Clint DeBoer

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Clint DeBoer knew that professional tradesmen needed (deserved) a better source for tool reviews than what was available. So he started Pro Tool Reviews. His proof of concept – Pulling up to job sites and demonstrating a soon-to-be released power tool, brought the crowds every time.

Clint has built an editorial roster of pros that will rival any major magazine.  Every year they put a select group of tools to the test for the Pro Tool Innovation Awards, which have become the equivalent of winning an Oscar for tool innovation.

When he’s not remodeling part of his house or playing with the latest power tool, Clint enjoys life as a husband, father and avid reader. He has a degree in recording engineering and has been involved in multimedia and/or online publishing in one form or another for the past 18 years.

Clint has always been supportive of all of my blogging endeavors including my request for this interview. Thanks Clint for sharing a bit about yourself and your tools.

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Who introduced you to making and building things?
My Dad, really. He was an electrical inspector at the legendary Bethlehem Steel plant in Pennsylvania where he worked for 27 years. He spent a lot of time dealing with electricity, cranes, and things that were very, very high in the air and very dangerous. I suppose that makes you a bit fearless when it comes to home improvement. Some of that must have rubbed off on me. The funny thing is, most of my instruction was through being his gopher—getting him tools and really just observing what he was doing. Over the years I just sort of picked things up.

What feature of your workshop do you love the most?
That’s a great question. I have three “workshops”—which may need some explaining. Much of what I do involves renovation work in the inner city. We even helped plant a church in one of the most economically depressed, diverse neighborhoods close to where I live. As such, I’ve partnered with a local nonprofit (Parker Street Ministries) to help out in whatever capacity I can. Since I happen to review tools for a living, that usually includes using the tools we review on local neighborhood projects. Almost everything we do has a story to it—which is a neat angle and a fun way to review a tool. It also puts me in a position where I often need to get to tools quickly—to address a break-in, for example, or to repair a window or a leaking roof.

To solve this issue, I have several staging areas for my tools. There’s one right in the neighborhood, a second large storage shed where I live, and a third about 10 minutes away on some acreage owned by a member of my family (where I stage a lot of our outdoor power equipment reviews). Utilizing all three I’m able to do what I do more efficiently and get a lot of work accomplished.

What tool(s) always stay in your toolbox and never go in storage?
I’ve actually started using various “trade-focused” tool kits that I’ve assembled. For example, I’ll have one bag that will handle general construction tasks, an electrical bag, and even one for plumbing. That way I can just grab the right kit and go where I’m needed without having to repack so many tools.

With that said, some of my favorite tools that seem to show up everywhere I go are my Milwaukee M12 Brushless 1/4″ impact driver which I use for just about everything, a Stanley-Bostitch 16′ tape measure (the really fat one!), a set of Klein cushion-grip screwdrivers, a pair of Milwaukee 6-in-1 combination pliers, a standard Swanson SpeedSquare, and a pair of 9” Kleins (side-cutting lineman’s pliers). I also really like to use Bosch insert bits and Irwin Speedbor drill bits.

I could go on, but I don’t think you want me to mentally empty out my tool bags!

In a fire, what tool(s) would you save above all others?
I would grab every Milwaukee M18 Fuel tool I could get my hands on, toss them in my truck and attempt to run back for my Ryobi AirStrike nailers. The Milwaukee tools are incredibly powerful (as well as worth a lot of money—I mean, we’re being practical here, right?), and the Ryobi Airstrike tools have proven to be worth their weight in gold in that they have allowed me to do a tremendous amount of renovation work without having to drag along a compressor or hose. I’d also probably try and grab my ready-to-go tool kits which have all of my hand tools, measures, etc.

What task do you enjoy the most in your workshop?
I do most of my work in the field, so I think the most fun I have in my workshop is planning. I tend to use the tools I own as inspiration for how I can best accomplish a particular project. I’m very visual, so after looking at the job site I’ll come up with some ideas, but it’s often back at the shop that I look around at what I have on-hand and come up with either improvements that can save more money or perhaps a way to get an even better result. It’s almost therapeutic!

What tool do you covet that you currently do not have?
A Ford F150 Super Cab. That was easy! With all the work I do, plus having a family, that’s the one “tool” I’ve had my eye on for years but have yet to pull the trigger on. Perhaps someday soon I’ll be able to add it to my arsenal.

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