Tool History

Vibe-All: Invented Out of Necessity

I invented the Vibe-All because I needed a concrete vibrator for a small-scale pour I was working on here in Vermont. I didn’t want to rent a big industrial-grade tool for $200 a day, and I wondered how I could convey the vibrating force of my recip saw into the 1/3rd of a yard of concrete I was pouring that day to reinforce a basement wall.

I’d heard of old-timers who made vibrators by sandwiching boards onto recip saw blades. But that was messy, and the boards flew off when I tried it. So, I came up with my own concept and sketched it out. Then, I had a machine shop fab-up a couple prototypes.

Next, I gave those prototypes a try in the field. They seemed to work great, and I had a friend (thanks Jordan!) create drawings in CAD.  With the CAD drawings, I commissioned what are known as production prototypes. I modified my initial prototypes and made the tool longer, with a larger, thicker head. I handed out a few of these prototypes to trusted contractors I knew, and they tried them on their jobs. I absorbed feedback (thanks especially to Mike G!) and I modified the tool again, making it even stiffer.

Finally, with all the kinks taken out of the prototypes, I went to full production, and that’s what you see for sale today.

Writing About and Reviewing Tools

I have a long history with home building and tool reviewing. For years, I edited the Journal of Light Construction (I started there when it was still called New England Builder). Among the many topics I covered were tools and tool inventors. I also was on the editorial team that launched Tools of the Trade magazine, and I worked there as a contributing editor at the same time I wrote for JLC, appraising tool samples that manufacturers sent to us and monitoring tool news.  I saw lots of ideas come across my desk, some of which were brilliant, like a reset-able digital level and Extend-a-Level…and some that flubbed, like the triangular hammer head. I applied these “lessons learned” to my invention, and I added a measure or two of what I’d learned years earlier when — as a teenager — I worked as a laborer pouring pool slabs and footers in northern New Jersey. Even then, as we whacked the forms to get the concrete to settle, I knew there had to be a better way. I think I have found that “better way” with Vibe-All.

I hope that you can use the Vibe-All productively. It’s great tool for small-scale pours, like footers, stair forms, pads, and those tight corners in ICFs. If you find a particularly good use for it, email me. Send along a photo if you can, I’ll try to put it on the site. Also, if you have a suggestion for how to improve the Vibe-All, send that along too.

So, here’s to hoping you’re shaking up your world with the Vibe-All. I wish you and your families all the very best.

John D. Wagner
Vibe-All inventor © 2014