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This year I was smart: Rather than let everybody know what stores I usually shop at, I told everybody if they didn’t know what to get me for Christmas, buy me gift cards from Sears. That way I’d be able to stack them to get something good. So Sunday I went and picked up this Freud stacked dado set as my “gift.”

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A holding screwdriver is a useful tool in many applications, because sometimes no matter how you try, you can’t hold the screw yourself.  So last year Wera introduced the Screw Gripper, an accessory that turns any of their screwdrivers, and probably most other brands, into a holding screwdriver.

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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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We’ve posted about ratcheting adjustable wrenches from Sears before. Now it looks like they’re selling a more promising ratcheting adjustable wrench from Schroeder. Unlike the laminated steel Reflex, the Schroeder wrench is actually forged from chrome-vanadium steel and heat treated.

The wrench appears to ratchet by using a spring-loaded worm gear that allows the adjustable jaw to move when it turns in one direction and probably jams the jaw against the fastener in the other. A switch on the side of the wrench controls whether the worm gear moves, allowing the jaw to ratchet, or remain fixed.

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You knew it was coming. With all the digital readouts being sold on the market, it was only a matter of time before somebody slapped one an a router. Now Craftsman’s digital plunge router comes with an on-board digital display for setting cut depth.

The display reads in increments of 1/64″ and you control it via three buttons: the on/off/zero button, the in/mm button, and the light button. You use the display to zero the bit and dial in the cut depth anywhere between 0 and 2″ with the depth stop knob. After locking in the depth knob, the tool works just like any other plunge router.

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The “Heavy Duty ‘Driver’ Bench Saw” from a 1931 Sears/Craftsman catalog, only four years after Sears registered the brand, boasted that it came “complete with motor” and Timken tapered roller bearings. It cost $9.50 at the time (an average month’s rent on a house was $18), and was considered innovative for its speed and durability. What I find interesting is how little the basic technology of the table saw has changed in 80 years — or how advanced it was for its time.

1972 Craftsman 10" bench saw for $159

1972 Craftsman 10 Inch bench saw for $159

Modern Craftsman 10 Inch Table Saw, $799

Modern Craftsman 10 Inch Table Saw, $799

The modern Craftsman 10″ runs on exactly the same 1.5 hp, and at 3450 rpm is in many ways the same tool as the Depression-era saw. Though I have to admit that I see some pretty big changes in the 40-or-so years between the first saw and the second — besides the fact that the price seems to have dropped significantly, at least in relative terms. (Considering that one can rent a house now for $750 to, say, $1,500, you can now own a Craftsman 10″ saw for somewhere between half and the same price.)

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We receive a lot of press releases, and generally they feature one gimmick or another to try to attract our attention to the manufacturer’s latest offering. We usually skip over the gimmick, look at the tool, and either write about it — or don’t. In our opinion, however, this gimmick earned at least a mention: A dude is currently making his way across the United States on a Craftsman lawnmower. And no, we’re not kidding. Think your yard is big? He’s driving 3,300 miles, stopping for promotions at various Sears stores.

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Strap on Shop-Vac’s ShopPac Back Pack Vac and you won’t have to worry about knocking over the canister or getting it stuck between a bench and a sawhorse.

They don’t list the tank size on the 6.5 Hp vacuum, so it probably isn’t very large, but then again who wants to carry 12 gallons of debris on their back?  It’s also not a wet-vac so you don’t want to start sucking water or wet garbage with the vacuum. The vac mounts to an adjustable back pack harness system, or if you want to carry it, you can use the top-mounted handle.

The Vac features a 25ft. cord and a 4′ lock-on 1-1/4″ diameter hose. It also comes with two metal extension wands and a dual surface nozzle which both store on the vacuum. Like most Shop-Vacs it uses a cartridge filter and a disposable filter bag. Pricing starting at $130.

Backpack Vac [Shop-Vac]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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Forget finding a length of pipe to slip over the handle of the puny wrench you’re using. If you need some extra torque, grab this two-foot adjustable wrench from Olympia Tools.

To make this monster they drop-forge alloy steel into a die, then harden and temper it. They precision-machine the jaws, and to make it pretty and corrosion-resistant they chrome plate and polish it. The end result is a wrench that can be used to spin fasteners up 2-1/2″ wide.

You’ll pay $40 to $45 after shipping for this wrench.

24″ Adjustable Wrench [Olympia Tools]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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I have been and continue to be a big fan of shop floor coverings. I covet them like the neighbor’s ‘Vette. To help with this sickness Sears has a 30-percent-off deal going down right now with flooring materials and storage.

Most folks don’t have the scratch to unload thousands for a stainless rollaway and complete makeover with their favorite floor covering, but with 30 percent off until 3.31.10 you’ve got some time to make a play for one or the other. In my case I’d opt for some Rhino-Tec Multi-Purpose PVC tiles to make my shop a little more comfy, but, alas, the money gods are not with me at the moment.

30 Percent off on Flooring & Storage [Sears]
[Sears]