Tool Reviews & Pictures

Cameron

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I've purchased and used many tools in my day and I've tried to record my experiences with them along the way. In this thread, I'll share some of those recordings. If you have any questions or experiences with these tools you'd like to share, please do so down below. Thanks!
 

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Titan Socket Adapter Set for My Cordless Drill​

There was a time when we, as humans, used manual drills. These drills were from decades ago and were either shaped like a weird “S” or were straight up and down with a large gear handle attached to the side. Either way you look at it, they weren’t electric and weren’t automatic in any which way. You could probably find these old style drills if you poke around an antique shop long enough.

During the same time, we used these things called screwdrivers. I’m sure you know what they look like, so I won’t go into that. Screwdrivers are manually operated, just like the drills where. It wasn’t until the battery powered cordless drill came onto the scene did we move away from the screwdriver and towards something much easier on the wrist (not to say we don’t use screwdrivers anymore). Today, if I can use the power driver, I’ll use it. Ain’t no way I’m sitting there twisting a screwdriver for a half hour if I could use a tool that would take three seconds to accomplish the same task.

Pondering these types of tools got me thinking about other things. What else could I take advantage of that would make life easier? By far, the most popular tool I use, almost on a daily basis, is my DeWalt cordless drill. I use it for both drilling things and screwing and unscrewing things. The tool is always an arm’s reach away.

A while back, I picked up a really cheap set of power nut drivers. If you’ve never seen these things, they look like screwdriver bits with sockets attached to the ends. Basically, you pick the appropriate size for the job, stick the end in the cordless drill chuck, tighten and begin doing what you need to do. The problem is, you oftentimes end up not having the properly sized nut driver. When you purchase the set, you’ll likely end up with twelve or fourteen pieces. Standard? Metric? Who knows. It’s almost as if you need to buy an entire nut driver set that mirrors a socket set. Hmmm…

Check this out.

socket-adapter-cordless-drill.jpg

Do you see what I have installed in my cordless drill? That’s what’s called a “socket adapter.” Instead of chasing down nut drivers that come in all sizes and shapes, I decided it may be more efficient to simply buy an adapter that I could attach any of my 200 new sockets to. I can use extensions, adapters and anything I would use a regular socket wrench for – right here with this adapter. And what’s even better is that the small package I purchased for only around $5 came with an adapter for all three socket sizes. They’re impact grade, which means the steel is strong. The drives include 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″. Here, take a look:

socket-adapters.jpg

I feel like I had one of those genius moments around the time I bought this kit. I’ve been using nut drivers forever and now that I have the freedom to choose any socket from my new set to use, it’s just damn liberating.

Now, I knew you’d want to read the labels and packaging for this kit, so I took photos of both sides. If you want to enlarge either photo, right-click on the image and choose “Open Image in New Window.” Enjoy!

titan-socket-adapter-set.jpg

titan-socket-adapter-set-instructions.jpg
 

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New Tekton Adjustable Wrenches​

How does one write a post that talks about adjustable wrenches? I’m not sure, but I’m going to give it a try. I get so excited about tools these days that it’s difficult to contain myself. I figure that sharing is where it’s at, if for nothing else than to get my thoughts out there in the open.

Okay, I’ve got a story for you. A while back, I began going through my tools in an effort to clean things up. Way back in the day, before I moved out of my parent’s house, I stored all my sockets and wrenches, among other things, in a five gallon bucket. It was a mess. Now, for all the tool lovers out there, I know I just made you cringe. The mere thought of me sticking my hand in that bucket in search of a screwdriver and having my finger punctured by a single steel wire from one of my wired brushes makes me want to somehow erase the entire memory from my mind. Luckily, as the years passed, I matured and began separating what I had into different toolboxes and plastic bins. Even today though, I’m still a mess. It’s atrocious and I’m embarrassed whenever I think of what I’ve done to myself. Imagine it as sort of like storing all your kitchen appliances in a wheelbarrow that’s kept in the corner of the dining room. You know – the blender, toaster and all your knives. It’s really not good.

So, in an effort to rid myself of this dark side, I recently purchased some wrenches and a beautiful socket set. I already used the sockets and I’m happy to report that everything went splendidly.

A few evenings ago, I picked up some adjustable wrenches. I already have two, one of which is half way broken, but am storing them in the truck to deal with unforeseen circumstances. Since those are now spoken for, I had to replace them for my “at home” collection. Trust me, there’s nothing wrong with having more than one of the same tool, especially when you get to drool over them while shopping.

After peeking around for a while. I decided to go with the Tekton brand. I already have two of their wrench sets and am hearing more and more about their popularity. In the case of my most recent purchase, I went with two wrenches – a 12″ and a 15″.

tekton-adjustable-wrenches.jpg

As I was deciding on which brand to purchase, I stumbled across a few themes. It seems as though other tool owners and shoppers concern themselves with three things. I’ll cover them below, in order of most important to least important.

Country of Origin – This is absolutely huge. I never knew folks cared so much about where their tools were made. Let’s just say that if I were to launch a company that made tools, I’d have MADE IN USA stamped all over each and every piece that left the warehouse. This is, by far, what everyone out there in interland talks about. They say the Chinese tools are garbage. Tools from Taiwan are getting better, tools from any European country are very much sought after and tools made in the USA are the cat’s meow. While I understand production cost is a huge deal for toolmakers, from what I’ve read, consumers are willing to pay more for localized pieces of chrome. That’s just the way it is. Even Craftsman went over to Asia, but now has a USA line. I guess offering both is a good idea.

Fit and Finish – I couldn’t believe how many people talked about the play between the moveable slide jaw of an adjustable wrench and the remainder of the steel. That little “wiggle” needs to be kept to a minimum to keep consumers happy. If you don’t know or don’t care about things like this, by all means, grab yourself a lower end wrench. But for all those collectors out there, which I fear I’m quickly turning into, a tight fit is what matters.

Strength – Surprisingly, while this is an important topic, it didn’t even come close to the previous two. I guess everyone knows that high quality steel can be produced globally now that it’s just not as much of a concern as it used to be. For some though, there was serious discussion on the topic.

adjustable-wrench-heads.jpg

I'm sort of a middle of the road guy at this point. These Tekton adjustable wrenches were made in China. The reason I didn’t care too much about this is because their prices reflected their country of origin. I took a gamble that I’d be okay, since I really don’t use these sorts of wrenches all too often. Their tolerances are tight and their function is smooth. For the price of $19.99 for the 15″ wrench and just $10.42 for the 12″ one, I’m happy.

tekton-wrench-handles.jpg

tekton-adjustable-wrench-tags.jpg

You know what’s weird? I don’t think I’ve ever owned a brand new adjustable wrench. It’s odd to hold a clean one in my hand.

adjustable-wrench-worm-gear.jpg

I know the first time I use these on the lawnmower or something, they’ll get all dirty. I’ll just have to be sure to clean them up afterwards and to rub a nice coating of Fluid Film on them to stave off the rust. That’s a hint – Fluid Film works on tools too! Oh yeah, it also works as a battery terminal protectant. Thanks for reading!
 

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Tekton Wrench Sets & DeWalt Socket Set​

After my truck didn’t start the other day, I got a little freaked out. I’ve always counted on the truck to be our getaway vehicle if something terrible ever happened. Having it just “click” when I tried to start it was unnerving. I knew I had to do something about it.

I’ve driven the truck since, so it’s definitely not the solenoid or the starter. After talking to my father about it on the telephone, we determined that it’s the battery terminals. One has corrosion on it and the other was loose. I recently picked up a terminal cleaner and some dielectric grease to deal with that. I just have to wait for it to stop snowing to make the fix.

