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Profile for J. Brooks > Reviews


J. Brooks' Profile

Customer Reviews: 609
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J. Brooks RSS Feed (Nampa, Idaho United States)

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Cutech 40200HC-CT 13" Spiral Cutterhead Planer W/Carbide Inserts - Professional Model
Cutech 40200HC-CT 13" Spiral Cutterhead Planer W/Carbide Inserts - Professional Model
Offered by Cutech Tool LLC
Price: $699.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Proof is in the finished product... perfect!, June 22, 2016
I spent DAYS researching all the different planers available and finally made my choice on Cutech due to their price point, features, and based on other reviews.

I ordered directly from their website and opted for the 40200HC-CT that comes with the carbide cutters already installed. I also ordered a pack of replacement carbide inserts to insure I wouldn't be down in case anything went wrong and I had to replace one of them.

The job at hand was to plane fourteen foot long 1x4s to a clean stain/finish ready surface without the need for additional sanding and this accomplished the task perfectly.
All in total over the course of a three hours I ran well over 1650 linear feet of material through the planer and it didn't even flinch. Each pass took off approximately a sixteenth of an inch to get to a nice clean surface. Only on a few of the boards was their any noticeable snipe and this was clearly due to the warpage of the 1x4. In all 95% of the boards came out with ZERO snipe. Of course a good woodworker knows how to work around/compensate for some snipe, so again this was not an issue at all especially considering less than 5% of the boards have any noticeable snipe.

My Fein shop vac did an ok job keeping up with the shavings, but it was still too much for the little vac and found myself emptying it frequently. I'd recommend a proper dust collector with a cyclone to keep the chips/shavings down. To remedy this a bit though, I used the smaller dust port with the vac and opened up the larger 4" port to a trash can. Half the chips were getting sucked up by the vac, and some of the other chips were being ejected into the trash can. This helped and was able to fill up two trash cans rather quickly.

One minor complaint/issue I had was once and a while the in-feed roller didn't want to grab the wood due to a buildup of shavings/dust on the roller. Again this was due to my issue of being able to collect all of the shavings/dust well enough. A quick shutdown of the machine and blowing off of the rollers remedied the issue for me. Again PROPER dust collection would have fixed my issue.

So overall, four hours of almost nonstop running, 1650 linear feet of material, I am proud to say this was/IS worth the money. I am very pleased and would not hesitate to recommend Cutech to anyone.
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Steelbody Olympic Weight Bar
Steelbody Olympic Weight Bar
Price: $169.99
3 used & new from $169.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Less bowing = more confidence when lifting!, June 21, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
ZERO complaints.

I own aCAP Barbell Olympic bar with a capacity of 1000lbs. With about 400lbs, there is a LOT of bow and sag, almost to the point of worrying about if it is going to hold.

With my new Steelbody, NOT an issue at all. Loaded it up with a solid 500lbs, it bowed a bit but not like the CAP bar.

Great machining on the sleeves (nice and smooth vs. the CAP which is ridges which makes getting the plates on and off a bit more difficult) . The anodized black finish is nice, just not sure how long it will last... we'll see. Smooth bearings and clean knurls that provide great grip.
Mine came in weighing 44 pounds even, not bad!

Made in China (if anyone is wondering).
Compared to other Olympic bars for quality and price, this is a no-brainer!

Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, 16 Zone 2nd Generation
Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, 16 Zone 2nd Generation
Price: $249.95
16 used & new from $212.46

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not perfect. Compared to other controllers there is a better option., June 16, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
After a massive sprinkler system install in our yard, I've been obsessed with internet/smart controllers.
Just over the past three years I've swapped out the controller four times, each one a slight improvement over the other.

I had been using a Cyber Rain XCI Pro. That unit worked great. Amazing amount of control and customization. But I wanted something better that didn't have to rely on connecting to THEIR server/cloud for information.

The Rachio Smart controller installed in no time. Just removed the Cyber Rain controller and gateway and installed this one. Took literally a minute to wire everything up. One thing I wish it had was an ethernet port. We designed out sprinkler system in a way that we have an ethernet port wired right next to the controller area for 100% uninterrupted connectivity just in case the wifi either doesn't reach OR goes a little wonky. Again, not a huge issue just something I'd like to see as an option. Additionally a 5ghz wifi band support would be nice as well... just a suggestion.

