Black & Decker has released a number of energy saving and monitoring products as part of their Energy Series. We've already covered the Thermal Leak Detector and the Power Monitor so now we're moving on to the last of the line, the Black & Decker AutoSwitch.
The AutoSwitch is a unit that you place over an existing light switch which converts it to a motion sensor light. The unit has a switch, so there's still a manual override and you also have the ability to set it to a sensitivity of 1, 5, 15, or 30 minutes.
If you're the type who comes home from vacation and realizes that you left every light in the house on for over two weeks, then it might be a product worth looking into.
When 3-in-1 sent us one of their No-Rust Shields to test out they had no idea that we would put it in an unwinnable situation, a situation so brutal that there was absolutely no chance for success. We felt that the one way to test this little tool was to break its spirit, totally demoralize it, and then punch it in the face. If you're not familiar with it, the No-Rust Shield is a little gizmo that you put in your tool box or your gang box or your tackle box (or wherever) and it prevents rust from building up on the metal in that space. It's meant for normal day-to-day levels of moisture, not the 98% humidity that we subjected it to. So, we essentially knew that the item was doomed from the start, but we thought the manner in which it let out its dying breath would be indicative of its quality as a tool.
According to 3-In-1, the No-Rust Shield (NRS) works by (we're not joking here) sending out "metal-seeking vapor phase corrosion inhibitors" which form a layer of protection around whatever metal it is that you're trying to protect. Sort of like midi-chlorians of the tool world.
For our test, we took two Ziploc bags and put about 1/2 cup of water in each. We then put a handful of nails in each bag and in one bag we placed the No-Rust Shield (NRS). We closed up the bags and positioned them in a way that neither the nails or the NRS was exposed to direct water. That was about two months ago.
We watched the test diligently for about two weeks. At that point, the control nails were fully engaged with rust and the NRS nails were just starting to show signs of falling victim themselves. We had big plans of taking a ton of photos of the progression, but it was at that point that (honesty alert) we completely forgot about our test. And then we were driving home from work the other day and, "isn't there something I should be remembering now....oh yeah." So we revisited the corner of the shop with the bags and at first glance, it looked like the NRS had completely succumbed to the rust and the game was up, but upon closer inspection, there were still patches of untouched metal on the NRS nails. Very interesting. We pulled the nails out and took some photos.
The water was now rusty in both bags, so we filtered it out and dried the results. We took some photos of that too. So, as you can see, there is a difference in the results. The NRS works. Not under impossible conditions, but it does work. If our results were translated into a box of nails or a box of router bits, we're convinced that the items would stay rust free. Or at least rust free for the 90 days that the NRS lasts for. Thankfully, the NRS also has a strip that turns red to indicate that when it's time to get a new one.
Honestly, our test was barbaric to the No-Rust Shield. We created a situation that is so unlikely and so brutal that it would really never be a real-life situation. If you're someone who is going to take the time and effort to purchase a No-Rust Shield, you're not going to be the type to store your tools in a bucket of water. But even with the punishing test, the No-Rust Shield displayed its effectiveness by putting up a good fight, even if it ultimately shared the fate of Tennyson's Light Brigade.
The No-Rust Shield goes for about $5 and is available at Amazon.com
We were doing some Christmas shopping at Sears the other day and noticed a new line of hand tools from Craftsman called evolv. It looks like it has replaced the Companion line of tools as their inexpensive line of (mostly) hand tools.
As far as we're concerned, this line is all about two things; packaging and price. The packaging has this eco-vibe to it, marked by the raw cardboard backer boards for the tools. We half expected to see a notice on the packaging saying that the tools were BPA free and that the indigenous third-world workers that put them together were paid via some sort of fair trade agreement. The color scheme is a nice gray with a green that seems to mimic Ryobi's li-ion line. Overall, there's a harmless 'Starbucks/Putamayo' quality to the presentation that's undeniably appealing. There's even some mysterious pronunciation symbol under the 'e' in 'evolve.'
As for price, these things are extremely economical, which is great for us. Over the years we've come to regard most hand tools as disposable, one step up from drill bits and recip saw blades. We'll buy a nice, expensive screwdriver set and soon one of them is lost at the site, one's lost in the garage, one is lost in the basement and a few others are just plain old lost. We've long since stopped wasting our money on pricey hand tools. We've got our nice hammer, but that's about it. So, at some point we might be at Sears and if we're sick of trying to remember where we last used our #2 Philips screwdriver, we might toss the evolve set in the shopping basket (ten screwdrivers for $15).
The line also has wrenches, pliers, socket sets, multi-tools, a number of full tool sets, and even a 3.6-volt screwdriver.
Raise your hand if you're completely lacking in any and all ability to hang a picture on a wall. Good. Now, if your arm is in the air, you're one of the people who has helped put the Hang and Level Picture Hanging Tool in the Amazon top 100 sellers in home improvement (#59 as of this writing).
The Hang and Level is a tool that facilitates the "so where do I put the hanger?" question of the picture hanging process. What you do is hook the picture to the tool, position it where you want it, remove the picture, and then press a litle button into the wall which leaves a mark right where you want to place the nail/hanger. It also has two built-in level vials for fine tuning.
