The Anne of All Trades Blog

What happened to the Hand Tools?!

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I got an email recently that made me realize that while I've been running around like a crazy person trying to start a business, finish writing my book, run my farm and keep my family alive, I haven't been doing a great job of keeping all my audiences apprised of some of the key "behind the scenes" things that might seem relevant, especially those following along specifically for the handtool woodworking and fine furniture building. For those that don't want to read this entire post, here's the quick answer: I don't do fine woodworking/handtool projects in the summer. Between the farm and my traveling teaching schedule, I simply don't get the shop time and focus required for large scale, complicated projects like that. My woodworking mentor, Frank (who is 97 by the way), has always told me that in Seattle, if the sun is shining, we stay out of the shop. I take full advantage of every sunny day we get to do construction projects around the farm, work in my enormous vegetable garden, snuggle my animals, cook outdoors, can, and preserve our harvests so we can eat well through the winter. Summer is also the time for nightly bonfires and long chats with friends and family. Mandolin playing in the sunshine, and trying to fit a huge mountain of work in the in between times.

If you'd like to know more about my business, and how things have changed for me over the past few months, check out this interview on the Made For Profit Podcast https://madeforprofit.com/episode55/ 

Some fun summer highlights thus far:

  • Teaching handtool basics at Port Townsend School of Woodworking
  • Buying my dream project truck, a 1953 Chevy 3100
  • Working the Lie-Nielsen Toolworks Open House
  • Assisting Ashley Harwood with her week-long turning intensive at the Center For Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine
  • Building a tiny house on the farm with my best friend April for my mom, who has always dreamed of living in a tiny house.
  • Cultivating our four season garden
  • Building an outdoor kitchen (pictures to come)

So for those who are here just for the handtools, stick around, they'll be back for a few really fun projects this winter- another windsor chair, a dining table, another hanging cabinet, and more. For those expecting ONLY handtools, this is a gentle reminder that my handle is Anne of ALL trades for a reason- you can expect snippets of huge range of stuff on my channels, from the restoration of my 1953 Chevy farm truck, building my metal shop, working with the animals, processing the alpaca fiber, expanding the garden, continuing the restoration process on the farm, expanding my blacksmithing efforts, woodshop adventures and outfitting the rest of the tiny house. 

 

 

Posted on July 28, 2018 and filed under Adventures and Updates, Farm / Garden, Furniture Making.

Extreme Accuracy with Bosch

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This review was created as part of a paid affiliate program with the Home Depot. 

My first order of business with this and every power tool review is a disclaimer: I am not a professional contractor. I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker. When it comes to construction and renovation projects, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. That said, I doubt many professional contractors will be reading my tool reviews. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value for their hard earned dollars.

This laser tape is the bees knees, and I think it should be another staple in every homeowner’s toolkit. There are a lot of bells and whistles to this tool that have made it especially useful for me. I’ve talked a lot about the frustrations I’ve faced with my dyslexia and apparent inability to use a measuring tape efficiently. The numbers get jumbled in my head and I always seem to forget I’ve burned an inch, then my boards end up too short.

The first project this tool came in handy on was measuring for trim on my shop build. Nothing in that whole place is square, and there’s not even one place in the whole shop where I’ll be able to put in a solid run of trim, but the digital bubble level assured me I was taking precise measurements and nothing was getting longer or shorter because of a bowed tape. I saved each measurement and it CALCULATED THE LINEAR FEET of trim I needed for the whole project automatically. That right there sealed my love affair with this tool.

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It can also calculate square footage for flooring, wall material, and paint. It can calculate volume (hello well maintenance on the farm!!), calculate pathagrean theorem (a2+b2=c2) to get the length of roofing material needed on a pitched roof, and for that matter, can also calculate pitch, slope, and angles, and might just be the ticket I desperately needed to stop making gross miscalculations on the jobsite.

I was also able to use it for site prep on the tiny house, measure trees and branch heights when choosing the exact location for the tiny house, as well as planning my means of attack when demolishing the old shed at the tiny house build site.

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The only limitation of this tool is that it requires a stop point to be able to measure distances accurately, so in instances where you’d hook the tape to measure something, you’re still tied to using a tape- at least for now. There are, of course, workarounds, you could tack up a stop block for the laser to register against, but sometimes it takes more work to be lazy than to just do things the old fashioned way. 

