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It’s been a busy week here at Toolmonger. If you’ve been spending time in the shop — you should! — and you haven’t had a chance to keep up with Toolmonger this week, we suggest you start with these posts, which our readers helped to select:

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The Penta Square
Besides just measuring 45° and 90° like a combination square, the Penta Square also measures 22.5° and 60°.  But, that’s only four measurements; penta is a prefix for five. Either they’re considering 180° a measurement, or else they’re call it that because of the irregular pentagon-shaped body.

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Editorial: Made In… Part 3
In part one of this editorial, I discussed the international nature of large tool companies, and I laid out my basic opinion: that the “Made in…” stamp doesn’t provide enough information to determine a tool’s quality. In part two, I discussed the manufacturing process. Read on as I endeavor to explain what all this means to you as a tool consumer.

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Micro Kerf Blade Pinches Dimes, Not Pennies
The 10″ Micro Kerf Blade is a carbide-tipped, 40-tooth blade meant for both rips and crosscuts. Total Saw Solutions claims the saw kerf is half that of a standard thin-kerf blade, as thin as the width of a dime. This is one finely machined blade — the plate is precision ground and tensioned so that runout is less that 1/2 the thickness of a human hair.

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Wiha Stubby 6-In-1 Sets
TM has covered stubby* drivers before (e.g., 2/10/07, 7/10/09, and 7/14/09), and their usefulness when just nothing else will fit. Now Wiha has five new stubby 6-In-1 bit sets. The bits are stored in the “Ergo Soft Grip” handle and the overall length, with a bit inserted in the ¼” SS holder, is just 2.5″.

New PBS Woodworking Show
The Fine WoodWorking blog reports that Boston’s WGBH will be producing a new PBS woodworking show featuring Thomas J. MacDonald (a.k.a. T. Chisel from his series of web videos). Maybe we’ll have someone to fill the void created when Norm retired from TV?

Help us choose next week’s Top 5!

We’d appreciate your help in choosing next week’s Top 5, which’ll be featured here, elsewhere, and in the podcast as well. While you’re reading TM this week, look out for the “Interesting Post” button at the bottom of the article:

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When you see an article that piques your interest, click the button once. You’ll return to the same page, but TM’s software’ll score your click for future reference. We’ll check in on the totals before selecting next week’s Top 5.

 
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It’s been a busy week here at Toolmonger. If you’ve been spending time in the shop — you should! — and you haven’t had a chance to keep up with Toolmonger this week, we suggest you start with these posts, which our readers helped to select:

Light Bulb Lube
When I first saw this product I immediately thought about the stem lube scam on The Simpsons, but if you think about it, this product might not sound so silly. Have you ever broken a bulb because it was stuck in the socket? Next time you replace it, you could try a product like Bulb EZ to keep the bulb from sticking.

How-To: Build A Wooden Combination Lock
Intended as a demonstration of combination lock principles, the Wooden Combination Lock from Matthias Wandel is also fun piece of woodworking. A post on the Make blog has a YouTube video of the lock’s operation (which includes a short clip near the end about a Master combination lock vulnerability). Matthias has more details and photos on his web site.

Inside A Master Gunsmith’s Shop
A friend sent me a link to a Russian shooting blog that had an entry on a visit to Master Nijazi Ibragimov’s workshop in Lviv, Ukraine. The Picasa album shows many things of interest to the Toolmonger, notably the disarray on the floor, the lack of many power tools (check out the D-handle drill in the drill press fixture), and the techniques he uses with wood chisels.

Delta Turns Out New Lathes
Delta can be normally be depended on to roll out hard-working wood shop gear. The 46-455 and 46-460 lathes are fine-looking examples of that trend. Like many larger shop machines, one looks about the same as another — until you look under the hood.

It’s Just Cool: Underwater Chainsaw!
Next time you need to go logging underwater, your gas-powered or electric chain saw isn’t going to cut it. You’re going to need a tool like one of these air powered chainsaws from CS Unitec. They manufacture a few models of air-powered chain saws, including the underwater model with an exhaust valve.

Help us choose next week’s Top 5!

We’d appreciate your help in choosing next week’s Top 5, which’ll be featured here, elsewhere, and in the podcast as well. While you’re reading TM this week, look out for the “Interesting Post” button at the bottom of the article:

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When you see an article that piques your interest, click the button once. You’ll return to the same page, but TM’s software’ll score your click for future reference. We’ll check in on the totals before selecting next week’s Top 5.