Once wired up, I began the process of any smart controller of naming zones, inputting data, etc. to insure the best watering schedule and water conservation for our yard. Due to my previous experiences with similar controllers, nothing was that different and was able to get everything set within a few minutes

The interface, while good, did take a bit more getting use to vs. the older and somewhat clunkier Cyber Rain setup. That I was fine with as Cyber Rain's interface did leave something to desire.

So does it work? Yep. Works well. Adjusts to the watering needs as necessary. The cycle and soak feature isn't a new thing at all as the Cyber Rain (as well as previous smart controllers) have/had this option OR were able to program it to due such a task.

So why three stars? Don't get me wrong, it works and it works great... but compared to a other options out there, I can't say this is the best option for my setup.
Just like other wifi controllers, you have to use their app/server stuff. This is one reason I wanted to get away from most of these smart controllers... you're kind of at their beck and call and whether or not continued support will be around for years or not. In addition, the inability to setup and program the controller without the an app/browser/wifi kinda falls inline with this. Personally I like to be 100% in control of my system and be able to control it as I see fit, whenever, wherever. Without using the app/web interface, you can not program anything.

The manual controls just okay. They're like using an Orbit or RainBird's manual controls, push a few buttons to select the zone you want and so on. Since I do all of our maintenance (such as blowouts, pressure tests, backflow/double check valve, etc.), quick and easy manual controls are a must and this is just okay enough.

At the end of the day, I made the switch to RainMachine's Touch HD-12. It's 100% cloud independent.
The RainMachine is functional even when wifi is down. Can be programed without an app or browser interface (i.e. can be done right at the controller).
The touchscreen is fast and easy to control and navigate.
It links up to PWS through WUnderground (as well as other sources) for extremely pin-point weather. Integrates with Alexa, Nest, and many other smart things. So for me, the RainMachine HD is my new preference for a smart controller, with Rachio coming in as a solid #2.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 18, 2016 4:38 PM PDT

Zinus 14 Inch Elite SmartBase Mattress Foundation for Big & Tall Extra Strong Support/Platform Bed Frame/Box Spring Replacement/Sturdy/Quiet Noise Free/Non-Slip, Queen
Zinus 14 Inch Elite SmartBase Mattress Foundation for Big & Tall Extra Strong Support/Platform Bed Frame/Box Spring Replacement/Sturdy/Quiet Noise Free/Non-Slip, Queen
Price: $129.00
6 used & new from $110.76

4.0 out of 5 stars No squeaks, sturdy, tons of storage but our mattress slides around a bit..., June 16, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was quite impressed when the Zinus Elite SmartBase arrived.

Getting ANY sort of furniture in our house is a hassle due to the odd angles of our front entry as well as hallway to the bedrooms. The clever folding design of the smart base allowed us to get it into the master bedroom very easily without issues.

Setup was even easier with no tools required. Literally just unfold it, swing the support arms in place, tighten the wing nuts down, and you're done!

Of course the main reason to get this is the amazing amount of extra space you are able to get vs. having a box spring. Overall the bed sits about 6" higher (perfectly fine for us), but we gained an amazing 8" of extra under the bed clearance. Now we can get much taller storage containers to store extra blankets, clothes, whatever we want! LOVE it!

The only reason I docked it a star is the mattress slides around on the base a lot more vs. our old frame which had little brackets on the sides that kept the boxspring/mattress from moving. That and the lack of foot and headboard mounts... seems like they could include at least a headboard mount with this base.

No squeaks or creaking, sturdy, and tons of extra storage, wish this was an option when we bought mattress and boxspring a few years back... would have saved a bit of cash by not getting the boxspring.

Venum Whey Protein - 4lbs - Chocolate
Venum Whey Protein - 4lbs - Chocolate
Price: $59.99
3 used & new from $59.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Clean, 1G sugar, NO garbage. I'm happy!, June 9, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm VERY happy with Venum's new whey protein.

