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The General No. 142 6-inch dial caliper does direct reading of .01″ (outer scale) and 1/64″ (inner scale) on its dial (plus mm readings on the bar scale, but — without getting into that whole metric thing — I don’t find this “feature” very convenient). It can do inside, outside, depth, and step measurements. Its fiberglass-reinforced plastic body makes it a good choice for damp/wet environments. You can pick one up for around $24.

There are many alternatives (TM has covered calipers a few times: in and , for example) and some are less expensive (HF or the General 141), but I especially like this model for woodworking.

General Tools [Manufacturer’s Site]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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General’s new Cordless Power Precision Screwdriver is probably one of those tools you would not appreciate until you’ve had to remove or insert a shipload of teeny, tiny screws in electronics, computers, models, and similar equipment. With six precision 1/8″ quick-change chuck bits (#00 and #0 Phillips, 1/16″ and 1/8″ slotted, and T5 and T6 Torx) and batteries (two AAA) included, the $24 Model #500 weighs only 2.4 oz. Its 100+ RPM motor has forward and reverse controls.

Cordless Power Precision Screwdriver [General]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

TM has mentioned before — but I’ve had the General 141ME for at least a couple of years, and have found it especially handy lately while doing some volunteer work setting up a search-and-rescue (SAR) van. It’s only 4″ long, made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic, can measure up to 3″ inner or outer diameters with its caliper, and has both metric and English readings.

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Toolmaker General has twisted two old favorites into a neat new product. While ratcheting tap handles have been around for a while, you don’t see many in use. They’re a bit contrary to the two turns in, one turn out mantra, but for through holes, they’re great. Reversible to allow for tapping left-hand threads and removal, they can save you a bit of time if you have a lot of holes to thread.

$40 from General’s website is a bit steep for one of these, but Production Tool Supply has an in-store manager’s special going right now, offering two sizes for $47, which isn’t bad for two high-quality tap handles.

No. 0 to 1/4″ Reversible Tap Wrench [General]
No. 0 to 1/4″ Reversible Tap Wrench [Production Tool Supply]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

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You’re not going to build a house with the Measure ‘N Mark tape measure and ballpoint pen combo from General Tools, but that’s not the point of the tool.  You’d carry one for the same reason you carry a Leatherman — so you have something available when you need it, even if it isn’t the best tool for the job.

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