The thing that really bothered me was the fact that I didn’t have any tools in the truck. I used to. When we recently moved, I was a fanatic about having tools with me at all times. Since then, I’ve become lax. I took the tools out of the truck and stored them elsewhere. The reason for this is because I simply didn’t drive the truck enough to call for carrying them with me. The problem with this is having the truck not start while I’m out picking up pellets or something and having no way to fix the issue. If I had to call a friend to come help out, it would be extremely embarrassing, not to mention that I would be in my friend’s debt forever and I’d probably end up being a servant to them for the rest of my life.

I decided that my task for the day was to purchase some new tools. Tools to either carry with me in the truck full-time or to leave behind at the house so I could carry my old tools in the truck. I still haven’t decided what to do.

The tools I want in the truck with me are as follows; socket set, wrench set, pliers and screwdrivers. I also want a roll of mechanics wire because that’s an all-around great thing to have. Man, as I’m writing this, I’m just imagining Laura and me up in the woods, picking berries, surrounded by coyotes, having no cell signal, in a truck that won’t start. Gives me shivers to think about having to use myself as a human shield as she makes her getaway. I’d do it, but I wouldn’t like it.

I made a purchase and I ended up getting some pretty bad ass tools. I grabbed two pliers. One of them is a slip joint and the other is a groove joint. Both of them are put out by Tekton.

Now, before I go any further, I want to talk about the world of tools today. We’ve come a long way.

The last tool set I bought was a Craftsman socket and wrench set. I was around 17 years old when I did this. I still have that set. I’m not sure why I wouldn’t, because these things don’t really go bad. Sure, they break, but through the years, I replaced everything I had a problem with. I also have some screwdrivers, pliers and other items like that. What I’ve got has been stored in a variety of ways through the years. When I bought these things, nothing came in a case, so I’ve had to carry them around in a 5 gallon bucket, in various tool boxes and now, they are all organized in large zip-lock bags. It’s a miserable way to keep tools, but because I don’t have any organizational solutions, this is what life looks like. I do hate it though.

When I was 17 years old, I pretty much had two choices; Craftsman or Snap-on. Now, you know as well as I know that Craftsman was the only real choice. Snap-on was simply way too expensive. Looking back, I sort of wish I had gone with the Snap-on, if not only for the socket wrenches. Craftsman socket wrenches are absolutely awful. I can’t even tell you how many of these things I’ve had that either seized up on me or flat out broke. In my mind, they are junk. I’m not sure how they are today, but the ones that I’ve used don’t get a very high rating. Of all the items I’ve had to return, the socket wrenches are the most popular.

Anyway, I thought I’d write today’s post to show off the new tools I own. Before I began looking around, I didn’t even know these companies made hand tools. I guess I was ignorant.

The first things I’d like to show are two sets of wrenches put out by a company called Tekton. The reason I decided to go with this brand is because the sets are complete. I got a standard set and a metric set. The sizes range from 1/4 inch to 1 inch with nothing missing in between. On the metric side, sizes range from 8 to 22mm, again, with no missing sizes in between. Let me tell you, they are beautiful wrenches. If I had to choose from these back in the day, this is what I would have purchased.

tekton-open-ended-wrenches.jpg

tekton-standard-wrench-set.jpg

tekton-combination-wrench-set.jpg

tekton-metric-combination-wrench-set.jpg

Besides the beauty of these very heavy wrenches is the fact that both sets come in a carrying case. Tekton put some time into thinking about these carrying devices. They can be mounted on a wall or carried by hand. Really nice.

Next, I’d like to show you a DeWalt 192 piece mechanics tool set. The majority of tools included in this set are socket wrenches and sockets themselves. This set is very heavy and if my first glance is any indication, very legit. The wrenches are beefy and I’m hopeful they’re as good as everyone says they are. Beautiful pieces.

dewalt-mechanics-tool-set.jpg

dewalt-sockets.jpg

dewalt-socket-set.jpg

dewalt-standard-sockets.jpg

row-sockets.jpg

This set really is a beauty. Even though it weighs a ton, it comes in a really nice, snap in, carrying case. What this means is that when I use these tools, I don’t need to mess with zip-lock bags anymore. I also can clearly see where each and every tool is stored. I’ve never been so spoiled.