The Under the Roof website tells us that their picture hanging tool has been mentioned in the New York Times and that it was awarded Outstanding Product at the '09 Hardware Show. We're sure the that tool is functional and in a way it's clever, but do people really need it? We just moved into a new place and over the past few weeks we've hung more pictures than the curator at the Louvre, and all we use is a tape measure, a pencil, and a little simple math. Works pretty well for us.
So we don't know. Maybe we're wrong, maybe this is the best idea since the cordless drill. Maybe everybody needs one. Or maybe we're all relying so much on gizmos, gadgets and technology that we can no longer do even the simplest tasks without assistance.
Helloooooo stocking stuffer! Meet the Screwpop, or as we like to say, "SCREWPOP!" The SCREWPOP! is a little keychain gizmo that quadruples as a screwdriver (Philips and slotted), a 1/4" hex, and the obligatory bottle opener.
We've had things like this in the past and they seem to sit somewhere in between, "pretty cool," and, "have only used it once in four years." But still, you could do a lot worse for $5. And like we said, it would probably make a good stocking stuffer.
Our socket set is a mess. It's fine when it's sitting in our shop and we're the only ones using it, but the instant it enters the construction site, pieces start disappearing. It's like there are ratchet-eating elves living under the excavator or something. And oddly enough, it's always the most common sizes that vanish, so it doesn't take long for the kit to be rendered practically useless.
Black & Decker has come up with a new tool that might help the situation. The Ready Wrench is an interesting looking item that's sort of one-stop shopping for the 16 most popular socket sizes. Each end of the tool has a rotating piece with 4 different socket sizes. It looks like they get to the 16 number by including both SAE and the similar metric size, which actually aren't identical, so there's likely a little slop in 1/2 of the sizes.
This looks like a potentially handy tool. Probably more of a space-saver than anything else, or something for the DIYer who has no need for a complete wrench set. It reminds us of the space-age HK1 Adjustable Wrench that we reviewed way back in February. While the HK1 has a wider range of sizes (it's fully adjustable), the B&D looks easier to use on the fly.
The Ready Wrench costs about $30, which could be worth it if the tool has some durability to it.
Striker is a pretty new tool company and so far they've released a number of items that we've been impressed with (mini LED light, utility knife) and one that we were less impressed with (mechanical carpenter's pencil). Lately, we've been testing out their new carbide utility score, which, aside from basically two parts (the flip out blade and the blade holder) is exactly the same as the utility knife.
Because we were fans of the utility knife (it's going on six months as our go-to knife), it's no shocker that we liked the carbide score as well. The same large handle is there, as is the durability and easy flip action. So far we've diced up two bathrooms worth of cement board and it's been a great tool to have. Like the knife, it has a rasp on the side of the blade, so shaving off a whisker is not a problem. There's also a nice belt clip. The overall look of the thing is pretty cool and just about everyone on site who is under the age of 25 makes sure to tell us so.
It's a nice tool and way better than those el cheapos that are usually available at hardware stores. The Striker costs about $20, so if you're a pro, it's worth it to get a tool you'll be proud of.
Reader David sent us this video of the Rotate-A-Blade saying that the tool is like a Stanley knife on steroids. He's pretty much right on. The first minute of the video is pretty boring and we almost clicked away, but then the blade goes into the perpendicular position and BOOM you've got a scraper. Pretty innovative design.
This video seems to be the only information available on the knife. According to youtube, the guy who posted it up (PROTOTYPER1), put up a similar one two years ago. Maybe the product is finally coming to market.
Jay over at CopTool has just posted up a nice review of of the two most popular inspection cameras on the market, the Ridgid Explorer and the Milwaukee M-Spector. The upshot of his review is that the Ridgid Explorer seems to have the better selection of features, but that it costs almost three hundred dollars more. But this isn't to say that the Milwaukee is a bad tool at all, because it's not. It has it's own set of advantages such as battery compatibility with other M12 tools, a longer battery life and a built-in microphone.
With a name that only appeals to firemen and career criminals, Stanley's 30" Forcible Entry Tool is one of the newer additions to their stud bending, nail ripping, sheetrock destroying Fubar line.
Along with the standard nail-pullers, 2x jaws, and demo hammer, the Forcible Entry Tool comes with a few features specific to emergency responders. It's got a hydrant wrench, a gas shut-off wrench, as well as heat-resistant grips.
It all sounds good to us and it costs about $150, which is a hefty amount of dough (about the same as we paid for the boots that we're currently obsessed with). If you like the idea, but want something a little smaller, check out the Channellock Rescue Tool.
Because it's such a specialty item, it's only available at select retailers. The list is at Stanley.
Al in SoCal: Can you give me what model I should get my read more Jinxy37: over 6 years of hard use, I havent even seen read more Cody: I loved this drill, it got lost in the move read more Michael: An extension ladder is the only piece missing from my read more Tool Snob: Right. Well at least they aren't forced to solve a read more