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Posts by: Dan Kitchen
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When you go camping, you pretty much have to roast hot dogs and marshmallows over an open flame. What could be simpler than putting food on some sort of stick and lighting it on fire?  Over the years, I’ve impaled food on coat hangers, stainless steel implements, whittled tree limbs, and welding rods.  Now the FireFork aims to end those days of questionable cookware.

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Pitchforks work great for moving hay or threatening monsters, but they have limited use in turning up and aerating soil — the design just doesn’t give you a lot of leverage. If your soil’s too packed, plants have a harder time growing, and if you rely on a tiller, it can mix your built-up compost and topsoil with the lower soil too much. If you want a low-tech solution, look into a broadfork or U-bar.

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Taking measurements down can be a task unto itself — it requires you to keep track of your tape measure, paper, and pencil. That might be a lot for some Toolmongers, so finally the tool market has delivered an aid for you.

The WristWriter can hold your tape measure, paper, and pencil, all on one weighed-down wrist.

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Spring has sprung, for better or for worse, and with spring comes tedious weeding. Gardeners go into battle armed with herbicides and pronged implements, or they engage in hand-to-weed combat. But why should you literally stoop so low as to pull them up, when you can burn them out of existence? With the Weed Dragon you can implement a scorched earth policy against unwanted plants.

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This weekend I watched part of DIY’s Project Treehouse, which covered the construction of a treehouse from start to finish. During the show, they used a piece of hardware that caught my interest: the Garnier Limb (GL). Michael Garnier operates a treehouse bed and breakfast in Oregon, and he designed the Garnier Limb — a piece of hardware that can be threaded into a tree — to be a mounting point in the construction of tree structures.

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If you want to showcase your special photographs or artwork, you can put ’em in a custom frame — but driving the glazing or framing points that hold the backing in the frame can be a challenge. Hammers are too difficult to swing on frame backs, and framing pliers never seem to push the point the way you want. Fletcher’s FrameMaster eases this frustrating task.

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If you need to drill a hole in steel, you’re going to want a drill press. The power, the stability, and the accuracy will allow you to bore your way through small or narrow pieces of stock. But what do you do when you need precise holes in a large piece of plate steel that you can’t take to the drill press? You need to take the press to the steel. Milwaukee’s magnetic drill press lets you do just that.

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I’ll admit that most of what I know about chimney sweeping I learned from Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Dick wielded a series of flexible rods and brushes, the basic tools of the chimneysweep’s trade. Though these basic tools are still in use today, they can’t always handle modern fireplaces, with their smaller chimneys and sharper bends. Tools like the Viper GFX exist to deal with these modern chimneys.

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Have you ever watched a how-to video and wanted to jump right into a new project as soon as it was over? That’s how I feel after watching part of Taunton’s three-DVD set on house building.

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Double-stick tape can be a third hand when you’re doing assembly projects. While it holds the pieces, you can work on creating a permanent attachment. 3M’s VHB tapes comes in a variety of double stick flavors, and they can help you out as a third hand — what makes ’em cool, though, is the bond is so strong on VHB tapes, you may not need anything else

VHB stands for “Very High Bond.” You use it in applications where other attachment methods could distort or damage surfaces, and it’s especially suited for attaching to metal and glass. For instance, people stick on their car tags and rearview mirrors with VHB tape. It can create a strong bond in a small area without using hardware. VHB also holds things together in the construction of outdoor signs, appliances, and windows.

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