 
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It’s been a busy week here at Toolmonger. If you’ve been spending time in the shop — you should! — and you haven’t had a chance to keep up with Toolmonger this week, we suggest you start with these posts, which our readers helped to select:

Combination Knife And Precision Rule
I’m inclined to say that this ruler knife is not going to be the most handy multi-tool you’ve ever had your hands on. Then again, I’ve been wrong many times before on the functional nature of odd-looking multis, but the ruler/knife combo is a new one for me.

Hang Drywall Without Measuring For Lights
Forget measuring to locate recessed cans when you’re hanging drywall; Blind Mark’s Center Mark tool uses the awesome power of magnets to make finding them faster and easier.

Camp Stove Repair
I was searching the Internet the other day for information on forming leather pump cups (related to my airgun obsession) and found the Classic Camp Stoves forum. The forum is dedicated to the restoration and collection of classic camping stoves and has a subforum on practical repair (”fettling”).

Stanley Truck Box Fun
The thing about having tools around the shop is we tend to use them for things they weren’t intended for. The Stanley Guard System truck-toolbox is a rugged piece of solid gear. While in the shop for testing, we discovered it also doubles as a handy beer cooler.

iGaging SnapDepth
Perpetuating the trend that the name of anything new must begin with a lower-case “i,” Incremental Tools (part of Taylor Design Group, the maker of INCRA Tools) has introduced new measuring and marking tools in their iGaging™ line. An example is the iGaging™ SnapDepth Digital Indicator shown above.

Help us choose next week’s Top 5!

We’d appreciate your help in choosing next week’s Top 5, which’ll be featured here, elsewhere, and in the podcast as well. While you’re reading TM this week, look out for the “Interesting Post” button at the bottom of the article:

interestingpost1.jpg

When you see an article that piques your interest, click the button once. You’ll return to the same page, but TM’s software’ll score your click for future reference. We’ll check in on the totals before selecting next week’s Top 5.

 
tm-top5.jpg

It’s been a busy week here at Toolmonger. If you’ve been spending time in the shop — you should! — and you haven’t had a chance to keep up with Toolmonger this week, we suggest you start with these posts, which our readers helped to select:

How-To Question: Repair Drywall
Rule #1: Don’t push on that funny-looking section of drywall next to the light switch in the MBR. As you can see from the picture above, I did not follow Rule #1, and must now invoke Rule #2: If you violate Rule #1, ask Toolmongers about the best way to repair drywall.

Hot Or Not? The Wedjji
I don’t do much work with steel studs at home (okay, I’ve never worked with steel studs anywhere, but I’ve seen them and think they’re neat) so I have not used the Wedjji from J&J Industries. It’s a door and window framing tool that allows one person to center a stud in a metal door or window frame.

Hands-On: Stanley’s 69pc Black Chrome Socket Set
About two weeks before the holidays, a sweet-looking case of tools showed up to the Toolmonger shop accompanied by our good friend and Stanley Santa, Jimmy Addison (who some of you might remember from the Break S@#t week demo we did a while back). Under his arm he carried a black chrome socket set. We couldn’t wait to play with them.

Look At The Hi-Beams On That Wrench
What’s almost as good as a wrench with a laser? A wrench with its own flashlight. Each of Bossco’s Hi Beam Light wrenches use two 6,000 mcd recessed LEDs to illuminate either end of the wrench for up to 5 hours with the included rechargeable batteries. You can set the light low beam, high, beam, or flash.

Hands-On: Stanley Fat Max Lighted Level
When our friends at Stanley roll out new levels, we generally tend to at least listen to what they have to say. A while back they plopped a couple of aluminum, 4’ lighted levels in our lap. I scoffed and asked if they were kidding — they weren’t. I then found out why; they’re pretty damn cool.

Help us choose next week’s Top 5!

