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Currently viewing the category: "TM’s Favs ’08"

Talk to anyone from old codger to young whippersnapper and they’ll tell you tunes are important in the shop. There’s nothing like stone-cold silence to convince you you’re working and not having a good time in the shop. Hate if you want to — the shop stereo made honorable mention.

The first of my four shop rules is, “The music doesn’t stop.” I’m not kidding around about that either. You can suggest other music, you can change it, or even bring music with you to add into the mix, but under no circumstances does anyone cut off the music.

There’s just a completely different vibe to the place when tunes float about. It makes you feel at home, like whatever you’re doing, whether it’s work or not, is actually playtime. I can’t explain it better than that — but folks who get it know what I’m talking about.

Life is better with tunes.

 

Milwaukee put out one of the coolest tools we’ve seen in 2008, the M12 Hackzall — even in the list of our favorites, this is the spoiled youngest child of the bunch. Ever since the fateful day we had to cut apart my power steering pump with one, it has claimed a place of honor in the shop.

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Skil’s 4690 corded jigsaw has proven itself to be a workhorse.  Under our guidance in the Toolmonger shop it has cut curves in many projects both large and small and never let us down. There’s nothing remarkable about it, except that it takes on every project we give it without difficulty — there’s something to be said for that.

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When someone asks to borrow a tool from the Toolmonger shop, we usually don’t say, “Over our dead bodies” — unless the tool in question is our faithful Fluke 77 Multimeter.  Though it’s not the latest model out there, it still keeps pace with any meter currently on the market.

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Here we see our Ridgid twin-tank aluminum air compressor in its native environment — its central position right under the miter saw is no accident.  This compressor is a slightly dusty star of the show, and the shop wouldn’t be able to function correctly without it.

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Some foolish person might scoff at wood filler in a Top Ten list full of tools, but we’ve completed at least a dozen woodworking projects with Elmer’s ProBond filler this year and can honestly state for the record that our projects wouldn’t be the same without it.  The Elmer’s filler has become as much a part of our woodwork as a sander or circular saw.

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Van Helsing must have wet dreams about the Black and Decker V-3 Million Power Series rechargeable spotlight.  We’re not kidding.  We shouted, “The power of Christ compels you!” every time this thing lit off the first week it was in the shop.  Yes, it really is that bright.  However, if you have no vampires to destroy, it’s also a super-handy work light.

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This Task Force 10” miter saw helped me get into woodworking.  Simple to operate and reasonably priced at around $90, this workhorse has graced every wood project in the Toolmonger shop with accurate mitered cuts — it’s great for anyone setting up a shop.

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A few years ago, before we’d figured out how the shop would actually work, we would experience a curious phenomenon which Chuck half-jokingly referred to as “Tool Explosion” — tools would be everywhere, out of order and difficult to find on cue, especially when I was working an automotive project.  Then, thankfully, the tool cart came into play.

This simple Harbor Freight cart has helped contain tool explosion so much, it’s become the central hub of the shop.  If you want to know which tools we prefer over any other, look in the cart — we don’t put away our favorites.

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Scoff if you like, but these little blue clamps deserve to be here.  We don’t often think about these 6” Irwin Quick-Grip trigger clamps until one of ’em is broken.  The truth is, we appreciate their inexpensive nature in a very unique way -– we use the living tar out of ’em.  We’ve tapped these things to squeeze together anything we could get their jaws around, and we never, not once, felt bad about it.

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