First and foremost there is no spiking with cheap amino acids. Way to go Venum!
I've complained about this with several other manufacturers that like to add taurine, glycine, glutamine, etc. to "aid" their products. Some even tout the benefits of adding them as though they are extremely beneficial. Amino acids are beneficial, but in whey protein (or products claiming to be 100% whey protein), they are nothing more than nitrogen spikers and cheap filler. So again, great to see some manufacturers producing good clean product.

10-12 oz. of liquid with a scoop and a half produced the best flavor/thickness for me, but it is still a bit on the sweet side for my tastebuds. Others may find it about right. And compared to other brands, it is on the lower end of being too sweet... just needs dialed back a little bit or have more cocoa added to it. As for flavor, it's fine. Nice chocolate taste.

One additional complaint about the product, that I do like to see on protein mixes, is typical amino acid profile per scoop/per 100g. I like to know where I am with my EAAs.

NO soy lecithin. NO gluten. NO fillers. I'm loving it!

GearWrench 9412 12 Piece Metric Ratcheting Wrench Set
GearWrench 9412 12 Piece Metric Ratcheting Wrench Set
Offered by Tool Deals
Price: $60.28
50 used & new from $56.06

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete set that isn't garbage, impressed!, June 8, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I honestly wanted to hate these as soon as I opened up the box. The packaging looks cheap and feels cheap. The blow molded holder is crappy (the larger wrenches were loose right from the get go and don't fit well). The finish/surface of all the wrenches I received were covered in black smudges.

Well after actually putting them to use I can say they are quite nice without any actual complaints.

These are made in China if anyone wants to know (as sometimes this info is not established or published). Take that as a pro or a con. For me, with most hand tools that will get abused, it doesn't matter a whole lot.

The open end of each wrench fits perfectly nice on the nut or bolt. ANSI standards are spot on with these.
But of course the main reason you'll want these are the ratcheting box end. Unlike other ratcheting box end wrenches, they have a much smaller diameter head, thus allowing you to get into tighter spaces easier.

They are also extremely low profile. For instance the head of the 13mm GearWrench measures a mere 6.25mm thick. Compared to the 13mm I have of a well known "industrial" brand that is 9mm thick. 3mm might not seem like much, but in tight spaces that extra bit of clearance can make a huge difference.

They are also completely flat, No 5°, 10°, or 15° offset like many other wrenches out there. Personally I prefer them to be nearly flat like this as the offset can cause more issues then it helps.

Once I got past the initial thoughts and complaints about these, they are damn near perfect for everything I do. From automotive repair, tinkering, and building things, they have already been a great asset.

Lifetime warranty.
Ratchet end needs only a 5° throw to ratchet.
Smaller heads than other wrenches out there on the market.
Thinner heads as well, for tighter spaces.
Flat (no offset).
Easy to change from tightening to loosening just by turning the wrench over and going the other direction (i.e. no ratchet switch to fiddle with).
All sizes included, from 8mm to 19mm.

Included holder is garbage.
Really wish they included a 6mm and/or a 7mm as I use those sizes a lot for some projects.

Linksys Max-Stream MU-MIMO Tri-Band AC5400 Wi-Fi Router (EA9500)
Linksys Max-Stream MU-MIMO Tri-Band AC5400 Wi-Fi Router (EA9500)
Price: $349.99
10 used & new from $339.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing range, simple to setup, but one tiny little issue..., June 6, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Our internet, or more specifically our WiFi, has been a bit spotty over the last few months. I believe this is due to the old age of our outdated Qwest/CentryLink provided modem/router combo (Actiontec Q1000). In addition I've been trying to get a better overall signal strength throughout the rest of the house (again limited by the crappy ISP provided router). I purchased a Nighthawk X4 WiFi Range Extender from Netgear which helped, but was still having issues. One issue in particular I was having was streaming videos on Amazon via our LG TV. Literally every time I tried to stream something I would get the "Insufficient Bandwidth" message for no reason and I know it's not a bandwidth issue, thus I was wondering if it was a congestion issue with all of the devices we have overwhelming the crappy little router.... so we'll see.

