A while back I reveled in reviewed the Hardcore Hammers Naturalist Hatchet. I loved it for it's....everything. Late last year, they sent along their newest hatchet, the Ultimate Survivalist for me to try out. And try out I did. Over and over and over. This new version polishes up some of the functionality of the older one and adds a few things. It also has a head that is nearly indestructible and holds an edge for a long time, which is really what you want if you're out in the middle of nowhere relying on your tools.
I have to admit that the name "Vampliers" was a little off-putting at first. It sort of sends the vibe of, "yeah, the tool doesn't have much going for it, so we gave it an interesting name." Turns out, that's not the case at all. The Vampliers are, in fact, a unique, useful and interesting variation of a set of linesman pliers. The fact that they're very well made only adds to the goodness.
The Powerstrike Framing Hammer is easily the strangest hammer I've ever seen. With it's exposed welds, its nuts and bolts vibe, and the hollow metal handle, there is nothing about it that says "normal operating procedure." They sent me a couple to check out and I've been pounding on them for at least a month now. They're great too, maybe not perfect, but really nice.
[I updated the piece with more info on the handles]
The other day Irwin sent over a sample of their new line of cutting pliers and man o man, are they nice. Really nice. They ain't cheap, but they're slick.
We first saw these a while back when Stu from ToolGuyd mentioned them, noting that they're manufactured by NWS. NWS is a German company and beyond the message board tool junkies, they don't have much presence in the US. Everything I've ever read about them has been positive but I've honestly never even held one of their tools until now. That apparently was a mistake.
I'm no pro tile guy, but in my recent/current/never-ending renovation I've tiled four bathroom floors, two tub surrounds, a shower, a kitchen backsplash, and 500 sq/ft of basement floor. So I've come to understand a a decent amount about tiling. Of all this accumulated knowledge, one of the most annoying things I've learned is that trowels are very, very difficult to store.
Klein recently sent us a sample of their new Coaxial Cable Cutter and after taking it down to the basement and doing some serious slicing and dicing with our A/V wiring, we're pretty impressed with it, more than we were expecting to be.
Minuteman, makers of some nice, high-quality watches (check these out) have just released a new knife, the MM01K. Like all of their products, a portion of the purchase price goes to assist veterans and their families (25%).
According to the release...
[The MM01K is an] all titanium handle knife, with a 3.5 inch Elmax Steel blade coated in DLC and then tumbled to give it a black stone washed finish. What this creates is not only a fantastic looking knife, but also one that is very durable to scratches and scrapes. Because of the tumble finish, small marks and scratches will just blend in and add to the look.
We also like that the company branding is kept to a bare minimum with only the Minuteman logo showing up on the small pocket clip.
As an added bonus, if you pre-order now, you can get $54 off the purchase price. This still puts it at a bone-crunching $225, but then again, this does look like a very nice knife. Just don't lose it.
Klein has just announced the release of their new All Purpose Pliers, which basically look like long nose pliers with some wire-stripping abilities. According to Klein, the tool...
can strip, cut, and loop 8-16 AWG solid and 10-18 AWG stranded wire, plus it has screw shearing holes. These pliers are built of forged steel with induction-hardened cutting knives for maximum durability and long life. The hot-riveted joint also ensures smooth action and no handle wobble. This tool is spring-loaded for self-opening action and features Klein's dual-material Journeyman™ handles that provide a firm grip and added comfort.
These have a lot of the same vibe as the Milwaukee 6-in-1 Pliers, but there are some differences. The nose of the Milwaukee has serrations on it for reaming out conduit, but it also has a angular nose that has quite a bit less taper to it than standard long nose pliers. The Klein has a more traditional look and is spring loaded, if you're partial to that style.
Either way, the fact that these two companies have invested some resources into this style of combination tool means that it's likely more will follow suit.
Oh, and the Klein comes with the Journeyman handles, which is really good. We've been using their standard Journeyman Long Nose Pliers quite a bit lately and the handles are definitely a high point. Very comfortable and durable.
