Although Mother’s Day has passed, it’s never too late to get Moms who love do-it-yourself projects some cool new tools. These tools are available at most home centers and hardware stores, or through on-line retailers, and the prices shown are approximate:
Werner Aluminum Work Platform ($39.95): This sturdy, well-built folding work platform is ideal for a variety of home improvement projects, particularly painting. The platform itself is almost 40 inches long and 12 inches wide, with a working height of 20 9/16 inches. It allows you to work comfortably along walls and windows, and at about 12 pounds it’s a lot easier to move around than a ladder. The legs fold up for easy storage, and lock firmly in place for use. Nonmarring rubber feet keep the bench firmly in place while protecting the floor from damage.
Ryobi Cordless Stapler ($39.95) and Random Orbit Sander ($44.95): These two tools are part of Ryobi’s lineup of One + 18-volt cordless tools, a very nice system they’ve developed that allows you to save some money by purchasing the tools separately from the charger and battery (which are universal and interchangeable for all the One + tools).
While heavier than a conventional staple gun, the cordless stapler eliminates the hand and wrist fatigue that comes with squeezing a manual trigger over and over. The gun has an easy-load staple magazine that accepts staples in lengths from 1/4 inch to 9/16 inch, with a convenient window to let you know when you’re running low on staples. The gun has a comfortable, nonslip handle, and the top-mounted adjustment knob allows you to control the depth of the staple to match the application.
The cordless random orbit sander, which accepts standard hook-and-loop sanding disks, is ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand while freeing you up from the hassles of a cord. The top-mounted battery helps balance the tool, and the rubberized gripping area gives you a nonslip hold in any working position. With the random-orbit motion of the sanding head, Ryobi’s sander is great for everything from finishing wood to refinishing furniture, and even sanding drywall.
Stanley IntelliLaser Pro Stud Finder and Laser Line Level ($69.99): Here’s a great two-laser set that can really be a huge help on a variety of home improvement tasks. The main laser can project a sharp, clear laser line for up to 20 feet, and the built-in plumb and level vials guide you to an accurate setup. The tool doubles as a stud sensor, and features an easy-to-read backlit LCD screen and an audible tone that lets you know when you’ve found a stud. The stud finder works with 1/2-inch- to 1 1/2-inch-thick materials.
Included in the kit is a second laser that also projects a 20-foot line. You can use it in conjunction with the main laser tool to set up perfect laser cross lines for everything from hanging pictures and shelves to getting perfect layouts for floor tiles. Eight removable adhesive tabs are also included for temporary wall mounting.
Dremel Glue Gun ($24.99): For a wide variety of craft and home improvement projects, hot glue guns are a great choice, and this one from Dremel offers high quality and a great lineup of features. There’s an on/off switch that eliminates the need to unplug the tool between uses, separate LED lights to let you know when the tool is on and when it’s ready for use, and dual temperature settings for use with all standard glue sticks. It has a handy “kick stand” that keeps the gun stable when you set it down, and a soft trigger and built-in work light for ease of use. Dremel has developed an Anti-Drip nozzle to help keep your project and your work area free of unwanted drips, and the gun comes complete with three interchangeable nozzles.
Black & Decker Simple-Start ($49.99): Don’t let Mom risk being stranded somewhere, like on the way back from the home center with all her project supplies. Black & Decker’s Simple Start is a small, portable car charger that plugs into the 12-volt power outlet and boosts the battery power to get her restarted and back on the road. No need to lift the hood or break out the jumper cables — just plug it in, wait a few minutes, and restart the car. It has a built-in work light, recharges from regular household power or from the car’s 12-volt system, and can even be used to recharge a cell phone battery.
Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.