DIY homeowners who can’t wait for lawn mowing season to begin have another reason to be excited as spring approaches – the launch of the new Z200 series of residential, zero-turn riding mowers from Husqvarna, the world’s largest producer of outdoor power equipment.
The Z200 models – Z242F, Z248F, Z246, Z246i, Z254 and Z254i – add depth to Husqvarna’s already-extensive line of lawn & garden equipment, thanks to improved ergonomics, functionality, refinement, deck options and other features that improve and simplify the mowing experience.
A key addition to select models of the Z200 zero-turn mowers is SmartSwitch™ technology, an innovative operator interface offering one-touch starting, real-time feedback and keyless security.
“At Husqvarna, we take pride in continually striving to improve mowing performance and equipment durability, and we have achieved both with the Z200 series of residential zero-turn mowers,” said Sean Dwyer, Director of Regional Product Development, Husqvarna. “Its wide range of features takes easy and efficient zero-turn mowing to new heights.”
Borrowing from Husqvarna’s successful Residential Zero Turn platform, the new Z200 series offer a wide range of features and options, as follows:
Open-Design Chassis – Removable foot plate reduces debris build-up and improves service access
SmartSwitch™ Technology (select models) – Innovative operator interface that offers one-touch starting, real-time feedback and keyless security
New 42” Fabricated Deck – 2-blade, 10-guage option;
Offering the cut quality and performance of a stamped deck, with the durability and structure of a fabricated deck
Variety of Deck Sizes – 46” and 54” – reinforced stamped, 42” and 48” – fabricated deck
Aesthetically-Pleasing Design – Refined consoles, control panel, rear bumper, engine guard, side panels
Spring-Assisted Deck Lift – Located in the left console for easier accessibility
Automatic Mechanical Brake System (patent pending) – Applies both wheel brakes with a single level movement
Powerful LED Headlight – Optimally placed for use in dark conditions
The Z200 zero-turn mowers will be available in March 2015 in manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) ranges, from $2,699 to $3,499. All Z200 models can be purchased at a local Husqvarna dealer, while the Z246 model is also available at Lowe’s.
Keep on their website which should be updated soon with the new models.
It’s been a harsh winter in many parts of the country, but now that Spring is finally here it’s time to assess how much damage the ice, snow, water and cold has done to your home. HomeAdvisor sent over a list of the top issues to look out for this Spring and a ball park figure of what it will cost to fix.
Do a quick walk around and assess damage. Then, think about what work you will need to have done to make sure damage does not continue when summer storms arrive. The last think you want is moisture damage to the foundation, or mold and mildew forming on exterior facing drywall. Some things to look for include:
All of the heavy snow is likely to have damaged or at least loosened some of the shingles on your roof. Check for broken or buckling shingles, cracked seals around vent pipes and rusting on flashing. According to HomeAdvisor, it costs about $500 on average to have your roof repaired.
Harsh winters can cause gutters to warp, or tree branches and debris can clog channels. If water spills over and pools at the foundation of your home, you have an even bigger problem on your hands. Have your gutters cleaned and repaired this spring. According to HomeAdvisor it costs about $150 on average to have your gutters cleaned and if you need a heftier repair it may cost about $250 and up.
Ice dams trap melting runoff on the roof and cause it t seep in and damage exterior facing walls. For a long-term solution against ice dams have your attic sealed and insulated properly to make sure the heat from inside your home does not prematurely melt the snow. According to HomeAdvisor it costs about $1,200 for insulation fortification.
Moisture from a lot of snow and ice can cause peeling on exterior siding, besides harming your home’s curb appeal, it also exposes the wood to water and potentially rot. After the last frost, scrape and touch up damaged paint, if you need an entire new paint job, HomeAdvisor notes it may cost you around $2,500 to repaint your home’s exterior.
Driveways or sidewalks
Ice expanding and contracting in the cracks of your driveway or salt deteriorating the surface of the asphalt may make it look a bit like the surface of the moon. According to HomeAdvisor’s Cost Guide, to have your driveway sealed and/or repaired by a professional it will run you about $1,200 on average.