We didn't get word on pricing, but Amazon has the Klein Journeyman at just over $30 and the Milwaukee's at just under $30, so our guess is that the All-Purpose will settle in somewhere around there.
We split our scribing needs between a set of dividers and whatever block of wood we have on hand. Honestly, unless we need to be precise to the 1/64th, we generally opt for a block of wood. This method may not carry with it the finesse of the dividers, but it provides a stable surface to hold the pencil against and it's very easy to keep the pencil tip in line with the scribed surface. Dividers are definitely more precise but if you accidentally shift the angle of your hand, things can go awry. The needle end can also get hung up on things from time to time and there's the potential for the adjustment to slip, especially if you're keeping them set for multiple scribes. On top of all this, they're delicate, so some caution has to be taken with their storage.
Well some smart dude recently took the wooden block idea and ramped it up to Ferrari status with something called the Simple Scribe. It's a very oddly-shaped tool that completely stabilizes the pencil and lets you choose between seven different scribe distances. About a month ago, they sent us one and while it may not fulfill 100% of our scribing needs, it handles most of them with ease. To the point where it has even secured a coveted spot in the toolbelt.
Can you imagine stopping at a gas station in the middle of nowhere and a semi pulls up next to you and out pops some dude with this thing in his hand. Oh, just scraping a little ice, no big deal. Nothing to see here.
OK, so we promise that we're not going to turn this site into a PR machine for Kickstarter ventures, but we wanted to mention this one. It's a strange shovel that looks like it probably works and the dude is really, really close to hitting his mark. There are only a couple more days left and he's about 8K short of where he wants to be. He's already raised $52K and if he doesn't break the 60 mark, he gets nada. That's how it works.
So check out out the shovel and maybe throw him some coin if you're into it.
Sockets are essential, but the process of keeping an organized and complete set is nearly impossible. All it takes is one fall off a table and three pieces are never seen again. The GO-2 Socket is a one-size fits all (well....most all) socket head that is made to cover all of the sizes from 3/8 to 3/4 SAE as well as 10-20mm. The makers of the tool recently sent us a sample to check out. We worked it over pretty good and this is what we have to say about it.
GearWrench has been nice enough to set aside 10 (ten, diez) of their new 120XP Flex Head Ratchet for us to giveaway here at the site.
They also sent one a couple weeks ago and we're nothing but impressed with the thing. It has an adjustable head with six positions, a 3/8" drive and a nice long handle - 11-1/2" from pivot to tip. The rubberized grip is comfortable and the action on the pivot is nice and firm. The head of the tool has a low profile and the toggle switch is even recessed a little, making this a great tool for tight spaces.
The scene stealer, though, is the ratcheting action. The 120 in the name of the tool comes from the number of 'stops' in one complete revolution. This is done with this double pawl mechanism, so there are actually two locking mechanisms in the head of the tool. If you click it slowly enough, you can hear the difference between clicks. Our pal Stu from ToolGuyd, took one apart and posted up this video of the gears in action:
So yeah, I've got ten of these to giveaway. To get in the mix for the random drawing, just leave a comment at this post explaining:
1. Why you like the looks of this tool.
2. Your most recent DIY disaster. I'm in the middle of a 2 year renovation and need some support group help. There must be others out there like me....
Either question is fine and doesn't affect the outcome. The drawing is completely random.
If you don't like the looks of the 3/8-inch flex head, GearWrench has the following which should be available at fine tool retailers everywhere:
• 1/4" Drive Flex Head Ratchet in full polish or cushion grip
• 3/8" Drive Flex Head Ratchet in full polish, stubby and cushion grip
• 1/2" Drive Flex Head Ratchet in full polish
• Two-piece cushion grip Flex Head Ratchet Set, with a durable foam storage tray
• Four- piece full polish mixed ratchet set, which includes ¼", 3/8", and ½" drive 120XP full polish Flex Head Ratchets and 3/8" drive 120XP full polish stubby Flex Head Ratchet in a durable foam storage tray