We’d appreciate your help in choosing next week’s Top 5, which’ll be featured here, elsewhere, and in the podcast as well. While you’re reading TM this week, look out for the “Interesting Post” button at the bottom of the article:

interestingpost1.jpg

When you see an article that piques your interest, click the button once. You’ll return to the same page, but TM’s software’ll score your click for future reference. We’ll check in on the totals before selecting next week’s Top 5.

 
tm-top5.jpg

It’s been a busy week here at Toolmonger. If you’ve been spending time in the shop — you should! — and you haven’t had a chance to keep up with Toolmonger this week, we suggest you start with these posts, which our readers helped to select:

Projects: Dartboard Cabinet Rebuild — Part 3
The dartboard cabinet restoration was coming along great. After a coat of natural Danish oil and a few coats of poly, the cabinet itself and the doors that go along with it were looking better than I thought they would. It was time for everything to be fitted together.

TM’s 2009 Favorites: Klein Cutters
This pair of small Klein cutters has been with me since I left home and stole them from my father’s tool bag — with his permission, of course. The thing about good hand tools is they don’t quit easily.

Silicon To Replace Lithium-Ion In Tools?
The science behind modern battery developments is enough to make one’s head spin. But it doesn’t take a genius to understand that there’s a limited supply of lithium out there. And some sources suggest that with hybrid and electric cars’ popularity on the rise, that supply might not last as long as we think.

Do you happen to remember X10, the device-control-over-power-line protocol that was mega-popular in the ’80s? It’s still around, and it’s still super cheap. But after 20 years of over-the-counter and DIY innovation it’s a lot easier to mess with — as is its more modern coutnerpart Insteon.

How-To: Build A Crib — Part 1
The Mrs. and I are expecting our firstborn in a few months. Your life changes in unexpected ways with the mere mention of this event. One of side effects of this experience is that money starts disappearing for baby stuff. There are tons of items you must locate, one of which is a crib.

Help us choose next week’s Top 5!

We’d appreciate your help in choosing next week’s Top 5, which’ll be featured here, elsewhere, and in the podcast as well. While you’re reading TM this week, look out for the “Interesting Post” button at the bottom of the article:

interestingpost1.jpg

When you see an article that piques your interest, click the button once. You’ll return to the same page, but TM’s software’ll score your click for future reference. We’ll check in on the totals before selecting next week’s Top 5.

 
tm-top5.jpg

It’s been a busy week here at Toolmonger. If you’ve been spending time in the shop — you should! — and you haven’t had a chance to keep up with Toolmonger this week, we suggest you start with these posts, which our readers helped to select:

It’s Just Cool: Folding Chairs
Fast Company recently had an interesting item about folding chairs. To my eye, two of them stood out. The first, shown above, by Christian Desile, is made from bamboo and recycled PET. One hundred of these folded flat will fit in a two-meter stack.

A Countertop Works, But This Is More Toolmonger
Here’s a very, well, Toolmonger way of opening a beer sent to me by a friend today and found originally on the awesome There, I Fixed It site. Once I finished yukking it up (and wondering why he didn’t just whack it carefully on a workbench), this got me thinking about other improvised tools.

Stretch Belt Tool
For anybody who’s ever used a screwdriver to slip a belt onto a pulley, you’ll recognize how Snap-on’s stretch belt tool works. In the brochure at the bottom of the post, they claim you can use the tool for mounting belts on some late model Ford Chevy and GMC SUV’s, but frankly I don’t see what would prevent you from using the tool on other vehicles.

Gator-Grip Hex Driver
The gimmicky tools are out in force this time of year. The Gator Grip driver system is one of those gimmicky rigs that sounds a lot better than it performs most of the time. However, it does work some of the time, and as we’ve said in the past it only takes once to make a tool handy.

The Sand-It Jig
Gluing the pieces of my daughter’s shattered ornament back together reminded me of how much respect I have for people who can build tiny models.  The skill, patience, and steady hands you need to do tiny precision work has eluded me so far.

Help us choose next week’s Top 5!

We’d appreciate your help in choosing next week’s Top 5, which’ll be featured here, elsewhere, and in the podcast as well. While you’re reading TM this week, look out for the “Interesting Post” button at the bottom of the article:

interestingpost1.jpg

When you see an article that piques your interest, click the button once. You’ll return to the same page, but TM’s software’ll score your click for future reference. We’ll check in on the totals before selecting next week’s Top 5.

 
tm-top5.jpg

It’s been a busy week here at Toolmonger. If you’ve been spending time in the shop — you should! — and you haven’t had a chance to keep up with Toolmonger this week, we suggest you start with these posts, which our readers helped to select:

How-To: Replace A Shower Faucet Cartridge
Over the holidays I was gifted by the joyous noise of screaming relatives trying to take a shower in the guest bathroom which had no hot water. It’s an issue that’s happened to Chuck and many others I know over the last few years, so, armed with the knowledge of friends that came before me, I headed to the local big box for a new shower faucet cartridge and an afternoon of fun-filled plumbing work.