Awesome Features:

·      Takes precise measurements in tough to reach spots

·      Calculates angles, run, distance, pitch, square footage, volume and more

·      Built-in memory storage

·      Calculates linear feet needed for specific operations

·      Also functions as a level

·      Has 1/4/20 thread so it can be mounted on standard clamps and tripods

Things I wish were better/different:

·      It’s weird to me that you can’t set it to read 16th’s of an inch, only 32nd’s. In instances where I’d be using this level, it seems like 16th’s are more than adequate.

This retails for $99.97 Would I buy it?

Absolutely. The money/time/headaches I’ll save doing the trim and flooring in the shop and tiny house would pay for it three times over.

*I acknowledge that the Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the Prospective 2018 Campaign. As part of the program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

 

Posted on July 27, 2018 and filed under Tool Reviews.

Building a Tiny House with a Cordless Saw

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This review was created as part of a paid affiliate program with the Home Depot.

 These are the tools April and I used to build a Tiny House in 7 days.

These are the tools April and I used to build a Tiny House in 7 days.

My first order of business with this and every power tool review is a disclaimer: I am not a professional contractor. I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker. When it comes to construction and renovation projects, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. That said, I doubt many professional contractors will be reading my tool reviews. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value for their hard earned dollars.

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For the past several years, I have been using an 18v Makita circular saw when corded power wasn’t available. It was great for little jobs around the farm, in fact, during the tiny house build, we used it quite a bit as a backup saw so both of us could be working simultaneously. I didn’t realize just how underpowered it was, however, until I spent some time using the Dewalt 60v brushless circular saw. The Dewalt moves through wood differently than the Makita, so it took a bit of getting used to, but it worked like a charm after that.  One cool thing I noticed as I was using it is that the handle position is set in such a way that your pointer finger points directly in line with your cut, just like it should when using a handsaw.

The next thing that really jumped out at me about the saw was the battery life. We used this saw for every single cut during the first three days of framing out the tiny house. Because I wanted to see how long the battery would last, I didn’t bring the battery up to charge at the end of the first workday since it was still going strong. It ended up lasting until the fourth day on the jobsite and made several hundred cuts (2x4’s, 2x6’s, sheathing) until it finally died and we had to put it on the charger.

The Diablo blades we used on the jobsite cut through anything we threw their way like butter. In my experience both in the woodshop and on the jobsite, Diablo blades are the best blade you can buy at a big box store. Of course, if you go to specialty saw shops and supply yards, you can get into blades that will leave a razor thin kerf and last unreal amounts of time, but you’ll also pay an unreal price for them. Diablo has proven, for me at least, to be the best value for my dollar both in quality and durability, and I don’t have to add an extra stop to my errands list to buy them.

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We had a 24 tooth framing blade loaded up in the circular saw for the whole build the thin kerf was great in stretching our wood further, and, at least in theory, that thin blade is lighter, so it would spin faster in the saw making a more efficient cut and saving on battery life. I’m not enough of a scientist or mathematician to prove that, but did I mention that the battery lasted FOR FOUR DAYS? The only point of interest on that framing blade is that it didn’t have carbide teeth- that makes it more affordable, but I’m curious about the durability, and will have to report back on that after a few more months of use. So far? Very impressed. Allegedly, the blade can also hold up to a few nail hits as well, but I’m thankful to report we didn’t have any of those during this build.

Manufacturer claims:

·      Designed with blade oriented to the left of the motor and handle positioned at the rear of the saw for easy line sight

·      Saw has an electronic brake that helps the blade stop after the trigger is released

·      Bevel capacity of 53 with stops at 25 and 45

·      5x longer cutting life versus standard blades

·      2x increased durability in nail-embedded wood applications

·      65% more efficient in corded and cordless saws

Awesome Features I discovered while using it:

·      INFINITE BATTERY LIFE (ok, a tad over-exaggerated there, but it’s really good)

·      Powerful- feels like a corded tool

·      Brushless motor is quiet, starts up and shuts down quickly

·      Shut-off brake

·      Battery position: centered in tool to evenly distribute weight.

·      Big lettering on depth and angle gauges are easy to read

·      Wrench slot on tool- changing blades on the fly doesn’t require an hour-long search for the right wrench.

