The tool news is coming fast and furious lately. In this particular addition, we have some of the most interesting, innovative and downright surprising tool announcements this year. Also, while we normally try to steer clear of politics here at HomeFixated, we’re making an exception this week. Our politicians in Washington are working on new laws that could effect any tool owner, and we’re doing our part to mobilize the citizen army of tool users.
Milwaukee Decides to Tweak Milwaukee Red
Anyone that knows Milwaukee Tools knows they are fanatical about red branding. It has come to our attention, although technically still a “rumor” at this point, Milwaukee is considering altering its branding. With just about every major power tool player having its own iconic color scheme, a decision was made to alter the existing Milwaukee red rather than replace the color entirely. According to our internal source, Milwaukee CEO Steven Richman, who is known for being a stickler for details, recently decreed: “The current Milwaukee tool red is not red enough!” While hues of red may sound like a ridiculous thing to focus attention on, corporations are notoriously finicky about color use, particularly when it comes to logos. An exact Pantone color has not been announced, however our source, who preferred to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, said the new red actually looks maroon. We hope that’s not the case, as we think the current bright red looks great.
Bosch Announces New Beer Gear & Revolutionary New Hammer Tech
At a previous media event, Bosch asked editors from a variety of tool related publications to pitch product ideas. HomeFixated contributed a product idea that could best be described as a cordless beer bottle tap and cooler. The idea was very popular with attendees of the media event, but possibly a little too racy for the corporate brand. Despite the enthusiasm for the product, Bosch hinted the chances of this going into production were about as likely as Bosch moving their HQ from Germany to Los Angeles. But never say never. Last year we reviewed the Skil iXO Vivo. Some of you may not know that Skil is a Bosch brand. Apparently after seeing the sales numbers from the iXO Vivo, Bosch made a surprise decision to put the HomeFixated Cordless Beer Tap & Cooler idea into production, possibly under the Skil brand. Frankly, we’re shocked and extremely honored at the same time. HomeFixated and Bosch lawyers are still hashing out the licensing details, but expect to see this product come to market around this date next year (artist’s rendition above).
That’s not all! There’s more “breaking” Bosch news to report that we only found out about through a spy photo and a little journalistic sleuthing. That’s right, spy photos aren’t just for the car industry anymore. Check out the in-the-field photo here and you’ll see the new, as yet unannounced Brute “Silent” edition. We were so skeptical of this photo at first that we reached out to a couple of our contacts at Bosch. Most refused to talk with us about it, citing a press embargo, but we finally did get Jason Feldner to spill the beans. He told us Bosch is releasing this new Brute Silent model that will absolutely revolutionize concrete demolition. Using what Feldner describes as a “proprietary, newly patented, counter-balanced hydro-dynamic quantum acoustic decoupling system” (presumably marketing will come up with something a bit more catchy than that), the Brute Silent operates at under 30 dB. As a frame of reference, that’s about as “loud” as a quiet library! “But what about the hammer hitting the concrete?” I asked skeptically. Feldner assured me the new technology essentially “eats” all but the subtlest sounds of the concrete cracking, making operation even on the hardest, fiber-reinforced concrete virtually silent. It’s a tool that has to be seen and not heard to be believed, and we can’t wait to check it out at the next Bosch media event.
DeWalt’s New Special Edition Golden Hammer
Every once in a while, tool companies like to come out with special editions of their products, often to commemorate anniversaries or milestones of some kind. Skil did so with their recent anniversary Skilsaw (and custom chopper), Stanley recently did it with their iconic measuring tape, and now DeWalt is getting in on the action. While not disclosing actual numbers, DeWalt’s MIG Weld Framing Hammer has hit some sort of sales milestone. We have to assume it’s an important milestone since DeWalt just announced a new gold-plated special edition version of the hammer. With only 200 of these going into limited production, we’re pretty sure you have to be a big buyer of DeWalt products to even get in line for one of these. However, the line might be short given the estimated $401.13 price tag. Then again, with the price of gold these days, the gold plating alone might make up for the price difference (the regular DeWalt MIG Weld Hammers run about $40-$50). From a branding perspective we don’t quite get this. Yes, the gold color works well with DeWalt yellow, but we don’t think gold (a metal known for being soft) fits with the DeWalt Tough brand overall. Anyway, if you’re bold enough to use one on the job, maybe it will give you the Midas touch with your framing jobs.
