Monthly Archives: August 2014

  • Oscillating Tool Shootout - Fein, DeWalt and Makita

    Fein started it all with the MultiMaster; an oscillating hand tool that allows you to quickly cut, strip, scrape, sand, and just about anything else in areas that would be impossible to reach with standard tools.  These tools are really indispensable, and once you’ve owned one, you will always have one in your toolbox because they save so much time.  There are now a wide variety of brands available.   We are going to review 3 that we carry here at Master Wholesale, and that we use, or have used regularly.

    Fein Multimaster Start 250 Q

    Fein FMM 250 Q

    The original oscillating tool, you can tell when you pick it up it is the real deal.  It’s relatively heavy, but in a reassuring way.  I have personally used this particular tool for many years, on many projects, and it hasn’t had a single issue.  Everything about it is robust, including the 16 ½’,  power cord which is both flexible and durable.  There is no discernible flexing of the dense matte plastic housing during heavy use.  Despite oscillating at between 10,000 and almost 20,000 RPM, it doesn’t create excessive hand fatigue.  The weight of the tool, coupled with it’s precise balance and anti-vibration system, makes the MultiMaster surprisingly comfortable to use.  The blade change mechanism is top notch as well.  This tool has plenty of power, and you’ll find that when pushed, the material is going to be the thing smoking, and not the Fein.

    The Fein also has the largest selection, and highest quality blades, scrapers and sanding accessories available.  Overall, their status at the top is unchallenged, and they are priced accordingly.


    Dewalt’s DWE315K

    After the Fein, the Dewalt’s DWE315K would be my second choice.  Like the Fein, it really feels solid in your hand.  Weight is similar, and it just feels very substantial.  It performs similarly to the Fein, but I prefer the Fein blades and accessories.  The wider speed range of the Dewalt does make a difference for detail sanding.  Lower motor speeds will heat the tool up as well, limiting lifespan.  This is probably why the Fein starts at 10,000, which does work pretty well for sanding.  The Dewalt adds some features that some may like, such as the LED, which does make working with the tool in dark recesses a bit nicer.  The variable speed trigger isn’t as useful as you would think.  I find it a bit more difficult to use because of that.  I prefer to set and go, regarding the speed.  The 10’ power cord is adequate.  The blade change mechanism is solid and very easy to use.  Overall, this is a nice tool, and at about $50 cheaper than the Fein, reasonably priced for what you get.



    Makita TM3010CX1

    The Makita TM3010CX1 is another quality oscillating tool that gets the job done, but it lives in the Fein shadow as well.  It has plenty of power, but it not quite as well balanced as the Fein, which means a little more vibration and hand fatigue.  Overall, this tool is solid though.  The weak link is the accessories.  Like the Dewalt, you can use Fein attachments on the Makita, and I highly recommend doing just that.  The motor operates in a similar but larger range than the Fein, from 6,000 to 20,000 RPM.  Overall, the feature set of this tool is more spartan than the Dewalt.  No LED, no variable speed trigger.  The tool-less clamp system is simple and rugged.  Overall, this is a fine quality tool, performing close to the Fein and about on par with the Dewalt.  All three tools are professional grade, and will perform well for you, especially when used with the Fein attachments, which all 3 do.

  • Choosing the Right Grout Float

    Each type of grout has a specific consistency, and it is important to choose the appropriate float or it will be difficult to manipulate the grout.  Harder grout floats will scratch softer materials. You should choose the least abrasive grouts when working with softer stones and tiles, and use a float with a more flexible face.  Regarding scratching surfaces, I suggest avoiding metal back floats.  They have been around for a long time, but their reputation for scratching and marking tile and stone is well deserved.

    Barwalt UFF-1 Epoxy Grout FloatMWI Premium Epoxy Grout Float

    Epoxy Grout Floats - Barwalt UFF-1 and Master Wholesale (MWI) Premium Epoxy Float

    Epoxy grout has a thick, and sticky consistency.  It sets up fairly quickly, and is rather difficult to clean up.  You need a hard rubber float when spreading epoxy grout.  The rubber must also resist the epoxy or else it will gum up on the float.  The MWI Yellow Epoxy Float works great.  The hard rubber doesn’t stick to the epoxy, and the smaller size (4” x 9”) makes it much easier to control and push the thick epoxy into the joint.  The Barwalt UFF-1 float is another good epoxy float, but personally I don’t find that it fits my hand as well as the MWI float.  We carry others but these are my two favorites.

    MWI Premium Grout FloatBarwalt UWF-2 Grout Float


    Traditional Grout Floats - MWI Premium 4" x 9" float and Barwalt UWF-2

    For urethane grout, I prefer the same two floats as above, assuming the material is hard and does not scratch easily.  Urethane grout contains silica and recycled glass that can scratch softer tiles and stone.  With softer stone or any tile you suspect might scratch, it is always best to test on a corner or scrap piece first.