Overpriced Center Finder
When I first saw Eagle’s Marking Center Finder, I thought, “Cool, that works on the same principle as Rockler’s mortise-centering router baseplate.” Looking at the PVC-made jig, I figured it’d be 5 to 10 bucks tops, but then I saw $25 price tag and figured I’d tell everyone they should spend 15 minutes in the shop and make one with a with a piece of scrap wood and a section of dowel instead.

Hot Or Not? RotoZip Flipbit
Are there any RotoZip users out there? Every time I see one the toolaholic side of me says “Hey, that’s a neat tool. We don’t have one of those.” But then my damn rational side chimes in with “Ahh, it’s not cheap, and we really don’t do much dry wall work.” To which the toolaholic side replies “OK, how about a nice little trim router then?

How-To: Extra Shop Space
Need extra space for your shop? Or maybe an extra room for those holiday guests, but a tent seems a little chintzy? Then you might want to try a Concrete Canvas Shelter™. Setting it up, as shown in the pictures above, is as simple as rolling it out, inflating it, hydrating it, and waiting 24 hours for it to cure.

Odd Outlet Extenders
Surfing through Amazon I came upon their selection of outlet extenders, power strips, and surge protectors. Some of the designs caught my eye and left me wondering what other odd-shaped monstrosities there were out there.

Help us choose next week’s Top 5!

We’d appreciate your help in choosing next week’s Top 5, which’ll be featured here, elsewhere, and in the podcast as well. While you’re reading TM this week, look out for the “Interesting Post” button at the bottom of the article:

interestingpost1.jpg

When you see an article that piques your interest, click the button once. You’ll return to the same page, but TM’s software’ll score your click for future reference. We’ll check in on the totals before selecting next week’s Top 5.

 
tm-top5.jpg

It’s been a busy week here at Toolmonger. If you’ve been spending time in the shop — you should! — and you haven’t had a chance to keep up with Toolmonger this week, we suggest you start with these posts, which our readers helped to select:

DeWalt’s New(ish) Heat Gun
I’ll admit that most heat guns look the same. This one makes hot air (adjustable from 120 to 1100 degrees F) and offers a nice nozzle protector to keep the heat on the project and off your hands. You can also kind of see at the bottom a swing-out hook that makes the gun easier to store hanging up.

Saving Cash With An Arbor
One of the biggest complaints I hear when the word “Shopsmith” is brought up is cost. It’s true SS products can be a little on the pricey side, but being the cheap bastard I am I can’t bring myself to send the cash down the $80-a-pop hole that is the Shopsmith saw blade product line. That’s where the 5/8” Saw Arbor comes in.

Basic Automotive Troubleshooting, Explained
Reader Scott pointed us to his blog where he asks the following: What are these little blue and grey caps called? What do they do? Are they part of the cooling system? What happens if they are not there?

Hog Ringer Pliers
Unused hog rings kinda look like rounded staples. When you squeeze them with hog ringer pliers they form a ring capturing whatever happens to be in the center. They’re used in all sorts of applications, like fencing, landscaping, mattress and automobile seat construction, and even holding sausage casings closed.

Easydriver Set
Many years ago I either bought or was given the original Easydriver. This version did not use standard hex bits: It has a simple shaft with a slotted screwdriver on one end and a Phillips on the other. Nevertheless, I did find it useful, and I still keep it in the kitchen tool drawer.

Help us choose next week’s Top 5!

We’d appreciate your help in choosing next week’s Top 5, which’ll be featured here, elsewhere, and in the podcast as well. While you’re reading TM this week, look out for the “Interesting Post” button at the bottom of the article:

interestingpost1.jpg

When you see an article that piques your interest, click the button once. You’ll return to the same page, but TM’s software’ll score your click for future reference. We’ll check in on the totals before selecting next week’s Top 5.

 
tm-top5.jpg

It’s been a busy week here at Toolmonger. If you’ve been spending time in the shop — you should! — and you haven’t had a chance to keep up with Toolmonger this week, we suggest you start with these posts, which our readers helped to select:

Jackass Projects: Porsche 944 S2, Part Two
When I said “then the real fun began” at the end of part one, what I really meant was “then began the year of letting the Porsche sit in my driveway.” Other projects took precedence, and the 944 sat sadly neglected. Eventually I got off my ass and kicked the project into gear, though, mainly because Sean came over one night with a six pack and the suggestion of “actually working on the Porsche.”

