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A couple of years ago I wrote a post about AO Safety’s WorkTunes, and ever since then I’ve thought about buying a similar pair. Finally after getting sick of swapping ear buds for hearing protection every time I needed to do something noisy, I grabbed a pair of Stanley AM/FM/MP3 Earmuffs from Menards. Here’s the rundown on my experience with them:

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Fit

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You adjust the size of the headband from both sides of the earmuffs. Each side can travel from the 1 line to one more notch past where it is in the photo, or about 2″. This gives you 4″ of total adjustment. I don’t have a huge head — I wear a size 7-1/4 baseball cap, and I have the earmuffs adjusted to almost full size. If your head is much larger, I’d start to worry about these earmuffs being too small.

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Last month I wrote about a tool called the Size Catcher I found while browsing one of my local hardware stores. Since then I’ve picked one up for $5 at Menards and have played with it for a few weeks. Here are my impressions of the tool:

Construction

I find the snap ring annoying since I hate having tools on my key ring — just what you need, keys dangling from the tool you’re trying to use — eventually I’ll get around to removing it. I have been carrying the tool in my pocket for the last few weeks and have forgotten it was there several times. I’ll take it out of my pocket every time I see a nut or bolt and play the see-if-I-can-guess-what-size-it-is game before I measure it.

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My old dovetail saw gave up the ghost in the middle of building a toolbox for the side of my bench. The saw was one of those reversible types with a spring-loaded pin; the pin no longer held and was releasing in the middle of cuts. So I headed to the store to try to find a replacement. Rather than buy the same type of saw, I wanted to find a saw that was made for finer work. I spotted Irwin’s dovetail pull saw and figured I could hardly go wrong for $10.

Even thought Irwin uses the word dovetail in the name, they don’t include cutting dovetails in their product description. What they do say is they designed it primarily for flush cutting dowels and “any detail cut.” Then they give examples of people who would use the saw: an interior trim contractor or a fine woodworker. While the saw works well, there are a few reasons why this probably isn’t your go-to saw for fine woodworking.

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This is part three of a series where I take a look at the Delta DP 350 drill press. If you missed the first two parts, check out the links at the bottom of the article.

In part II, I left off mentioning that Rockler had just put this drill press on sale and I wondered if Rockler would refund me the difference. It never hurts to ask, so I asked my local store if they’d give me store credit for the difference. Without hesitation, they said sure. They would have refunded the difference to my credit card if I hadn’t had another $50 of stuff to buy anyway. It wasn’t even a problem that my receipt got wet and the bar code was unreadable. And no, they have no idea who I am; I have no doubt they would have done this for any customer. All in all, a stand up corporation.

First Real Test

My first real project with the drill press was boring holes for a pair of dry erase marker holders. I needed a series of 1/2″ diameter holes 1-3/4″ deep in some red oak. To set the depth stop, I drilled the first hole approximately 1-1/2″ deep and then incrementally drilled a bit more and checked the depth with a caliper until the hole was 1-3/4″ deep. Then I set the depth stop from that first hole.

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Background
I first saw the Resp-O-Rator Jr. a few years ago while reading my tool site feeds. The fact that it was only available at Hartville Tool and not at someplace I normally shop, like Amazon, relegated it to my list of tools I’d like to buy someday.

What interested me was that it looked like an interesting solution to many of my issues with paper masks:

  • They steam up glasses, both safety and prescription
  • They don’t feel very comfortable
  • They are a pain to take on and off, especially while wearing a hat
  • They really don’t fit well enough to stop all the dust

At a higher price, a paper mask with a valve helps with fogging somewhat by directing your hot, moist breath out the valve rather than letting it leak out the edges, but it’s still a pain to wear. A full-blown respirator works better still, but is expensive and somewhat heavier.

So, rather than fitting over your mouth and nose, the Resp-O-Rator Jr. goes in your mouth somewhat like a snorkel. This is a much smaller area to seal — plus it’s air and water tight. They provide a coated wire nose piece that pinches your nostrils shut so you don’t accidentally breath in through your nose.

In Use
Recently, I needed to buy a tool that I could only find reasonably priced at Hartville Tools. As I was checking out, I looked at my list and remembered the Resp-O-Rator Jr., so I thew it into the cart. After using it for a few hours in the shop I’d like to share my observations.

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