To find a professional to complete these projects, visit HomeAdvisor.com]]>
Milwaukee Tools are rugged, but precious (to owners). You don’t want them unnecessarily exposed to the elements or getting misplaced. You also need a light and durable tool box to transport them from job to job or to store them at your shop or home.
The 26″ Milwaukee Jobsite Work Box and the 13″ Milwaukee Jobsite Work Box are ideal companions for you and your tools.
The 26″ work box includes a removable tray for easy to reach items and features impact resistant materials, buttressed hinges, protected recessed latches, and reinforced corners. It’s built to Survive Over 1000 Drops with a 50lb load. An integrated weather seal ensures the contents of the box stay dry and free of jobsite contamination and debris.
Convenient pass through side grips allow for easy lifting and handling of the work box, even at awkward angles. The overmolded wide grip handle makes carrying unbalanced loads a much easier task and also folds into a clamping cut groove to allow secure cutting of jobsite materials.
The interior of the 26” work box provides ample space for long and bulky tools, while incorporating corner pocket storage to give users more organization and easy access to their commonly used tools. Integrated screw bosses, built into the lid, provide users the opportunity to mount items, such as chargers, with a common screw.
The 13″ work box has many of the same features and is built to survive over 1000 drops with a 25lb load. An integrated drip ledge lid ensures that the contents of the box stay dry and free of jobsite contamination and debris, while the convenient wide grip locking handle allows for ergonomic lifting and easy transport.
The 16” Seat Height of this jobsite work box is designed to give users ultimate versatility when working on tasks that are close to ground level, such as wiring an outlet. The addition of the integrated Cut Groove, gives users a stable platform to cut jobsite materials such as PVC and EMT.
The interior of the 13” work box contains a box divider and a removable vertical tool storage wall that allows easy access to tools and can be easily mounted to jobsite materials for convenient on-task tool storage.
Both boxes include a limited lifetime warranty and it’s unlikely you’ll come close to pushing these boxes to their limits, but if you do, they are built for whatever you can throw at them.]]>
Shiny apps for consumers get a lot of press, but how much do they really move the needle and make your life easier? At this year’s Builders Show we got a peek at MyDoor from Clopay. It’s a web-based application, designed for a tablet, which allows a Clopay sales person to walk you through the design and budget of your garage door, at your home.
MyDoor asks customers a series of questions and then sorts through thousands of Clopay door configurations to present the top three product recommendations based on their responses. The dealer uploads a photo of the home onto the tablet so customers can see how each door looks on the house, compare pricing and modify options as needed. Once they reach a final decision, the dealer can save the quote, obtain a signature and place the order directly from the tablet.
“MyDoor changes the dynamic of the sales call,” said Pat Lohse, vice president of marketing. “Clopay’s guided selling system requires dealers to take the time to educate homeowners, understand their needs and present them with more than one option. Dealers using the tool say it has favorably impacted their close rate, productivity and profit.”
The Clopay program also gives dealers the ability to schedule site visits, organize and assign leads, track follow-ups, provide instant quotes based on price lists, submit orders from the field, and track business performance.
This all leads back to a better and more informed experience for the customer. Garage doors can be a hefty investment, and any tool that allows you to better know what exactly you are getting, is a plus in our book. Visit Clopay.com for more details.
The ultimate toolbox might seem like a unicorn. We’d all love to see it but no one has.
Is the Coolbox the answer? It seems everyone hopes it is as they have raised more than $275,000 on IndieGoGo and there is still 5 days left in their crowdfunding efforts.
There’s a good chance they are a bit too ambitious considering they have packed all of these things into a standard sized toolbox.
Coolbox features a 20v rechargeable battery, Bluetooth speakers, LED lights, USB ports, tablet dock, power cord and more.
Decide for yourself.
