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Old 12-23-2005, 10:19 PM   #1
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Tools That Surprised You - Good Or Bad?


Last quarter I started the process of repainting the exterior of my home.... Proper prep included proper cleaning and so I purchased a cheap pressure washer. I figured I'd use it for this one project and have little other uses for it so I broke my usual code and bought one that was kinda cheap.

It worked beautifully.... Whats more I am constantly using this stupid thing now for all kinds of different tasks. From cleaning my lawnmower, to spraying down the walkways, to cutting old grime off of the fences and gates (they look almost new now!), to blowing stubborn weds from cement cracks.... This tool that I expected to use very little has seen a great deal of use in my day to day projects!

The first time someone gave me a cordless drill I had a "well I might use it once in a great while" reaction, but that too I have used repeatedly truly on EVERY project.

Other tools that I bought thinking I'd get a lot of use out of them see painfully little. For instance I got a planer as an award bonus from my company.. I have yet to plug it in! I use my air compressor very little, and my scroll saw, while very nice for when I need it gets relatively little use, far less than I thought it might.

I am considering an angle head cutter as people keep touting those as one of those 'didnt know ya gotta have it till ya have it' tools.

So what tools have surprised you?

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Old 08-31-2006, 10:02 PM   #2
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I have been using cordless drills for years for doing just about every little job that I could find for it to do. I guess I have smartened up some over the years and decided to try some other electrical devices for doing the smaller jobs. I got a Black and Decker Pivot Driver #9078 in July of 05' and after one year of use I can say it is one of my favorite tools to use for the small stuff. It has one of those rechargeable batteries in it and I have only killed the battery a couple of times. It also has a clutch that is a nice too. It really makes a lot of screwing fun....... I guess that the only gripe that I have about it is that the base is not magnetic to hold screws to the tip. Other than that I would recommend it to anyone.......for the light stuff. I was/am surely surprised about it........it was only $20 too.

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Old 09-01-2006, 08:03 AM   #3
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Tools That Surprised You - Good Or Bad?


Tools that surprised me? I would say, intrestingly enough, putty knives. I keep a steady supply of putty knives in my tool box and hardly ever use them for putty!! They make excellent chisels for caulking. Tools to pry off moldings and trim. And they are great just anytime you need a large, flat and THIN pry tool. In fact last night I was working on a closet. The people that built it originally made the closet 78" for some stupid reason and I cannot install my mirrored closet door (80" min height). I was removing the plaster along the ceiling = wall joint with a chisel cutting through the wire lathe thinking, this is taking forever. I stopped, grabed myself a 6" putty knife and went back to work. Done in aboout an 1/8th the time.
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:59 AM   #4
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Tools That Surprised You - Good Or Bad?


I have to go with the black and decker small cordless screw driver as well, it costs $50 CAD for me though, but it is so small become a big different comparing with those regular 18V big and heavy ones for many small jobs... It is good quality, I don't know if I should buy those $20 ones no name brand of similar type I saw one day selling at Lowie...

another one would be those suck the hell out of anything workshop vacuum... gee, they are so powerful, it sucks anything on its way.. I got those Sears one and it is really useful, they are light and powerful, I still couldn't answer why these things shouldn't replace those regular household vacuum I kept convenicing my wife and she kept asking me to shutup... it can be used to vacuum your car, your work area,...you name it...

another tool would be those LCD handheld light... gee you no longer need to spend a lot of $$ on batteries... looks light the batteries can last for the rest of your live and you no longer need to say turn off the light to your son as it waste batteries, let him play with it, it really lasts, I tell you, it really feels good with the freedom of abandon usage...

Metre saw is then another useful tools for many medium size project... it is not useful for day to day small tiny projects... but if you are talking about building a deck, basement,...or anything with large number of wood cutting... you got to have it...

My neighbour has a router.... I don't and I saw him using it for many things... I wonder how useful of this tool...

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Old 09-01-2006, 03:36 PM   #5
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Tools That Surprised You - Good Or Bad?


One thing that surprised me in a bad way was my Zircon stud finder. I paid like $25 for it, and this thing sucks more then Kui****g's shop vac! It NEVER finds studs accurately. My father has one, its zircon as well, but older and differnt style. It works flawlessly. The one I have is a yellow one with a skinny bottom. It's aweful! It not only reads nothing where I know there is a stud, but it invents phantom studs that don't even exist.
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Old 09-02-2006, 08:22 AM   #6
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Tools That Surprised You - Good Or Bad?


A spring loaded nail set. No more having to cary a hammer while filling nail holes and coming across the the occasional proud nail. Got a lot of funny looks from carpenters though.
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:10 PM   #7
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Tools That Surprised You - Good Or Bad?


I lived on a boat for a few years and found myself always looking for a flashlight that could take a lickin' and keep on tickin'. These Pelican flashlights are durable and bright. Great light beam from either a Xenon lamp or a LED, all kinds of sizes for what ever application you need it for and can really take a beating (including a drop in the water). I'm done with cheap no name brand flashlights.


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Old 02-05-2009, 05:21 PM   #8
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Tools That Surprised You - Good Or Bad?


Not a tool, but gear: steel toed sneakers.

Bought them on a whim, on sale. SO, much more comfortable than my boots for when work gets hot. Plus, they're super cute
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:20 PM   #9
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Tools That Surprised You - Good Or Bad?


