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From the (virtual) mail bin: “Have you seen or used the one-handed reciprocating saw? Home Depot and Lowe’s both have one, and I was wondering how well they work.” Indeed we have. Read on for details.

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For retail workers, Black Friday represents a dark scourge and harsh hours. It is a time of great sadness punctuated by crazy people hunting bargains much like zombies crave brains. For the rest of us, you either do Black Friday or you don’t. There are actual deals to be found but, as always, take care that what you’re feverishly spending your cash on is, in fact, a deal. Let’s take a small sampling:

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Craftsman’s Max Axess hand tools: I know they’re Gearwrench and you know they’re Gearwrench — no secret there. We all have eyes and can understand that the 51-piece toolset Sears is touting for Father’s Day is exactly that — Craftsman branded Gearwrench. It’s a smart move: take one of the best handtool systems in terms of innovation in the last ten years and put a Craftsman warranty on it. Step three, profit.

Even though GW already had a great warranty. Even though many DIY mechanics already have this same gear with a different moniker on it. When any hand tool has the word “Craftsman” bestowed upon its shiny spine, the backing of that famous warranty ensures things are going to go well. None of that matters when gleaming kits by the thousands leave the store bound for shade-tree dads everywhere this week. But we can’t really blame them for it.

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I often wonder if the level of common sense we have is directly proportionate to our dependence on others to think for us. I’m inclined to believe that, in this case, whoever made this picture is having some fun with us. Then again, I saw a pen attached to the desk at the bank the other day with a ball chain that had a breakover clasp in the middle of it and had to think to myself that it was the worst security device ever.

I’m not sure what kind of demo is going on here, but were you to steal this the joke’s on you. The Bosch model kicks the crap out of it and you’ll run out of charge before you can show it to your friends — also, no charger. Then again it did hang around long enough for someone to take the pic, so maybe everyone knew that already.

Sears Product Security [There I Fixed It]

 

What’s bigger than the Skil Multi-Cutter but smaller than a trim circular saw? If you answered the Craftsman Mini Circular Saw, well, you’re right. But Dremel now offers their own take on the tool, which looks like the 9-months-later result of a steamy night between the Craftsman and Skil. Lacking the Craftsman’s huge fence and chunky guard, the Dremel still looks a lot more versatile than the Skil.

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What is it that draws you to one screwdriver over another? Is it the grip? Strength and durability of the tip? Price? I asked myself these questions this morning, and damn if I could come up with a simple answer. Read on for my take (such that it is), and please be ready to share yours. I’m interested, and I know for a fact a number of manufacturers would love to know what you think as well.

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We wrote about Craftsman’s Hammerhead “Auto-Hammer” way back in 2008. Our initial take: It was an interesting solution to a pretty rare problem. When came in possession of one a good bit later, we were surprised to discover that it worked as advertised. (For those of you not familiar, a small anvil inside the hole you see on the head drives a nail with hundreds of short but powerful blows. It feels a little like a pneumatic palm nailer, but it’s battery powered and — as we mentioned back in ’08 — features a much different shape.) But we just couldn’t see it as a serious solution for driving thousands of nails. Rather, we suspected it would find a home more as a specialty tool for tasks like, say, driving a nail in between studs or in other tight spaces.

Enter now the updated version, the Hammerhead G2, pictured above. What, you ask, might they add? Try a light. And a rotating head.

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This month, Sears began selling Craftsman tools through Costco club outlets, including hand tools, power tools, and tool storage units. It’s not the first time the company has sold its products through potential competitors — K-Mart picked up Craftsman products after the companies merged*, and Orchard Supply Hardware in California, Fastenal retail outlets, and AAFES all carry Craftsman. Even a number of ACE Hardware stores recently started carrying the line.

Sears is reaching out essentially to one of its own major competitors — Sears Holdings is ranked #10 on the National Retail Foundations’s Top 100 Retailers list. Competitors Home Depot (#5 on the list) and Lowe’s (#8) still don’t cross streams with Sears, but Costco’s in the top ten, too, at #6, doing almost double the retail sales in the U.S. and worldwide last year. And now, by the end of the year, all 430 Costco outlets will carry the Craftsman line.

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We’re always writing about the latest and greatest drill/drivers here. But what about the guy who needs to get a job done around the house but only has, say, $50 to spend? Here’s an option: The Sears Outlet stocks the old-as-hell Craftsman C3 drill/driver for right around $30. Another $45 (conservatively) scores you a charger and a pair of the old DieHard 19.2V NiCd batteries.

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With a new truck parked outside the shop, I took the opportunity to reorganize my vehicle’s toolkit. As I shuffled things about, I found I needed different types of storage for the truck, so I began repacking with newfound efficiency. What you are looking at here (above) is the most useful thing the Craftsman Li-Ion bag has done since we destroyed all the tools that went in it a while back.

Another repurposed item was this sweet DeWalt magnetic storage box, which I found will hold an entire 40-piece socket set and still clip shut with no issue.

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