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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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The History Channel has been playing the damn Kobalt Double Drive mini-infomercial between breaks so much I would actually buy one if I thought it’d make them stop playing it. The funny part is, as much as I’d like to make fun of it, the twisty ratchet does look pretty cool. The basic premise is, if you click it to double mode, a barrel twist each way will advance the head in the direction you’d like to go.

The Double Drive form factor isn’t funky or out of line with what a ratchet should look like, and it delivers more functionality than a standard ratchet. It reminds us a little of when the GearWrench pass-thru system first came out, but not nearly as groundbreaking. For around $20 it seems a decent investment to throw down for.

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A mechanic I know at a nearby full-service shop just purchased a pretty monstrous tool chest. It’s 53” wide, has sixteen drawers, and cost around $1900. Pretty standard fare, until you get to the part where it has a built-in refrigerator and a stereo compatible with an MP3 player. The asking price isn’t bad, but this blurs the line between tool box and lifestyle statement in this writer’s mind.

Call me old-fashioned, but I have trouble seeing the point of all this. My idea of a high-tech tool storage innovation is foam-lined drawers; speakers and a fridge make this box seem like some kind of social center rather than a storage system, but maybe that’s exactly the point. So, the question is, hot or not? Let us know in comments.

 

Anyone who frequents Lowe’s Home Improvement has no doubt seen their in-house Kobalt tool line and probably wondered if it’s any good. A recent search for a larger tool chest led me to the lower half of their 41” roll cabinet in stainless steel. It’s a good-sized unit with solid construction — nothing like a fully-welded Snap-On behemoth, but with a quality easily better than mid-range Craftsman units, and at a very good price. The steel is the same middling grade of stainless you’d find on a cheap barbecue, but while some may store their barbecues outside, no one in their right mind would leave a toolbox out in the rain.

After a few month’s use, I’ve been very happy with the unit. The wide top drawer is sensitive to uneven loading and sometimes binds on the way out, but the ball-bearing hinges are very smooth, if a little wobbly. The tall lower-right drawer is a perfect solution for tall bottles of shop chemicals, and foam-lined drawers ensure a harmless environment for your collection. For a shade over six hundred dollars, it’s hard to do better.

Kobalt 41″ Stainless Tool Cabinet [Lowe's]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

 

Lowe’s has marked down this Kobalt bow/hack saw combo to $10 in preparation for Father’s Day. The saw frame’ll take any of Kobalt’s 12″ bow saw or hack saw blades, and with the built-in tension system you can adjust the blade to just the right sturdiness for whatever you’re cutting.  The larger opening allows you to cut big items, making this very handy for projects around the house.

Kobalt Bow/Hack Saw Combo [Lowe's]
Street Pricing [Google]

 
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These sockets work where deep sockets just aren’t deep enough. Kobalt’s Thru-Ratchet sockets and ratchets are hollow down the center, so they can fit over any length of bolt.  In a lot of cases you could get the same performance out of your ratcheting wrenches, but this system allows you to get into deep recesses that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Thru-Ratchet sockets plug right in to the ratchet handle, instead of attaching to a square drive. Integrating into the handle reduces overall height by up to fifty percent over a standard ratchet and socket — which is good for areas with low clearance.

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A shiny toolbox with neatly arranged drawers and no clutter — this has to be x-mas loot if ever we’ve seen it. Toolmonger reader and Flickr pool member hopsean posted a slew of pics of his holiday haul.  One of our favorites shows a total close-up of how the drawer pull is constructed, for any interested parties.

We also love that the Kobalt boxes come with covers. Not that you’re ever going to use ‘em, but they do come with covers.

Did you get any cool, tool-related loot this year? Post it up to the photo pool — we’d love to see it!

Toolmonger’s Photo Pool [Flickr]

 

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As part of their end-of-the-year sale, Lowe’s is slashing 20% off the price on all Kobalt tool chests. With gas-spring supported lids, sturdy ball bearing slides, spacious load-bearing drawers, and a sharp finish, these chests store your tools in style. As a bonus, each well-constructed unit includes no-slip drawer liners and a dust cover.

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Most cordless drills come with on-tool storage for one or two bits, but sometimes one or two bits just isn’t enough.  That’s why Kobalt created a weird-looking bit strap: to keep you working instead of climbing. Of course, unless this bit strap gets you coffee or cleans up after you, we suspect it won’t “change the way your work.” Read on past the jump for a massive picture, plus lots more information.

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Kobalt 6in1 Screwdriver

Self-professed cheap-asses, listen up! By joining Kobalt Garage before December 31,  2007, you’ll receive an email voucher for a free 6-in-1 screwdriver. Redeeming this voucher at your local Lowe’s also enters you in Kobalt’s Test Drive and Win Sweepstakes, the grand prize of which is $4,800 in Kobalt Tools and the opportunity to wave the green flag at the Kobalt Tools 500.

A word of warning: your local Lowes store may not know about the give away. Mine didn’t. I printed out my voucher, headed to my local store, and tried to redeem it. No employees knew about the contest and they were unable find the 55 screwdrivers their computers said were in stock. I finally found one hiding among the aluminum multi-bit screwdrivers and checked out after 45 minutes.

The screwdriver is a standard 6-in1- model with #1 and #2 Phillips, 3/16″ and 1/4″ hex drive, and two different sized slotted bits. The molded rubber handle feels better in your hand than the standard cheap plastic mutli-screwdriver.

If you don’t mind trading some personal information for a $4 tool and a chance to win some more tools, this deal is for you. Just be sure to get your screwdriver before your fellow cheap-asses run the local Lowes out of stock.

Join Kobalt Garage [Manufacturer]