ProStaff Reviews

It’s time again to review the Milwaukee Packout Modular Storage System. Since the introduction of the Packout system in 2017 with 8 different pieces, the storage and tool box team over at Milwaukee Tool has been working seemingly non-stop to add an additional 38 products to the storage and organization system. The Foundation Milwaukee constructs Read more

Packout Organizer with Copper Fittings Aune PlumbingIt’s time again to review the Milwaukee Packout Modular Storage System. Since the introduction of the Packout system in 2017 with 8 different pieces, the storage and tool box team over at Milwaukee Tool has been working seemingly non-stop to add an additional 38 products to the storage and organization system.

The Foundation

Milwaukee constructs the Packout system boxes from impact resistant polymer. Our introduction was the foundation of the system appropriately named the  Rolling Tool Box

Packout rolling tool box 48-22-8426

With an IP65 rating for dust and water resistance this wheeled box stores medium size tools like a recipe saw, circular saw or rotary hammer drills. This was the box that set the foundation for expansion into items like lights, vacuums, additional parts organizers and more.

Integration

Packout is way more than a couple tool boxes and organizers. The whole system is designed around it’s unique, intuitive quick attachment mechanism. This system allows the stacking and interlocking of one tool box, light, lunchbox cooler, radio, vacuum (and more) to to one another.

Its this plumber’s opinion that the latching/stacking/locking system is what first attracted trades workers, hobbyist and business owners alike to the system initially.

Expansion

The continued popularity of the system can be attributed to new product expansion in the Packout line. With no clear end in sight, we have seen the addition of the Rolling Tool Chest, XL Tool Box, 2 & 3 drawer boxes most recently.

You may have seen the tour of my plumbing van outfitted in Packout on our Youtube channel, if not check it out here: Plumbing Van Tour

Possibilities are Endless

Packout enthusiasts have taken to the CNC and 3D printers to produce countless modifications for the system BUT lets not forget that the possible configurations built in to this system from the design and engineering dept at Milwaukee Tool are a huge part of its continued success.

My most used, most relied on boxes are the parts organizers boxes. In each size offering I am using them to store and transport copper & steel pipe fittings, electrical supplies, valves, screws & fasteners and more. For me the Deep Organizer and original Organizer are the heroes in which I depend on daily.

Drawer Units Video

Bottom Line

As you take a look at some of my videos and pics posted over the last few years you’ll see I’m all-in on the Milwaukee Packout System. I’ve bee asked countless times to compare to the Dewalt or RIDGID offerings of similar boxes and that’s a tough one but its obviously important so I’ll just come out and say it, no BS, the Packout system is the best for durability, diverse offering and overall usability across multiple trade professions.

RIDGID’s offering is very limited and is only available thru the Home Depot. Dewalt has switched product lines completely, more than once without continuity across product lines. This is frustrating for those already invested in one system and not able to integrate new products into their arsenal.

While the Packout system may cost more than others I truly believe its worth the additional monies. This opinion was formed over time, after breaking competitor boxes in the extreme cold weather I encounter each winter and after working with these boxes literally every day on the job.

What I like most about the system is the extreme durability and modular adaptability from my van to the shop to the job. Not a single box, bin, latch or lid has let me down for functionality. That to me is saying a lot, I’ve spent many hundreds of dollars (okay, thousands actually) investing in this system, its made me more organized and that improves my daily life.

Social Postings

 

 

 

 

When approached by Greenlee to test a new product late last year, we knew it was the perfect opportunity to work with a couple of our favorite electrical contractors, Adam Sperry and Jon Block. Jon and Adam have been friends of The Hub for several years and bring a ton of electrical experience and knowledge Read more

When approached by Greenlee to test a new product late last year, we knew it was the perfect opportunity to work with a couple of our favorite electrical contractors, Adam Sperry and Jon Block.

Jon and Adam have been friends of The Hub for several years and bring a ton of electrical experience and knowledge to our sites. We connected them with Greenlee and after a few projects over a couple months, they share their experience with the Greenlee GSB Series Step Bits.

Jon Block reviews Greenlee GSB Series Step Bits

First off, the step bits are ideal for advanced hole making solution and feature an improved split-point tip for even faster penetration and a patented split-step design to optimize chip load for a faster and smooth cutting experience while achieving more holes per charge.

