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Malco’s “The Sider” helps you measure and mark pieces of vinyl siding quickly and accurately. Made from 18 gauge stainless steel, the Sider has precisely spaced holes staggered vertically every 1/8″. To draw or score perfect horizontal lines, stick a pencil or knife blade into a hole and slide the tool along the siding.

Malco sells five different varieties of the Sider to work with most siding styles: the 4″ double, the 5″ double, the 4-1/2″ Dutchlap, the 5″ Dutchlap, and the 3″ triple. Any of these versions of the Sider will run you somewhere between $11 and $21 before shipping or tax.

The Sider [Malco]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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It’s not slight of hand; it’s a magnet. Wave Bessey’s MagWand over your swarf (metal shavings and waste) and poof! It’s gone — well, at least from the work surface. Now it’s stuck to the MagWand.

This 22″ long magnetic wand attracts up to 12 lbs. of magnetic metal waste so you don’t have to pick it up by hand and risk cutting yourself. You can wave or roll the wand over your work surfaces. To dispose of the waste, pull back the sliding magnetic insert and the waste will fall into the scrap bin.

You’ll pay somewhere in the $30 to $45 range for Bessey’s MagWand. Has anyone tried a less-expensive homebrew model?

MagWand [Bessey Tools]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

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A friend of mine in Louisiana pointed me to an interesting site a few days ago. Scoraig Wind, a website full of one man’s experience and accumulated knowledge from years of making his own power with wind turbines. Using primarily wood, old pipe, and junkyard car alternators, Mr. Hugh Piggott and a few of his mates have had some impressive success harnessing the wind, and it’s all done in spare time from their garages.

Whether or not you buy into the green revolution, you have to admit that making enough of your own juice for the city to pay you is a pretty cool notion. I really like the idea of an off-the-grid house, and if you happen to live in the right area, wind power might be a great trick to save a buck or three. The site’s primary offering is a book with step-by-step instructions for making a completely scratch-built turbine, right down to arranging the stator yourself from purchased magnets. Not a bad way to kill a few weekends.

Wind Power Generators [Scoraig Wind]

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You’ve seen magnetic levels before, but how about a level where you can turn the magnet on and off like a Magswitch? Strong Hand Tools incorporates a switchable magnet in their Mag-Level with 50 lbs. of holding force. You get a level with a magnet strong enough to securely hold the tool, yet you don’t have to brace yourself with your foot to pry it off the surface.

Strong Hand Tools built three bubble vials into the Mag-Level: one each for level, plumb, and 45°. The magnet turns on and off with the flick of a switch. The 2 lb. level measures 16″ long by 1″ deep and is 4″ wide at the widest point.

Pricing for the Mag-Level starts at $30. I did see these at Harbor Freight a few weeks ago for $20, although their website doesn’t confirm the price.

Mag-Level [Strong Hand Tools]
Mag-Level [Northern Tool]


You’ve probably seen the impressive power of rare-Earth magnets on science shows and Mythbusters, where they’ve been used to deflect bullets and climb steel ductwork. Ever thought about using them as tools?

You can buy these neat little devils all over the place, everywhere from industrial supply houses and magnet-specific sources like MagCraft to chemistry stores and novelty shops, with prices from under a dollar to several hundred bucks a pop. With a little elbow grease, you can even pull them out of old hard drives. How about putting a dozen small magnets on an old push broom and using it to clean ferrous chips from a machine-shop floor? A high-tech twist on pegboards? Or bolting a few to your creeper and sticking it to the side of your tool chest?

Heck, buy the right sizes, and you could even hold your project car to the ceiling; if you pull that one off, we want photos of both the car and the reinforced ceiling capable of holding it.

Rare Earth Magnets [Magcraft]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

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Ever have a washer get stuck on a stud or bolt and can’t get it because there’s just not enough clearance to get your fingers or other tools underneath it? It may not happen to you often, but when it does there’s always SP Tool’s Magnetic Washer removal tool to save the day (and your fingers).

The glass-filled nylon removal tool uses small imbedded magnets in the end to hold the washer when you slip the tool over the stud. The tool is two-ended, but looking at the diagram the only difference between the two ends seems to be that the magnets make a larger ring on one end, possibly for picking up larger washers. For a better visual, check out the video demonstration from the Cornwell Tool Show in Anaheim, CA this spring.

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Saving the original covers for your brushes is a good idea; they help to keep the brushes’ shape when you store them. If you threw out the covers, you can still make yourself new ones from paper — or you could buy these cool magnetic covers from Whitney Innovations.

The breathable, waterproof cover allows the brushes to dry while holding their shape during storage. The adjustable cover uses a Velcro catch to fit both straight and angled 3-1/2″ brushes. The coolest part is that the cover has an integrated magnet for hanging the brush on metal surfaces.

The copy on the site is written like a Babelfish translated it from English to some other language and back again, so we can’t tell exactly if you get one or two covers for $10, not including shipping. This seems rather expensive for a brush cover. If they could price them at $2 a piece — and actually sell them someplace you’d actually shop — they might really have something.

Magna Catch Brush Cover [Whitney Innovations]


Sometimes you need to know which side of a magnet is the north pole and which is the south pole, for instance if you’re using it with a sensor that’s only sensitive to one pole or the other.  Emovendo’s Magnetic Pole Searcher/Finder will quickly indicate which pole is which.

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We all remember the original magnetic pick-up tool, a rod with a telescoping shaft and a magnet at the end of it.  When it first got popular, Bush Sr. was in the White House, EuroDisney had opened to abysmal reviews, and the X-Files was taking off as the show to watch — life was simpler then.

Next thing you know, we’re adding hinges and clips and magnetic pads and LED lights and everything else under the sun to improve this basic and essential tool.  Now a simple search on Amazon reveals 52 different results for magnetic pick-up tools.

So which kind do you favor around the shop?  Are you the “old-fashioned and stripped-down” type, or are you the “all the bells and whistles I can get my hands on” type?  Let us know in comments.

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


We’ve covered magnetic stud finders before, but rather than just indicate where a nail or screw is located, the Magic Stud Finder Plus leaves a little target stuck to the fastener — no marking up the wall required.

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