    The Barwalt UWF-2 and MWI Premium 4" x 9" floats are my personal favorites for conventional  sanded and unsanded grout.   Both have the appropriate rubber compound that allows you to easily get the ground into the joint without leaving haze or waste behind. Both of these floats will last for multiple jobs.  Honestly, between them, it really comes down to which handle you prefer.

    If you do a significant amount of grouting, you’ll want to pick up a margin trowel style grout float and maybe a toe-kick float. These make easy work of the hard to reach areas and you’ll be glad you have them in your grouting arsenal.

  • The Best Knee Pads

    When shopping for knee pads, the most important thing is comfort.  We carry a broad assortment of knee pads, both hard and soft shell version.  Today I’m going to give you my take on my favorites from our catalog of soft shelled knee pads: Troxell USA Super soft, Troxell USA Leather Head, Barwalt Super Soft, and Master Wholesale Gel single strap. I’ve worked in all these knee pads and this is not only my experience but also feedback from our customers.


    Although it’s not cheap, my favorite knee pad is the Troxell USA Leather Head XL. These have a an extra large pad made of neoprene, covered with a sturdy leather on the working side.  The have a single strap, which really is quite comfortable, being soft and pliable neoprene. Long life memory foam padding makes these feel like knee pillows! A top notch product.


    I also like the Troxell Regular Super Soft knee pads, almost as comfortable as the leather heads, but they are smaller, little less padding, not as long of a service life. They are about about half the price of the Leather Heads.


    Third place goes to Master Wholesale Black Gel knee pads.  These use a high quality gel foam pad with a single velcro strap, with secondary strap to keep Velcro strap from coming loose.  These pads have a plastic face on them.  These are pretty comfortable pads, and priced well.


    Of the four, I’d say the Barwalt Super Soft knee pads would be my fourth choice, despite being quite comfortable.   These would probably be my second choice if padding memory was better and straps where more durable.

    You really can't go wrong with any of these knee pads, as they are all quite durable and comfortable. If your pro and on your knees all day, you know to it’s worth the extra money go with the best knee pads you can get, so I’d suggest the Troxell Leather Heads.  For the rest of us, any of these will do just fine.

  • All About Diamond Hole Saws and Core Bits

    When you need to drill a hole in stone or tile, usually for faucets or plumbing fixtures, the easiest way is with either a diamond hole saw or core bit.  Hole saws are usually used with either a 3/8” or ½” drill.  They have a pilot bit in the center for stability.  If you’re using a press or a angle grinder, you will generally use a coring bit.  We sell adapters that allow you to use a 5/8” – 11 bit on a drill.  When using these bits on a grinder, it must be low-speed capable as 2800 RPM is about the maximum speed for core bits and holes saws to operate efficiently.  The larger the bit, the slower the speed.


    Diamax Cyclone Dry with Side Protection

    Both coring bits and hole saws are available in continuous, segmented, turbo and electroplate rim styles and the style to chose depends on the material you are working with.  Here is a tip for using hole saws: remove the center bit.  Using a wood cutting hole saw, cut a hole in a piece of 5/8” or ¾” plywood.  Place the plywood hole directly over the hole to be cut in the stone or tile, and place your hole saw in the plywood and begin cutting.  By using a plywood template, your hole saw cuts will each take about 50% of the time they would if you kept the pilot bit in the hole saw.


    Granite cuts best with a segmented rim.  Thin rims cut quickly but have shorter lifespans.  I prefer to use a wet/dry bit, as there are times you are working in a finished home and it can be difficult to contain all the water in those situations.  Some bits offer side protection which helps clean out the hole as it cuts, which gives you about a 20% speed advantage over a similar bit without side protections.

    1. Cyclone Dry with Side Protection
    2. Alpha High Speed Dry
    3. RockMaster Wet Coring Bit


    RockMaster Smooth Cut Hole Saws

    Ceramic Tile and Soft Stone

    I prefer a turbo rim bit for cutting ceramic tile and softer stone.  These are a bit slower cutting than the segmented rim blades, but they reduce chipping, which is important.  The turbo rims are the best compromise between speed and clean cuts.

    1. RockMaster Smooth Cut Turbo
    2. RockMaster Segmented Rim

    Porcelain Tile

    Because it is very hard, porcelain tile works well with the same bits as granite, but segmented blades tend to chip porcelain tile.  For that reason I suggest using a turbo rim bit.  For extremely fast cutting, you may want to use an electroplate bit.  They are fast, but don’t last long.

    1. RockMaster Smooth Cut Turbo
    2. RockMaster Porcelain Electroplated Hole Saw

    All that being said, let say you are a home owner or contractor who rarely needs one of these bits, or you deal with a variety of materials, both hard and soft.  If you need one bit to do it all, I would go with the RockMaster Smooth Cut Turbo bit.  It will perform well on all stone and tile, and they are durable, long-life bits, and the price is very fair.   Pro’s who do this day in and out will use a variety of bits, each best suited to the job at hand.  I hope this helped, and happy coring!

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