal parts. 
  5. Unscrew the dipstick again so you can check the level - hopefully, the oil is bang on the 'full' line. If you have underfilled, top up. If you have grossly overfilled you may wish to remove some oil. 

Nice work, you've replaced your engine oil. 

How much oil should I add to the lawn mower?

Lawn mowers come in varying sizes but generally speaking, you can break them down into two sizes, walk behind mowers or ride on.

  • For walk-behind mowers, the oil capacity is about 15oz or 18oz.
  • Riding mowers tend to have an oil capacity of around 48oz or 64 oz.

As we need to keep stating, the exact amount for your engine will be found in the user manual and if you don't have it do hand, google it - they often can be found in a PDF format at the manufacturer's website.

What happens if I add too much oil?


Too much oil in the sump can be too much for the engine to handle. It might start to burn white or gray smoke. If you see this happening, it's time to change the oil. Drain it and then add the correct amount.

Too much oil can also prevent the engine from starting properly and there is nothing more frustrating on a Sunday afternoon if you can start your mower, especially if you are the cause!

An excess of oil can also potentially mean that it gets aerated and thus it's performance declines.

You can check if you have too much oil but using the dip stick. If the oil is over the full line, you'll need to remove some oil.

How to dispose of lawnmower oil environmentally


If you have collected the used lawn mower oil, please do not dump it down the drain or garbage bin. For the sake of the environment, there are plenty of places that will take your old oil.

Many services centers, dealerships and gas stations will do this. Some mechanics do so as well for the 'locals'.

It's good to be green.

Can I use synthetic oil in my lawnmower?


Yes, you can use synthetic oil in a lawnmower. Oils like Amsoil are designed for more modern engines.

Synthetic oil is a small engine lubricant full of chemical compounds that are artificially made using chemically modified petroleum components.

The benefit of using synthetic oil is they tend to offer better viscosity, wear and deposit control and low-temperature fluidity.

This means that if you regularly use synthetic oil in your lawnmower (over the long term) then you greatly increase the chances of long service life and reduce the need to replace your lawnmower at year 6 instead of year 10 (excuse the hyperbole!).

So the regular use of synthetic oils in your engine reduces the chances of it failing and thus in the process, extends its service life.

The only real downside to using this kind of oil is that it is usually priced significantly higher than standard oils.

Check out this example from Pennzoil for example, their 530-30 Full Synthetic can price over 50 bucks!

Is lawnmower oil the same as car / auto oil?


You might be eyeing up that bottle of Castrol car oil you have in your shed with an eye to adding it to your lawn mower as it could save you a trip to the hardware store.

So can you use motor oil?

Technically speaking, yes. Four stroke small engines can use car oil. However, motor oil is generally designed for the hot and heavy conditions of a car that will be driven for long periods. 

A smaller engine will benefit from oil that is designed for it - this is why most brands and manufacturers recommend oils like Toro or Briggs and Stratton's version of SAE 30W.

If you have a two stroke engine, then you must absolutely only add two stroke oil to the fuel.  Two-cycle motors simply cannot use motor oil.

You'll also be wise to not use oil designed for big engine / heavy duty machines for small engines - you probably do not may have a viscosity that could actually cause a clog or even disable your unit.

Can I use 10w40 oil in my lawn mower engine?


10w40 can be used in a small engine and most users do not report an increase in consumption. It's related to the viscosity of the oil and manner it will operate in cold or hot temperatures. 

How to change a lawn mower oil filter?

change oil filter for a lawn mower

If your lawnmower has an oil filter, you will need to change this once in a while so that it can continue to do its job of helping to keep your engine oil clean and free of gunk.

Once you have selected the correct filter for your engine (OEM or branded) follow these steps.

Locate the oil filter and twist it counter clockwise until the oil filter can be removed. 

If you cannot free it with your hands, you can use a pipe wrench or filter wrench.

Observe if there is dirt or other debris on the seal and clean it off with a rag (we love old towels for this).

Take your fresh engine oil, rub the clean sealing gasket with oil so that it appears clean and well-lubricated.

Take your new filter, remove it from the packaging and place it into the filter adapter and gently screw in by hand. When you feel its snugly in, tighten it firmly with a wrench but do not over tighten it as you could cause some damage. 

Here's a handy video tutorial on how to change the filter on a riding mower - the principle is the same for the push mower:


Two stroke oil engines - add oil to the gas directly


If you have a two stroke lawn mower then you are going to do things a lot differently than as described. You will need to add the oil directly to the gas, just the same as you would a petrol chainsaw.

When fueling your lawn mower, you'll need to add the correct two stroke oil in the correct ratio to the fuel, before you add the mixture to the engine. How much to oil add to the petrol? As always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

I've got a brand new lawn mower, what do I do with the oil?


If you have brought a new lawnmower, it will not have oil in it and if you run it without, you will break your engines internal working parts in pretty good time! So, get some oil and get it in. Run the engine, check the level is filled properly and go cut some grass!

Can I use a chainsaw to quarter an animal such as a lamb or deer?

Friday, February 1, 2019

Chainsaws are not just for chopping down trees for firewood.

You can actually use them for a variety of tasks but one of the oddest ones we've thought of is using a saw to quarter a beast such as a deer or a sheep.

