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According to the folks at Craftsman, approximately 100 Ace stores will begin selling Craftsman tools this May. That includes portable power tools, compressors, wet/dry vacs, and storage products — but most importantly, it includes hand tools. Later this summer Ace plans to extend the extend the offer to carry Craftsman products to all of its 4,500 stores.

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TM reader Kyle writes:

“After receiving a new angle grinder for Christmas, I looked through the owner’s manual and discovered that Craftsman recommends that the tool be relubricated from time to time. The manual says that this should be done by Sears technicians only. What’s being lubricated, and is it possible for me to do this myself without destroying the grinder?”

We’re hoping you can shed some light on this. We have a Metabo and a DeWalt in the TM shop, but neither has required any service to date. And — maybe badly — we’ve always thought of $60 angle grinders as throw-aways. Also, does your different-brand grinder require this type of lubrication as well?

Kyle reports his grinder is the Craftsman Professional 4-1/2″, model number 900.264370 (pictured above).

The Grinder [Sears]


So you’re a social media fan and up to your knees in a driveway full of snow, eh? Craftsman wants to puff up their Twitter following, and they’ll give you a (slim but measurable) chance at a snow blower for adding +1 to their following and reading their marketing Tweets.

The deets: Visit Sears’ step-by-step snow blower finder and pick your fave. Follow @BlueLGCrew on Twitter and Tweet the following:

Following @BlueLGCrew and went to http://bit.ly/6KxG5t to find my ideal #searssnowblower – model [insert your fave’s 5-digit model # here] – I’m entered for a chance to win it!

The contest closes tomorrow, so move quickly. Or just use your existing snow blower, knowing that your soul is safe from misuse of social media for one more day. Either way, enjoy.

Official Rules [Sears Blog]


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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Spline wrenches are cool because you can turn a variety of different fastener heads such as hex, partially rounded hex, 12pt, square, external Torx, and yes, even spline heads, with one wrench.  If you’re willing to give up the ratcheting feature in the Stanley Proto and SK spline wrenches, you can get a set of seven Craftsman combo open end/box spline wrenches from Sears for under $20.

Craftsman angles the wrench heads by 15° to save your knuckles and they reinforce the open end so the wrench doesn’t deform under high torque, rounding the head. The set normally includes 5/16″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″, 9/16″, and 11/16″ wrenches, but to be nice Sears is throwing in a 5/8″ wrench and a storage tray.

Universal Wrench Set [Sears]

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You wire your shop for electricity and run ducting for your dust collection system, so why not outfit your shop with compressed air outlets where you’ll need them rather than dragging the air hose around?

RapidAir makes running air lines throughout the shop as easy as running PEX water line. You don’t have to cut and thread pipe or mess with pipe dope at the fittings. The system can handle pressures up to 150 PSI using just flexible 1/2″ nylon tubing and simple push-on fittings.

Pricing for the master kit starts at $140; it includes one compressor manifold, two outlets, and 100′ of 1/2″ blue nylon tubing. Outlets, tubing, and fittings are also available separately.

Master Kit [RapidAir]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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The Smart-Holder holds log firmly off the ground so you can safely saw them without rolling, bending, or burying your chainsaw blade in the dirt.

AMGA in Sweden designed the Smart-Holder to assemble and break down quickly. Once it’s set up you just push the end of log through the swinging jaw of the Smart-Holder and push down on the log to wedge it in place.

The 27 pound Smart-Holder measures 47″ long by 15″ wide and will hold any log 1/2″ to 9″ thick.  When it’s set up it stands 38″ tall and when it collapses it’s just 2″ high. Stihl and Remington also market the Smart-Holder under their own branding. No matter which company sells it, pricing starts at $100.

Smart Holder [Corporate Site]
Smart Holder [Remington]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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Ignition wrenches are one of those tools you’ll never need until that one moment when Murphy’s messing with you, and then nothing else will do. Normal wrenches have a 30-degree offset in the head to allow for rotating hex bolts by thirty degrees at a time, but that’s too much for some very tight situations. That’s where ignition wrenches come in. With a 15-degree offset on one side and an 80-degree offset on the other, you only need five degrees of rotation to spin a bolt. Tedious, yes, but sometimes those small increments are all you can manage.

Pricing is reasonable from Craftsman, at $20 for a set of eight metric wrenches, and the same price for eight inch wrenches. Snap-On, naturally, has similar options at the stratospheric price of $224. Personally, I’ll take 91% off and go for the Craftsman set.

8-piece ignition wrench set, inches [Craftsman]
8-piece ignition wrench set, millimeters [Craftsman]

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You would think that with my collection of purchased and inherited tools and overall tool hang-up, I would have at least seen one of these before. I have some old Craftsman double-ended ratchet wrenches that are dog-bone shaped, but this version is new to me; I don’t know how I overlooked this.

Sears has their DOG BONE wrench in both SAE and metric for $20 each. Thorsen seems to have an equivalent for $15, although their version does not have the all upper-case name.

This could either be super handy to have around, sparing you trips back and forth to the tool box to find the right socket — or the bone ends would get in the way left, right, and backwards.

Sears [Manufacturer’s Site]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

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There are times when I’m very glad I don’t own a gas grill. I’m sure many people use them without issue, but I’ve heard of folks’ houses burning down after faulty shutdowns and any number of other issues after a summer or so of operation. Most of that is hearsay of course, but it seems Fiesta Grills has a real tale of woe with the voluntary recall of around 88,000 of their Blue Ember Gas Grills.

Fiesta has received 161 reports of malfunctions resulting in 9 incidents that produced major burns and one case of temporary hearing loss. The recall states the cause of all this mess is that the gas hose can get too close to the firebox. Once it does, it gets bad.

The recall notice had this to say on what to do if your unit is one of the affected models.

Consumers should immediately stop using the grill and call Fiesta Gas Grills to obtain a free replacement grease pan assembly and instructions for installing the part and the gas tank. The grill should not be used until the new grease pan assembly and the gas tank have been installed correctly. Consumers should also inspect the gas burner hose and regulator, which will be replaced free of charge if there are signs of damage.

Check out the CPSC site for more info on how to identify which grills are included in the recall. And should your grill be one of the guilty parties don’t just ignore the notice and light up anyway. The way this recall reads, it’s only a matter of time.

Recall Information [CPSC.gov]