John's Tool Crib
By John Cupp - Klamath Lake, Oregon - USA
Ryobi 18 Volt Innovations
I have written about Ryobi tools many times in these pages and only once did I have a complaint about a Miter Saw Blade that was warped. I got it replaced at Home Depot without incident within 24 hours. I just went back the next day and picked up a new blade that was not warped. In my opinion Ryobi has been very innovative in their 18 Volt ONE + assortment of tools. They have newer longer lasting batteries; they have exciting new tools also to add to their very large line up. They also have some new tool holders that make storing their tools a snap, literally.
First the best of the new Ryobi 18 volt tools in my opinion. How many times have you been away from electricity and found your tool battery has run low and you can not recharge the battery where you are? I have and it is frustrating. I was fixing a dock and the nearest power outlet was almost a mile away. Ryobi has fixed the problem as long as you didn’t bring your tools with you on a bicycle. It is a charger that uses the current in your car to charge your batteries. It plugs into your lighter socket and charges your batteries and it has a circuit that will not drain your battery dead. It stops so your car has enough power to be started just incase you forget to leave it running when charging the battery. The P130 charger is fast charging (about 25 minutes) and it comes in a case very reminiscent of a binocular case.
I also tested the new 18 Volt Caulking and Adhesive gun Ryobi has for the DIY person or even a contractor, it is that good. I have one of those guns that hooks to my electric drill but having a dedicated gun is better if you can afford it because you can use the drill and the Caulking gun without having to take the time to change them around.
The model P310 Caulking Gun is a great investment but it only uses the smaller size of caulking tubes. It does have a great variable feed rate system so you can always get the right amount for the application you are using. Ridgid, Ryobi’s tools bigger brother has a contractor model caulking gun with a quick charge battery and it handles both large and small caulking tubes. It does not fit into the #One system by Ryobi and costs a little more but it is a heavy duty model R84040. (picture below)
In my own building I have not yet used the 30 oz tubes. I have not had a big enough project yet for the 30 oz tubes. I suppose if my shop/pump house finally gets built this year I will need the 30 oz tubes if they are less expensive per oz. of the sealant. Now the 30 oz tubes would work well for my new stitch and glue style I am developing. Right now the only way I can get my system going is to buy a new or used machine that makes those tubes for caulking. They have a plastic molding machine that makes those tubes and if anyone knows where I can find one of those machines for an inexpensive amount then I will purchase it. I will write an article about my system for stitch and glue soon.
Now don’t let the name Laminate Trimmer get in the way of seeing that this is an 18 volt ¼” Router. It can be used to make wood strips with square edges into nice round edged trimmed pieces. It can use ¼” router bits and turns at 26,000 rpm. It also has a nice clear base so you can see what you are doing and it is easy to make a hook up for a shop vacuum to keep any work cleaner. It is amazing to me all the tools that Ryobi has introduced into its #One 18 Volt Product line.
I was talking earlier about a helpful way to store your tools now Ryobi has a small plate that clips in where the battery normally sits. It has a small leash attached to it with a clip so you can install small eye bolts on your overhead shelves and hang your 18 volt tools from these. It makes a nice way to keep the top of your workbench clean of tools and they are always within easy reach.
Ryobi also has a nice pin nailer and stapler #P300 that also is in the #One 18 volt series. I have not used this nailer yet but I have talked with some friends who have it and say it works much better than the hand powered staplers in the market today. Ryobi also came out with a short turn angle drill #P240 in the same set. It is a type of drill that everyone who builds boats should have in their tool collection. You may only need it once a year but when you need it is the only tool that can do the job well. It is a right angle drill for work in close quarters where a hand and a drill would be impossible to fit. The 18 volt #One collection of Ryobi tools has grown from a drill, vacuum, circular saw, heavy reciprocating job saw and a powerful hand held light to a large collection of cordless tools that includes almost any type of tool that once had a cord and a few that I never thought could become cordless electric tools like a chain saw.
I have been pleased with everyone of the Ryobi cordless tools I have tried out. Ryobi has produced a line of tools that are not top end tools but budget priced so the common man can afford a tool that does a great job, has a good warranty and also he can afford to buy without going into debt. I have had professional builders ask me why I brought a Ryobi tool to a job then I let them try it out and I know at least one of them who actually tried to make the tool fail. After all the dust settled my buddies changed their minds about the Ryobi tools because they saw what they were capable of.
I am still using the original Ryobi tools that I had ten years ago. I have not had a Ryobi tool fail me yet and I always grab my Ryobi cordless 18 volt drill for just about any job I need to drill away from the drill press. There are some projects that just can not be done without a drill press. I have the new Ryobi 3 speed #One series hammer Drill and I tested it out by drilling some ½” holes in a big chunk of concrete I wanted to epoxy some eye bolts into so I could lift it and place it near my boat dock. Then I could tie some cable to those eye bolts to keep my dock more stable in the wind. The drill performed as well as my big old half inch hammer drill that is corded. The block was too far from a power source so it did what it was supposed to do with flying colors. I did use up three batteries making four deep holes though but my corded drill could not have done the job any faster. Sure some of the huge hammer drills that are out now would and do work faster but they are at least five hundred to seven hundred dollars worth of drill when you look at the big Bosch contractor drills. Some are so big they look like a jack hammer.
What a great time to be alive and see all the wonderful new tools that can shave many hours of what used to be simple hand labor from building a boat. I know several people who say that if you really want to build a boat do it without power tools. I admire their tenacity but I am a realist and I can do the same job with the same finish level months ahead of people like that. Half the fun of building is testing the boat for the first time. I can get more fun and satisfaction by building a big boat the same time it takes the guys who use hand tools to build a smaller boat. We could get picky and make those hand builders get their own timber by using an axe to fell the trees and a two man saw to cut lumber, then they could truly say it was all hand built. With the new revolution in batteries that are lithium ion, Ryobi might get into the fray this year and the batteries would be backwards compatible, I’ll keep my ear to the ground listening for news on that from Ryobi
So for you people who are like myself and have an actual budget to live on, the Ryobi tool lineup makes more sense than any other. You get good quality tools at lower prices with a great warranty. Go ahead and try a nice Ryobi tool this year, you will be impressed.
From my lake front tool crib,
More Tool Reviews by John Cupp: