Hand Tools

March 3, 2016

Milwaukee Adjustable Wrenches

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Milwaukee's new line of adjustable wrenches are due to hit stores sometime this month. I know you're thinking that the world has enough adjustable wrenches, and I basically agree with you on that point, but the Milwaukees look to be something a little special. I got to play around with a few samples during last year's media event and they've made a couple significant tweaks to the standard, old 3-for-$10 design.

First, they've created more of a connection between the knurled thumb turn and the body of the wrench. Now there are five threads that make the connection and not four like on other wrenches. This reduces any loosening of the jaw setting. Secondly, they've bumped up the ergonomics on the handle, even though it's an all-metal design. I remember standing there thinking, "man, this is one of the most comfortable wrenches I've ever held."

I haven't used one yet in any kind of real world setting, but given Milwaukee's general track record in the hand tool category, this is an exciting release. Not sure where they'll be sold, but Home Depot is a good bet.

There are going to be six wrenches available, ranging from a 6-inch all the way to a 15-inch. There will also be a 8-inch wide jaw model.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 3, 2016

Handee Clamp Tool

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Have you ever heard of the Handee clamp?

No?

Well, me neither until yesterday. But after checking it out, I wish I'd had one for the past 15 or so years. It's a product from a small manufacturer and it's just getting off the ground, but man, does it look useful.

It's a tiny, long-reach clamp perfect for all kinds of tight space work. It looks like it's basically two small pieces of flattened, round metal stock, one sleeved within the other. The inside one can be moved in and out of the larger one with a knurled thumb turn. This increases or decreases the small jawed clamp end. Really simple and smart idea.

It looks the most useful for the mechanical tinkerer who can't always jam their hands into the hidden depths surrounding the engine block. But as a parent, I'd be more inclined to use this thing as a "Lego Retrieval Tool." There is a video of it in use below, and it's one of those things that has you smacking your forehead thinking, "really, this doesn't already exist?"

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

June 22, 2015

Milwaukee Tools 2015 New Product Symposium

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Last week I was able to head off to Milwaukee Tools for their annual Product Symposium where they unleashed all of their latest and greatest tools and gear. There is a lot coming too. To get a sense of what I'm trying to get at, picture a giant red tidal wave with white lightning bolts shooting out of it (a toolnami, if you will). Hearing about each and every one of these new tools over the course of a single day was like being attacked by a grizzly bear made entirely of information. Honestly, towards the end, my mind was beaten down to the point where I felt like Brad Pitt from 12 Monkeys. Now here I am a few days later, trying to decipher my scribbled notes and jumbled memories.

Here's what I've got for you...

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

April 27, 2015

Coast LK375 Light Knife - Review

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Coast makes some pretty cool knives (and flashlights and headlamps). I carried their RX312 (or something close to it) for a while and always liked it. I still use it from time to time, but I've switched my EDC over to a utility knife (the Milwaukee Fastback). I just finally accepted the fact that my lifestyle is brutal on a blade and I don't have the time to deal with sharpening. Disposable utility blades are just so simple to deal with.

But anyway, Coast recently developed a very interesting item that they refer to as the LK375 Light Knife ($52). It's basically a combo between a ...wait for it... wait for it... wait for it... flashlight and a knife. It's a great pairing, kind of like chocolate and peanut butter, eggs and bacon, or Ashton and Demi. Coast was nice enough to send me a sample so that I could check it out.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

February 13, 2015

Hardcore Hammers Ultimate Survivalist Hatchet - Review

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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.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

November 4, 2014

Vampliers Pro - Review

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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.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

October 17, 2014

Powerstrike Framing Hammer - Review

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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.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 6, 2014

Irwin Vise-Grip Cutting Pliers - Review

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[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.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

August 26, 2014

Hart Quick-Tatch Trowel System - Review

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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.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

August 19, 2014

Klein Coaxial Cable Cutter - Review

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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.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 14, 2014

Minuteman MM01K Pocket Knife

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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.

At The CGA Company

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 19, 2014

Klein All-Purpose Pliers

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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.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 12, 2014

Simple Scribe - Review

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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.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 21, 2013

The Trucker's Friend

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Oh man, just look at this thing. It's called the Trucker's Friend and it really makes us wonder who who exactly are the trucker's enemies.

According to the website, the tool is "specifically designed to meet the needs of professional truck drivers." What needs are those? Dismembering hitchhikers?

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"Anyone know where I can get a Trucker's Friend?"

The tool has:

  • Curved Axe (fully resharpenable)
  • Hammer and Nail Puller
  • Spanner (for hose couplings)
  • Pry Bar and Lever
  • Tire Chain Hook
  • Wire Twist (for removing lightweight security seals)
  • Ice and Debris Remover

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.

If you want one of these, it's $60 at Amazon.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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