Things I wish were better/different:

·      You pay for the power and battery life when it comes to the weight. It’s very heavy.

This saw retails for $399.00. Would I buy it at full price?

ABSOLUTELY. During the tiny house project, this tool became an instant favorite. It’s rugged, durable, powerful, and will easily tackle jobs all over the homestead where I don’t have access to corded power.

This blade retails for $9.97. Would I buy it at full price?

Once again, a hearty yes- I’ve been buying and using Diablo blades for all my tools for years.

*I acknowledge that the Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the Prospective 2018 Campaign. As part of the program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

Posted on July 27, 2018 and filed under DIY and Home Renovation, Tool Reviews.

On the Level with Bosch

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This review was created as part of a paid affiliate program with the Home Depot.

My first order of business with this and every tool review is a disclaimer: I am not a professional contractor. I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker. When it comes to construction and renovation projects, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. That said, I doubt many professional contractors will be reading my tool reviews. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value for their hard earned dollars.

This is a fairly inexpensive tool I think every homeowner should have. It doesn’t have a lot of bells or whistles, but it’s easy to set up and use. A laser level and a tape measure completely remove any need for a homeowner to have bubble levels. Whether you’re hanging pictures

I used this laser level for two very different projects: renovating a broken down, rotting building as I converted it into my dream woodworking shop, and building an off-grid tiny house in the woods on our property.

In the shop build, the level came in extremely handy while we were installing my LED lighting system. We would set the level, wire up the first light in the run, then use the laser line as a guide hanging each of the five subsequent lights in the line. Because it was such an old building, nothing was square, so if we were to measure from one wall or another, the lights would have ended up appearing crooked, and we would have spent a whole heck of a lot more time measuring and marking the proper setup than simply setting the laser and forgetting it. The floor in the shop is also really un-level (I’m talking potential derby-race levels of un-levelness), so the self-leveling feature of the tool was really crucial.

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The tiny house was the first “large-scale” construction project (yes, I hear the irony in that statement even as I make it) I’ve ever tackled from the very beginning. The first, and most important step in the build was site prep. When setting the concrete piers and hangers, everything had to be square and level to start, or the whole rest of the build would have been a marking and measuring nightmare. Because we were in the middle of the forest, the ground was really un-level, so once again, that self-leveling feature came in pretty dang handy. We set the laser, compacted the pea gravel, and reset the piers over and over until the horizontal and vertical placement of those two beams was absolutely perfect, and then the framing process began. As I outfit the interior of the tiny house, the level will get a whole lot more use.

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Awesome features:

·      Easy to set up and figure out how to use (important for a tool noob who hates reading instructions like me)

·      Has 1/4/20 thread on the bottom so it can be mounted on an standard clamp, camera tripod, etc.

·      Self-Leveling

·      Battery Powered

·      Cross-line mode projects two very bright lines that are perfectly level.

·      MM2 Flexible Mounting Device clamps to multiple surfaces and provides microfine height adjustment.

·      Smart Pendulum system self-levels and indicates out of level condition. ­

Things I wish were different/better:

·      Because I do so much work outside, I really wish the lasers were even brighter. During the tiny house build, in the shade of the morning, the laser lines were spot on and easy to see, but in the afternoon sun, they became really tough to make out. Bosch actually does make a model with brighter lights, but it’s significantly more expensive.

It retails for $79.97. Would I buy it?

Absolutely.

*I acknowledge that the Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the Prospective 2018 Campaign. As part of the program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

Posted on July 27, 2018 and filed under Tool Reviews.

Getting Clean with Dremel Versa

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This review was created as part of a paid affiliate program with the Home Depot.

My first order of business with this and every product review is a disclaimer: I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker. When it comes to home-based projects and renovation, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value for their hard earned dollars.

Building the Tiny House on a budget, I was really grateful my neighbor offered to give me the windows and sliding glass door they were replacing in their house. They had all sat outside for quite a while though, and had gotten extremely grimey, past the point normal window-washing was effective. I used the power cleaner to excavate and remove that grime and gunk and the whole tiny house instantly looked better. It was especially helpful cleaning the rust out of the plastic tracks in both the windows and door.

