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The FatMax magnetic tape honestly looks like a normal FatMax with a magnet clipped to the hook — but sporting a $22 price tag instead of the $8 you’d find with the standard leverlock. However, as with many Stanley tape products, the benefits of the magnetic tape are a little more subtle than might first be expected.

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Any power tool consists of a power system — a drive motor, essentially — and a series of mechanical devices that interconnect that drive to some kind of spinning or reciprocating tool: a drill, saw, or driver. So why not just make the motor and handle detachable from the rest of the mess (interconnect and tool) and sell the latter separately so you can just swap them onto the tool when you need them?

Well, we can think of three or four reasons why it might not work. But Black & Decker decided to give it a try. They’re calling it the “Matrix” system: a battery/motor/trigger in a drill/driver form factor along with a series of attachments, currently a drill/driver, oscillating tool impact driver, jigsaw, detail sander, trim saw, and router.

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We have a ton of super cheap-ass plastic folding sawhorses around the Toolmonger shop, and we use the hell out of ‘em. They’re awesome because while they’re pretty limited in what they’ll hold, they don’t cost much so you don’t feel bad if you get paint all over them or accidentally break one from time to time. We also have a couple of Stanley’s FatMax Mobile Project Centers, which we like as well, though we’re a little more careful with those. That’s why these otherwise-pretty-blah sawhorses caught my eye: they’re cheaper than a project center, but they look significantly stronger than the all-plastic sawhorses we currently own.

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Over the years we’ve written about a number of different devices designed to crack the combination on clamshell packaging, but every year about this time we like to round up the best of the articles and comments on the subject to give you a better alternative to destroying your good scissors or stabbing yourself in the leg.

Way back in 2006 we wrote about the OpenX — arguably the most heavily-promoted of the packaging-specific knives. It’s essentially a utility knife in a captured end. One commenter received the OpenX as a first gift for Christmas that year, all with the plan of him using it to open the rest of his presents. That’s a great idea in our book, and the OpenX worked well for him. But commenters on our piece about the later, more complicated Zibra Open It tool in 2007 differed. One commenter related that he bought a couple of OpenXs for friends, but received tools with dull blades that couldn’t handle average packaging. Most commenters seemed to like the Open It’s cutter-style design, but virtually all of them admitted that they use more classic tools for the job of de-packaging loot. Some of their solutions:

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TM reader rrcarlson12 posted some pics of the ViseGrip locking pliers above to the TM photo pool. He writes: “They have a patent date of 1942 and don’t have a separate release lever. But these weren’t made by Irwin, who released a similar model within the last few years as stated in the post on CH Hanson locking pliers.”

Indeed! The “new” Irwin ViseGrips without a release lever seem to work pretty much the same way as the ones pictured. (Check the photo pool for additional photos, including some closeups of the mechanism.) As far as I can tell the only major difference between the modern ones and the WWII-era pliers are the thermo-plastic rubber overmolds.

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Sean gave you a quick mention of DeWalt’s new 20V MAX line recently, and I’ll agree: it’s damn interesting. We’ve got a lot more information on these coming, but let’s start out with the most commonly-purchased power tool, the drill/driver.

First and foremost, let’s get this out of the way: If you looked at the 12V MAX line and thought, “Wow! That looks pretty modern compared to previous DeWalt tools. I wish they’d update the 18V line the same way,” then you’ll be happy. That’s pretty much what they’ve done. But as the origin tools of the new 20V MAX line, these three tools say a lot about DeWalt’s latest direction. Read on for details.

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Big thanks to TM reader Matt who emailed us about this awesome video from the DIY Network in which Norm Abram shows off what might just be the most intricate, ornate, and artful tool chest… in the world. (/Clarkson). Norm says it was built by a Boston piano maker named “Henry Studley” (completely appropriate surname, btw) and features Honduran mahogany with ebony panels. But the magic is inside.

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I’m not sure how old the Surform Shaver is, but I can’t remember seeing one until recently. Maybe I’ve walked past it hundreds of times in the tool aisles but just noticed it now because I recently used a Surform file.

The Surform Shaver takes the screen-like Surform blade, cuts it down to 2-1/2″, and curves it. The resulting blade fits into a 7-1/4″ long polypropylene body that can fit into tight spaces. To shave right up to corners, Stanley exposes the teeth on one side of the blade.

Pricing for the Surform Shaver starts at $3 online. Replacement blades can cost as much as a new Surform Shaver or as little as $14 for 6.

Surform Shaver [Stanley]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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Remember back when we told you about the Stanley Black & Decker merger, speculating that you’d see some of the underlying brands breaking out of their previous molds? It’s happening. Above you see a pretty straightforward folding retractable utility knife. But it’s part of DeWalt’s new hand tool line, which we understand will include all sorts of tools you probably never expected to see under the DeWalt brand. We’ll have more on those additions in coming weeks and months, but let’s start off with a look at this little utility knife.

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BuildingOnline.com reported this week that DeWalt and Empire announced “that they will end their partnership on the private label line of professional box levels that Empire Level licensed, designed and manufactured in 2010 under the DeWalt brand.” Considering DeWalt’s new Stanley Black & Decker heritage, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

What may be surprising, however, is what else comes from this still-shaking-out merger. Back when it first happened, we received a lot of reader mail. You were concerned about discontinuation of popular product lines, and you hoped for new, greater ones. We posted some of our best guesses — including new combos of power and hand tools crossing traditionally-separated brands and price categories — and we’re still convinced we’re on the right track. Of course, we’ll know even more when we see available products.

DeWalt/Empire Agree To End Private Label Partnership [BuildingOnline]