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Posts by: Kevin Pace

Modular tool-storage systems have become more common in the past few years, and recently some companies have expanded this “modular” trend to the tools themselves, allowing customers to piece together large sets, all at once, with only the tools they need.

Many tool brands are trying out this marketing approach — Snap-on, Stanley, MAC, and Craftsman, to name a few — but they all seem to offer the same, pretty standard types of modules, sold individually so you’re only buying the tools you want.  Craftsman offers about 20 different modules like the ones pictured, including wrenches, sockets, impact sets, and brake kits, and they’re designed to fit into their portable tool boxes and stationary tool chests, making it easy to mix and match the sets as needed from job to job.

So is this new modular setup a faster, simpler, easier way to buy tools, or just another attempt to rope in the less intelligent consumer?  Let us know in comments.

Craftsman Modular Tool Sets [Sears]

 

If you need a small portable cutting tool for carpet, clamshell, cardboard, fabric, and other lightweight materials, take a look at Skil’s Power Cutter. It sports a 10-sided 1-1/2″ blade, and it comes with a 3.6V lithium-ion rechargeable battery and charger.  Amazon is selling the Skil Power Cutter for $48 — or you can pick it up at Ace Hardware for $52 if you need it immediately.

Via Amazon [What’s This?]
Skil Power Cutter [Ace Hardware]
Street Pricing [Google]

 

Lowe’s has marked down this Kobalt bow/hack saw combo to $10 in preparation for Father’s Day. The saw frame’ll take any of Kobalt’s 12″ bow saw or hack saw blades, and with the built-in tension system you can adjust the blade to just the right sturdiness for whatever you’re cutting.  The larger opening allows you to cut big items, making this very handy for projects around the house.

Kobalt Bow/Hack Saw Combo [Lowe’s]
Street Pricing [Google]

 

In a struggling economy retailers come up with creative ways to move more products, even if it means cutting their profit margins.  You’ll see Sears’ latest marketing effort in the main aisles of their tool department — Craftsman Value display boxes, containing special versions of their best-selling products: tool bags, utility knives, tape measures, levels, and socket sets, to name a few.

The tool sets in the Value boxes come packaged with extra items, for the same price as the standard sets found elsewhere in the store. The 48″ level includes a free 10″ torpedo level;  the 16″ tool bag includes a free 12″ tool bag;  and the 18pc. socket set includes a free 4pc. wrench set.

These prices may not be the best you’ll ever find, but if you need a new socket set or a couple of tool bags, or you’re looking for some nice gifts for Father’s Day, take a look at the in-aisle displays at your local Sears for a pretty decent deal.  All items are available as long as quantities last locally, and no two stores will have the same selection.  Approximately 37 different value boxes have shipped out, and they’ll be replenished randomly over the next six months, so you’ll find a wide selection to choose from.

Sears [Corporate Site]

 

Walk into the gardening section at your local big box and you’ll to notice two different kinds of cutting tools — bypass and anvil.  You’ll see these two options for everything from pruners to clippers to loppers to hedge shears.  So how do you know which one is right for you?  Learn more after the jump.

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BEHR has defied the convention of laying a coat of primer before a coat of paint by combining both these products in one can.  BEHR’s new Premium Plus Ultra paint supposedly cuts your painting time in half by eliminating the priming and drying stage.

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I really hate cleaning out my hot tub.  Here in Florida, even if you overdose your tub with chemicals, you’re bound to see algae and scale buildup when you get close to the six-month cleaning.  I especially hate trying to remove that 10-15 gallons at the bottom, below the drain pipe. Today, instead of my classic method of bucket removal and swearing, I broke out my Craftsman two-gallon portable wet/dry vac.

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I consider very few tools “sexy,” but this set might fit the bill: these were just a few of the tools in the space shuttle Atlantis’s multi-billion-dollar kit on its recent mission to repair the Hubble Telescope.

Astronauts packed a total of 180 tools on this mission, 116 of which were specially designed for this trip alone.  Pictured above are a CPU-powered hi-torque pistol, EVA mini work station, imaging spectrograph repair tool, and other items we’ll probably never get to see in person — still, it’s fun to dream.

The Weird And Wonderful Space Tools That Fixed The Hubble [Gizmodo]

 
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In the decades since it began in the 1930s, Consumer Reports has established itself as the gold standard for product testing and recommendation. Millions subscribe to the monthly magazine, and many more consult the online resource center. But is Consumer Reports really the end-all source for product recommendations?

Flip through an issue of Consumer Reports and you’ll find product reviews and recommendations on everything from appliances to lawn equipment to power tools to paint. When putting their products through the obstacle course, they test for quality in many areas — for mowers they test evenness of cut and bagging capacity; for drills they test battery charge and ability to drive in larger nails.

While it’s always cool to see your new DeWalt drill show up as a “best buy,” Consumer Reports suffers one major flaw: It can’t test longevity. Past critics have pointed out that Consumer Reports will test an item for a week at most — long enough to rate many of its features, but nowhere near long enough to get a bead on its dependability and longevity, which are important factors when buying power tools.

So, is Consumer Reports a Hot resource, or does its inability to test longevity leave it in the Not category when it comes to buying tools? Let us know in comments.

Consumer Reports [Official Site]

 

If you’re in the market for a high-quality drill/driver, Amazon is selling this factory-reconditioned Makita 18V compact lithium ion drill/driver kit for $138 — it would usually run you around $200 new. The kit includes the drill/driver, two batteries, a 15-minute charger, and carrying case.

Via Amazon [What’s This?]
Street Pricing [Google]