Now, I’ve got some really nice wrenches, sockets, a set of Snap-on screwdrivers (8) and some great pliers. All I have to do is decide on which I’d like to keep in the truck. I’ll most likely put a tool box with the old ones there because of the weight of these new ones. Also, if something gets stolen, I’d rather it be them.

Let me know what you think. Thanks for reading!
 

Cameron

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Dewalt 20V MAX Cordless Compact Drill Driver Kit​

This purchase has been a long time in the making. I didn’t want to have to buy a new drill gun because I thought my old Black & Decker was still fairly new, but the truth is, it’s years and years old.

As far as I can remember, I bought my first cordless drill back before 2005. I know it was then because that’s when Laura and I purchased our first house. I needed it to do all sorts of repairs. The drill didn’t last long and some time before 2008, when we moved out, she got me the Black & Decker for my birthday. I’ve had that one ever since.

Just as luck would have it, I popped one of the “freshly charged” batteries into the gun last week during some drywalling to discover there was no charge whatsoever. Nothing. Not even a click of the motor. Over the next few days, I tried different angles for changing it and it still provided the same result. That battery was gone.

It wasn’t a surprise. Both batteries have faded through the years to the point of becoming quite annoying. If memory serves, I went through this once previously and had to replace both of them. This time, I decided to move on and head to Dewalt. The Black & Decker is great, but the Dewalt offers the lithium battery and I wanted to get me some of that. That was my street talk.

dewalt-20v-cordlress-drill.jpg

From what I understand, the new lithium batteries take much less time to charge and offer more power output. Each charge also lasts longer. I suppose this is what you get with advancements in technology.

I was browsing around at the specs for my old drill and there are many complaints about the old style NiCad batteries. Like I just mentioned above, that’s the only issue I have with mine. The drill is fine. But, at $30 to buy new batteries (again), I’m just not interested.

This Dewalt drill weights 3.9 pounds, which is much less than the 7 pounds of the Black & Decker. I know people who used to purchase the smaller 12V drills simply because of the weight issue. When you’re putting a deck together and are working outside all day, these heavy tools can do a number on your wrists. This drill is probably as light as they’re going to get.

I took a few photos of the drill. When I was looking around at photos online, I really couldn’t find any taken of the “less than obvious” places, such as the batteries themselves, the items included in the kit and the electrical connections where the drill meets the battery. I’ve got all these spots for you below. By the way, I paid $120 for this kit, which includes the drill, charger for a single battery, two lithium batteries and a handy carrying case.

First off, we have the box. This is what everything is inside of.

dewalt-drill-kit-box.jpg

Next, once you open the box, you can pull out the carrying case, which has all the goodies enclosed inside.

dewalt-cordless-drill-carrying-case.jpg

In this photo, I’ve removed each component of the kit and displayed them exactly how they were stored inside the case.

dewalt-cordless-drill-kit-components.jpg

This is where the bottom of the drill handle meets the battery.

drill-battery-connectors.jpg

And this is the battery itself.

dewalt-20v-max-lithium-ion-battery.jpg

There are two speeds to choose from on this cordless drill. This is the switch that controls them.

dewalt-20v-cordless-drill-top.jpg

There’s also a switch the controls which direction the drill is turning – forward or backward. The small black button is this switch. The power trigger is also included in this photo.

dewalt-20v-max-drill-trigger.jpg

I connected the battery to the drill. This is what it looks like. The disconnect button is right in the front.

cordless-drill-battery-connected.jpg

And finally, this is the top portion of the drill.

top-drill.jpg

I hope I got everything. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to check something out and not being able to find any good photos. When I’m at the store, I get frustrated that I can’t read the commentary on something and when I shop online, I get frustrated at not being able to touch it. Maybe this will help someone.
 

