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I hate contests that ask you to do all kinds of crazy stuff for a few bucks or maybe a little trinket. So in general, I end up avoiding giveaways on Toolmonger. But the folks at Lowe’s were kind enough to hand us a $25 card to give to one of you, and we know you could probably find a way to spend it — we could — so I figured I’d go ahead and post it. But I won’t ask you to do anything annoying — hell, anything you wouldn’t do anyway.

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Here’s what we’re gonna do. We’ll pick our favorite comment posted sometime in the next week, and we’ll contact you (whomever you turn out to be) via the email you enter with your comment, and if you respond (i.e. you entered a real email address), we’ll drop the gift card to you in an envelope. We appreciate the time you spend adding your knowledge, experience, and general enjoyment to TM. Really!

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First of all, let me thank you for all your kind comments on my “We Want Your Input!” post last week. Your thoughtful and insightful responses remind all of us here in the Toolmonger office just how awesome our readers are. And let me also tell you this: We’ve listened. We’re working on some changes to Toolmonger based on your input. Read on past the jump for a preview of what’s to come:

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Though we normally avoid posts about posts here on Toolmonger, we couldn’t resist telling you about reaching this milestone. But as exciting as it is to still be doing this after a few years we can’t help but think of our work so far as our first round of posts rather than “thousands of posts.” We’re here to stay.

Some Toolmonger firsts:

But best of all, we’ve decided to celebrate this occasion in classic Toolmonger fashion — by giving away a couple of tools. We have two brand-new Stanley Fat Max Extreme Tape Measures that we’ll give away to a few lucky readers who comment on this post and tell us a) how you first heard about Toolmonger, and b) what you’d like to see more of here on the blog. As usual, we’ll pick our favorite entries.

Thanks for reading, and thanks even more for participating through your comments and your tool submissions.

On to the next ‘thou.

 

You may have noticed that Toolmonger is missing yesterday’s posts and comments. Sadly this is due to the fact that we experienced an almost other-worldly server outage — what’s known in the biz as a RAID dual simultaneous drive failure.

While our awesome hosting service responded heroically spending almost 30 hours picking through the pieces and cannibalizing other hardware to bring Toolmonger back up and restore as much as possible, we did end up losing most of yesterday’s work. Those of you trying to visit Toolmonger during the overnight or early morning hours today may also have experienced outages.

First of all, though there’s really little we could do about this, we’re sorry for the inconvenience. Second, we can’t help but ask: Do any of you Toolmonger packrats have RSS feed or cached copies of the missing posts? If so, drop me a line at ccage@toolmonger.com. We’d love to restore the missing day for posterity.

Update: Thanks to Chris for pointing us to an available online cache! Look for the missing articles (though sadly not the comments) to return shortly.

 

Ever drop a toolbag after you spent 10 minutes climbing a ladder and positioning yourself on the roof ledge just right to attach a satellite dish? If so, you’ll totally feel for Astronaut Heide Stefanshyn-Piper whom the AP and others are razzing heavily over losing a toolbag in orbit yesterday.  Her task was to lubricate a jammed joint on one of the International Space Station’s solar panels, but it went wrong from the beginning: a grease gun leaked in the bag, coating everything with a thin layer of lube. Then the bag slipped from her hands as she worked to clean it.

Her response, according to the AP: “Oh, great!” That’s some remarkable restraint, especially considering that it’s not like they can pop down to Sears and grab a replacement. I’d have spewed something worse, I think. Thankfully she was able to get the job done with the team’s remaining tools, assuring a stable power supply for the station.

Anyway, how ’bout some solidarity and happy thoughts for a fellow Toolmonger busting her ass fixing things in orbit right now?

Endeavour Astronaut Loses Tools In Space [AP]
Astronaut Loses Tool Bag During Spacewalk [CNN]
STS-126 Mission Coverage [NASA]

Other reasons NASA is Toolmonger-Friendly:

 

Our friends over at Gizmodo dropped a fun post last week outlining “the 50 skills every geek should have,” and it inspired us to create a list of the 50 skills every Toolmonger should have. Think you know more about tools and DIY than most? Take our test — and don’t forget to score yourself via the poll at the end of the list. How many of these can you do?

