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You’d think there wasn’t much more you could do to improve the trusty old round-point shovel, but Gemcor, maker of the One-Shot Shovel, thinks they’ve found a way. They start with a basic round-point shovel and give it wings — the “wings” provide extra carrying capacity and extra support for your foot when you step on the shovel, and the extra edges cut the ground quicker.

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You carry a pen around religiously, but wouldn’t it be nice to have calipers always handy? If you owned a Messograf caliper pen from Cleo Skribent, you’d always have calipers.

Built into the retractable ballpoint pen is a 4″ Vernier caliper that measures in increments of both 0.1mm and 1/16″. The pen also functions as a metric screw thread scale and a tire tread depth scale.

Made in Germany from chrome-plated brass, the Messograf caliper pen retails for about $27 or so depending on the exchange rate, but you can find it as low as $20 before shipping.

Messograf [Cleo Skribent]
Messograf [Garrett Wade]
Messograf [Passion4Pens]


One of my sons picked up an ’88 Bronco, leading me to wonder why a kid who lives in the city and never even touches the transfer case lever needs a four-by-four. Anyway, he managed to run out of antifreeze, and over the summer he just kept topping off the radiator with water, and as you can guess, the water pump started leaking — so it ends up in ole Paul’s shop for a “quick” water-pump swap.

I should’ve had him take it to the shop because over half the water-pump bolts snapped, probably due to a combination of the water and the engine getting too hot. As I was pulling the grill and radiator so I could work in there, an easy-out broke off, and that was after a day of spraying PB on it. So I dropped $20 on a couple of carbide burrs at the Fastenal shop and got the job done.  Now I see Garrett Wade sells a fifteen-piece set of burrs for quite a bit less than I spent.

Just like all carbide-based tools, these burrs’ll cut through about anything. The bits come with an 1/8” shank.  The common shapes and sizes are included in the set, and they average out to about $4 per bit. The entire set sells for $60 at Garrett Wade.

Grinding Burrs [Garrett Wade]


Hacking through roots can be frustrating at best.  They’re tough, covered in dirt and usually below ground.  This means you’re on your hands and knees hunched over a hole ruining your good tools.  This inexpensive Japanese sickle root cutter is purported to cut roots up to 1″ in diameter with “minimal fuss.”

The 8-3/4″ handle is made from Ho wood, a heavy and hard wood.  The 2-3/4″ blade is made from heavy-duty stainless tool steel and has razor sharp serrated teeth set at approximately 30 degrees.  Like most Japanese saws this 5/64″ thick blade cuts on the pull stroke.

The Japan Woodworker and Garrett Wade import this root cutter from Japan and sell it for between $11 and $17. Also, we hear they’re all the rage with the zombie elite types this year, like Jason and that fisherman guy with the hook.

Root Cutter [Japan Woodworker]
Root Cutter [Garrett Wade]


Garrett Wade’s pricing can lean a little on the crack-smoking side, but right now they’re having an inventory reduction sale on a “while supplies last” basis. The big banner across the top says the prices are slashed down 55 percent — however a quick look will find the slashing to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 percent.

That’s still not bad if you’d like to pick up a box hatchet for $9 or a folding wood and brass ruler for $17. Of course, use your head and shop around to see what’s really a bargain and what’s not.

Inventory Reduction [Garrett Wade]


With the Folding Pocket Wrench you can carry around an entire set of open-end wrenches in your pocket.  The double-ended wrench folds down to 5″ x 2″ x 3/4″ to fit comfortably in its included nylon belt pouch.  Its integrated spacer blades act as shims to adjust the wrench to the fastener size, rather than using a thumb wheel that needs constant adjustment.

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Here in the Toolmonger shop we have little patience for working bolts out, and if at first we don’t succeed we just pile on more grunt.  On occasion this leads to rounding off a few corners — you know, like all of them. This nine-piece extractor set from Garret Wade offers some help in that department.

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Way before electricity and power tools, woodworkers were drilling holes with hand-powered tools like the breast drill. Skipping over the obvious 7th-grade jokes, old-timers once reached for this drill to get a good start and a clean hole.

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I normally don’t go for the dime-store keychain stuff, but these Garrett Wade pewter keychains aren’t half bad. They come in three styles: wood plane, garden implements, and mechanic’s tools.

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Last year about this time we made a joke about the Rambo styling of a certain garden spade from Garrett Wade. This year a new contender may take the Rambo-gardening title: this Japanese digging knife. We don’t doubt that it’s handy — it looks like it could cut up some dirt, or fend off a tribe of deadly ninjas, without much trouble.

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