“These are perfect for making holes in conduit and steel junction boxes as well as enclosures for conduit knockouts or enlarging holes to accommodate larger conduit openings,” said Jon Block, LH Block Electric.

“There’s no reservations in using these bits, Greenlee has a long history in the trade of high-quality products. I’m sure Jon and I both look for a product that is priced appropriate to the results attained and Greenlee is a brand I trust and believe in due to their quality products,” Sperry shared.

Both agreed that the progressive cutting edges on the bits provided balanced aggression to maximize torque efficiency and minimize stalling when using a cordless drill.

Additionally, an improved double flute design provides enhanced chip evacuation, while also increasing cutting speed and bit life. Laser markings on the bits allow for easy part and size identification.

The GSB Series Step Bits for mild steel are offered in two sets, available in 10 Imperial-sized step bits ranging from 1/8-inch to 1-3/8-inch, and three Metric-sized step bits ranging from 4mm to 32.5mm.

Adam’s Final Assessment:

  • “These bits are the fastest, smoothest, most durable bits I have used and have performed beyond expectations even when subjected to less-than-ideal conditions.”
  • “Personally, I see step bits as a “consumable” item, which I feel is contrary to popular opinion. Most people feel as though the price associated with quality step bits somehow means they should last forever. I disagree. There are a lot of situations where the drilling is less than ideal, or the driller is less than adequately trained which can lead to more wear and tear on a bit. I also prefer the bits to NOT have the quick connect shaft or be impact rated.”

Jon’s Final Assessment:

  • ” I love the double flute design and the marked with common conduit knockout sizes and long-life durability.”
  • “The split step and the longer step for the common conduit hole sizes makes this a great tool for quick knockouts instead of grabbing a hydraulic knockout set. Greenlee tools are the best in the electrical contracting business.”
  • Facebook Product Video

Professionals interested in the GSB Step Bits can visit Greenlee.com/StepBits to learn more information. To request a hands-on tool demonstration from a Greenlee Pro Tool Specialist, visit Greenlee.com/requestdemonstration. For more information on Greenlee, visit Greenlee.com.

ProStaff Reviewers:

Adam got his start in the electrical industry 20+ years ago from his father who was an electrical distributor general manager. Adam has always been keen on working with his hands and takes an extreme satisfaction in watching a project come together from start to finish. One of the keys he brings to our ProStaff is his ability to share whatever tools, insights, tips, tricks, and lessons that have helped him in his career. You can find him on social media at:

Jon, after serving his apprenticeship and acquiring his Chicago Supervising Electrician License, Jon joined his family at LH Block Electric in 1998. Jon brings a unique and extreme work ethic and his many new innovative ideas to the company and currently serves as the job superintendent and chief estimator. He is also a certified electrical inspector and loves teaching the trade in the classroom and in the field. Jon can be found on Facebook at:

Lenox V Jaw pliers

LENOX LXHT90551 10” V-Jaw Quick Adjust Pliers LENOX® Tools sent some new pliers and wrenches to Mechanical Hub a couple months ago. As always, we choose to use the tools we review on real job sites, in real life situations so we can report back to you. Whether we pay for a tool or product Read more

LENOX LXHT90551 10” V-Jaw Quick Adjust Pliers

LENOX® Tools sent some new pliers and wrenches to Mechanical Hub a couple months ago. As always, we choose to use the tools we review on real job sites, in real life situations so we can report back to you. Whether we pay for a tool or product or it is gifted to us, you will always get honest information that we hope will aid you in decision making when scouting out new tools. LENOX® is not new to hand tools or pipe wrenches, making these all updated designs worth a look. The following is a summary of our use of the 10” V-Jaw Quick-Adjust Pliers over three months of daily use. 

Handles 

If you read my review of the 10” Pliers Wrench or have used pliers with a cushioned grip, then you know the significance of this handle type and how it will benefit you over time and under high force. It’s not surprising LENOX chose this handle type as it is a favorite throughout the plumbing industry. 

Jaws 

The v-jaw geometry is one that grips, period. This is a proven jaw design that is meant to grip multiple shapes and sizes of materials. Performance on iron pipe, probably the most common material these pliers will work with, is reliable and exceptional. The v-jaw also allows the user to grip hex surfaces easily, although the aggressive teeth will mar softer metals like bras or finished surfaces like chrome so be aware. 