Stanley Proto Introduces New Ratchets
You may not see news like this on Reuters or CNN, but we love reading about the latest tool releases — like these new ratchets from Stanley Proto. In 1/4″, 3/8″, and 1/2″ sizes, these ratchets are narrower than Proto’s previous offerings so you can cram ‘em into tighter spaces.

Cole-Bar Hammer
The Cole-Bar Hammer is a new multi-purpose tool with a ratchet that locks at any angle between 0° and 180°. This means the hammer can be opened into a full crow bar, used as a square, or used as an angle tool. In addition, the ratchet section is removable for use as a socket wrench, or cat’s paw.

Might-D-Light
Cooper Lighting’s Might-D-Light (a.k.a. model LED130) is an 80-LED rechargeable worklight. It comes with both AC and DC chargers, folds for easy storage, and, for hands-free use, has built-in neodymium magnets and a nylon swivel hook.

Projects: Rebirth Of A Dresser – Part 2
The dresser rebuild is finally done. The finish work always feels like it takes forever but the outcome is normally worth the trouble. In this case almost anything would have looked better than what I started with.

Help us choose next week’s Top 5!

We’d appreciate your help in choosing next week’s Top 5, which’ll be featured here, elsewhere, and in the podcast as well. While you’re reading TM this week, look out for the “Interesting Post” button at the bottom of the article:

interestingpost1.jpg

When you see an article that piques your interest, click the button once. You’ll return to the same page, but TM’s software’ll score your click for future reference. We’ll check in on the totals before selecting next week’s Top 5.

 
tm-top5.jpg

It’s been a busy week here at Toolmonger. If you’ve been spending time in the shop — you should! — and you haven’t had a chance to keep up with Toolmonger this week, we suggest you start with these posts, which our readers helped to select:

How-To: Portable Solar Power
Maverick of Maverick Solar put the IkePak together to help his son after Hurricane Ike. He did not spend time doing extensive calculations, but just used what was readily available — he runs a solar energy company, so he probably has a few relevant things available — or easily obtained at the local WalMart.

Our Favorite Flashlights, No. 4: The 4D Maglite
Everyone needs a flashlight. Seriously. If it’s dark, you need light to see. And we see tons of flashlights here in the Toolmonger offices, lights in almost every flavor ranging from candy coated (gimmicky) to chicken (simple and useful for everything). Over the last year or so we’ve discovered a few favorites and thought we’d share. Here’s our fourth favorite: the four-cell Maglite.

Stanley Acquiring Black & Decker
Those of you who happened to catch the Washington Business Journal a few days ago probably did the same spit-take we did: “Power tool maker Black & Decker Corp. will be acquired by hand tool maker Stanley Works in an all-stock merger valued at $4.5 billion.”

Bosch GPL5 5-Point Self-Leveling Alignment Laser
Following the more-is-better philosophy, the Bosch GPL5 uses five beams to project plumb, level, and square points. It also self-levels (up to 5°). Available for around $200, the 1 lb. unit is 4.125″ × 3.125″ × 1.625″, and can be secured using its 1/4-40 or 5/8-11 threaded mounts, or via straps or magnets with its multipurpose attachment.

Projects: Rebirth Of A Dresser
This old dresser has been handed down through two generations of my family before I had it. It’s close to 50 years old and has been reworked more than once. It has no particular value save its clothes-holding properties. It has been in my bedroom for close to 30 years and it’s time for a change – preferably to something a little less Sgt. Pepper.

Help us choose next week’s Top 5!

We’d appreciate your help in choosing next week’s Top 5, which’ll be featured here, elsewhere, and in the podcast as well. While you’re reading TM this week, look out for the “Interesting Post” button at the bottom of the article:

interestingpost1.jpg

When you see an article that piques your interest, click the button once. You’ll return to the same page, but TM’s software’ll score your click for future reference. We’ll check in on the totals before selecting next week’s Top 5.