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Currently viewing the category: "Cheap-Ass Tools"
Mallethead

You own enough hammers to outfit a construction crew, so you really don’t need one more — except occasionally you might need a rubber mallet for an odd job. Instead of buying yet another hand tool, you might consider today’s featured Cheap-Ass Tool: the MalletHead.

The MalletHead turns your regular claw hammer into a rubber mallet — just slip one of three different density rubber heads over the head of the hammer. Use the soft red head for delicate jobs, the medium white head for woodworking, and the hard blue head for metals and stone.

Mallethead Coupon

The corporate site asks $10 plus $8 shipping and handling for a set of MalletHeads.  Harbor Freight offers a coupon (expiring August 23) that discounts a set of MalletHeads to $10 — but notice this isn’t really a deal, since $10 is the retail price.

MalletHead [Corporate Site]
MalletHead [Harbor Freight]

 
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Budgets are tight lately, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some decent deals on tools if you’re willing to look. A quick glance at the Depot’s site led me to a section for reconditioned tools. Though this is a loaded topic on either side, the fact remains you can get tools for around forty percent off if you pull the trigger on the right deal.

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Nibbler saws cut sheet metal fast, and if you need a big one for everyday use this may not be the tool for you. But if you only occasionally need to cut sheet metal up to 16 gauge (that’s 1/16″ thick) then check out this good deal. In addition to nibbling 1/16″ sheet metal, you can also saw through thicker materials like light-gauge sheet metal, for about $70.  It might save you space and fatigue too — there’s no way it weighs eight pounds like a big nibbler.

Nibbler Drill Attachment [Woodward Fab]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

 
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Toolmongers’ll sometimes buy a cheap-ass tool on purpose — because we just need to get the job done once, and the tool quality won’t affect the project — but if we really need the tool to work right and it just doesn’t cut it, that’s not cool.  My paint runs any time I paint anything, so the Run Razor looks like a tool I need, but the only review on Amazon says it’s too cheaply made to be worthwhile.

Street pricing is around $6, so even a super-duper version built to the finest German-watchmaker precision couldn’t run more than about $25.

Is the Run Razor a “hot” commodity? Are there any hot alternatives? Let us know in comments.

Run Razor [Motor Guard]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?] [What’s This?]

 
Cheap Laser Arbor Guide

Everybody loves lasers, but sometimes they’re more of a gimmick than a useful guide. Miter saw laser guides help out a lot if the laser shows the edge of the blade — and they’re worse than nothing if the blade and laser aren’t aligned. If your miter saw isn’t fitted with a laser-site guide, chances are you can cheaply retrofit it with Harbor Freight’s laser arbor disc.

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Floor Installation Kit

Having bought pretty much the identical kit for $25 last time I put down some laminate flooring, I think this $6 flooring installation kit from Harbor Freight is a much better deal.

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Going green is well and good, but I’m more willing to look at an “eco-friendly” solution if it’ll also save me some money.  And since saving water is saving money, I’m attracted to any tool that’ll help keep my new trees alive without making the water meter run.  This root irrigator is just such a tool — it delivers water from your hose deep down into the dirt so it can’t just evaporate off.  This method also encourages trees and bushes to develop stronger and deeper roots, so they’re tougher and more able to withstand dry spells.

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If time isn’t an issue with your flat tire, and if you already own an air compressor with a standard air chuck, then this $5 kit will let you repair six tires. In addition to being cheap-ass, these kits won’t send your tires out of balance enough to notice, and they provide a permanent fix.

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If a full drum aerator is overkill for your yard, or if you have lots of time on your hands, consider aerating your yard by hand foot with the Yard Butler Core Aerator.  You might be asking, “If I’m going to go the cheap route, why not just use a pitchfork?”  Well, many people claim that core, or plug, turf aeration is superior to spike (read: pitchfork) aeration because more air can get to the roots — which is, after all, the point of aeration.

Core aeration of an entire yard with this tool might be so slow as to be useless, but you could aerate the trouble spots with it, and that might be all you need.  If you have standing water in certain areas or packed high-traffic areas, core aeration should help — and with street pricing at $22, this tool might be the least expensive way to do that.

Yard Butler Core Aerator [Lewis Tools]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?] [What’s This?]

 
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If you want to secure a large solid item, bungees, tiedowns, straps, and rope will serve just fine, but for a plethora of little junk, go with a cargo net.  Cheap nets sell for as low as $10, and you can pick up a reasonably good net like the one pictured above for as little as $20. If you want quality and time-saving features, look for a net with adjustable straps across the middle.

And if you’re in the mood for overkill, you can get a steel net rated at 10,000 lbs. for $500.

Cargo Net [etrailer.com]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?] [What’s This?]