Other things I’ve found it useful for: cleaning algae out of watering troughs, cleaning residue off the BBQ lid, deep cleaning the tub and sinks, all jobs at which the Power Cleaner excelled. I think if I spent more time cleaning my house I’d find a whole lot more uses for this specific tool, but since housekeeping duties are generally done by my husband, I found myself wanting to use the tool to remove really stubborn gunk off old tools in the  woodshop, on my old farm truck, on the tractor, and around the farm that this tool simply wasn’t built to handle, which left me really hoping that Dremel will come out with a more powerful cousin to the Power Cleaner soon.

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Basically, what it comes down to is that this is a fantastic maintenance tool, not a restoration tool. It will clean the heck out of your clawfoot tub, but it doesn’t have the power to polish, buff or remove major gunk, and I am not very good at maintenance. I love overhauling stuff, transforming it, dramatic befores and afters, not the in-between, regular care.

Manufacturer messaging:

·      Fastest cleaning tool in the market that does the hard work so you don’t have to

·      Rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides superior and consistent speed to tackle jobs anywhere, holds a charge for 18 months

·      USB adapter charges tool in 2 hours

Awesome Features:

·      The splash guard is a really brilliant addition

·      For scrubbing dishes, tubs, sinks, and stubborn food messes on counters and floors, this is an ideal tool.

Things I wish were better/different:

·      It would be awesome if it was completely water-proof

·      I really love the concept behind this tool, I just wish it had more power so I could put it to work outside the home.

This retails for $49.98. Would I buy it?

As someone who is constantly cleaning gunk off old tools, farm equipment and water troughs, the concept of this tool is amazing and I’d happily pay more for the product if it had more power.

*I acknowledge that the Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the Prospective 2018 Campaign. As part of the program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

Posted on July 27, 2018 and filed under Tool Reviews.

Buy Quality Driver Bits

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This review was created as part of a paid affiliate program with the Home Depot.

My first order of business with this and every product review is a disclaimer: I am not a professional contractor. I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker. When it comes to construction and renovation projects, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. That said, I doubt many professional contractors will be reading my tool reviews. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value for their hard earned dollars.

One of the best bits (sorry I can never resist a good pun) of advice my contractor friend Nick has given me is to invest in quality driver bits. I can’t tell you how many Dollar bin multi- tip-packs I’ve gone through over the past few years without really thinking anything of their durability or effectiveness. I invest in quality tools and fasteners, I buy good blades for my saws… so I don’t know why it just never occurred to me that there could be a difference in bits. Now that I’ve seen the light, I’m never going back. These little bits are certainly more expensive on an item-by-item basis compared to the multi-packs, but you are definitely getting what you paid for in both. I like that these Makita bits are gold- they stand out a whole lot better than the grey and black ones I’ve been using in the bottom of my tool bag and when I drop them in the dirt. They are also magnetic, which is a huge plus, since I’m always working at weird angles and trying to do everything one-handed.

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Nick has also been working on converting me to Robertson drive screws, which has reduced the amount of cursing at stripped out heads and broken bits significantly over the past few months- so, Pro-Tip, if you’re not already using them, you should be.

Assorted Pack:

https://homedepot.sjv.io/c/1254293/456723/8154?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.homedepot.com%2Fp%2FMakita-Impact-GOLD-Assorted-2-1-2-in-Steel-Double-Ended-Power-Bits-3-Piece-B-49622%2F206284601

Phillips:

 https://homedepot.sjv.io/c/1254293/456723/8154?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.homedepot.com%2Fp%2FMakita-Impact-GOLD-1-2-1-2-in-Philips-Double-Ended-Power-Bit-3-Piece-B-39578%2F204705982

Torx:

https://homedepot.sjv.io/c/1254293/456723/8154?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.homedepot.com%2Fp%2FMakita-Impact-GOLD-Assorted-2-1-2-in-Steel-Torx-Double-Ended-Power-Bits-3-Piece-B-49616%2F206284600

Robertson:

https://homedepot.sjv.io/c/1254293/456723/8154?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.homedepot.com%2Fp%2FMakita-Impact-GOLD-Assorted-2-1-2-in-Steel-Square-Double-Ended-Power-Bits-3-Piece-B-49600%2F206284599

Manufacturer messaging:

·      Engineered to last up to 60-times longer than standard insert bits

·      Precision-fit tip engineered to prevent “cam-out” stripping

·      Xtreme Torsion Technology is engineered to allow the torsion section of the bit to flex under load, taking pressure off the bit tip for increased durability in high torque applications

*I acknowledge that the Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the Prospective 2018 Campaign. As part of the program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

Posted on July 27, 2018 and filed under Tool Reviews.