Finish 

The industrial chrome finish makes these pliers corrosion resistant which is an absolute must for plumbing and heating work. I also found that cleaning the pliers of pipe dirt was not difficult, I’d attribute that to the chrome finish as well.

 Conclusion 

If you’re like me and use pump pliers every day, I’d recommend giving the LENOX® 10” V-Jaw Adjust Pliers a try. The value when compared to higher price imported or domestic competitors is high. The quick-adjust feature is an absolute slam dunk in making these some of the nicest pliers I have used in my long career as a plumbing and heating contractor. 

MSRP: 

LXHT90552 12” Pliers, $28.99 

LXHT90551 10” Pliers, $23.99 

LXHT90550 8” Pliers, $17.99 

Availability: Now

LENOX LXHT90540 Pliers Wrench  A few months ago, LENOX® Tools sent some new pliers and wrenches to us. As always, we choose to use the tools, we review on real job sites, in real life situations so we can report back to you. Whether we pay for a tool or product or it is given Read more

LENOX LXHT90540 Pliers Wrench 

A few months ago, LENOX® Tools sent some new pliers and wrenches to us. As always, we choose to use the tools, we review on real job sites, in real life situations so we can report back to you. Whether we pay for a tool or product or it is given to us free of charge, you will always get honest information that we hope will help you make decisions on how and what you spend your money on. LENOX® is not new to hand tools or pipe wrenches, but these are all updated designs so it’s worth a look. The following is a summary of our use of the Pliers Wrench LXHT90540 over three months of daily use. 

Pliers Wrench 

I have been a fan of pliers wrenches for years but never before have I used one with such a large jaw capacity. The 3” opening of the LXHT90540 Comfort Pliers Wrench is impressive. 

Handles 

The comfort grip handles on this 10” pliers wrench make it easier for me to handle when aggressive action is required. If you’ve never used a pliers with a comfort style grip, then its time you give this one from LENOX a try. 

Quick Adjustment 

The quick-adjust feature is the best I have used and that is coming from a tough critic. The button is low profile but large in diameter so it’s easy to push but won’t get in the way. The ease of a quick closing adjustment is perfect, LENOX nailed this feature.

 Jaws 

The jaws of the plier’s wrench are narrower and longer than most others I have seen in the industry. This is an advantage in tight areas where either the width of the hex surface is limited, or the turn circumference is tight. The longer jaws are great for large hex nuts like a shower drain or sink drain body and almost act like a needle nose of sorts when you find yourself reaching into a tighter spot. At first, I was unsure of this feature but after using the pliers wrench longer, I realized it is a benefit. 

Summary 

Overall, I would recommend these to both professionals and DIY-ers alike. These pliers are great to have in your daily carry bag or around the shop. The value is excellent, and performance meets or exceeds other pliers wrenches already available in the market. These can be found wherever you buy LENOX® Hand Tools and online. 

Model Number: LXHT90540, $39.99 

Availability: Now 

Lenox pliers wrench graphic

So, as the story goes, a sales rep out west who had spent decades selling a competitor’s plumbing products is hired by General Pipe Cleaners. After initial training, he returned to his territory with a smattering of cables, cutters and drain cleaning machines to get him started. The first time he demonstrated the Flexicore Cable Read more

So, as the story goes, a sales rep out west who had spent decades selling a competitor’s plumbing products is hired by General Pipe Cleaners. After initial training, he returned to his territory with a smattering of cables, cutters and drain cleaning machines to get him started.

The first time he demonstrated the Flexicore Cable, he called the company to complain that the pipe snake, “just didn’t feel right!” It felt “limp”, not “springy.”

As Dave Dunbar, National Sales Manager with General Pipe Cleaners explained, “the Flexicore engineering process has the effect of making the cable feel less springy than hollow cables.”

It took a few phone calls to get things straightened out with the rep, but then six months later, he was complaining that the cables lasted so much longer than his former brand’s that he was only selling a fraction of his previous replacement snakes. A small fraction.

It was this story that interested a few of our contractor friends. Why would it be springy? Is it really that stiff and is that a good thing? Would it really last longer?