  1. Pull an engine
  2. Own a toolbox with wheels
  3. Mend a fence (extra credit for barbed wire)
  4. Install a ceiling fan complete with remote
  5. Build furniture for inside your home
  6. Own and know when to use at least three kinds of drill bits
  7. Pull a transmission
  8. Visit a “pick ‘n pull” junkyard and actually pull your own parts
  9. Buy steel in bulk (and negotiate for a discount)
  10. Finish a wood project with stain (that’s not your own blood)
  11. Sacrifice a full garage bay to your “shop”
  12. Install dimmers in your home
  13. Patch drywall cleanly enough to fool your significant other/landlord
  14. Mix and pour your own concrete
  15. Restore a $50 junk lawnmower to life
  16. Hammer ten nails without bending them
  17. Frame a small building (without a kit)
  18. Operate a chainsaw without injury to you (or others)
  19. Install your own crown molding with compound miter cuts
  20. Start a non-fuel injected car that’s been sitting for weeks
  21. Make your own picture frame with a router and miter saw
  22. Cut accurate rabbet joints
  23. Build a desk with drawers
  24. Hang a door
  25. Winterize a motorcycle
  26. Change a tire yourself using only factory tools
  27. Build an improvised BBQ grill out of steel and shop scrap
  28. Remove dried wood stain and paint from bare concrete
  29. Spray paint a project in the dark
  30. Clean up crappy welds with a grinder
  31. Fix anything with superglue
  32. Plunge a toilet without getting crap on you
  33. Make circ saw framing cuts without a sawhorse
  34. Sharpen your own knife
  35. Install/repair a toilet
  36. Sweat copper tubing
  37. Patch a leaking roof
  38. Balance your central heat/air-conditioning system
  39. Correctly wire a 3-way light switch
  40. Fix a leaky faucet
  41. Adjust a carburetor
  42. Install a car stereo
  43. Tow another vehicle
  44. Build your own tool to get a job done
  45. Complete a brake job for a quarter the cost of taking it to a shop
  46. Tile a floor
  47. Paint a room
  48. Adjust a garage door (or repair it after you didn’t)
  49. Install a window
  50. Install a hot water heater
    How'd you rate?
    View Results
 
Auriou-450.jpg

The Auriou company in France appears to have closed. My French is abysmal, so calling to investigate will do me no good, but this looks like an example of tool history slowly moving on. Auriou has been making rasps and rifflers by hand since the mid-nineteenth century — these tools, like so many before them, have now become irreplaceable.

If you own some of these quality woodworking tools, make sure to hang on to your piece of history and take good care of them.

Auriou [Official Site]

 
2008_06_13_1191 recall-450.jpg

Pull the trigger and the drill spins; release the trigger and the drill spins. I can see that being a recall. Bosch advises “Stop using immediately” if you own their hammer drill model 1191VSRK. Even if yours hasn’t malfunctioned yet, you might consider contacting Bosch — and if it starts running as soon as you plug it in, you should absolutely call them.

Continue reading »

 
AutomationLJ.jpg

In the past few months while nobody was looking, Rockler.com quietly added a ton of home automation products to their online lineup. There’s no announcement on the site or in their RSS feeds, but if you look back though their new products page you’ll find a bunch of entries for security, surveillance, and access control products; audio/video products; lighting, appliance, and HVAC control; and even more unexpected products like shower heads.

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tm-nut-logo.jpgToolmonger is growing, and we’re on the prowl for bloggers who have a passion for tools and all things Toolmonger. If you’ve got what it takes to join the Toolmonger team, drop us a line at jobs (at) postlabmedia.com with the subject line “Toolmonger Writer Search.” In the body give us your name, your three favorite tools, and two original, unpublished posts of around 50 to 200 words in the Toolmonger style.

Our parent company, PostLab Media, is also seeking bloggers for FullOnCustom.com, so if you’d like to write about car customization instead of tools, just tailor sample writing to that style instead.

A few notes: We’ll delete all emails with attachments, so include all your text in the email body itself. Only official submissions, please: we ignore comments on this post. Not the world’s best writer? If you’re the world’s best tool finder, we might be able to help. Our biggest requirements are that you’re interested and that you’re committed.

Good luck!