Getting Crafty with the Dremel Stylo

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This review was created as part of a paid affiliate program with the Home Depot.

My first order of business with this and every product review is a disclaimer: I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker. When it comes to more crafty-style projects, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value for their hard earned dollars.

My first thought when I picked up this tool is that I wish I’d had it when I was a kid. I would have used the heck out of it. And though I’ve found it to be surprisingly useful in various endeavors while testing it, the thing I’m most excited about with this tool is the fact that I can feel comfortable and confident putting it in a child’s hands. That is not a veiled dig at the quality of the tool, it is something I’m genuinely excited about. It has enough power to be useful, but if it were to “bite,” the damage wouldn’t be devastating. It would be an ideal tool for working on derby cars, etching projects, and leather work. Speaking of leather, check out the awesome Wonder Woman cuff Katelyn (from one of my favorite YouTube Channels, Evan and Katelyn) made for me using the Stylo!

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The ergonomics of this tool are awesome- it feels like a pen and works like a pen, and thus, extended use isn’t really a concern. I used the Stylo quite a bit on my Damascus knife project (check out the video on YouTube to see it in action) to refine the Blackwood handle and copper ferrule and buffed/polished the whole knife as well.

 

Manufacturer claims:

·      Best for craft projects- glass etching, leather burnishing, jewelry making, wood etching and more

·      Slim size allows you to get closer to your workpiece and provides maximum control in precision etching, engraving, polishing and sanding applications

Awesome Features:

·      The overload switch that shuts the tool off instead of burning up the motor is awesome. I’ve burned up several rotary tools trying to push them beyond their limits, so knowing the tool isn’t going to explode in my hands is definitely a plus.

·      The ergonomics of this tool really are awesome- it’s easy to control and fine motor movement, even with a spinning tool out front is very achievable.

Things I wish were better/different:

·      The lock button and the power button are the same size and located in the same area (on opposite sides of the tool) so it’s easy to confuse them.

This tool retails for $59.00. Would I buy it?

The Stylo is not very well suited to the type of work I generally ask of my rotary tools, for that I’d be a lot more interested in a full size Dremel https://homedepot.sjv.io/c/1254293/456723/8154?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.homedepot.com%2Fp%2FDremel-4300-Series-1-8-Amp-Variable-Speed-Corded-Rotary-Tool-Kit-with-Mounted-Light-45-Accessories-and-Carrying-Case-4300-5-40%2F300589719 with the flexshaft attachment just to add a little versatility and power to the tool. https://homedepot.sjv.io/c/1254293/456723/8154?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.homedepot.com%2Fp%2FDremel-32-in-Flex-Shaft-Attachment-for-Rotary-Tools-225-01%2F100019434

That said, for light duty work where fine control is needed, this little tool is a good value for the money.

*I acknowledge that the Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the Prospective 2018 Campaign. As part of the program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

Posted on July 27, 2018 and filed under Tool Reviews.

Just call me MechANNE

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This review was created as part of a paid affiliate program with the Home Depot.

My first order of business with this and every product review is a disclaimer: I am not a professional contractor or mechanic. I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker. When it comes to construction and renovation, and vehicle and machine projects, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. That said, I doubt many professional contractors will be reading my tool reviews. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value for their hard earned dollars.

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I have always loved tinkering with machines and motors. I spent a very good portion of my childhood trying to build the perfect go-kart. We were broke and I had no real understanding of how vehicles worked, so I never really got very far, but I spent untold thousands of hours taking lawn mowers apart, fiddling with wagons and bikes and scooters. My dad didn’t have many tools, but when I got to go to my Grandpa’s, I was in heaven- he had every tool known to man, and the knowhow to use them. He and I always talked about how we would one day restore an old truck together, and I’d drive it around doing farm chores on the farm I’d been dreaming about since I was five years old. By some miracle, today I have that farm and a shop with more tools than even Grandpa had. Sadly though, he didn’t live long enough to see it. Much of who I am and what I do today has a whole lot to do with my grandpa and his investment in my young life. So when I had the chance to buy a 1953 Chevy 3100 farm truck to restore in his honor, you better believe I jumped at the chance.

