The Good: Durable, Easy to use, Practical and necessary for caulking, Inexpensive
The Bad: Not the most exciting gift of all time.
The Basics: A very basic tool, the 9" caulking gun is a no-frills tool that does what it is designed to, no more/less, which is durable and will last a long time.
I have been doing quite a bit of yardwork lately and using all sorts of tools lately. I figured I would have an easy time writing recommendations for some of the devices I was using. I went for simple and I'm recommending the simple over the complex when it comes to caulking guns.
It turns out there are now power caulkers and "no drip" caulk guns, but the truth is, any manly man who is a do-it-yourselfer is likely to just want a basic caulking gun that they can use for several decades. The simple, 9" caulking gun is the ideal way to go and for the dad who has everything but a caulking gun, this makes for a great, practical gift (especially if you bring some caulk for it!). In fact, the new models of basic caulking gun sometimes come with annoying new features which fathers who grew up using the classic caulking guns will just be annoyed by. So, for example, new "deluxe" caulking guns often have a spine on the underside of the barrel that flips out to poke the hole in the tip to allow caulking to be squeezed out of the tube. Unfortunately, this giant, solid needle is unable to penetrate the newer bottles (like those of DAP 3.0) and they can flip out at inopportune moments. As a result, sometimes simpler is better and the handy dad will appreciate that.
A 9" caulking gun, then, is one of the indispensable tools for homeowners. A good 9" caulking gun can last over twenty years and they are inexpensive enough to make it a real value over the long term. This 9" caulking gun is made of heavy coated aluminum or tin (it is coated with a light powdercoat that keeps it protected because most are not steel. The center rod for the moving part is steel, though. A caulking gun is an essential tool because virtually any small but noticeable hole in a house or roof may be patched using caulk and to caulk one needs a caulking gun. Caulk is a white, thick paste that bonds to various types of materials (wood, metal, shingles, etc.), flexes in various temperatures and forms a watertight seal. As a result, it protects a home from water damage by creating a seal over holes in a structure. The tubes are nine inch long plastic cylinders with a nozzle at one end. In order to dispense the caulk, though, a special tool - caulking gun - is needed as caulk tubes are designed to have the product pushed from the bottom of the tube to the top. The 9" caulking gun has three essential parts: barrel, handle, and release mechanism.
The barrel of the caulking gun is a nine inch metal half-cylinder that is connected to the handle and butt of the gun. The barrel is designed to cradle a single tube of caulk, with the nozzle fitting through a hole in the front of the barrel and held there by a little wall. The front end of the barrel has a hole for the nozzle and the back end is a full support which has the mechanism which pushes the caulk out of the tube. The caulking gun is ridiculously easy to load. Simply take a tube of caulk, slide it into the back of the gun over the disk in the butt of the gun, and drop the front of the tube into the support hole at the front of the gun. After that, adjust the tube to be supported at the front of the barrel by pushing the steel rod forward until it meets resistance.
The 9" caulking gun is simple to use as well as load. The barrel is attached to a handle which has a second handle extending out in front of it. The handle is a simple metal rod which extends about four inches below the base of the barrel. With the thumb hooked behind the main handle, one need only extend their fingers and wrap them around the trigger handle, which extends out from the base of the handle at a forty-five degree angle. Use of the caulking gun is easy, then; simply squeeze the trigger handle toward you and this forces the steel rod with the disc on it (in the barrel) up toward the front of the nozzle, which pushes the caulk out the hole in the nozzle. Gently squeezing the trigger handle causes the caulk to ooze out and the user needs to simply aim the caulk at the hole or seam they are looking to fill, press the nozzle to it (this is not an operation that may happen from a distance!) and squeeze the trigger. The gun does the work of dispensing the caulk, one's arm motion does the work of spreading the caulk where one wants it to end up. To stop the flow of caulk, simply release the trigger handle on the caulking gun!
Cleaning the 9" caulking gun is simple as well. One need only push the release mechanism at the back, pull out the steel rod and pop the empty caulk tube out of the caulking gun. The release mechanism is a tab which is attached to a spring. Pushing the spring releases the pressure on the rod which allows it to push deeper into the caulking tube with each squeeze of the handle. As a result of releasing the tension there, one can simply pull back the steel rod which is responsible for moving the caulk. Pulling that steel rod - and the metal disc attached to its end - back to the butt of the caulking gun gives the clearance necessary to pop the caulk tube out. After the caulk tube is out, the caulking gun may be wiped off with a rag (wiping is usually necessary as caulk is designed not to wash off metal surfaces, unless one is using high pressure washers).
This is a simple tool, inexpensive enough, but for any dad this and a tube of caulk are a great gift because when one needs caulk and a caulking gun, it's nice to have it on hand and not have to go out to the store for it!
For other tool reviews, please check out my reviews of:
Jet Dry Turbo
Method Pink Cleaning Wipes
Stanley 6 5/8" Screwdriver
For other home and garden product reviews, please be sure to visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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