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Got a busted-ass cordless drill driver you’re thinking about depositing in the circular file? Home Depot will recycle it for you from now through October 27th. Here’s the deal: They won’t give you anything in exchange for your trash gear, but they do promise to recycle it correctly — including that environmentally-ugly battery with all its chemical nastiness.

Depot tells us that they recently lowered the price a bit of eleven li-ion drills, so maybe you can see one of them in your future. Regardless, might as well use the opportunity to dispose of any old batteries you’ve got lying around.

(And yes, the drill pictured above belongs to our friends over at Toolsnob.com. RIP beloved drill: 2004-2006. We feel your pain.)


Monday morning, my neighbor and I planned on renting a machine to aerate our lawns. At 9 a.m. we drove over to Home Depot and they had several Classen CA-18 machines like the one pictured above in stock. The sales guy noticed the aerator we were renting was low on gas, filled the tank up with the last bit of gas they had on hand, then fired it up to show us how to start it.

When we got the aerator back to my yard it fired right up, but any time we tried to give it some more gas, it either died or sputtered badly. After about 15 minutes of letting it idle, then slowly easing off the choke and giving it more gas, it was running at full throttle but we couldn’t ease off the throttle without it dying. At this point we knew something was wrong, but we decided not to turn back.

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As usual for this time of year, the big boxes are offering deals on basic- and classic-model ceiling fans. Currently Lowe’s is selling the Harbor Breeze 52″ classic fan (pictured above) for $45; Home Depot has apartment-style Littleton fans for around $20(!), and even Amazon’s got a couple of deals on Emerson and Westinghouse fans.

In my experience, ceiling fans need not be expensive or fancy to do the job. Keeping the air moving and the a/c bill down in the summer is my prime concern, and $40 is the right price for the savings in both energy and cash.

Hampton Bay 52″ Farmington Ceiling Fan [Home Depot]
Harbor Breeze 52″ Classic Brushed Nickel Ceiling Fan [Lowe’s]
Littleton White 42″ Ceiling Fan With Light Kit [Home Depot]
Emerson 52″ Ceiling Fan Via Amazon [What’s This?]


Forget finding a length of pipe to slip over the handle of the puny wrench you’re using. If you need some extra torque, grab this two-foot adjustable wrench from Olympia Tools.

To make this monster they drop-forge alloy steel into a die, then harden and temper it. They precision-machine the jaws, and to make it pretty and corrosion-resistant they chrome plate and polish it. The end result is a wrench that can be used to spin fasteners up 2-1/2″ wide.

You’ll pay $40 to $45 after shipping for this wrench.

24″ Adjustable Wrench [Olympia Tools]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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What’s the word in Toolmonger land regarding the pros and cons of insulating garage doors? The picture above shows the beginning of an installation using a reflective foil kit, one of the apparently three main DIY approaches (the other two being foam panels and fiberglass rolls). Texas Garages is one site that discusses and compares the various approaches. Costs to do a single garage door range from $69 to $129.

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When I first saw one of the plastic bubble monstrosities required for “in use” receptacle covers, I thought the idea was sound, but the execution awful. Today there are a few more models to choose from and some are even more tasteful, but most of them still stick out of the side of a house like a sore thumb.

That’s where TayMac’s flat in use cover comes in. It’s made from heavy duty polycarbonate and expands from a flush 1″ to 3-1/2″ thanks to its synthetic neoprene rubber accordion-like structure. Supposedly the materials won’t dry rot, crack or deteriorate in sunlight and are paintable.

TayMac calls this box an “in use cover” and says it’s ETL listed, yet they specially don’t mention whether it’s weatherproof or meets the 406.8(B) NEC code; although Ace claims the box is 2008 NEC compliant. So here’s the question: can you actually use this box to meet code? Maybe somebody can straighten me out in the comments.

TayMac’s flat in use cover will run you somewhere around $9. Also, when I was researching this item I found a cool resource where you can download the various building codes by state. Use the last link in the post to visit the site.

Flat In Use Cover [TayMac]
Flat In Use Cover [Ace Hardware]
Public Codes

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With Robert’s Roll-O universal knife you don’t have to sacrifice the skin on your knuckles when you cut rough materials like asphalt shingles or carpet. The knife’s finger loop, contoured handle, and extended roller tail protect your fingers and probably give you more control than a standard run-of-the-mill utility knife.

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When we first heard about Home Depot’s iPhone app, we couldn’t help but think back about all the incredible frustration we’ve endured searching for items via Depot’s full website. But hey — we live to serve. So we installed it. And here’s our review.

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A cable ripper is a simple tool with one function: removing the outer jacket on ROMEX and other electrical wires. One of Ideal’s versions, the Lil’ Ripper Stripper, incorporates some other commonly-used tools to let you rip, clip, strip, loop, and twist with one tool.

Besides ripping the outer jacket of ROMEX, the tool also clips it. It also can be used to strip insulation from wires, form loops in wires for screw terminals, and get a better grip on wire nuts with wings. The grip is injection molded elastomer and a measurement scale is molded into the side for measuring the correct amount of wire to strip.

You can pick up Ideal’s Lil Ripper Stripper for about $6.

Lil’ Ripper Stripper [Ideal]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Lil’ Ripper Stripper [Sears]

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Forget measuring to locate recessed cans when you’re hanging drywall; Blind Mark’s Center Mark tool uses the awesome power of magnets to make finding them faster and easier.

To use the Center Mark, screw the target into the socket inside the recessed can and hang the drywall.  Then move the Center Mark locater puck approximately where the can should be, and with any luck the puck will snap into place to locate the center of the can. Finally, saw away from the puck until you hit the edge of the recessed can, jump to the outside, and saw around the outside of the can.

The Center Mark sells for $18. The Home Depot site claims the tool is only available online, but my local Home Depot had them on the shelf.

Center Mark [Blind Mark]
Center Mark [Home Depot]

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