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A few years ago, I restored a 65 Mustang in my buddy’s shop, but I still barely know what I’m doing when it comes to working on my cars, machines and tractor. I spend a whole lot of time wishing I could just call up grandpa and ask him all my questions, but I spend a lot of time googling things and calling my friends instead. And as well equipped as my woodshop is, I’ve got some building up to do when it comes to my mechanical tools. 

I’ve been using a very similar Husky Mechanic’s set for the last 5 years. I’ve used that little set a LOT, probably a whole lot more than most homeowners would ever use a ratchet set, and still, found it to be more than enough for what I needed to assemble and perform basic maintenance on all my woodworking machines and equipment, work on my truck and tractor, repair my mowers and weedwhacker, tinker around on the mini-bike I built a couple years ago. 

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I’m no mechanic, but I use my mechanic’s tools more than your average homeowner. This set has a nice variety of tools, and while they aren’t Snap-On quality, Husky has a lifetime warranty and I’ve yet to need to replace any of mine. One really great thing about this particular set is the selection of Torx and Allen heads which you’ll find on a lot of small machines and can be very specialized. The set also has a spark plug socket, which my first Husky set did not, and seeing as I have to take the spark plug out of my lawn mower every single time I start it, it’s nice to have it right there.

Another thing to look out for with this set is that with the wide variety of deep sockets in this set, my first thought was pulling out my impact gun. These aren’t rated for impact use, and while the lifetime warranty might entice me to tempt fate, there is a remote danger that the heat buildup and strain of using these bits in an impact gun could cause them to explode, so just be aware of that.

The one thing I found to be really frustrating both on my old set of Husky tools and this one was the fact that the box they come in doesn’t keep the tools in their proper slots. When I first opened the box, the tools were everywhere, and, figuring they’d just gotten jostled in shipping, I put them back and closed the box. When I carried it outside to the truck and opened it again, the tools were once again scattered about inside. While this isn’t a reflection of the tools themselves, the most likely end-user for these tools is homeowners and contractors, both of whom would be very likely to want to store the tools in their original box for the lifetime of the set. I am a bit of a tool chest fanatic, so that won’t be a longterm frustration for me as I’ll be migrating the set to my chest, but it’s certainly something to be considered.

Manufacturer Messaging:

·      72 tooth quick release ratchet

·      includes 100 sockets, 67 accessories, 15 wrenches, 3 ratchets

·      Lifetime Warranty

Awesome Features:

·      More than adequate tool selection for a contractor or homeowner

·      Great selection of Torx

·      Spark plug socket

·      72 tooth ratchets make for more efficient turning in tight spaces

·      Good value for the money

Things I wish were better/different:

·      The original box doesn’t keep tools organized well

·      The indented area under the ratchet head is a collection point for grease and grime which could easily migrate into the ratcheting mechanism

This set retails for $149.00. Would I buy it?

 I doubt you’ll find this toolset in a mechanic’s tool chest, but this set is a good value and nice variety for the price with a lifetime warranty. I bought a very similar set from Husky five years ago and it has served me well.

*I acknowledge that the Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the Prospective 2018 Campaign. As part of the program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

Posted on July 27, 2018 and filed under Tool Reviews.

Let there be LIGHT!

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This review was created as part of a paid affiliate program with the Home Depot.

My first order of business with this and every product review is a disclaimer: I am not a professional contractor or lighting expert. I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker, and a budding photographer. When it comes to construction and renovation projects, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. When it comes to studio lighting, photography and videography, I’d call myself a mildly obsessed hobbiest. That said, I doubt many professional contractors or professional photographers or lighting experts will be reading my reviews. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- folks wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value possible for their hard earned dollars.

As a budding photographer, videographer, and massive night owl (who happens to be afraid of the dark), reviewing these lights was really fun.

First, let’s talk about the Ryobi light.