Makita’s Big Spender Incentive Includes Date with Your Choice of Ms or Señorita Makita!
In a move that brings new meaning to the term “combo kit”, Makita is boldly going where no tool company has gone before. This has to be the craziest marketing scheme ever, but then Makita hasn’t been shy about bold marketing in the past. Makita is announcing a bulk purchaser incentive that only applies to serious tool-buying contractors (and not online or brick and mortar retailers). For any contractor that buys a minimum of $5000 worth of Makita tools & accessories, they’ll be able to enjoy a one hour “date” with their choice of either Miss Makita Ashley Schultz or Señorita Makita Anna Valencia. The “date” will be chaperoned with security personnel, so don’t get too excited. No word yet on whether spending $10,000 gets you a date with Ashley and Anna, but that’s where my mind went. Be sure ask your Makita retailer for details before making your purchase as certain exclusions apply. If you’re a major contractor thinking about stocking up on your Makita gear, this video might just help you get motivated.
Congress Up to No Good With Yet More Ridiculous Legislation
If you have been following all the fuss about SawStop in the last year or so, then you know the Federal government isn’t afraid to get involved in issues related to tool safety and liability. A relatively small, but still powerful group of both Republican and Democrat members of Congress have recently drafted new proposed legislation so over-reaching we’re shocked this wasn’t laughed off the floor. Amazingly, the rare bipartisan group has been gaining not only congressional and executive branch support, but they’re also attracting the strong attention of lobbyists representing lawyers. While the actual legislation is several hundred pages long, the core initiative boils down to two proposed requirements related to tool purchases:
1) The purchase of all hand and power tools (both retail and online) requires every buyer to sign a disclaimer releasing the manufacturer and its assigns from any and all liability related to the use (or misuse) of said tools.
2) Power tool purchases that meet any of these specifications: corded tools with greater than 5 amps, cordless tools greater than 10.7v, torque ratings of 200 lb/ft of torque or greater, rpm exceeding 600
REQUIRE a background check that investigates any previous claims of injury, disability, physical impairments, substance abuse or psychological issues.
The bill has met split response from the power tool industry, which applauds the decrease in liability but also fears far lower sales with the onerous disclaimer and background checks. While the bill is still gaining momentum, it’s not too late for you to speak up. Write your congress leaders and let them know you don’t plan to sign anything or release your private background information without a warrant. We plan to circulate a petition fighting this bill, so stay tuned for more details.
HomeFixated Welcomes its Latest Intern
A few years ago, we noticed some of our media colleagues experimenting with employing interns to assist with the many tasks related to running a thriving online media outlet. We thought it was a great idea and adopted a new intern plan which rotates in a new intern every 3-6 months. This month, we’re pleased to introduce Ivanna Sawyer:
Seen above becoming acquainted with the HomeFixated shop, where I’m happy to provide close supervision, Ivanna studied marketing at Harvard with a focus on the impacts of behavioral algorithms in relation to consumer purchasing patterns, and she plans to begin a PhD at Stanford next year. When asked what made her choose the HomeFixated internship over internships at The Huffington Post, WhiteHouse.gov and others, Ivanna said, “I don’t want to just sit at a desk crunching numbers. . . I like getting a little dirty and working with my hands.” Ivanna has already shown a fondness for eye protection, but we’re going to need to work with her on finding some closed toe / steel toe high heels. While I feel Ivanna is going to work out fantastically, my wife seemed decidedly less enthusiastic and requested final say on the next HomeFixated intern. Sven, the Swedish contractor seen here, is currently on her shortlist. My wife claims it’s because she likes Swedish culture.
Until next time my tool-loving friends!