Milwaukee Bound

Summer is typically travel time for us woodworking editors, and this one is no different. In June I was at a Bosch media event to learn about their new tools. Next month many of the Journal staff (including yours truly) will be in Atlanta attending the International Woodworking Fair. But this week, I’m headed to Milwaukee, Wisconsin—home to Miller Brewing Company and Harley Davidson Motorcycles—to visit with the folks at Milwaukee Electric Tools.

While it’s not in the cards for me to bring a new Electra Glide Harley home, I do hope to learn some some cool news about what’s cooking these days at Milwaukee Electric. It should be interesting seeing their new stuff. As soon as possible, we’ll be posting the news in our magazine, in our eZine or here in this blog. Believe it or not, we’re starting to work on the December print issue already—and it’s still in the 90s where I live. (Hey! Ohio isn’t that far behind the times… I’m talking temperature here!)

Aside from sharing my tool travel plans, why am I telling you about this? Well, I’d like to ask your opinion about the tools you’ve had experience with from Milwaukee. What do you like and why? Anything on your tool wish list? I’ll have plenty of one-on-one time during my stay with the product managers that oversee many of the tools we use. If you have some thoughts or questions, I’d be happy to pass them along to my hosts. I’m sure they’d appreciate some real-world feedback on their tools, and maybe I can get you a direct answer.

So, bend my ear. I leave early Wednesday morning, but I’ll be checking for comments frequently until then.

Catch you in the shop,

Chris Marshall, Field Editor

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About Chris Marshall

Chris Marshall has been writing for Woodworker's Journal as a contributing editor and field editor since 2001. Prior to that, he spent five years developing home improvement and woodworking books. He's written five of them and has served as a contributing writer on many more. A wood and tool junkie since childhood, Chris thoroughly enjoys building projects and reviewing woodworking tools for the Journal. When he's not assembling new machinery, sawing parts, taking photos or crunching text for an upcoming story, he enjoys spending time with his family and a houseful of pets at their home in rural Ohio.

8 thoughts on “Milwaukee Bound

  1. Chris,

    I use the M-12 drill and impact driver almost daily. Great size/power ratio and long run time make these tools a joy to own.

    Have a safe and successful trip.


  2. Hey Chris
    I am the owner of several milwaukee tools from an old Hole Shooter that i don’t have clue how old it is up to a brand spanking new Milwaukee circular saw.
    The growl that i have with these tools is that i am a really really hard core left handed person and i would like to see a little more tool candy for us southpaws.


  3. Hi,
    I read woodworker’s journal and I have one little suggestion that is a bigger deal than it seams.
    On Ridgid tools, the tool cord on my router or circulars saw, or sander, is about 9 or 10 feet long and has a glowing plug. I LOVE that !!! Please Milwaukee… how much more will it cost to make a 10 to 12 foot cord instead of the standard 6 foot.? 10 cents?
    THink about it… You are cutting a sheet of plywood and your circular saw has a 6 foot cord, that now will need another extension cord… or you have a 3 way under your work bench,,, and you have a 12 foot piece of flat s4s jamb that you want to route an ogee profile on it for a window sill,,,, now you have to add another extension cord… it is really anoying on job sites… then you need to sand that window sill, and now your sander needs another extension cord or you unplug the router back and forth. I am amazed at how much life is easier with that extra couple of feet of cord right at the tool…. Tell them that I actually pick a tool one over another just over that.
    e-mail me with any questions.

  4. After owning various Makita, Bosch, and Hitachi battery operated tools, I swore never to own another. The batteries were always dead when I needed them. The tools were too heavy, often underpowered, and way too expensive. However, the M12 set from Milwaukee looked so good that I bought the small drill – and then quickly bought several more. These are small tools and have small litium-ion batteries which charge very quickly. They fit the hand well and have surprising power and long life. They all have lights on the side to show how much battery strength is left. I can carry all of them in a relatively small cloth bag.

    As a woodworker I need several things: light weight, versatility, strong and reliable batteries, and above all good tool design. Here are some things Milwaukee got right with the M12 series. 1) reasonable pricing 2) sensible sleek design 3) one of the drills has a chuck which is designed strictly for hex shank bits. It grips them firmly and the quick release lever remains open until the next bit is inserted, upon which it snaps shut. 4) The hackzall, a mini sawzall, has the quick release blade clamp we have grown to love. It’s value is not as a powerhouse but rather as a finely tuned instrument. I use it to cut drywall, cut off hard to reach bolts. Buy a carbide toothed blade and it cuts cement board and Hardiplanking with ease. 5) Another drill has a standard chuck. Milwaukee sells a collection of bits, chuck adapters, etc which make it very versatile. It has good power and is small enough to fit inside cabinets for the mounting of hardware.

    This very professional collection of tools does a huge job for me as a woodworker remodeler. When it is time to hit the road, I just load the bag of tools into the truck without me having to think about what I might have forgotten. At the end of the day back it goes into the shop.

    Will Highfield

  5. I bought the Milwaukee Orbital Jig Saw 6268-21 a couple of years ago. It is a very solidly built, low vibration professional tool.

    It has three problems: First, the plastic protection plate was not a good tight fit. It kept falling off. I think it eventually got lost in a drawer somewhere. Second, the angle adjustment lever would not hold the bed in position firmly until after I adjusted it. Third, there is a little tang on the body of the saw which allows the bed to be automatically positioned at 22-1/2, 45, and 90 degrees. It broke off. These are all solvable problems.

    Will Highfield

  6. Need Milwaukee to come up with a definite fix for the above-table lift mechanism in its 5625 model router. Mine is about 2 years old and always needs help from underneath in order to move the bit upward toward the table. If you don’t help it, the quick-release button activates and drops it back down a notch. I’m about to spring for the new Woodpecker Quick-Lift QL-414A and rebuild my table top to accommodate it.

    Beyond this problem, it is the best router I have ever had the pleasure to use.

  7. I have Milwaukee tools dating back years. When I went looking for a replacement for my Dewalt I found that all the smaller power tools are now made in china. If I wanted some piece of crap made in china I would get Ryobi or ridgid.

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