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From the monthly archives: June 2012

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The weekend’s almost here, and if you’re looking to kill the last few hours of the work week, we recommend this short piece by Ryan Bush: it’s a look at the folks who own and operate a small leather goods manufacturing business in Portland, Oregon. From the filmmaker’s description: “It’s wonderful to see a company that thrives in the ‘small batch’ business model, and I hope they continue to make good things for a long time coming. The process of making something as simple as a belt can remind us of the roots of what this country was founded on: creativity, entrepreneurship, and craftsmanship.”

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An Exploration in Craft, Featuring: Tanner Goods [Vimeo]
Tanner Goods [Company Site]

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With this latest update, Bosch continues down the path set for cordless SDS gear over the past couple of years: lighter, more runtime, and improved ergonomics. As is often the case, the improvements are more evolutionary than revolutionary, but over time these changes add up to significant improvements. Let’s take a look under the hood.

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In case you haven’t noticed already: Fiskars makes a number of pretty slick-designed tools beyond scissors. From what we can tell, their MO is to update classic cutting tools with a liberal dose of modern design and materials. Consider their X7 hatchet, pictured above. On the surface it looks like a MOMA interpretation of the one that’s probably kicking around your shop right now. But peel away some of the fiberglass, and it’s pretty clear that (in classic modern design style) its appearance is totally driven by its functionality.

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It’s common practice these days to carry a specialty bit for every combination of length and bit type needed to complete the job. So if, for example, you need two masonry bits and a hole bit, and you need lengths of 6″, 12″ and 18″, that means carrying nine bits — plus spares. Milwaukee has what they think is a better idea. They want you to think about SDS bits the same way you think about sockets. Carry the bits you need, then add an extension to give you length options. Today they announced the product that backs up that idea: their new Max-Lok carbide extension system.

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Mr. Txinkman’s work is no stranger to this site. His seemingly limitless focus to stay with a restoration project boggles the mind. Where we tend to roll from project to project and not really do the same thing twice, txinkman continues to get better with each application of tool box repair.

In this case he’s taken a box made in England and transformed it to a fine-looking classic. Besides the refit, refinish, and hardware replacement, he added a Union Jack that he distressed himself, not only bringing this piece back from the dead, but giving it more character than it ever had before.

You can’t buy that kind of awesome. Well done, sir.

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]

 

A drive around to almost any jobsite will tell you that pneumatics are king when it comes to roofing. The Duo-Fast DFCR175C cordless roofer that came out a while back is a clear signal the company is looking to change conventional views on roofing guns.

The gun itself drives 1,000 nails per fuel cell and can drive over 2,000 nails on a battery charge. To that, the first question most roofers will ask is: “How many square is that?” The math works out such that one fuel can and a nail pack set will do 200 square feet or “two squares.” That’s not bad.

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About 10 minutes into the movie Tron: Legacy, the character Sam Flynn rides his Ducati up to his dockside home: an industrial-looking place obviously built from shipping containers. Large glass garage doors open on the front and back, permitting him to store his bike right in the living room and giving his living room a water-front view. It’s a bit of a dive, but I couldn’t help but wonder: could a home like this — cleaned up, of course — work for normal living? And how expensive would it be (or would it even be possible) to build one?

It turns out I’m not the only one thinking along those lines. Meet Adam Kalkin and his Quik House.

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Though we haven’t tested one of these in person, we’ve been quite impressed with the bang-for-the-buck value of Ryobi’s updated One+ line, identifiable by their video-game-green color. And we’re glad to see the cordless recip get the updated treatment as well. Besides the obvious new look, some other pretty upscale features lurk under the hood, including a cushioned anti-vibe handle and an adjustable, pivoting shoe.

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It’s pointless to suggest that multi-tools are occasionally overhyped — of course they are. They’re gimmicks on gimmicks running around, and everybody has one. But no matter how over-the-top the marketing shtick, it does work. Take Gerber’s Bear Grylls Survival Pack. It’s a multitool paired up with a flashlight and a fire-starter wrapped up in a nice case. But for a gimmick, it’s still pretty solid.

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I like to have a sense of accomplishment when I finish a project — a finely selected wood stain, or perhaps the nice turn of a table leg. Something to be proud of. The wood-cycle is something else again.

Hungarian Istvan Puskas poses with his wooden chopper in Tiszaors, 100 miles east of Budapest on Thursday. Puskas, a 52-year-old tractor driver, built his bike in two years from firewood.

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