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Those clear plastic guards that come with some chisels are way too easy to lose. Only friction holds them in place and they’re so light, you can’t hear them drop to the floor and bounce under the bench — and you’ll never spot them before the vacuum gets them. And sure they may protect the chisel edge from a few bumps, but how much protection would they actually provide if you dropped the chisel?

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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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Many times when you blow a breaker, lose power, or even if the cord just becomes unplugged, you forget to turn off the tool. This can lead to the dangerous situation where the tool restarts unattended after you restore power. This may not always be a problem, but what if you left stock in contact with a blade or you left the belt sander face down on the table?

Woodcraft amusingly describes this scenario in their writeup of the SafetyGate:

Most belt-sander races aren’t sanctioned events. Accidentally pull the trigger, set the tool on your bench, and when as you plug the cord into the outlet, you’ve got yourself a track-side seat.

Sanctioned belt sander races are fun, but when an accidental trigger pull turns your workbench into the drag strip, the event ends with a damaged workpiece or trashed tool. Considering the potential of other tools, it’s easy to imagine how an unexpected start–when you’re plugging it into an outlet, or resetting a blown fuse–can be much worse than an amusing anecodote [sic].

Plug the SafetyGate into the outlet and your tool into the SafetyGate. If you leave the tool on when the power goes out, its patented sensor technology recognizes this and prevents current from flowing to the tool when power is restored. When this condition happens a yellow LED on the device turns on and you need to switch the tool off then back on again to make it work.

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Whether you work in a school, office, or retail store, there are times you want to hang displays from the ceiling. Rather than climbing up on a ladder, or more likely a chair or desk, to stick paper clip hooks into the suspended ceiling, check out the HangUmUpEZ system which allows you to install special suspended ceiling hooks while standing firmly on the ground.

There are two kinds of hooks you can use, depending on whether you want hang your display from the edge frame for wall hanging or a cross member for hanging in the middle of the ceiling. Both the J-hook style and the edge style hooks can be easily installed from the ground using their special tool which threads onto an extension pole.

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Not all of us have the best aim with a sledgehammer or an axe. That means missing the wedge when splitting or missing the branch when chopping. If you hit the tool’s shaft hard enough, you can damage or possibly split it; plus it doesn’t feel that good either — mentally or physically.

HandleSavers are sturdy rubber collars that fit over the shaft and sit next to the head of the tool, so if you miss with the head, you’ll soften the blow to the shaft and your arms.

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Whether it’s electrical cords, air lines, or hoses, sometimes you need to run them in the path of people, cars, or other equipment. Not only can this be a tripping hazard, but it can damage the said cords, lines, and hoses. Yellow Jacket makes cable protectors so tough you can run them over as long you keep your load under 10,500 lbs. per axle.

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Can you ever find the right size bungee cord when you need it? Half the time you need to stretch the cord past its limit or wrap it around strange places to take up the slack. With Lee Valley’s rubber cord system, you can cut the cord to whatever length you require and then attach the ends.  Even if you screw up and cut the cord too long, the attachments allow you to take up the slack.

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Building upon their MJ Splitter that we featured yesterday, Micro Jig recently introduced the MJ Splitter SteelPRO.  Both of these products are designed to be inserted into a zero-clearance insert on your table saw to keep the kerf in the workpiece from pinching the blade.

Rather than using plastic like the original MJ Splitter, Micro Jig makes the SteelPRO splitters from stainless steel — including the pins — and covers them in high-density polycarbonate. In addition to their more rugged construction, MicroJig added a few new features.

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I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not sure where I left the blade guard/splitter for my table saw, and frankly I don’t really care; it’s a real pain to remove and replace and it gets in the way of at least half of the operations I perform. Now, I really like the idea of a built-in riving knife that moves with the blade, so maybe on my next saw — but for now this removable splitter from Micro Jig has caught my eye.

Not only does the MJ Splitter keep the workpiece from pinching the blade, it also can act as a mini-featherboard to keep the workpiece against the fence after it exits the blade — something that’s not easy to do any other way. By choosing one of the four sides of the two included splitters, you can adjust the amount of pressure the splitters apply by changing how much it is offset from the blade in increments of .003″.

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Do you trust your ladder’s feet not to slip — especially on slick surfaces like sealed concrete? To make using ladders in these situations safer, Rojak Design manufactures their ladder Stopper to provide a much larger non-slip footprint than the tiny rubber tread on the ladder’s feet.

To make the Stopper, they bond an either a 18″, 24″, 30″, or 36″ T-section of aluminum to vulcanized rubber. The large base increases the gripping power and the upright section braces both of the ladder’s feet from sliding.

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