Author Archives: Jay Amstutz
National Lineman Appreciation Day (April 18th) is a time to express our utmost appreciation to the great men and women that work so hard for us every day. It’s our honor to celebrate the hard work, innovation, and dedication of Electrical Lineworkers. #thankalineman
A little over a year ago Makita relaunched 3 new cordless reciprocating saws that would work on their 18V LXT platform in the XRJ04Z ($119) which was utilizes a brushed motor and designed as entry level price point cordless recip. To compete with the Milwaukee M18 FUEL Sawzall, Dewalt FlexVolt, Hilti and others to come they needed a powerful brushless model that had corded power and solid runtime. Do they use their 18Vx2 platform or use a single battery that’ll be a little less powerful. In this case Makita said let’s do both and let the people choose between the very similar 18V XRJ05Z ($199) and 18Vx2 XRJ06Z ($219).
With the new OSHA Silica Dusts rules getting ever closer there has been a lot of scrambling for manufacturers and users to get the right solutions in place. The good news is the June 23rd deadline has been pushed back 90 days to September 23, 2017 allowing for some more solutions to hit the market. Milwaukee Tool has just announced it will have a new 8 gallon HEPA dust extractor vacuum with self-cleaning filters and 148 CFM out well before the new deadline. (more…)
Empire has had digital levels for some time as the e100 series but these new series e105 and em105 bring some nice improvements which really make these arguably some of the best digital levels around. Historically digital levels have been required to verify grade for certain tasks such as setting ADA pads on sidewalks or wheelchair ramp spec in a project. We are however seeing digital levels becoming more and more common place simply for accuracy of any task, setting hand rails on stairs, putting a slight slope on a floor, looking for perfect .00 level, etc. It’s a digital world, if you are looking for accuracy in a level and willing to spend $99-$199 range, certainly you should consider going totally digital.
The original deadline for issuing OSHA fines was June 23rd however with that deadline very near the amount of unanswered questions and many tasks that still not having good solutions OSHA has announced everyone will get an additional 90 days before fines will begin. (OHSA full press release) This is good news, manufacturers of solutions to control silica dust are just now finishing testing, releasing products and as they come out are seeing immediate back orders. Training thousands and thousands of effected workers is also not an easy task and will take some time, even with the extra 90 days it will be a challenge. (more…)
Makita has really jumped into the Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) arena with both feet and currently uniquely positioned to be one of the strongest players moving forward. There has been a big push away from 2 Stroke small engines for several reasons including hassle of mixing & storing gas, emissions standards and noise just to name a few. Makita (with Dolmar) is the only manufacturer out there that is really strong in both 4 stroke gas technology and battery technology which gives them a huge advantage as the consumer demand changes.
Makita is leading the way in 4-Stroke gas technology (MM4) which if you are going to stay with gas is where things are going. Offering the only MM4 Cut-Off Saw and MM4 blowers but they are also leading the charge with OPE that works with the 18V batteries everyone already owns. The XCU03 cordless chainsaws are a prime example of that next step forward although still not surpassing gas in power but we are getting pretty darn close. (more…)
The new Makita LXT Brushless Rear Handle Circular Saw XSR01Z ($199, bare) launched at the World of Concrete this year and looks to be coming in very very soon, perhaps by the time you read this post! We had the opportunity recently to get one in our shop for the afternoon and do some testing. Unfortunately it was just after our 2017 Cordless Circ Saw Testing (see video below) which we are now confident this new saw would have been our favorite. What is interesting with this new Makita however is they seem less interested in taking on the Milwaukee M18 FUEL or Dewalt FLEXVOLT cordless saws and much more interested in going after Corded Skil WormDrive market which until now has had no option for a cordless saw.
What does a tool manufacturer know about clothing? Other than an occasional free red hat should we really be buying clothing from the same people we get our Sawzall blades from? Milwaukee sort of tiptoed into the clothing business about 7 years ago with the Heated Jackets and were able to overcome some obstacles in the power and heating elements other big names in the apparel world couldn’t figure out. Since then the actual jackets themselves have undergone several significant overhauls and the line has expanded greatly into a layering system adding the WorkSkin Mid-Weight Base Layer 401G ($49) last season. Building on that success Milwaukee is making their first leap into apparel for the warmer weather with WorkSkin Light Weight to address heat stress issues. (more…)