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These suckers have been around for north of a hundred years. Some have come out in heavy synthetic fabrics, but leather and canvas are still the materials of choice. Duluth Trading makes versions from their excellent fire hose fabric, which are fine products. I may be a proponent of speed-density fuel injection systems and digital micrometers, but I’ve fallen completely for this old-school method of carting tools around. I get a kick out of tossing someone a harmless-looking fabric wrap that just happens to have thirty pounds of wrenches wrapped up in it.

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While I have not worn my Duluth Trading Souped-up Sweatpants lately (for those of you not in central Texas, it’s been damn hot here this summer), I do like them when working outside or in the garage in cool weather. They don’t seem unreasonably priced at $40 when you consider they’re made of 10-oz. fleece, have double-layer knees, a gusset crotch, zip-fly front, webbing belt and buckle, zippered back pockets, extra side pockets, AND utility loops. They’re not kidding when they say “souped-up.” These sweatpants are also pretty comfy for kicking back and watching football on Sunday afternoons.

Duluth Trading Co. [Manufacturer’s Site]

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Meteor’s Spark Doctor is yet another multi-tool, but this time they’ve specialized it for working with spark plugs. This multi-tool boasts eight different tools for removing, tuning, and cleaning your plugs.

As always, we’re skeptical about the number of tools a multi-tool packs — sometimes marketing departments like to be sneaky and claim a lanyard hole or carrying case as a tool or function. So let’s enumerate the tools, shall we?

  • 5/8″ socket
  • 3/4″ socket
  • 13/16″ socket
  • Brass brush
  • Metal file
  • Metal pick
  • Gap gage
  • Gapping tool

The metal file and metal pick are part of the same tool, kind of like the wire stripper is part of the flat screwdriver blade on Leatherman and Swiss Army Knives. If they can get away with it, why not Meteor? All these tools fold into a soft-grip handle.

The Spark Doctor can be had for less than $20 before somebody tries to gouge you with shipping.

Spark Doctor [Meteor]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Spark Doctor [Sears]

 

A shim is a shim, right?  You can’t really improve on a tapered piece of wood — or can you?  Peel-A-Shim claims their Speed-Shim will help you get the job done faster without the shims moving, spinning, or splitting.   Instead of trying to line up a bunch of wedge-shaped shims, you just peel off the correct number of shims to fill the gap.

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You can magnetize a screwdriver to keep screws in place, so why not magnetize your sockets, too?  These Brocket magnetic socket inserts hold nuts and bolts captive so you don’t have to worry about them falling out and rolling into hard-to-reach places.

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Knee pads can be a pain in the butt to wear, but if the task at hand lets you remain relatively stationary you could try this knee cushion from Birkenstock instead.  Of course, when you hear Birkenstock, you may think shoes, but surprisingly they also make this cushion to save your weary knees.

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Gear retailers who operate strictly online enjoy a freedom that I find refreshing — mostly because, in their ads, many of these companies call it like they see it.  Take this ad from Duluth for example:  Not only do they tell you why you need a three-inch tail on your T-shirt, they show you why.

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I know it’s evil to talk about Xmas this early, but this Amaze-N-Marbles game reminds me of when I was a kid.  By arranging the series of wooden tracks and chutes correctly, my brother and I could make the marble travel quite a distance down these little guides.  This stuff was pure awesomeness, both simple and fun — and it actually required thinking and imagination, which I find sadly lacking in children’s toys today.

Sadly, Mom was constantly having to confiscate our old set.  Brothers being brothers, we took the first chance available after a failed run to beat each other with the blocks and sling the marbles at each other.  That would end our marble-running for a few weeks at a time.

This set costs around $25 for an entire bag of them.  Of course, the tricky craftsmen could make their own sets for less, if they were willing to spend the time.

Amaze-N-Marbles [Duluth]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

 

Now that smoking isn’t politically correct, most automobiles don’t come with a cigarette lighter — the manufacturers have repurposed that hole as a power port.  Fill the empty port with the Auto LED flashlight from Coast.  You can leave it charging in your vehicle’s power port, always ready, like the lighter it replaced.

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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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