Initial setup of this Linksys Max-Stream MU-MIMO Tri-Band AC5400 was a bit rocky. The included quick start guide had incorrect information about the unit. The wireless network ID printed on the guide said "Linksys01484", but the unit had different numbers (obviously I'm not going to publish them for security reasons), so the wireless password provided in the guide didn't work. So right out of the gate I was a bit miffed.
To remedy this, I connected directly to the unit via an ethernet cable, plugged in the IP address for the Linksys via my browser, logged into the router, and reset the password for the WiFi. Simple enough and now I can continue setting things up wirelessly.

Once that was fixed, I put the old router/modem into bridged mode, plugged our ISP credentials into the Linksys, and BAM! I was up and running.

Getting everything setup was dirt simple. The initial setup page (picture #1) has everything right at your fingertips. I jumped right in and setup the wireless with updated network names for both the 5Ghz and 2Ghz signals, input the passwords I wanted, etc.. Again this took ZERO time to do.

I then went around to all of my devices and began the tedious process of connecting all of them to the up and running Linksys. With a few of them a simple press of the WPS button and I was done. For a few of the older devices, they required a bit more work (no fault of the router at all). Once that was done I went back into the Linksys Smart WiFi center to tinker around some more.

On the Network map I was able to see which devices were connected as well as via what method (be it ethernet port, 2Ghz, or 5Ghz WiFi). I also updated their icons with the best representation just because (see picture #3).

In addition to how fast and easy getting all of the settings exactly how I wanted, the media prioritization this has is a really nice feature. This allowed me to prioritize certain devices as well as games and applications that are frequently used to insure the best performance.

Final results? Well the LG TV no longer gets the "Insufficient Bandwidth" when streaming Amazon videos.
The spotty reception has cleared up. For example, in the dining room which is about 60+ feet in a straight line, with a half dozen walls in the way, the signal strength is still pushing 40%-50%.
With all of the computers, printers, streaming devices, and other network devices, things no longer seem congested/struggling to load (able to split things up on both the 5Ghz and 2Ghz bands). And just overall a more stable network with zero issues thus far.

Now why did I give it four stars?
The initial setup was a bit of a pain (hopefully others get the correct network ID/Password in their qucik start guide for their units and don't have to go through what I did). And the lack of being able to wall mount this unit is a little bit of an issue for me as that is my preferred way to have my routers. The Netgear AC5300 Nighthawk X8 tri-band router (R8500-100NAS) does allow for wall mounting... so for others like myself who prefer having the router wall mounted, that may be a selling point.

Easy setup within minutes.
No error messages, hangups, snags, or anything during the entire setup process.
No prolonged "device resetting" or having to cycle the unit off and on.
GREAT web interface.
Amazing reception/range.
No abundant stupid flashing lights all over the place (settings also allow for turning off the activity lights, though you really can't see them to begin with).
Ability to prioritize devices and services.

Not wall mountable.
Kinda large footprint.
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Delta Power Equipment Corporation 36-267 Foldable Miter Saw Stand, Black
Delta Power Equipment Corporation 36-267 Foldable Miter Saw Stand, Black
Price: $199.00
4 used & new from $165.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Metabo barely fits and it's sturdy!, May 31, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've been needing a stand for my Metabo KGS305 for about two years due to it's size and unwieldiness (80lbs) as it's just not fun getting it out and setting it up. As for as often as I use the saw (at least once a week now), easy of storage and moving it was priority #1. With this Delta foldable stand I've finally found a solution for my problem.

First off was assembly. For the most part it was fairly straightforward. The handles, wheels, saw stand brackets, and saw supports are all you need to attach as it's mostly assembled right in the box.
The instructions were fine with only one real issue, they refer to the hardware you need to use, lets say for stabilizer bar, with the exact metric size (M10 x 55mm). This is fine but the lack of labeling on the packets of nuts and bolts leaves one guessing. A simple solution would be to label the packets with "Stabilizer Bar Hardware" or something along those lines to make more clear versus guessing or having to get a hardware gauge out and measuring things them to make sure you have the correct ones for the installation.

The instructions also refer to the unit having "large rubber feet" and "smaller rubber pads", neither of those statements are true. These rubber pieces they are referring to are nothing more than plastic, which are already showing signs of major wear. This I found was odd because both of these parts SHOULD be rubber as they make contact with the ground every time you open or collapse the unit. I hope replacement urethane or rubber feet/pads can be purchased as I know I will have to be replacing these within a few months.

