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The right tools. (What's New).

* Our contractor leaves us high and dry with only the molding to go on our almost-finished basement. No problem; my wife completes the job in a couple of afternoons. I buy all the materials to build a loft in our just-purchased shed, but fail to tackle the job right away. No problem; my wife builds it without even breaking a sweat. Her secret? No, not her all-thumbs husband; rather, the right tools.

Two recent additions to her burgeoning arsenal are the Navigator handsaw/jigsaw and Firestorm high-performance cordless drill, both from Black & Decker, Towson, Md.

The Navigator ($59.99)--sold with handsaw, curved-cutting, and metal blades--cuts wood, plastic, and metal. Although designed like a traditional handsaw in look and function, the Navigator is power-assisted, thus it has the accuracy and control of a handsaw, but eliminates the physical effort of cutting. Moreover, its 1/16"-wide blade prevents deflection and ensures straight 90[degrees] cuts.

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It converts from a handsaw to jigsaw in seconds, without any tools--simply attach the specially-designed jigsaw blade and you're ready to cut and shape rounded and curved work pieces. The powerful 3.4-amp motor provides up to 6,500 strokes per minute.

Power also is a key feature of the second-generation Firestorm drill, which comes in 12, 14.4, and 18-volt versions. (We opted for the plenty-powerful-enough 14.4 unit, $79.99) Besides more muscle, the new Firestorm features a Quick Connect Bit Change System, featuring a removable 3/8" keyless chuck that accepts both round and hex shank drill bits. Once the chuck is removed, it exposes a screwdriver bit.

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To help with straight and level drilling, there's an electronic level built into the end of the drill. When the unit is in a level position, the LED display lights up. Also, there is Infinite Clutch--a spectrum of clutch settings selected by a visual reference guide of screw size. If all this isn't enough, the new Firestorm is ergonomically balanced with a mid-handle design, featuring a rubber comfort grip with finger rests. In addition, the drill's storage box mounts to the wall. Finally, the battery has been redesigned for ultra-easy attachment and removal, thanks to a spring loaded pack that moves forward like a cassette with the push of a button, before sliding off quite easily.

Black & Decker's Navigator saw and Firestorm drill can be purchased at major home center, mass merchandizing, and hardware stores.

This symbol * indicates USA Today has tested a product for operating in full compliance with the manufacturer's specifications and to determine its performance as applicable to our readers' needs. Disadvantages, if any, also are reported. Although we cannot guarantee a product, we offer the starred designation as a guide to readers.
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2003
Words:456
Previous Article:Summer storage. (What's New?).
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