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I hoped this was an electric bazooka when I saw the picture, but it only bends PVC pipe. But maybe that isn’t such a tiny feat; I’ve cracked or snapped a lot of PVC while trying to get a shape I wanted. The key: You’ve got to heat it up to get a good tight angle. Something like this scheme might be ok if you only bend PVC as an art or hobby, but if you’ve got lots of PVC pipe to bend you’ll probably want a PVC-bending oven, or box — or tube.

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When you’re wiring up your shop, you really “ought” to run your wires through conduit, but the really cool tools for bending conduit and pipe cost too much to be practical for a small shop. So, if you’re going to do the job like the fire marshall would prefer, you might want to look at a less expensive option — a hand bender. For about $30 it provides a correctly shaped form for bending the conduit without breaking or kinking it.

You can buy them with or without the big metal handle, since a threaded metal pipe will work fine. This version from Gardner Bender features markings for the most common bend angles and a bend-back channel for slip-ups.

We’ve mentioned before that the Gardner Bender site is a mite tetchy, so I included a direct link to the PDF catalog — you’ll have to jump to page 57.

PDF Catalog [Gardner Bender]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?] [What’s This?]



In a recent Dealmonger, we let you know that the big boxes were clearing out their Circuit Alert wire strippers, but it turns out it wasn’t because of slow sales. In fact, the Circuit Alert tools have sold so well, they decided to completely overhaul the product line.  Now all Circuit Alert tools come with the same tiny, interchangeable voltage sensor.

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Circuit Alert 2.jpg

Lowe’s has placed the Gardner Bender Circuit Alert wire stripper on clearance. This little gem of a wire stripper packs an AC current detector in the handle. Its clearance price of $12 brings it down to the price range of more frugal Toolmongers such as myself.

Check out your local Lowe’s to see if you can snatch one up before they’re all gone.

Store Locater [Lowe’s]


Circuit Alert Voltage Sensing Wire Stripper

Gardner Bender’s Circuit Alert wire strippers help you avoid shocking situations by sensing and alerting you to active voltage before you strip.  Just slide the switch to “on,” and as you move the sensor’s handle toward a circuit, the strippers beep and flash if it’s live. 

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James writes: “This cabler ripper was recommended to me by a guy who spend 15 years doing electrical work for the Navy.  I believe his exact words were, ‘You have to get one of these.’  He was right.”  (For the non-electricians out there, this tool is used to split open Romex and other large wire.)

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