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Your latest large shop purchase came in a crate secured with steel straps. Swearing, you go look for some snips that are hard enough to actually cut the straps. Sure they can be tough to remove, but that’s the point. Now you find yourself wondering how they put the straps on in the first place.

Generally you need two tools to apply steel strapping: a tensioner and a sealer. You use the tensioner to take up the tension and hold the strapping while you use the sealer to crimp the seal in place. Of course if you ship a large volume of similar products, you could always buy a dedicated machine such as the large coil strapping machine pictured above.

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A few day ago some commenters expressed concerns about how you’d load and unload the Fatmax Portable Truck Box if all 42 gallons of stage space was filled with tools. One way would be to use a lift cart like this one from Northern Tool.

This lift cart will raise 300 lbs from 8-1/4″ to 28-3/4″ by pumping a foot pedal. To lower the load there’s a handle-mounted pressure release. The platform measures 27-1/2″ by 17-3/4″ and is 1-3/8″ thick.

Northern has several inexpensive hydraulic table carts that can handle from 300 to 1000 lbs in the $200 to $300 price range. The pictured lift cart runs about $190, but it’ll cost you $75 to ship so I’d recommend going to one of Northern’s brick and mortar stores if there’s one close to you or find a different source.

Lift Cart [Northern Tools]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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Need to move that heavy-duty workbench or other piece of shop equipment occasionally, but want to make sure it stays where you put it? The unique brake on Total-Lock Casters from Caster City locks both the wheel and the swivel bearing at the same time. The Model 4A casters have a standard 2 3/8″ × 3 5/8″ mounting plate, can support up to 400 pounds per caster, and have precision sealed ball bearings. The units pictured above are 4″ maroon polyurethane on gray polyolefin wheels with a 400-pound capacity, and cost $31 each. Other Total-Lock casters are available in 4″, 5″, and 6″ wheel diameters, with capacities from 250 to 400 pounds per caster and tread material including soft rubber, poly on nylon, polyurethane, polyolefin, and phenolic.

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I was working on my grandfather’s tractor over the Fourth of July weekend, and I was once again struck by the brute simplicity of the machine. The engine block and frame are the same casting. The carburetor is a leaky single-barrel updraft, feeding a thirty-pound cast-iron intake manifold. The manual transmission has no synchros, making an unholy racket every time you change gears. The front wheels are so close together that it’s basically a three-ton tricycle. The steering has about twenty degrees of play.

And I enjoy the heck out of that thing. So it was designed with a crayon to be assembled with a hammer; after over sixty years in service, it’s still running. After months of working with electronic spark and multi-point fuel-injected engines, it’s very satisfying to get back to something as solid and straightforward as that old Farmall. It’s from an age where problems were solved by throwing lots of iron at them, and has something our modern marvels lack. What do you think, folks? Fuel injection and aluminum blocks, or updraft carbs and iron intake manifolds?

(Thanks to Flickr user kretyen for this great CC-licensed photo.)


Think your kid’s macaroni art proudly pinned to the refrigerator is the ultimate in child show-off material? You’re not even close, my friends. Check this little guy out. It’s not a joke and it’s not a trick: that is a three-year-old driving a small excavator.

I’ve never been so green with envy in all my life. I’ve seen adults that aren’t as good with a digger as this kid is. My biggest accomplishment at age three was not chewing on the dog and this youngster can drive heavy machinery. He’s going to throw the bell curve way the heck off in school someday.

If I were Caterpillar or Komatsu I’d throw a bucketload of cash at this prodigy and his dad right now and start a global campaign with a tagline that went something like, “Our machinery is so reliable and easy to operate, even a three-year-old can do it.” Or perhaps “Komatsu, for those born to dig.”

3-Year-Old Successfully Operates Heavy Machinery Video [TechEBlog]


Chainsaws are cool — they’re also dangerous and can bite you pretty hard if you don’t handle ’em carefully, but they’re really cool.  The folks at Stihl are trying to make ’em even cooler by adding low-emission features to their saws, without nerfing the power.  Enter the MS 211 C-BE chain saw, which sports all their best features for occasional-operation saws plus some green additions thrown in for good measure.

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When someone says, “Let’s take the car for a spin,” you might not want to hop into the passenger seat so fast. The Roller Hoop auto body rotisserie allows professional and DIY restorers to more easily work on the underside of a stripped body.

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If the Polar Express ever got stuck, they’d have to send this rig to go get it.  There’s just something cool about a snowblower hooked up to a train that makes me want to live further north.

Then again, this choo-choo isn’t for show.  It’s a hardworking train with some serious work ahead of it, and I’m a big sissy when it comes to shoveling snow.  Even with that straight in my mind, I think I’d still get in line to run this thing into a few snow banks.

Serious Snow Removal [YouTube]


This is either a badass excavator lifting itself up a specially designed tower, or a masterful Photoshop job.  I’m guessing it was a publicity stunt and someone was actually crazy enough to do this — though I can’t imagine wanting to stand around while it perched on top of the tower and balanced on the arm.

I hope this thing was piloted by remote and no one was actually strapped in the thing, especially for that last photo.  Then again, companies have done crazier things in the name of marketing than dangling a multi-ton piece of equipment from its hydraulic arm.

Pumping Iron [Funpic]


Your job is to log that forest the environmental protesters may or may not have sabotaged last week.  Are you going to cut it by hand because it’s too dangerous to use a chainsaw?  Heck no!  You break out your RENS P-4000 Metal Detector.

RENZ designed this self-calibrating, fully automated metal detector especially for logging.  It doesn’t require any manual adjustments, so there’s little or no training needed to operate it.  Just make sure there’s no metal nearby, then pass over the entire surface of the log or tree with overlapping sweeps to ensure you’ve scanned the whole thing.

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