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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.

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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’ve all heard the stories about people who put up their tree only to have it tip over during the night. I’m ashamed to say it’s even happened to me once in my younger days, but over the years I’ve honed my methods and now can put up a tree the kids could climb — I wouldn’t put it past my boy, either.

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First came dual flush toilets — a pretty ingenious idea for saving water — then about a year or so ago somebody came up with the idea of a dual flush conversion kit for your existing toilet but priced it so high your grandchildren wouldn’t live long enough to see any payback. Today we noticed MJSI sells a conversion kit that doesn’t cost much more than just replacing your toilet’s guts would anyway.

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Like you, we couldn’t help but get a little excited when we heard Ace Hardware’s announcement that they’ll carry Craftsman tools. And it looks like that’ll happen as we’ve heard that Craftsman has indeed introduced Ace stores to their products. But we still have two big questions.

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What’s the word in Toolmonger land regarding the pros and cons of insulating garage doors? The picture above shows the beginning of an installation using a reflective foil kit, one of the apparently three main DIY approaches (the other two being foam panels and fiberglass rolls). Texas Garages is one site that discusses and compares the various approaches. Costs to do a single garage door range from $69 to $129.

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According to the folks at Craftsman, approximately 100 Ace stores will begin selling Craftsman tools this May. That includes portable power tools, compressors, wet/dry vacs, and storage products — but most importantly, it includes hand tools. Later this summer Ace plans to extend the extend the offer to carry Craftsman products to all of its 4,500 stores.

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When I first saw one of the plastic bubble monstrosities required for “in use” receptacle covers, I thought the idea was sound, but the execution awful. Today there are a few more models to choose from and some are even more tasteful, but most of them still stick out of the side of a house like a sore thumb.

That’s where TayMac’s flat in use cover comes in. It’s made from heavy duty polycarbonate and expands from a flush 1″ to 3-1/2″ thanks to its synthetic neoprene rubber accordion-like structure. Supposedly the materials won’t dry rot, crack or deteriorate in sunlight and are paintable.

TayMac calls this box an “in use cover” and says it’s ETL listed, yet they specially don’t mention whether it’s weatherproof or meets the 406.8(B) NEC code; although Ace claims the box is 2008 NEC compliant. So here’s the question: can you actually use this box to meet code? Maybe somebody can straighten me out in the comments.

TayMac’s flat in use cover will run you somewhere around $9. Also, when I was researching this item I found a cool resource where you can download the various building codes by state. Use the last link in the post to visit the site.

Flat In Use Cover [TayMac]
Flat In Use Cover [Ace Hardware]
Public Codes

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I recently saw a Hardware Aisle post about The Pulverizer™ from Ames True Temper/Jackson Tools. It’s a new fully-forged, heat-treated, multi-purpose concrete and demolition tool. The 12.8″ long Pulverizer™ weighs 3.5 pounds, has a heavy-duty 1-1/2″ faced sledge head, claw teeth, a 2″ scraper with nail puller, a triangular-shaped area below the head for ripping through drywall, and a shock-dampening, textured, TPE grip.

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A few months ago I was up in the attic using a trouble light to find my way around. I dropped the light, broke the bulb filament, and was left in the dark to feel my way back to the hatch. Next time I went up I brought a flashlight with me so when I dropped the trouble light for the second time I could actually see. After that experience, I asked for an LED trouble light for Christmas.

Of course, if I wasn’t such an idiot I would have been using a rough service bulb instead of a normal household bulb in the trouble light. A rough service light bulb has a shock-resistant filament so it doesn’t break when you drop it, and usually some sort of coating to contain the glass if it breaks.  Several manufacturers including Sylvania, GE, Feit, Philips, and Westinghouse make rough service bulbs that fit a medium screw base — think normal light socket — in a variety of wattages.

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Although the Spyder Scraper blade has been out for a while, for some reason I just noticed it today.  Chuck this scraper from Simple Man Products into just about any brand recip saw and you’ll be scraping paint, wallpaper, linoleum, laminate flooring, glue, rubber backed carpet, or anything that you would use a scraper to remove, only faster.

Okay, given the amount of control you have with most recip saws, I wouldn’t recommend using it for scraping wallpaper from drywall unless you really like spackling. Also being in the throes of winter, it’s probably not a good idea to use it to scrape the 1/2″ of ice from your windshield — I can’t be the only one who has thought of not trying this.

The Spyder Scraper retails for $13, but you can find it for less if you shop around.

Spyder Scraper [Coprorate Site]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]