Knowing General Pipe Cleaners would be at the WWETT Show this past spring, I introduced the General’s team to a few drain cleaning contractors that we are big fans of and have worked with in the past. It was my hope that we could create some valuable and interesting content based on the original story and the contractors having never used Flexicore.

It was soon after the show that we asked for them to send a few of their Flexicore cables to a few of our ProStaff team members to get their thoughts on the cable. They obliged and three drain cleaning pros were sent the cables to use on their existing cable machines, which for transparency, were all competitor drum machines.

As you may know, the Flexicore cable is the result of a process, where instead of coiling a hollow cable, they tightly wrap spring steel around a 49 strand aircraft quality wire rope. This provides the cable additional strength when it is under torque.

Each member of our team received a variety of Flexicore cables based on their typical daily drain cleaning challenges with the request to use them over a couple of months and provide feedback. The team of contractors included Felix Delgadillo, DrainGuys (Chicago), Terence Chan, Impetus Plumbing (Vancouver) and Jeff Keller, Bulldog Contractors (Texas), all are longtime drain cleaning professionals in their area of the country.

As expected, those daily challenges included providing both residential and commercial services, addressing clogged kitchen drains, clogged bathroom drains, clogged outdoor drains, and clogged sewer lines using today’s best technology to unclog lines to keep the water flowing.

While Keller, Chan and Delgadillo confirmed that this was the first time using the cable, Chan stated what all three mentioned, “I’ve never used the product but very excited to see what it can do.”

Chan went on to say, “Initially seeing the product, I was a bit leery how it may hold on to the heads, but it did, really well. In fact, I’ve had trouble with heads from a competitor and the Flexicore held.”

“The screws to hold on the head versus a snap lock is a nice addition,” said Keller.

One of the unique byproducts of the Flexicore process is that the cable stiffens and gets stronger under torque, which Delgadillo agreed, “the cable feels less springy and it does get quite stiff when the operator needs it the most.”

Keller continued, “it caught me off guard and took some getting used to. Most if not all drain cleaners/plumbers are used to listening to their machines and the feel of the strain on the cable to evaluate the blockage, so this was a bit different, but did a solid job.”

As discussed in the WWETT video, when a drain cleaning machine rotates a pipe snake down the drain and it hits a clog or stoppage, tension or torque builds up in the cable. Because of the direction the drum is turning, the reaction of the outer coil of spring steel is that it wants to contract due to the tension. However, because the wire rope is in the way, the only thing that it can do is tighten, which makes it stiffer and stronger and the cable much less likely to kink or break when in use.

Chan concluded, “I would recommend this to peers in the field as it got the job done. I’m curious to see the long-term difference versus some of the cables we typically use and recommend everyone make sure they have the cable sizes they need for their machines.”

We second that Terence! Be sure to size your cables correctly so it all works perfectly.

While the contractors are still using the cables in the field, it was a unanimous decision that more time in the field was needed to truly understand the value of Flexicore cables and how it holds up long term versus other options.

We will continue to check in with the team to provide updates later in the year.

Contractor Bios:

Felix Delgadillo – He has been in the plumbing trades for over 15 years. Most of his experience has been in remodels & new construction for both commercial and residential. He is passionate about new construction and wanted to expand professionally to the service side. In 2019 he started his second company, Drain Guys, LLC. Drain Guys specializes in commercial and residential sewer cleaning, camera inspections & locating.

IG: www.instagram.com/drainguyschicago

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Drainguyschicago

 

Terence Chan – He is a plumbing, heating and gas contractor out of Vancouver, BC, Canada. His company is Impetus Plumbing and Heating. Impetus stands for a force that makes something happen, which stands for everything their name defines them to be.  We make everything happen and will never say no to any job. This company wants to be seen as the next up and coming generation that will make a difference and disturb the status quo in the current trade.

IG: www.instagram.com/impetuspandh

Facebook: www.facebook.com/impetuspandh

 

Jeff Keller – Bulldog Contractors allows him to work alongside his father Carl and other Bulldog team members. For over 35 years, Bulldog Contractors have brought areas of Northeast Texas first class plumbing and septic service, experience, and quality work with exceptional results. They are committed to exceed the expectations of our customers with quality service and expertise on every project we do. With a lot of repeat business, they have built long-term & trusting relationships over the years.

IG: www.instagram.com/jkeller1.0

Facebook: www.facebook.com/builditlikebulldog