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Irwin dropped us a note this week to let us know they’ve updated their Speedbor wood bits. Specifically, they thickened the cutting edge by 40% and expanded the shank by 25%, both changes designed to increase durability and lifespan.

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Other features remain the same, like Irwin’s “Blue-Groove” point and cutting edge design, which they claim “provides fast chip removal and cuts quickly through wood” and double cutting spurs that “scribe the outside of the hole, reducing breakout and ensuring clean, true holes.”

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Take a look at Irwin’s new Universal Handsaw. If you’re like me, the first thing you’ll wonder is, “what the heck is with that hump on the blade?” It turns out Irwin is riding the multi-tool wave. The hump provides clearance from the handle so you can use the top of the blade as a straight-edge. Also, if you butt the handle up to the edge of a board, the slot and top of the blade are perpendicular to the edge and the other side of the hump is 45° to the edge.

Irwin touts several other improvements in this saw. The triple-ground teeth supposedly eliminate binding, and they’ll cut through most materials three times faster then “traditional” hand saws while giving the finished-looking cut of a fine-cutting saw. They mold the handle from lighter-than-wood high density resin, and the 0.85mm thick blade is coated with a water-based lacquer.

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Utility knives are pretty much ubiquitous, but snap-off blade knives don’t require taking apart the knife to get a sharp edge. Irwin is looking to take this advantage of snap-off blades and use it in utility knives with their new 4-point carbon blades.

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Another tool I found useful during a recent installation of a solar-powered renewable energy system was the Irwin Unibit® #9 step drill that has what appears to be 14 total steps with two major steps sized (7/8″ and 1-1/8″) for 1/2″ and 3/4″ knockouts in electrical junction boxes and panels. We had more than one instance where an existing box had only 1/2″ KOs, and we needed to bring in some 3/4″ conduit. I suspect there’s an adapter for just this purpose, but the #9 step drill proved very handy and easily enlarged the holes in metal junction boxes. The Irwin 10239 Unibit® has a hex shank, a single-fluted cutting edge, and a SpeedPoint™ self-starting tip. They can be found online for $45 to $50.

Street Pricing [Google Products]
High Speed Steel Fractional Self Starting Unibit® [Manufacturer's Site]
Irwin 10239 Unibit 9 Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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Irwin has been busy doing what Irwin does best: making products under their ever-growing umbrella makes sense. In this case we’re talking about the Irwin Performance Threading System. In a nutshell, their new system takes a few evolutionary steps in an attempt to make our tapping projects easier.

First, Irwin sings the praises of their new self-aligning taps that feature new starter threads to get the tap aligned properly before getting cranked up. Simply place the tap in the hole and it aligns itself correctly every time. The new taps also feature a chip-breaking technology (or CBT) that helps smooth the thread-making process a little more than their older bits.
 

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The old saying goes, “You can’t have too many clamps,” and it’s largely true.  Even folks who do have too many say they need more.  Why?  Take a look at this pic from reader Jmillerid and see for yourself.

There are somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty clamps on this garage carriage door that’s being constructed, and at the moment of this shot he’s only got one side of it clamped down. The simple fact of it is that no matter what you’re thinking of doing, if clamping is involved in the process you’re often going to need more clamps than you think.

Stock up early and often.  Also we salute Jmillerid for his excellent clamp selection — those little Irwin triggers are a shop favorite for us as well.

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]
Street Pricing [Google]
Quick-Grip Trigger Clamps [Irwin]

 

Scoff if you like, but these little blue clamps deserve to be here.  We don’t often think about these 6” Irwin Quick-Grip trigger clamps until one of ‘em is broken.  The truth is, we appreciate their inexpensive nature in a very unique way -– we use the living tar out of ‘em.  We’ve tapped these things to squeeze together anything we could get their jaws around, and we never, not once, felt bad about it.

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Though a good bow saw comes in handy around the yard and camp, you don’t always want to carry around a full-size version. Irwin makes this little 12″ bow saw that looks like it’d be easy to pack and still useful around camp.  And it also accepts standard hacksaw blades — that’s one useful tool.

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Irwin is upgrading their XP Quick-Grip line that we first covered in 2006.  Now they describe the clamps as one-handed bar clamps.  The clamps feature the same Power Locks to hold pressure longer and an I-beam bar to resist twisting and bowing, but Irwin increased the rated clamping pressure to 600 pounds and added double-locking swivel jaws with removable face pads.

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A single-size tool beats an adjustable tool hands-down most of the time — but that doesn’t mean there’s no place for the adjustable tool.  For instance, if you owned this $30 adjustable bit from Irwin, you could save yourself some money by just buying the sizes you need and using this one for those rare times you need another odd size.

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