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Folding Aluminum Lawnmower & ATV Truck Loading Ramps​

It was only when I discovered the riding mower had actually been shipped that I purchased aluminum loading ramps. I knew I’d need them if I was to use my trailer for either lawnmower or ATV storage. This is the kind of thing I usually wait for the last minute to buy, but not this time. I got these suckers before I even needed them, while the mower was still in transit.

folding-aluminum-loading-ramps.jpg

The old me would have simply hoisted the front of the mower into the trailer using brute force. The new me has no more brute force, so I enjoy driving up nice strong ramps. These things are so beautiful, they’re difficult to describe. I’m not even sure they have a brand name. They’re just known as what I wrote in the title above. I guess that’s a good thing because they’re surely less expensive this way.

These ramps measure 7 1/2 feet long when they’re unfolded. Each one measures about a foot wide and together, they can hold something that weighs 1500 pounds. When I have them unfolded and I stand on them, they do flex, but they only go a certain amount. I haven’t been able to coax them any further, no matter how much I bounce. Rolling up and down these ramps on the mower is a dream. Tools are wonderful things.

I took a few up-close photos for you. I know that when I was looking into this type of ramp, I wanted to see the hinges and the quality of the welding. There wasn’t much of that to be found. After this post, there will be.

Let’s start off with how these ramps connect to either a trailer or a truck tailgate. The ones I have offer three teeth on each ramp. Simple lay the teeth on top of whatever it is you’re loading into. There are also included tie-downs that you can use to fasten the ramp to the vehicle, but since I’m on grass and there’s little chance of sliding, I haven’t used those yet.

aluminum-loading-ramp-top-end.jpg

This next photo is of the hinge. You can see that it’s bolted and has some pretty good welds.

folding-loading-ramp-hinge.jpg

Now I’ll show you the bolt and the nut that holds the hinge together. You can see there’s a small cotter pin in there, which is good to know.

hinge-bolt.jpg

hinge-nut.jpg

Finally, I’ll show you the tread on these ramps. As you’ll see in the photo below, there are small areas that are lifted to prevent from sliding. This is genius.

aluminum-loading-ramp-tread.jpg

I picked these up from Amazon for $133. I initially looked in our local Tractor Supply, but found theirs too expensive. The only one that was in my price range didn’t fold. They were put out by Reese and I really liked them, but I couldn’t fit them in the car. I got these instead.
 

Cameron

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Gorilla Cargo Net​

I have a small update on my trailer sides. I wasn’t feeling them – so I decided to change course.

I have had the sides in the garage waiting for paint. I painted most of the surface area, but some still needed to be done. But since yesterday was really nice in the morning, I decided to take them out for some more work. And that’s when it happened. I fell out of “like” with them. I don’t know, I just didn’t like them anymore. I pictured myself cruising down the highway watching them fly off the trailer through the rear view mirror. That’s the last thing I need.

I went out to Home Depot this morning with an upgraded plan. I picked up some angle iron, a few boxes of bolts, washers and nuts and some 1″x6″ decking wood. Now, I have the materials to make sides I can be proud of. After I put them together, I may just cruise Main Street.

In other news, I ordered what’s probably the mac daddy of all cargo nets. It’s called the Gorilla Cargo Net and it covers everything I decide to load up in the trailer. Take a look at the video to see what I’m talking about. It’s much better than rope, bungee cords or regular tie downs. With my new sides and the cargo net, I swear I don’t know what to do with myself.


UPDATE: Here are some pictures of the Gorilla Cargo Net covering my trailer. I took these pictures the evening before I left Connecticut, heading to Florida. It was a long drive, but the net was the perfect solution to cover our belongings on the trailer.

2008-bmw-x5-pulling-trailer.jpg

bmw-sure-trac-trailer.jpg

bmw-x5-pulling-utility-trailer.jpg

gorilla-cargo-net-on-utility-trailer.jpg
 
Tool Reviews & Pictures was posted on 09-23-2021 by Cameron in the Motor Forum forum.
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