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It’s not often a home-brew item with wacky mods turns out to be the perfect gift, but this shovel/USB drive is a complete fury of win! This Christmas I’m totally going to do this to my father… and perhaps a few others. I’m not really sure what they used to get the USB drive into the handle, but it’s worth it, whatever I have to do. Perhaps some 5-minute epoxy, so to use the drive it will actually take cutting the handle down to a stub or putting a disc sander to it.

Perhaps I should start cruising yard sales now to make sure I get a few really nasty, rusted-out shovels to put into action. Also, so it’s not just a throwaway gag gift, get a really nice drive to entice them to use or salvage it. We don’t know who did this but our hats are off and beers up whoever you are. Well done indeed!

The look on any recipient’s face of this illustrious prize is sure to validate any trouble concerned with its design and execution.

And The Point Is? [Cheezburger]



The History Channel has been playing the damn Kobalt Double Drive mini-infomercial between breaks so much I would actually buy one if I thought it’d make them stop playing it. The funny part is, as much as I’d like to make fun of it, the twisty ratchet does look pretty cool. The basic premise is, if you click it to double mode, a barrel twist each way will advance the head in the direction you’d like to go.

The Double Drive form factor isn’t funky or out of line with what a ratchet should look like, and it delivers more functionality than a standard ratchet. It reminds us a little of when the GearWrench pass-thru system first came out, but not nearly as groundbreaking. For around $20 it seems a decent investment to throw down for.

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The City Wheel is quite striking to look at. Part of the “Long Nights Big City Lights” exhibit produced by McNabb & Co., the wheel is sharp, vibrant to look at, and makes quite a statement even if you’re unsure of what it is. Look a little closer and it just gets more impressive. The wheel is made from over 60 blocks that have been carved into buildings and put back in the ring one at a time to form what you see here.

Each building was done by hand, and no two are exactly the same much in the same way buildings themselves are not the same. It’s a badass marriage of art, craftsmanship, and calculated design that, when massed together, is praiseworthy on several different levels. Once the math of the wedges had been figured out and the design was set, you’ve still got dozens of building to carve up.

Sure, once you’ve seen how it’s done, you could make a go of it, but the sheer time involved is nothing short of staggering. The artist certainly took the long-game approach when doing the wheel and the other pieces for the show –simply amazing.

The making of the wheel [YouTube]
The City Series: Wheel [McNabb & Co.]


The FatMax magnetic tape honestly looks like a normal FatMax with a magnet clipped to the hook — but sporting a $22 price tag instead of the $8 you’d find with the standard leverlock. However, as with many Stanley tape products, the benefits of the magnetic tape are a little more subtle than might first be expected.

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I really needed to change blades on the Shop Smith recently in order to rip hardwood stock, but there were a few issues with that plan. The first is the Mark V takes special 10-inch Shop Smith blades that you can’t just buy anywhere. The other was that my version of those blades had worn out, and the technology behind them isn’t evolving as fast as the rest of the competition. Luckily, Shop Smith provides an arbor that allows a different brand of blade on the machine.

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As is often the case with Garrett Wade tools, the English plated brace is great, antique-looking tool pr0n that’s very expensive but not something you actually feel the need to have. The 13″ brace is carved from Beechwood and includes a 5” single square-tapered shank center bit and button-operated latch. Of course this splendid specimen of awesome will cost you $295, is only available online, and you’ll have to wait ’til mid-February for the backorder. Maybe the Garrett Wade scout-buyer who collects these from London got tied up in the pub.

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Rockwell is set to offer a 16V lithium-ion line, starting with a drill and an impact driver. Why should we care? Well, a few years back Bosch kickstarted the compact market with the PS20, reminding us that a) we don’t necessarily need to use the biggest possible drill for every job and b) small doesn’t have to mean crappy. Then both Bosch and DeWalt took a page from the less-is-more book in their 18V lines, cutting back on the extra bulk to produce svelte, light, yet still quite powerful general-use pro-line drills. DeWalt has even filled in the gap between Bosch’s compact PS series and the new compact 18V tools — the 12V MAX line features more standard form factors than the PS tools (along with larger size), and, in some cases, a little more power.

Rockwell argues that their new 16V series fits in the tiny gap between 12V models — they claim their 16V offers more power — and 18V class tools, which Rockwell suggests are bulkier than their product. How will it hold up? Read on after the jump to find out.

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For me, mixing paint is an action that involves an old screwdriver or a scrap of wood. The Mixing Mate paint lid claims to simplify the process of mixing paint or stain in the can: it combines a one-quart paint can lid with the properties of a coffee grinder and one of the maple syrup dispensers from IHOP.

The Mixing Mate seems to work well from what I’ve seen, but for some reason I’ve never needed the help getting paint mixed or pouring it into a can or tray. Normally it’s a rite of passage to open up a can, stir it up, then spill paint everywhere before learning to control the can. After the first time it really isn’t an issue anymore. Plus, if you want to switch paint or materials you’ll have to wash the thing off really well or you’ll be making a different color than you thought.

On the whole it looks like it’d work, but so would a screwdriver and 15 seconds with a paint stick.

Mixing Mate [Rockler]
Street Pricing
[Google Shopping]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


We’re always fascinated by how different folks store their tools. Some people love the purpose-made hard cases which come with a lot of hand tools, though we’ve seen a pretty solid shift toward preferring the soft case (or slightly-structured bag). Each has benefits: the hard cases offer more protection and can Tetris together into squarish storage spaces better, while soft bags pack much tighter internally — but are messy to stack. It looks to us like Bosch is trying to cut the middle with their LBOXX system, which consists of hard cases of fixed width and depth that stack easily and lock together for ease of storage/carrying.

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First off, thanks so much for all the thoughtful responses to my post last week about artificial frugality and tool hoarding. I started to reply to some of the comments specifically, but soon realized that there’s so much interesting information there that the subject really deserves a follow-up post to dig deeper into the areas of scrap storage, what tools to keep, and for how long.

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