Innovation Over Time
The world of framing has undergone radical changes in the 21st century. The transition from hand driven nails to pneumatic guns and now battery-powered cordless nailers has changed the way framers work and the tools they use. For example, just a generation ago, framer carpenters drove 16 and 8 penny nails from dawn to dusk while dodging an array of cords and hoses around the job site. Nail guns were heavy and unreliable, but necessary. Walls and foundations were leveled and plumbed with transits, levels and string. Roof sheathing was nailed down with tacks, but a talented framer could almost roll them out of his hand and drive them in one strike.
Framing has become a far more efficient art today with the emergence of new materials, new methods and new tools. Walls are easily sheathed on the ground and lifted into place with forklifts. Cordless tools have replaced all of the corded saws and pneumatic nailers on site – or even impact drivers and structural screws. Markers and mechanical pencils have taken over for carpenter’s pencils and lasers and have become the dominant tools for layout. Of course, a reliable square, a tape measure and a chalk line are still part and parcel of a day’s work.
Mechanical lifts have also taken the place of ladders in many instances. The main theme of framing innovation over the years has been that tools became more lightweight, portable and more efficient as the years went by.
Frame Carpentry Today
As with any innovation, the tools for frame carpentry have significantly improved over time. So, what are the right tool pouches for a framer? Well, it all depends on your personal work style.
We have developed our largest tool pouches with input from post frame contractors and residential framers. However, some of those same testers have now shifted to our smallest pouches. Why? The answer is simple: workflow.
The world of frame carpentry is split into two types of trade experts. Some framers live with the creed that any trip down the ladder is a waste of time and money. Those guys and gals want every tool that they will need throughout the day, in their pouches. We will call this group “packhorses”. Other carpenters find it easier to load their bags each morning for the expected tasks at hand. For them, carrying less weight and being more mobile is a reasonable trade off for the occasional trip back to the van. We will call this group “racehorses”.
The Diamondback® systems can accommodate both types of frame carpenters with our wide selection of the framing tool belt. For the packhorse, either the GRRande or the Denali are the best choices. For the racehorse, we recommend the Artisan or even the Maestro. Buckle up the GRRande and you’re loaded for bear, or run light in the Artisan with a couple of DBSax for days when you need extra H-clips or 6″ structural screws.
For our packhorses, we recommend:
The GRRande (Ox and Mule) system has the largest and most open pouches so it is the choice for those who carry large fasteners (60d nails, H clips, structural screws) or wear gloves on a daily basis. The tape pocket on the Ox is sized for a 35′ tape, and there is a built-in gun hook. The open pouches make it easy to see your tools, but they also hang further off of your body so they can limit your mobility. The set includes the Hammer Holster.
The Denali (Elias and Wrangell) is the traditional UItimate Framer that has been around since the 90’s. The pockets are slightly smaller than those on the GRRande, but there are 4 on each side including one with a hook and loop closure on the Elias. There is also a bit index for storing driver bits and a gun hook. The Denali includes both the Hammer Holster and Flat Bar Holster.
For our racehorses, check out:
The Artisan (Miter and Eagle) has smaller pockets and a smaller frame than the Denali or GRRande, but it carries all of your basic tools with exceptional organization. The Artisan can be expanded as needed with accessories like the 722 Slingshot or DBSax for additional tools or fasteners. This system is perfect if you change fasteners often and prefer to keep them organized in tool crates or boxes. Simply grab the DBSax you need on a given day, and put them back when you’re done. The Artisan includes a bit index and the Hammer Holster.
At first glance, the Maestro (Mazo/Clavo/Hammer Holster) may seem like an odd choice for a framer with its small footprint and limited capacity, but it can easily be expanded with accessories if you want to run extra-light. Upgrade the Clavo to the Eagle to give you a place for your speed square and you can knock out a full day’s framing without carrying extra weight. That’s what you have an apprentice for after all.