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The one thing I’ve always admired about Ryobi as a company is their dedication to backwards-compatible tools. Over the last few years, Ryobi has really stepped up their game in making quality tools at an affordable price point. And, though Ryobi has come leaps and bounds with battery development, new batteries pop right in old tools. Meanwhile, most other tool companies totally re-invent the wheel every few years when it comes to batteries, requiring an entire shop upgrade for every new battery system, which can get insanely expensive.

I am a little confused as to why Ryobi put the light temperature control feature on a jobsite tool. I do like the idea of warmer tones on the jobsite, but when lighting a job, I want the brightest light possible, and that will always be the cooler “daylight” settings, aka, the standard LED color emission characteristic of all other jobsite lights. Having done some gallery and event lighting, color adjustment is a great feature for gallery/event lights, but I wouldn’t likely be using a jobsite light in a gallery or event space, and certainly not a battery operated light.  That said, even if I weren’t reviewing it, I would still have purchased this light out of curiosity about color temperature adjustment for use with my photography and videography. Unfortunately, when filming using the cooler “daylight” settings, the light introduced severe interference (strobe effect) into the video footage, so, for me, that made the color temp control feature seem pretty pointless. 

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Ryobi’s main customer base is generally homeowners with light-moderate experience who expect light-moderate use from their tools. Knowing Milwaukee’s fame for holding up to contractor-style abuse, I decided to put the Ryobi light through some rigorous testing to see how it would hold up. We strapped it on the tractors and bailers on my buddy’s hay farm and used it for three weeks of night work. Aside from losing a screw somewhere in the hayfields, it provided plenty of light, had better than expected battery life, and saw several hundred bales of hay harvested. It held up well and certainly earned its keep on that project.

Manufacturer messaging for Ryobi:

·      Adjustable light color temperature from 2700K to 500K

·      Over 1200 Lumens of light output

·      360 degrees of rotation

Awesome Features of the Ryobi:

·      Backwards-compatible battery platform

·      Long battery life

·      Great flood capacity for night-lighting a jobsite

·      1/4/20 thread on stand makes it mountable on standard clamps and tripods

·      crosses in stand base allow for it to be easily hung on two screws off the wall, ceiling…

Things I wish were better/different on the Ryobi:

·      I wish the color temperature feature worked with filming

·      I wish the power cord could charge the battery while running the light

This light retails at $79.98 Would I buy it?

If I was already on the Ryobi battery platform I think it’s a great value for the money. Knowing that the temperature adjustment feature doesn’t work for what I’d use it for, I wouldn’t be likely to buy it.

Now, let's talk Milwaukee.

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I knew the Milwaukee light was a winner as soon as I turned it on. It’s ruggedly built, the metal hook on the bottom fits right into the recess under my truck hood giving perfect night illumination for my restoration work. The hook has also come in pretty handy using the light while camping hanging it from a branch, and hanging it from plant hooks for some midnight forging on the porch. The light earned some extra cool points when I accidentally left it out in a torrential rainstorm while camping and neither the light, nor the battery seemed affected. It’s unfortunate you can’t turn on both lights at once, and a similar frustration to the Ryobi is that the cord can’t charge the battery while the tool is in use.

Manufacturer messaging for Milwaukee:

·      2 lights in 1 for area lighting and task lighting

·      2,200 Lumen output for illuminating large work areas and 1000 Lumen of flood lighting for task situations

·      18 hours of run time with M18 5.0 battery and can be plugged into it’s AC inlet for extended run time

·      Equipped with a high impact polycarbonate lens to withstand harsh jobsite abuse.

·      LED lights never need to be replaced and are backed by a limited lifetime warranty

Awesome Features of the Milwaukee:

·      The metal hanger hook is my favorite feature of this light- it’s so versatile.

·      It’s bright enough to light a 10 foot diameter circle quite well.

·      It’s compact enough to take to the jobsite or camping

·      Milwaukee’s new battery system is incredible both in power delivery and battery life.

Things I wish were better/different on the Milwaukee:

·      I wish you could run both lights at once

·      It’s a bummer that the cord can’t charge the battery while powering the light.

This light retails at $149.00. Would I buy it?

Absolutely. It gives jobsite-level light from an old time-y lantern feel.

*I acknowledge that the Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the Prospective 2018 Campaign. As part of the program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.
Posted on July 27, 2018 and filed under Tool Reviews.