The REAXX Portable Jobsite Table Saw is Bosch’s first table saw with its proprietary flesh-detecting Active Response Technology, which rapidly detects human flesh that comes in contact with the blade and drops the saw blade below the tabletop, reducing the risk of serious user injury without damaging the blade.
Safety comes first on any construction jobsite, especially regarding a table saw where a momentary lack of focus could have permanent consequences. Bosch, the construction industry’s technology leader, extends a heritage of award-winning table saw design to enhance workplace safety with the introduction of the REAXX™ Portable Jobsite Table Saw — the first saw with the company’s proprietary flesh-detecting Active Response Technology™.
The Bosch Active Response Technology platform, first launched on Bosch Brute Tough™ hammer drill/drivers, helps reduce the risk of injury to users by combining advanced Bosch sensors and electronics with mechanical injury-prevention systems. The Active Response Technology system on the REAXX table saw rapidly detects human flesh that comes in contact with the blade and drops the saw blade below the tabletop. This high-speed action helps reduce the potential of serious user injury and occurs without damaging the blade.
Fast Reset That’s Quick and Easy
After activation, the system can be reset in less than 60 seconds. A single two-shot cartridge enables activation for two incidents before replacement is needed. Just rotate the activation cartridge and reset the drop mechanism and the REAXX table saw is ready to go. All necessary parts, instructions and wrenches are located onboard the saw, including storage for extra activation cartridges.
“We’ve engineered the Bosch REAXX Portable Jobsite Table Saw to offer users the best injury mitigation system available in the power tool industry,” said Craig Wilson, product manager, Robert Bosch Tool Corporation. “But even with the safety enhancements incorporated, the award-winning attributes of the Bosch 4100 table saw series remain. There’s a heritage in jobsite table saws that Bosch has spent decades building and users will find that this saw maintains that high standard.”
The complexity of the Bosch REAXX on-board control system is translated to an intuitive, easy-to-understand LED light panel that communicates and manages saw operation and indicates saw status.
Green means the saw is ready for use
Yellow means the system is set in bypass mode by the operator; this mode is used for cutting conductive materials that can potentially activate the Active Response Technology system. In addition, there’s no override key to lose or misplace, yet still offers various lock-out options to prevent unauthorized bypass mode operation.
Red means the saw is not ready and will not function until the user corrects an issue
Blue means the saw requires service
A near field communicaton (NFC)-enabled phone app offers Bosch REAXX Portable Jobsite Table Saw owners and operators another measure for ease of use. Through the phone app, the saw can communicate information from the onboard control system — such as number of system activations, servicing needs, access to instructions, how-to videos and other details. Also, the saw owner can use the app to manage who can use the bypass and main switches. This capability enables owners and managers to lock the saw as needed, which ensures that jobsite workers cannot bypass the safety system.
Legendary Bosch Table Saw Capability
Like all Bosch portable table saws, the Bosch REAXX saw includes a modular blade guard, the Smart Guard System. This primary safety device provides a physical barrier between the user and the saw blade, as well as offering protection against kick-back. Active Response Technology is integral to the REAXX portable jobsite table saw and is intended to be used together with the Smart Guard System to provide the operator with the greatest level of protection.
Bosch REAXX has a 15 Amp, 4.0 Hp max motor that generates 3650 RPM. It’s jobsite ready because it works with onsite generators for a truly portable solution for mobile trade professionals. Varied material cutting requires optimized, maximum horsepower and excellent cutting speed. The Bosch REAXX Portable Jobsite Table Saw offers these attributes along with electronic control soft-start, constant response electronics and overload protection. These advanced motor electronics reduce the intensity of torque buildup and maintain cutting speed under load.
Additional precision features include an optimized rail system that boasts a pre-squaring SquareLock™ Rip Fence, which is engineered for precision. Prior to locking, the fence glides along the rail and locks into place for solid and consistent cutting performance. The table is sturdy cast aluminum sized to rip up to 25″ on full-sheet materials (4 ft. x 8 ft.); an on-board rear outfeed support provides an extra 18″ of support for longer workpieces. A rugged sub-base is built to withstand daily abuse related to transport, storage or jobsite conditions.