Once assembled, I began to mount my 12" Metabo on it which BARELY fit. I was pleased to see as I had to return another stand that wasn't able to accommodate this massive unit.

Everything was going smoothly until I needed to make a miter cut at 45°... this is when I ran into a snag. The included bolts to mount the saw are far too long, thus preventing the saw from swinging past about 35° in either direction (see picture #1). So I am going to have to get shorter carriage bolts to remedy this issue. Other saws may fit just fine, but it is a concern that you may want to be aware of especially if you have this particular Metabo saw like I do.

The rubberized wheels are nice and work well on grass and concrete. Through rocks (pea gravel and 3/4 stone), the unit sinks just by the shear weight of everything but still passible. Pneumatic wheels would be a nice upgrade to make it a bit more rugged but unnecessary for most users.
Adjusting the supports and stops is fast with just a turn of a knob. The extensions slide out easily by pressing and holding onto the rail lock lever. Once you let go of the lever the extension locks in place without having to do anything else. And the droop of the extensions is quite minimal compared to other miter stands.

With the saw mounted I am now able to transport and set things up within seconds. The added storage tray to the right of the saw is nice addition, great place to put your tape measure, pencils, or other things you may need right at your hands.
One thing I was surprised by was how stable the stand is with the unit vertically, I swore it was going to tip over with that much weight on it but it doesn't (see my second picture).

So for now I'm pleased enough with this Delta stand and hope it will hold up over the next few months.
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Roundup Extended Control Weed and Grass Killer Plus Weed Preventer II Concentrate, 16-Ounce
Roundup Extended Control Weed and Grass Killer Plus Weed Preventer II Concentrate, 16-Ounce
Price: $17.32
13 used & new from $15.08

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beats pulling weeds by hand for four hours..., May 31, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We have a property that butts up against our back fence that the owner can't control the weeds too well (elderly). Because of this spurweed, bindweed, thistle, puncture weed, foxtail and other sorts of unwanted vegetation grows unchecked and begins to migrate through to our side. We've previously removed all of the weeds by hand (roots and all) with good results. This kept the weeds down for about a month before they came back hard.

With this new Roundup Extended Control we are achieving results similar to that of meticulously removing them by hand, but without the time consuming and backbreaking labor involved.

Most of the broadleaf weeds appeared to be 'hurt' just a few hours after application, with the grasses looking kind pretty bad within that day. The bindweed is kind of the wildcard for us. Sometimes it dies off fast and other times it it looks like it was only partially affected.

As for preventing new weeds from growing, it seems to be doing a decent job. We just occasionally have to reapply it to the area which I guess is somewhat expected.

So compared to the regular Roundup, I'm quite pleased with the Extended Control. It's not a 100% killer of all vegetation, but it comes close and makes my life that much easier.

8 Element Bowtie Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna - 70 Mile Range
8 Element Bowtie Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna - 70 Mile Range
Price: Click here to see our price
70 used & new from $128.98

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Signal is coming it nice and clear now, huge upgrade!, May 26, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I decided we needed to upgrade our antenna as well as the coax runs throughout the house.
After looking for a few hours I opted for this 8 element bowtie from Antennas Direct as we are about 40 miles away from the point of broadcasting and wanted the best possible clarity and chance of a good solid signal for all channels.

In addition I picked up two of their VHF retrofit kits to insure I picked up every channel out there.

Once received, I put it together (simple process) and installed the retrofit kits on top of each pair of bowties. I immediately noticed that the tips of the retrofit antennas touched/overlapped each other by an inch or two. Not wanting this, I took the antenna apart and made my own bracket that spaced the two a bit further apart, thus resolving the slight issue.

I then installed it to a our 10' roof mast, used a compass to aim the antenna into the correct directions of the broadcasting towers and secured everything.

The results? Originally the signal strength for most channels was 60%-70%. Now we're at a constant 75%+ (80% on the major networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and CW) and signal quality is always at 100%. We even picked up a handful of additional channels we didn't even know were in the area.

The reason for 4 stars? The quality of the bracket that this antenna came with is kinda poor (thin aluminum tube). The black coating on the element was chipped off in several spots. And the coax cables it came with were not that great (make your own with RG6).
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