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On this last April Fools Day, Lee Valley continued their tradition of intriguing but fake products by posting the precision story tape. Now after the joke has blown over, they’ve actually made a small production run of the story tape and are offering it on their web site while supplies last.

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Building upon their MJ Splitter that we featured yesterday, Micro Jig recently introduced the MJ Splitter SteelPRO.  Both of these products are designed to be inserted into a zero-clearance insert on your table saw to keep the kerf in the workpiece from pinching the blade.

Rather than using plastic like the original MJ Splitter, Micro Jig makes the SteelPRO splitters from stainless steel — including the pins — and covers them in high-density polycarbonate. In addition to their more rugged construction, MicroJig added a few new features.

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Veritas’ new Bench Blades use a cam that can apply up to 300 lbs of clamping force to keep your latest project from moving around the bench. Fitting into most 3/4″ dog holes, these modified bench dogs only extend 1/4″ above the bench surface so they won’t get in the way of your tools.

The cam lever and the sliding jaw are both made from cast steel and are heat treated. The lever moves the sliding jaw up to 1/4″, and the jaw face is cast so that the upper edge contacts the workpiece before the lower edge to help prevent the workpiece from lifting off the bench.

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Few things in woodworking are more satisfying than making a perfect paper-thin shaving with a well-maintained plane. If you’re using a spill plane you’re actually trying to make special shavings called spills rather than trimming wood from a work piece. A spill is a long coiled wood shaving that was used to transfer flame, such as from fireplace to candles, before the advent of matches. Before finding this spill plane from Lee Valley, as far as I was aware, you either had to buy an antique spill plane or make one yourself.

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Imagine bending the stock of your carpenter’s square so that the tongue sat flat on the workpiece while you held it square to the edge. Now imagine going to the hardware store to buy a new square because you wrecked your old one by bending it. If you had a flexible Japanese square from Lee Valley you wouldn’t be giving your imagination such a workout.

The 3-1/3 oz. stainless steel square is thick and rigid at the corner, but it quickly tapers to a thin and flexible beveled profile on the 20-1/2″ stock and 10-1/2″ tongue. Lee Valley claims it’s square to within 0.1 mm in 100 mm. One side of the square is graduated in inches and the other metric; both sides have numbers etched and filled black.

To buy the Japanese square sold at Lee Valley you’ll pay $33 before shipping. The Japan Woodworker also has a similar, but smaller, square they sell for $40.

Japanese Square [Lee Valley]
Japanese Square [Japan Wodworker]

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Putting up Halloween decorations today reminded me it won’t be long before I’ll be struggling with hanging the Christmas lights. I’m always looking for a better way to hang lights, and I think these stainless-steel loop hooks from Lee Valley look promising — a lot more promising than plastic gutter S-hooks that can pinch your cold fingers.

Think of an eye hook — now bend the tag end perpendicularly away from the shaft and squish the loop so the tag end overlaps the loop. The hook that’s left completely captures the wire, yet you can easily remove the it without backing the entire string through the eye. The loop hook can accommodate wires up to 5/16″ in diameter.

A package of 20 loop hooks will run you $13 before shipping.

Loop Hooks [Lee Valley]

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How many times do you run back and forth setting up sprinklers before you get the coverage just right? Normally, if you’re not looking for a soaking, you can go all the way back to the spigot on the house, try kinking the hose, or try to outguess where the sprinkler is spraying next. A better way might be to use the Floa Constrictor.

Made in Canada from PVC, the Floa Constrictor clips over any 1/2″ or 3/4″ garden hose and uses a wide screw which squeezes the hose to restrict or stop the flow altogether. It’s easily placed, moved, or removed anywhere on the garden hose.

You’ll pay $7 for the Floa Constrictor before shipping charges.

Floa Constrictor [Corporate Site]
Floa Constrictor [Lee Valley]

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We covered clips to help you hang crown molding already, but these crown molding hangers look like a better tool — they’re more substantial and adjustable.  The downside of these additional features:  You’ll pay $10 for just one hanger, and you’re probably going to need at least two of them.

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This patent-pending paint can holder from Lee Valley fits both the flat rungs of a stepladder and the D-rungs of an extension ladder.  It holds either a quart or gallon can steady, and you can easily pick it up and move it to the next set of rungs.

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While similar in design to a common nail set, this 6″ double-ended Japanese nail set also features a 1-1/4″ set built into the striking end.  This second shorter set is handy for setting nails in tight or awkward spaces.  The long shank gives you excellent control no matter which end you use.

In a pinch this tool can also function as a punch, a drift pin, a tack hammer, or a small anvil.  Both Lee Valley and the Japan Woodworker’s Catalog sell a similar forged-steel Japanese nail set for about $9.

Japanese Nail Set [Lee Valley]
Japanese Nail Set [The Japan Woodworker]