The Michelin Smart Jumper Cables™ seem to be a great step up from ordinary jumper cables. These 12′ long cables are 8-gauge copper-clad aluminum wires with a control box that automatically adjusts the polarity when the clamps are connected, and prevents sparking or shorting. Basic jumper-cable connection rules still apply: from one side of the control box, connect one clamp to the boosting vehicle’s positive battery terminal and the other to its negative terminal. Then, from the other side of the control box, connect one clamp to the disabled vehicle’s positive battery terminal, and the other to exposed metal on the engine block or vehicle frame. If the control box’s green indicator lights are on, you’re ready to try a jump start. The control box also has built-in surge protection for the vehicles’ computers and electronics. A set of these smart jumper cables costs $34.99.
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Well, they’re not laser-guided, but they do have LEDs (specifically “two Memphis logo LED lights with each pair”). And there are four attachment points per glove for the LEDs. These mechanics-type gloves have Spandex® backs, synthetic leather palms with foam padding, adjustable neoprene cuffs, and PVC on the palm and fingertips for gripping. A pair can be yours for around $12.50 (size large; shipping not included).
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We’ve seen quite a few drill/drivers around the Toolmonger shop, but never a Porter-Cable. While we hear nothing but positives about their routers — lots of pro shops use only Porter-Cable — I don’t think I’ve ever run across anyone with a P-C drill. If you have one (or even if you just have an opinion) would you dish?
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The Hole Pro® twin-blade X models can cut a variety of materials including wood, plywood, sheetrock, plaster, MDF, fiberglass, and up to 20-gauge brass and aluminum sheeting. The minimum diameter for all the X models is 1-7/8″, and the maximum diameter, for the Model X-425, is 17″. All twin-blade kits come in a heavy-duty carrying case and include a clear Tri-Slot Shield, as shown above, to catch shavings (the shield can also be used as a portable drill press), a pilot hole bit, two hex wrenches, and one set each of tungsten carbide blades and high-speed steel blades. The twin blades provide easy balance, are “infinitely” adjustable over the range of diameters, and will cut through 1″ material (if cutting from one side only; 2″ material when cut from both sides).
The Hole Pro® X-305, with a maximum capacity of 12″, costs $149.95. The X-148, with a maximum capacity of 5-7/8″, costs $119.95.
Have any Toolmongers used one of these hand-held-drill hole cutters? What’s your opinion?
Floating floors have come a long way from the crappy picture of wood pasted to a pressboard substrate; now you can even install floating ceramic tile floors. Besides actually being real ceramic or porcelain tile, the floors promise to be much easier and less messy to install.
Two such floating floor systems are Cerama-lock and SnapStone. Rather than using glue or other adhesive to stick the tile in place, both use trays which snap together and hold the tiles. These systems can be installed over most hard surfaces with less prep than traditional methods of laying tile.
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Apparently this sharpening tool has been around under various names since 2004 or earlier, but I just recently found out about it — I know: if I don’t start paying attention, I’m going to have to turn in my Toolmonger badge. The 12″ tall, 8″ diameter JoolTool™ (a.k.a. Ninja™) is a variable speed (500 to 5,000 RPM) dry sharpening system that has a 17° forward tilt for easy use, a vacuum port, and several accessories allowing it to sharpen, polish, grind, lap, sand, and deburr. Highland Woodworking and Japan Woodworker both have a basic package (inc. the JoolTool™, an instructional DVD, a backpad, a buff/polish felt wheel, a small block of honing compound, a variety of different grit discs for various materials, and more) available for $279.95.
Have any Toolmongers used one of these? What did you think? How does it compare to something like the Work Sharp? What’s your preferred tool for sharpening?
JoolTool™ [Manufacturer’s Site]
Love it or hate it, the Opinel knife is an iconic item that speaks of France, cheese slicing and the pleasures of the countryside. Alternatively, it speaks of a laborious and inefficient locking mechanism combined with a certain pretension among its users.
The #8 Opinel is, at least according to Wikipedia, the most popular size, with a blade about 3-1/4″ (8.5 cm) long, shown above. They are certainly available inexpensively, between about $10.98 for a rebranded camping style to $11.95 from Amazon [What’s This?]. The blade is carbon steel (although they do offer stainless blades) and has all the benefits and drawbacks that material brings to a knife. They have updated the locking mechanism so that the blade does weakly lock without the collar being rotated, but secure use dictates the turning of the collar. The “Yatagan” type of blade is slightly curved upwards at the tip.
So what do you think, Toolmongers, Hot or Not?
Opinel [Manufacturer Site]
If there was ever a product crying out to be in the Hot Or Not category, it has to be this one. Lee Valley has 25′ and 50′ versions of this reinforced PVC hose with embedded heating cables that will “keep water flowing in temperatures as low as -42° F (-41° C).” When the temperature drops below 45° F (7° C), a built-in thermostat turns on the heating cables. The hose has a 5-1/2′ grounded power cord at the faucet-connection end, is CUL/UL approved, and also approved by the FDA for use with potable water. The ends have heavy-duty brass couplings and bend restrictors to prevent kinking. The 25′ version, which draws 180W, costs $99, and the 50′ version, which draws 360W, costs $149.
Hmmm, water and electricity in one handy hose. But I suppose if you have to get out and water the snow when it’s below zero, this could be your solution. What do you think?
Heated Hose [Lee Valley]
The PermaFLOW Never-Clog Drain promises to end drain clogs forever in your sink. It is a transparent P trap that has a rotary wiper at the bottom of the U which allows you to whisk obstructions out of the way. PF Waterworks claims it increases turbulence, thus improving flow, and can be used to clear obstructions behind or beyond the trap by generating flow by turning the hand wheel. A lot of claims. Reviews on Amazon [What’s This?]are somewhat mixed between those who find it solves their problems and those who see it as a foolish waste of money or just can’t install it. We do think a transparent trap is a cool idea, at least to gross the kids out.
Has anyone used the PermaFLOW or something like it? What do you think? Let us know in comments.
Let’s see, the former Leigh FMT (Frame Mortise & Tenon Jig) is now the Leigh FMT Pro, and the new “low-cost” version is the Leigh Super FMT, shown above. The $849.99 (from Highland Woodworking, router not incluced) FMT Pro, shown below, uses aluminum extrusions, while the $399.99 (also from Highland Woodworking, router still not included) Super uses CNC punched steel plate. Both versions claim to do “over 70 standard joints,” handle a large variety of routers, and have similar accessories. The FMT Pro has built-in dust collection with two adapters, but the Super FMT requires an optional two-adapter vacuum box.
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