Easy Transport on Any Jobsite
This full-featured jobsite table saw can be easily transported to and from the job thanks to the Bosch Gravity-Rise Stand™, which sets up in seconds. The stand includes 8″ treaded wheels and is sized for easy pickup truck loading or unloading.
The Bosch REAXX Jobsite Table Saw will be available fall 2015.
Bosch Portable Jobsite Table Saw Fact Box
GTS1041A-09 REAXX Portable Jobsite Table Saw with Gravity Rise Stand and Outfeed
Power: 15 amp, 4.0 Hp motor
Capacity: 25″ ripping capacity
Blade size: 10″
Weight: Saw 78 lbs., stand 45 lbs.
Cut depth: 3-1/8″ at 90°
Price: US: $1,499 CAN: $1,699
Craftsman just released a slew of new outdoor power equipment. Their upgraded 40 Volt MAX lithium-ion battery powers the following new tools:
40 Volt 12-in. Cordless Chainsaw (071-98023) retails for $179.99
40 Volt Cordless Push Mower (071-98820) retails for $399.99
40 Volt Cordless Hedge Trimmer (071-98022) retails for $149.99
40 Volt Cordless Line Trimmer (071-98020) retails for $149.99
40 Volt Cordless Sweeper (071-98021) retails for $149.99
They’ve also got new riding mowers that are available in three different deck sizes and a zero-turn mower. Gone is the traditional red Craftsman mower which has now been replaced with this blacked out, tough looking mower with yellow accents.
One of our favorite retailers, Room & Board, is now offering paint through a partnership with Valspar. They are offering a curated palette of interior paints designed to coordinate with the retailer’s collection of modern American-made home furniture and accessories. The color collection of paint-and-primer-in-one is branded Room & Board Colors by Valspar and is available exclusively at Room & Board’s 14 showroom locations nationwide.
The color offering includes six neutrals: White, Limestone, Sandstone, Cement, Putty and Charcoal. The premium quality paint formulation is zero VOC, low odor and quick drying to a durable, stain-resistant eggshell finish.
If you’re seeking more colors look elsewhere but for neutral, earthy midtones, these are great.
Room & Board Colors by Valspar is available in four-ounce samples, $6, and gallon size, $50. For more information about Room & Board Colors by Valspar, visit www.RoomandBoard.com.]]>
Every 25 seconds a new John Deere lawn tractor rolls off the assembly line at the John Deere plant in Greeneville, TN. That is quite an accomplishment and testament to the precision and efficiency of the team at Greeneville. This is third trip we’ve taken to visit a John Deere factory (and hopefully not the last). We previously visited their August, GA and Horicon, WI, plants and came away very impressed each time.
Speed in production is important but John Deere Greeneville holds Safety above everything else. When you’ve got 63 SKU’s to produce in the time that they do, it’s amazing to learn that they have had 5 million straight lost time injury free work hours and before that they had 12 million straight lost time injury free work hours. Statistically speaking you are safer on the factory floor than in your own home.
The plant runs at 80-90% below the average for OSHA. Personal and team safety is at the core of their culture, and their culture is unique to Greeneville. In fact the factory was bestowed with the Shingo Prize for excellence in manufacturing in 2010. It’s basically the Nobel prize for manufacturing and they only give out one or two per year.
The factory manager, Jeff Hollett, who has been with John Deere for 36 years, has an open door policy and has team meetings weekly that include every employee. He wears a work shirt like anyone else and if all the good parking spots are taken, he has to find one at the back of the lot, just like everyone else.
John Deere plants run on a seasonal basis with production being nearly 10x higher in March-April as opposed to September-October. This means they rely heavily on contingent staff during the peak season. These employees are rewarded as they are tied into the same bonus structure as the core employees, so it’s to their benefit to work as safely and as efficiently as possible. This prevents a drop in quality and provides motivation for everyone to work together.
