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Maybe you don’t always have to cut PVC and re-connect it with foul-smelling glue to install it. In some applications, maybe you can just bend it. There are heaters for bending PVC, which at the best smell really bad or at the worst emit some nasty chemicals, but Rack-A-Tiers’ Pipe Viper allows you to bend PVC cold.

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What’s the fastest way to drive a nut 9″ down a rod of 3/8″ all-thread? Smart Tools’ Big Willy. They’ve come up with a line of hollow shank nut drivers specifically for 3/8″ threaded rod and only for 3/8″ nuts, since 3/8″ nuts usually require a 9/16″ socket.

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Crank action screwdrivers pre-date cordless drivers, but they are still handy enough to be useful today.  Trying to make their Rapi-Driv screwdrivers more functional, Klein now sells a version with interchangeable tips. They may not have been the first company to stick an interchangeable bit holder on their crank action screwdriver, but theirs is the only version I could find.

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When you’re working around high voltage, you shouldn’t be using a tool that feels awkward in your hands. In redesigning their cable knives, Knipex focused on ergonomics to make their tools more comfortable to use.

They added a “slip-proof,” soft grip material to the handle, gave it a thumb recess and finger hook, and angled the slip guard to make this 1000V rated knife fit better in your hand and easier to pull when cutting. Oil-hardened to keep it sharp, the blade also comes with a transparent cap to protect it (or maybe protect you from it).

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Last week Ideal announced their new solution for butt splicing wires together quickly and easily: SpliceLine in-line wire connectors. They tout two major uses for the new connectors, making prefabbed electrical assemblies faster to install and lengthening short wires inside of electrical boxes.

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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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Chain pliers let you open and close links in chandelier chain without damaging them. Just why would you want to open and close chandelier chain links? To change the length of the chain, of course.

Westinghouse makes the pictured pliers from malleable iron and gives them spring-loaded handles. A pair will cost you anywhere from $10 to $20.

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

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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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When I first saw this product I immediately thought about the stem lube scam on The Simpsons, but if you think about it, this product might not sound so silly. Have you ever broken a bulb because it was stuck in the socket? Next time you replace it, you could try a product like Bulb EZ to keep the bulb from sticking.

Copperwolf claims that Bulb EZ is non-toxic, non-corrosive, odorless, not silicone based (won’t dry out), and made in the USA. One ounce of Bulb EZ will run you about $4.

Bulb EZ [Corporate Site]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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Whether it’s labeled as Klutch (Northern Tool), Commercial Electric (Home Depot), or some other house brand, this electrician’s multi-tool has an aluminum handle with a non-slip grip and several stainless steel tools including:

  • 10-20 gauge wire strippers
  • Pliers
  • Knife
  • Wire hook
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Large slotted driver
  • Small slotted driver
  • Saw
  • Cable splicing blade
  • File

The multi-tool comes with the obvious disclaimer to not use the tool on live circuits because it’s not insulated — if you couldn’t figure that out for yourself, somebody should probably come take your tools away.

The Electrician’s Multi-Tool includes a belt pouch and runs $19 at Northern Tool. You might be able to find it for less at your local big box, though.

Electrical Multi-Tool [Northern Tool]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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