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wrsima01.jpgIt’s hurricane season again, and whether you’re on the coast or inland, you’re likely to see the effects of these storms first-hand.  With that in mind, we’ve prepared a three-part series to help you get a grip on the tools that can help you weather the storm.

A month or so ago we had a close call here in North Texas with a spate of tornadoes that killed five people and destroyed a good bit of property.  While we escaped unharmed, the scary part was that the tornadoes came in the middle of the night; two of the people killed were an elderly couple who didn’t wake up until the storm hit.

To prepare for a storm, you first have to know it’s coming.  If you’re like us, the last time you heard about “alert” weather radios was back when they went off way too often — pretty much any time the weather station you’d tuned to issued a message — and eventually ended up turned off or stowed away.  Thankfully, technology has come a long way since then, and through the use of digital signals you can now receive timely, accurate alerts that actually apply to you. 

In part one of this series, we bring you up to speed on weather radios — and their new, high-tech cousins “public alert devices” — and give you an idea of how to select the best one for your situation.  (Lots more after the jump.)

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Toolmonger Game Chair / Hobart 125EZ

In yesterday’s comparison post we gave you the information you need to select an entry-level flux-core/MIG welder for your shop.   In today’s follow-up, we’ll walk you through using one of the welders from the comparison to build an inexpensive game chair to make playing GT4 or Forza a lot more fun. 

This project was completed entirely using Hobart’s Handler 125 EZ, which sells for around $380 on the street and is targeted at novice welders (and people who just want to get the job done).  With a project materials cost of around $80 (and considering the $40 rebate Hobart’s currently offering on the unit) you could buy the welder and build the chair for around $400 — about what you pay for much lesser chairs out of the back of magazines. 

Or, if you just want a game chair, you can win ours.  Click for details.  (Much, much more after the jump.)

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Toolmongers WeldingYou can’t turn on the Discovery channel anymore without seeing someone welding, and we’ve received a number of requests from readers asking for more coverage of the subject.  So, ask and you shall receive: we did some research and discovered that it’s a lot easier to get started welding than in years past.  Flux-Core and even MIG welders are easily within the range of the beginner, and offer the ability to quickly reach a point in the learning curve where you can build some fun projects.

In this post we’ve rounded up fourteen “entry-level” flux-core and MIG welders to give you an idea of what to expect when you go shopping.  And look for a combination “hands-on” and “how-to” tomorrow where we build a project with one of the welders included in the comparison.  (Lots more after the jump.)

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Standard DrillThis week our old cordless drill died, and it’s time for a replacement.  But with so many new technologies and so many almost (but not quite) identical units on the market, selecting a cordless drill/driver can be challenging.  Gone are the days where there were only two drills on the shelf to choose from; your average Home Depot stocks over 40 of them!

We’ve waded through the specs, battery systems, and hype to offer you this massive comparison of over 100 units to help you find the one that’s right for you.  (More after the jump, including a downloadable Excel spreadsheet of 100+ drills and their specs.)

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