Say you are doing some homekill and you need to chop your beast up, then a chainsaw will make er.... 'mincemeat' out of the animal.

Can you see what is wrong with butchering a beast this scenario?

Now forget thoughts of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I know you're thinking about how the meat will get imbued with quality bar and chain oil.

And that meat will then taste disgusting because have you ever tried such stuff? It's not for human consumption.

But do you know what is for human consumption?

Vegetable oil!

So why not give that a go to help carve up the cow?

First, of oil, this is gonna be a bit messy.

So you'll need to drain the standard bar oil from your chainsaw. Replace that with vegetable oil and run it a bit until you're confident that the standard oil has been flushed out.

You may have also already cleaned your chain to make it free from oil.

The real question we should be asking ourselves is do we really want to use our precious chainsaw to carve up a deer's hind?

It seems unhygienic but the truth is, you can do it.

If you do decide to go down this path, be safe and wear protective gear as you normally would when using a chainsaw.

Best safety glasses for working around the home

Monday, January 21, 2019

Why the best safety glasses will save your life


I saw this picture of these safety glasses on Reddit and I was like, YES, this is why one should wear a good pair of eyewear when doing home repairs and maintenance.

When using electric tools, anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and hot metal parts spinning around at 1000s of RPM can fly directly into your face. Much like a chainsaw that kicks back, these projectiles can rip apart your face in seconds.

Have you ever had a drill bit snap off a tool and fly off? I have but thankfully never at my head.

So we can imagine that dude that had his eyesight saved by wearing his protective eyewear, there's many a happy craftsman who still has his eyes because he was smart and put on his goggles.

If you want to keep your eyes safe in your head, then we suggest you have a think about buying some protective eyeglasses. These are actually some of the cheapest safety equipment you can buy, so why take a risk and not use them?

Early bird recommendation: the NoCry glasses with Clear Anti Fog Scratch Resistant Wrap-Around Lenses

What to look for in a pair of safety glasses?

There are several things to think about when buying safety glasses:

  • Only ever wear glasses that have been manufactured to a recognized safety standard. If you buy cheap and nasty, you run the risk that they will not reduce the chance of harm occurring. 
  • This means you want to look out for glasses that are advertised as having "impact-resistant lenses"
  • Filter out UV light radiation
  • Are easily washed in warm water and dried with a soft cloth
  • Polycarbonate construction suggests the unit will be sturdy
  • Fog resistant by way of a double coated lens
  • non slip nose pads

NoCry Safety Glasses 

These babies are some of Amazon's most popular sellers - likely because they are cheap, are made to safety standards and they look pretty good when worn.

The NoCry Safety Glasses are manufactured with strong and durable polycarbonate wraparound construction. designed with one thing in mind, to keep your eyeballs safe from direct and peripheral threat.

The lenses are double coated and untinted which means little to no fogging up or optical distortion which is great for when doing hard physical labor.

These glasses protect your eyes from 90-100% of harmful UV radiation due to the 380nm UV protection lens coating - which is the highest industry standard for all UV protection in clear PPE eyewear lenses.

The side and nose pieces may be adjusted to give you a perfect fit without the slipping - no matter the face type or head size. You'll be able to wear them all day as their contoured design shape will hugs your cheekbone area, reducing pressure on your face. they are also very light and the soft rubber nose piece will let them sit lightly on your face. They won't feel bulky or awkward even after hours and hours at the workshop turning a nice piece of wood.

Check out the price on Amazon.

If there is one slight drawback it's that this unit will not fit over your spectacles / glasses - not to worry though as NoCry have developed a pair that just that:

best protective eyewear for glasses

Many big name brands have got into the safety glasses gig because why not, there's money to be made in having your customers be safe - after all customers who use tools need to buy new tools and replacement parts and they won't be doing that if they find themselves with a drill bit in their eye.

And it turns out, Dewalt make a pretty handy pair of personal protective eyewear:
Dewalt's glasses feature :
  • Rubber tipped temples to deliver a secure and comfortable fit
  • Tough, polycarbonate lenses which provide impact resistance
  • Telescoping temples can adjust for a comfortable fit
  • Cushioned brow protection for extra coverage protection
  • Ratcheting temples that adjust for a proper fit

Here is a glowing review from a user of these glasses who bought them on Amazon:

"Awesome pair of protective goggles. I fog up glasses all the time and never believed in "anti" fog lenses. I have yet to experience normal, everyday "excessive" workday fogging. Unless I'm sweating and not cleaning my lenses or I work in a cold place and move to a warm place, these glasses don't fog up. I worked in the coal industry operating a roof bolter which is a very hot job that requires safety glasses all day and these are THE BEST I've ever had. "

With a review like that, how can you go wrong? Check out the nice price on Amazon.

Can I get prescription safety glasses?


For those that need to wear ordinary glasses when working with tools and machinery, then prescription safety glasses can be a solution.

Many glasses are easily covered by eyewear, however, if you need to wear protective gear for a long time, the two units on the head can become bothersome so prescriptive safety glasses come into play.

Can I use safety glasses for sport?


While these kinds of glasses are generally designed to prevent injury from flying debris, you can use them for sporting pursuits to protect against flying balls - many racketball and squash players will use them just fine.
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