ProStaff Reviews

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

Hilti PM-30MG radiator layout

Hilti’s newest laser entry into the cordless layout and measurement category comes with proven tech in a robust package. There is no shortage of line lasers on the market today. The PM 30-MG cordless multi-line laser from Hilti is 360 degree green beam laser powered by their Li-Ion B 12/2.6 battery. I have been working Read more

Hilti’s newest laser entry into the cordless layout and measurement category comes with proven tech in a robust package.

There is no shortage of line lasers on the market today. The PM 30-MG cordless multi-line laser from Hilti is 360 degree green beam laser powered by their Li-Ion B 12/2.6 battery.

I have been working with the PM 30 Hilti laser for a couple months, primarily using it for simple layout and leveling in different tasks like panel radiator installs or boiler piping layouts. I’ve used both the included wall mount bracket and magnetic base. The PM 30-MG has a very useful fine adjustment dial at the base that makes for quick alignment when rotated either direction.

Hilti PM-30MG radiator layout

Bracket alignment for hydronic panel radiators.

The Hilti PM 30-MG is intended for indoor use

Hilti has other laser models intended for outdoor use but as stated in the manual the PM 30-MG can be used outside if conditions are dry (manual pg 5, sec 3.2). Its intended use is to allow a single person to transfer right angles, level horizontally, carry out alignment work and plumb accurately.

The product has three green 360° laser lines, a reference point directed downward on the right-hand front of the measuring device, as well as four beam intersection points (front, back, left, right and above) with a range of approx. 65ft/20 m. Range depends on the brightness of ambient light.

How long will the battery last?

Runtime will vary based on laser projection. The ability to select plumb, level or cross-line (both plumb & level) beams depending on the job at hand will determine the battery life. Max operating time is published at 12 hours, I have used the PM 30-MG enough for one battery recharge but the bulk of my use has been in the cross-line mode. The selection of beam projection is easily done with a single button on the side of the laser housing.

Hilti PM 30-MGSelf-leveling or Locked

The Hilti PM 30-MG can be set to auto-level or locked for use of setting slope. This is done with the sliding power button on the side of the unit. In the locked position the leveling pendulum is fixed allowing for grade or slope projection on a horizontal plane. Moreover, the unlocked (most used mode) will allow the pendulum to self-level. If the laser is not able to self level the projected beam(s) will blink rapidly until corrected.

The tool complies with Laser Class 2 in accordance with IEC / EN 60825-1: 2014 and in accordance with CFR 21 Sec. 1040 (FDA). These devices can be used without further protective measures. Nevertheless, as with the sun, do not look directly into the light source. If you do inadvertently look into the laser beam, immediately close your eyes and move your head clear of the laser beam. Do not aim the laser beam at persons.

Finally, the Hilti PM 30-MG is backed by Hilti’s 20 year materials and workmanship, 2 year wear & tear coverage and 1 day turnaround in the repair center warranty. The Hilti PM 30-MG laser was shared with mechanical-hub.com ProStaff member Eric Aune via Hilti’s tool lease program free of charge and will be returned after use required for full tool review. You can find more info for this and other Hilti products and tools on their website: hilti.com

Job site pics of the Hilti PM 30-MG

Aligning and setting laser elevation with the Hilti PM 30-MG
Hilti PM 30-MG beam projection at 40 feet

With a intended max working range of 65ft the line stays crisp at 40 in shaded daylight.

Hilti PM 30-MG beam projection at 80 feet

Same conditions and site as the 40′ measurement, at 80 feet the line is getting much thicker and less crisp.

Hilti Cross-line laser Hilti PM 30-MG