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Although not as precise as Incra’s Protractor, Stanley’s Premium Adjustable Quick Square lets you mark angles in degrees and includes several handy scales for framing a roof. The square functions as a saw guide, a bevel for copying angles, and a protractor.

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Large tool companies get traded faster than fictional real estate printed on cardboard; we know this. The latest press release on January 18 says this deal between Chang Type Industrial Co. Ltd. and Stanley Black & Decker for Delta closes Feb. 4th — we know this too. That’s all fine and dandy. The problem is we (the consumer) are often caught in the crossfire, and our tools suffer for it.

The resulting Delta company from the deal will be consolidated with the manufacturing, R&D, engineering, sales, and administrative functions in Anderson County, South Carolina, and be led by Bryan Whiffen and Norm MacDonald who have heavy-weight clout and experience in the field with Ryobi, Homelite, Milwaukee, and Ridgid. We also know that Biesemeyer accessories and Unisaw are going to keep a made-in-the-USA label as well. So why is it being sold again? What’s the mindset of the folks behind this, and what’s their plan?

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A couple of years ago I wrote a post about AO Safety’s WorkTunes, and ever since then I’ve thought about buying a similar pair. Finally after getting sick of swapping ear buds for hearing protection every time I needed to do something noisy, I grabbed a pair of Stanley AM/FM/MP3 Earmuffs from Menards. Here’s the rundown on my experience with them:

Fit

You adjust the size of the headband from both sides of the earmuffs. Each side can travel from the 1 line to one more notch past where it is in the photo, or about 2″. This gives you 4″ of total adjustment. I don’t have a huge head — I wear a size 7-1/4 baseball cap, and I have the earmuffs adjusted to almost full size. If your head is much larger, I’d start to worry about these earmuffs being too small.

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Browsing the tool section of Lowe’s today, I noticed yet another ratcheting adjustable wrench. We’ve previously covered these type of wrenches here, here, and here, but this wrench from Stanley-Bostitch uses a completely different ratcheting mechanism than the other wrenches we’ve covered.

This is by no means a review, but I do have some initial thoughts about the wrench after playing with it in the store. I tried the ratcheting action on the plastic nut Lowe’s had on the display, and to ratchet around a fastener, the adjustable jaw has a spring-loaded face that moves upward, allowing the fastener to slip in the jaws when you turn it one direction. It also stays in position when you turn the wrench in the other direction.

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Every year you’ll see a number of holiday “gimmick” items gracing shelves about this time of year, stocked by folks who hope you’ll find ’em tempting — especially if you’re looking for a gift for someone who has lots of tools. The “features” seem to set the tool apart from others, many of which your giftee will likely already own.

Two years ago it was the Black & Decker Autotape. Is it junk? No. It does exactly what the box says it’ll do. But in our experience — and the experience of a number of friends who got them as gifts over the last few years — the battery dies quickly, and then it lies in a drawer unused.

Instead, consider purchasing a basic, high-quality tool that’ll give service for years. You can pick up a super-nice short tape — like, for example, the Stanley Bostitch 16′ pictured above — for $20 or even less with some careful shopping. And even if your favorite Toolmonger already owns a short tape, it never hurts to have two. Or three. In short, it’s the kind of gift that’ll always bring a smile because a) it’s useful, b) it’ll remain useful for years, and c) it’s thoughtful.

Short Tapes [Bostitch]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

 

The first and most humble of the Toolmonger Favorite offerings this year is also one of the greatest values, Stanley’s Tylon Series short tapes. We have several lengths rolling around the Toolmonger shop, but the 12’ tape is by far my favorite and has been since I first started with it.

It’s rare that a tape measure takes all the bitches I had with the current tape (which I liked) and systematically eliminates them to render a — and I don’t say this word lightly — perfect tape measure experience.  The nylon coating on the tape itself doesn’t mar finished wood and is easy to read. The housing is lightweight and uber-durable, and the spring doesn’t try to sever digits off when it retracts. That’s about as good as you could expect from mortal engineering.

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Although the Stanley Fat-Max Extreme Instant-Change Saw System was announced last year, I finally saw it in the wild for the first time at Menards. Stanley also released what seems to be an identical product under their Bostitch brand, which has been on sale online for a while.

We’ve covered a similar replaceable blade handsaw, the Ergo Handsaw System, in the past and our readers seemed underwhelmed. I can’t say I understand the appeal of one handle with many blades myself, especially when you’re really not saving much money over a full saw.

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They say the trick to being a good arms dealer is to quietly arm both sides and wait for the repeat business. It would appear Stanley has learned that lesson; they supply security and law enforcement with gear, and now for the other side of that equation the Ultra Bright 5 watt LED spotlight is available for clumsy, teenage vagrants as seen here. It’s a growth market, really.

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You thought you were done outfitting your shop — Stanley’s taken a rather mundane staple of the shop, a stacking parts bin, and found a way to make you want to throw out your old bins and buy new ones.  They equipped an 11.5″ deep by 6-3/8″ wide by 5-1/8″ high bin with a sliding cover, not unlike a rolltop desk, and gave it a handle for easy transport.

The sliding cover on the Stock and Carry clicks shut to keep the contents inside and dust and dirt out.  You can sit them on a workbench, hang them from racks, or put them Stanley’s Lock and Stock Organizer.

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When Stanley looked to update their 24″ and 36″ demo bars this year — and let’s face it: we haven’t seen a whole hell of a lot of “updates” in the demo bar field lately — they looked to material. Specifically, they calculated that by selecting the correct steel and dialing in the heat treatment perfectly (just like spring manufacturers do to make heavy-duty springs like the ones that hold up your car), they could create a bar that’s just as strong as before, but also 30% lighter.

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