The “Made in Greeneville” sticker you see above means a lot to these people and doesn’t get slapped on a mower until they are certain it deserves it.
John Deere Greeneville employees are active in the community throughout the year. One of their more impressive programs, helps feed children in need and provides more than 1200 take home food boxes per month.
This emphasis on having a strong company culture is what keeps them on target to meet their goals and perform to the best of their abilities. It’s hard not to notice a parallel with Zappos and other tech companies who value culture so much and have thrived by doing so.
Learning about the culture at John Deere is fascinating, but the real reason to be there is to see how the tractors and built and eventually ride them. Photos and video were limited at the factory but we still managed to get a lot of footage. Our complete photo gallery is online and you can check out some videos from the line at the end of this post.
The big takeaway from the factory floor is safety. Even though we were all out of harms way, they still required that we wear hard hats (cleverly disguised under ball caps), gloves, eye protection, and ear plugs.
We walked through the factory along the “Green Mile” which they instituted to prevent pedestrian and forklift accidents. It’s a walkway painted green that winds throughout the factory. They also had placed laser lights on the back of each forklift that shine down on the ground about 10-15 feet behind each forklift. It’s a hard to miss blue light that indicates a fork lift is within range, so in case the fork lift is out of site (behind shelving or a wall), you have an indicator to show that it’s still there and is a danger to walk behind.
There were three major lines that built the John Deere D100 series, EZTrak zero-turn, and new S240 Sport riding mowers. These lines showcase the best in end-to-end manufacturing and the few parts brought in, like the decks, are made or in the case of the decks, stamped, at another John Deere facility. Along the line you’ll see parts being welded, assembled and tested. These tractors literally start from scratch to being started for testing and then shipped out the door.
Employees on the line don’t know where these tractors are being shipped and they don’t have a separate manufacturing process for different retailers. The D100 series and EZTrak are built to the exact same specs regardless of their final destination, be it Home Depot, Lowe’s, or a John Deere dealer. One of the greatest misconceptions is that the big box retailers get “cheaped” out John Deere’s and that’s just not true, I saw it with my own eyes.
The John Deere testing facility is in Chuckey, TN which is just down the road from the Greeneville plant and nestled on more than 300 acres of rolling Tennessee hills. It’s a gorgeous setting to ride tractors, which is all we were going to be doing, but the daily testers put the tractors through the ringer until their really isn’t much left. The tractors we drove included a D105, S240 Sport and EZTrak 665. They handled the bump track with ease and just flew up and down the hills.
The S240 Sport is a new model for this year and they’ve incorporated some premium features into a D100 type body. The creature comforts include a better seat, easier to manage controls, and headlights. It also has an 18.5 horsepower Kawasaki engine and electronic PTO.
The ride was much more comfortable on the new S240 Sport than the D155 and the seat had a lot to do with it. The padding was superior as was the suspension and seat placement which was adjustable. If you are on a tighter budget than the D155 will work fine and has been improved with auto-like pedals and cruise control.
The EZTrak models Z435 and Z625 (the one we rode) were also new for this year and the demand continues to grow for zero-turn mowers. Typically these are used by professionals but more and more homeowners who have large flat properties are opting for zero-turn mowers.
Thanks to Sarah Findle of IMRE for coordinating this trip and to the team at John Deere Marketing and Sales; Greg Weekes, Kim Ridel, Maureen McCormack, Sean Sundberg and Melissa Lycan. And a special thanks to the folks at John Deere Greeneville; Jeff Hollett, Bobby Jones and the entire staff at John Deere who were the most gracious hosts.
Click here for all of our photos.]]>
We just returned from a factory tour of the John Deere, Greeneville, Tennessee, plant. They produce the D100 series of lawn tractors and last year they moved the production of the John Deere EZTrak from their Horicon, WI plant to Greeneville. In addition to the D100 series and EZTrak they just launched the S240 Sport lawn tractor which is quite a ride!
More on the visit in a follow up post, but for now enjoy these photos of the factory and testing facility.]]>