Today we look at two cool new tools for sanding, paint stripping and more.
Eastwood Plasma 60 Plasma Cutter Review
Yes, I spend my daytime hours at Eastwood as their Product Marketing Manager, but I love this tool and in an effort to dive in to doing video product reviews, why not review a tool that is already in my garage and I use on an almost weekly basis?
For those of you who are not familiar with a plasma cutter, it’s basically a super high temp ball of fire which is thrust through whatever you are attempting to cut through by compressed air. It’s a primal feeling to be able to slice through aluminum, steel and other metals with such ease. Watch…
B&D Ready Wrench – Review
Black & Decker sent me the new Ready Wrench for evaluation a few months ago. You can buy one at Ace Hardware stores and many other places for around $30. Amazon also has it on sale quite often.
I like the idea of the tool, and the tool seems to be very well built. The idea is to carry one tool that fits a variety of sizes. (Metric/SAE) However, my first thought was that the wrench would slip when putting any torque on a bolt, due to the rotating head design. I must say I was surprised when I turned the wrench for the first time on a rusted bolt on the old 1954 Ford Panel truck. It did not slip and loosened the bolt with ease.
Since the tool is designed to fit metric and SAE nuts and bolts, it fits loose on SAE fasteners, so if you have a rusted or slightly worn nut, it won’t grab it like it should. This is the compromise with this tool, and many others that claim to fit metric and SAE fasteners.
The other issue I have with this tool, is the size of the head. It does not allow you easy access to nuts and bolts if they are buried, or have something close by to get in the way. I ran into this when taking the back doors off of the truck. I had to grab another regular wrench to finish the job.
So as with anything in life, it’s a compromise. If you have newer nuts and bolts, out in the open this wrench may be worth it. But if you are working on something old and rusted, get a good set of dedicated sized wrenches.
Craftsman Tool Box – Review
Sears contacted the crew at SpeedShoppers.com and requested that we review their Craftsman Stainless Steel 41” Toolbox Combo. A few weeks later, the tool box combo arrived on our door packed nicely on a pallet which I tore into and assembled in less than an hour.
Here is a shot of the Craftsman box assembled and sitting next to my 20 year old Craftsman Box which has served me well over the years. I just recently added a middle section (in black) that increased my capacity, but I was still running out of room.
Initial Impressions: This box is BIG, way more room than my old setup, it barely fits into my garage. I love the look of the stainless steel, and the hardware seems to be top quality.
Construction: The box is made from Stainless Steel and it is heavy. The base unit is 260 lbs. and the top is somewhere around 125 lbs. making assembly a 2 man job unless you are Hulk Hogan. The drawers are supported by ball bearing slides and support 70 lbs. of tools per drawer.
The stainless steel has an attractive brush finish and has a protective coating which appears to be a clear powder coat. It has a slight “orange peel” texture which is common to powder-coated finishes, but it does not distract from the beauty of the tool box. (see image to left)
The handles and casters are beefy, to support the weight. Two of the casters swivel to help moving the box around the garage. Always remember to put the swiveling castors on the end with the handle.
My only complaint about the construction is the “Grip Latch” system which prevents the drawers from opening while moving the tool box around. It just feels “cheap” There is a small latch on each end of the drawer pull and it’s spring loaded using a thin section of spring steel. The tactile feel does not agree with my engineering background. Only time will tell if the latch system will hold up. I personally park my tool box in the garage and rarely move it, so the latch serves no useful purpose to me. I could imagine a mechanic who works outside on uneven ground would appreciate the drawers not popping open unexpectedly. I had a few friends over to my house since I got the box, and had them all look at it and it’s 50/50 on their opinions of the Grip Latch system.
Final Impressions: After getting all my tools into the box and maneuvering it into it’s new home at the back of my garage, it was time to start using it.
My 1954 Ford Panel Truck is getting a new chassis under it, from a 1997 Ford Explorer, so the first task was to strip the Explorer of it’s body. That task has taken a few weekends and I have had a chance to use the tool box.
I appreciate the ball bearing slides on the drawers, there is little effort required to open and close even the drawers with the heaviest tools in it. I still don’t care for the grip latch, and when opening the upper drawers, I have to remember to make a conscious effort to lift up, to get the drawer open. My 20 year old box had no latching mechanism, and no ball bearing slides. I would take this ball bearing combo and grip latch over my old box with no ball bearings.
I went to my local Sears store to buy some accessories, drawer organizers, socket holders and some liners. Well something I did not realize, since the top drawers are full width, there are not a lot of options to fit perfectly into the 40” wide drawers. They make precut drawer liners which fit into the base unit drawers, but I was out of luck for the top unit drawers.
The box is easy to clean, grease and dust just wipe off. It looks great sitting in the garage, almost too good for the surroundings 🙂