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Posts by: Scott Rupert

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Last year I wrote about choosing our daughter’s first car using 9 criteria. Less than a month later Toolmongers read about “The Dent” and what a non-event it turned out to be, thanks to these criteria. Now, a year later, it’s time for an update. What other bumps and bruises did the car receive? How did the car’s mechanical systems hold up? Did our daughter ever find out how fast it could go? Basically, did the 9 criteria work, and how exactly did our teen’s first wheels fare during a year of use?

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With severe drought crippling a significant portion of the U.S. this summer, lawn irrigation is an art every Toolmonger with a yard has considered. While I don’t have an in-ground irrigation system, I’ve been somewhat successful using a few Nelson’s Raintrain traveling sprinklers. They can cover a significant portion of the average yard in the limited hours available for best watering, saving money and allowing you a full night’s sleep. However, just like any car or household machinery, these suburban practice farm machines sometimes break. Fortunately, with an online part order and a little time, they can be brought back to life to water again another day.

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I love my son. Why he chose the single most expensive position in sports on the planet to specialize in, I will never know. If you asked him why he chose to be a hockey goalie he’d probably spout some drivel about the adrenaline rush he gets when facing a hard rubber puck coming at him at 120 mph. Personally I think anyone who wants to play hockey goalie is nuts.

In case you’ve never felt a hockey puck before, it’s not a sponge — 120-mph moving puck can do real damage if it hits you. That’s why having good functional equipment is paramount. Playing hockey in its own right is an expensive sport, but playing hockey goalie can bankrupt you if you let it. So when my son’s leg pad recently needed a repair I decided rather than dropping $1200 for new pads, I’d suck it up and do some sewing.

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In July, Chuck wrote about the looming end to incandescent bulbs 40 Watts and higher. Unfortunately Congress has yet to act to repeal any of these bans. However, many debates remain on whether the newer CFL or LED bulbs will really offer a savings over time in relation to incandescent bulbs. With 2012 and the first phase-in of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act inching closer, some entrepreneurs have decided to play the futures game and stock up on the soon-to-be-banned bulbs.

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A few weeks ago I wrote about our selection for our teenage daughter’s first car and listed at least nine criteria for parents choosing a teen’s first car. Criteria #7 was “We wanted something that wouldn’t be a big deal if it did get banged up a little.” This morning, after less than two months of ownership, I had the honor of discovering firsthand why I had the criteria in the first place: “The Dent.”

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Odds are that if you’ve been watching live TV lately, you’ve caught this Half Time Drill Drive advertisement. The idea for the product certainly has appeal: Who hasn’t been involved in projects requiring a drilled pilot hole followed by a screw? But chucking and re-chucking the drill bit and the screw driver head takes forever and is an annoying, repetitive task.

While we at Toolmonger reserve judgment on the longevity and durability of this innovation, we applaud the outside-the-box thinking it took to create this solution. If you’ve used the Half Time Drill Driver we’d love to hear what you think of it.

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Shortly after moving into my current house in 2003, I looked years ahead in the calendar and saw event after event that we’d be hosting at our home. These events ranged from garage sales to graduation parties to neighborhood events to perhaps even The Father of the Bride’s worst nightmare — our daughter’s wedding. Each of those events were going to require signs directing people to our house. So instead of buying flimsy little metal wire signs that blow down with the slightest gust or relying on poster-board that disintegrates with the lightest drizzle, like any good Toolmonger I decided to construct them myself. They’ve turned out to be incredibly useful over the years, so as I was pulling them out of the garage this week for yet another event I thought I’d share them.

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The barbecue grill may be this Toolmonger’s favorite tool. In that light, this past weekend we made an awesome discovery: as we were cleaning out the kitchen cupboards we ran across this awesome Weber grilling cookbook, which I had completely forgotten I had and can’t remember picking up in the first place. The book is almost as old as I am, but the recipes are timeless. What better way to prepare for the upcoming American famous outdoor grilling holiday, Labor Day?

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Money seems tight everywhere these days, but that doesn’t mean Murphy’s Law has taken a vacation. On any given day the car brakes might start squeaking and need new pads, the water heater could stop working, the check engine light could come on, or the lawn mower could quit. No one’s an expert on everything, but with a simple online search a Toolmonger can locate how-to websites or videos. There’s also Smartflix, a DVD rental Netflix service for the “How-to”er that Chuck wrote about a few years ago. I’ve found a number of these videos, websites, and forums incredibly useful in the last couple of years and can’t think of a better way to help get the job done on my own.

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We ran across this great story and had to pass it along: In a classic case of both saving government money and using something for more than it was designed to do, United States Air Force Academy Cadet First Class Joel Noble fixed a B-1B bomber during his summer Operational Air Fore tour — by using common household spray foam. The exact brand wasn’t named, but it was stated to cost only $5. That’s a far cry from a $20,000 hammer or a $30,000 toilet seat. C1C Noble, we here at Toolmonger salute you and wish you well on your last year at the Academy and a long and distinguished career as a pilot.

You can check out the full story at the Air Force Academy’s website by clicking here.