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Yesterday’s post on pyrography inspired me to do some research and get back into it, so I naturally looked to see what techniques others practice. I found this video of Juan Ricardo Jiménez, an artisan from Paraguay, that both makes you feel inspired and think “whatever I come up with isn’t going to amount to much when this kind of work is running around out there.”

Decades of work, training, mistakes, and masterworks have to flow under the bridge before this level of work is even possible. Especially with a stick heated by coals and the work being done balanced on his leg. The detail he pulls from the spear-shaped head of the iron is amazing.

Fire and Wood: My Grandfather’s Hands [YouTube]

 

When I was a kid, some smartass relative snuck a woodburning kit into my birthday presents — a kit of low quality and high difficulty combined with my complete lack of patience was not to bode well. Many might remember the kit: it came with a ton of little wood pieces and some leather you could burn on (which never worked out for me), and there was a child grinning on the cover of the box like he’d just been to Disneyland or something. This was my memory of what I later learned is called pyrography. And few weeks ago, I discovered that particular set from when I was a kid was to woodburning what a model-T is to a modern-day automobile.

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We receive at least 20 emails a week from folks asking us where they can find replacement parts for a tool. So we thought it might be worth a post to explain how we go about finding this information for our own personal needs. This might seem a bit simple to some of you, but the volume of mail we receive indicates that it’s a topic we should address. If you’re already very comfortable finding this information yourself, we’d love it if you’d add your own recommendations in comments for future readers who find the post and can benefit from your experience.

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Any power tool consists of a power system — a drive motor, essentially — and a series of mechanical devices that interconnect that drive to some kind of spinning or reciprocating tool: a drill, saw, or driver. So why not just make the motor and handle detachable from the rest of the mess (interconnect and tool) and sell the latter separately so you can just swap them onto the tool when you need them?

Well, we can think of three or four reasons why it might not work. But Black & Decker decided to give it a try. They’re calling it the “Matrix” system: a battery/motor/trigger in a drill/driver form factor along with a series of attachments, currently a drill/driver, oscillating tool impact driver, jigsaw, detail sander, trim saw, and router.

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Occasionally we get pictures of tools and we just don’t know what they are. We love that — and love to check out what folks have dug out of their stash and try to ID it. In this case, reader Glen sent in a picture of this bit of steel. To us, it looks like an adjustable fence or guide. My first thought was that it was part of a shoe for a saw, but the pin and tube on one end is really throwing me.

The markings on the left side read “R2871 DET 2” if that helps at all, but it didn’t reveal anything helpful in our search. What say you Toolmongers? Can anyone help Glen out and tell him (and us) what this is? If so, let us know in comments. You can’t do any worse than we are at the moment.

 

We’re not at all like those “crazy” people on TV, right? I mean, it’s not like we keep a collection of 25,000 popsicle sticks, or retain the box for every single light bulb we ever buy. Of course, we do keep that leftover piece of scrap wood. And metal. Hey — that stuff is expensive! We’ll use it eventually. And don’t forget the specialty blade set for the table saw. And that awesome (rarely-used) power tool we scored at the flea market.

Actually, more than a few of the people I know through the tool world would easily qualify as hoarders, at least by the definition of “norms” not initiated to our world. In fact, I’ll admit it: I am (well, was) a Toolmonger hoarder. I fixed that this weekend. Read on to find out why — and how.

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The Predator has been around for a while. It weighs over 500 lbs., has a reported 300 hp, and can cut a big-ass log like the one you see in the video in under two and a half seconds. No one needs a v8 chainsaw; it’s not cost effective, not gas efficient, and (we’re guessing) not the easiest machine on the ears — but man, is that thing cool.

It seems to be humanity’s collective nature to take things too far. Often it doesn’t work out that well, but in some cases, like monster trucks, jet powered kayaks, or v8 chainsaws, it is something to behold.

Predator 2.2 Second Run [YouTube]

 

Carbon fiber is a popular building material that’s found its way into many tools in the last decade. When it came to knives, carbon fiber seemed a natural fit, much like bone or horn. It’s light, tough, and looks great — and recently even the blade makers steeped in old-timey tradition like Case have given the material a shot with their CF collection.

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Cutting oddly-shaped crown molding on a miter saw is always a little tricky. Besides holding it firmly in place, you also need to make sure you’ve got the molding properly registered against the saw so that the compound angle you painstakingly calculated and dialed in on the saw transfers to the molding — and your walls. One solution, at least for those of you who own Bosch’s axial glide saw, is a crown-specific stop kit.

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The 20V MAX battery system is winding its way through the Stanley Black & Decker product chain, and what you see above represents the Porter Cable take on it, starting with the most common tools — a drill/driver and impact driver. Read on for details as well as some comparisons to the line-founding DeWalt models.

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