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One thing that surprised me in a bad way was my Zircon stud finder. I paid like $25 for it, and this thing sucks more then Kui****g's shop vac! It NEVER finds studs accurately. My father has one, its zircon as well, but older and differnt style. It works flawlessly. The one I have is a yellow one with a skinny bottom. It's aweful! It not only reads nothing where I know there is a stud, but it invents phantom studs that don't even exist.
Glad to hear I wasn't the only one - it also invents electrical wiring where I know none exists....
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Old 02-08-2009, 01:06 PM   #10
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Tools That Surprised You - Good Or Bad?


My recent experience is both a recommendation of a saws all as a GREAT tool, but a lesson learned (Again!!) about buying a quality tool.

During a recent DIY project (replacing the porch on the front of our house), We found some termite damage from a long time ago, that was just covered up with a ledger board...(code??what code). I needed to replace a beam under the house. Since I only needed it for this one job, I figured that the cheap saws all from this un-named nation wide tool retailer was just what the doctor ordered. To make a long story short, This 'bargain' tool lasted about 1 Hour. I took it back, and on my way back home, stopped and bought a Milwaukee heavy duty saws all....WOW! is that a fun tool....I can scare project into line with that baby

Mike... (aka Woody99)
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Old 02-08-2009, 01:55 PM   #11
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Tools That Surprised You - Good Or Bad?


I'm likely the only electrician on the planet who has an air compressor in his van. I use it as much, if not more than, my cordless drill!

I have a 3/8" palm wrench, basically a small air wrench that has a butterfly-type handle for forward and reverse. It won't remove lugnuts, but it'll remove and replace the hundreds of 1/4" bolts in a switchgear much faster than a cordless drill can. Plus, it doesn't strip or break any.

I do a lot of industrial control work, building control panels, wiring machinery, etc. I use thousands of crimp terminals. I have several pneumatic crimpers for these terminals. At the end of the day, my hands and wrists are not sore, nor am I likely to get carpal-tunnel.

I have an air-over-hydraulic pump as well. It can be used to crimp larger terminals, or it will also drive my knockout punch. Anyone who has ever had to make a bunch of 4" holes in a switchgear using a hand pump will certainly appreciate using this set-up.

It's pretty good at blowing mouses through conduit as well. These are foam rubber pistons with a string tied to the end, that are blown or sucked through a conduit. Then, a bigger rope can be pulled in and finally, the wire. It's too small for anything over 2", the longest pull I've done with it so far is 1700' in 1-1/4".

Guys laugh at me on a regular basis..... until they see something get done in half the time with one-tenth the effort.

Rob
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Old 02-08-2009, 06:59 PM   #12
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Tools That Surprised You - Good Or Bad?


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I'm likely the only electrician on the planet who has an air compressor in his van. I use it as much, if not more than, my cordless drill!...Guys laugh at me on a regular basis..... until they see something get done in half the time with one-tenth the effort.
I won't laugh, I think it's neat.

One thing though, what type of compressor do you use? I ask because you probably end up lugging it many places, so you need a portable unit, yet it needs to be powerful enough to run your impact wrench and such.

Curious
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:32 PM   #13
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Tools That Surprised You - Good Or Bad?


It's one I put together myself. It's made of a Speedaire 12 gallon ASME tank, a Champion 1 cylinder pump, a 1HP motor, and associated fittings. On at 125, off at 145. The tank is ASME rated at 200 PSI, and the relief valve is 160 PSI. It weighs about 100 lbs., and has wheels, but 90% of the time it stays in the van. Most of the stuff I do I can get within 100' or so of.

I chose the ASME rated tank because it's made from a bit thicker steel, plus it's been tested, the 1 cylinder pump because it's light weight, and 1 HP because it'll start reliably on a long cord.

Please note; there are some states that require the complete assembly to be listed as a unit, but Nevada isn't one of them.

Rob
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Old 02-09-2009, 12:18 AM   #14
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Prolly my carpet shampoo'er.

It has two Lamb three stage vaccuum motors piped in parallel and a 150 psi pump.

Not only do I use it for cleaning carpets, which is what it's meant for, I use it to suck the water out of plumbing pipes before soldering cuz it'll lift water about 10 feet vertically up into the recovery tank. I just take the bathtub spout off and push a 5/8" ID rubber hose onto the copper pipe, turn on the vaccuums, open the faucets and put a #6 rubber stopper into the shower head. Then I just open the kitchen sink faucets at the other end of the apartment, and suck all the water out of the plumbing pipes. Then I can solder without water continuously dripping and crap. And, I can clear clogged drains by simply pressing the suction hose onto the drain pipe and sucking the clog out of the drain piping (usually the trap). I can recover lost earings and dental caps from p-traps that way too. Once a tenant was brushing their teeth, and in the water they spit out, they lost a cap from one of their teeth. I sucked it out of the trap with my carpet shampoo'er (cuz it happened to be in the empty suite right next door).

The pump is useful too. I can use it along with a short car wash wand to clean with. I clean ceramic tiled tub surrounds mostly. I just lather up the walls with an acidic bathroom cleaner, and then spray the cleaner off the tiling with 150 psi water spray out of the wand. And, I use it to clean my car every spring. 5 gallons of water in the solution tank is way more than enough to do a small car like mine.

I like my floor machine too.

And, I like the hand truck I mounted an air compressor on so that I can move that air compressor quickly and easily. There really is NO SUCH THING as a portable air compressor. The closest thing to it is a "LUGGABLE" air compressor. Mounting a luggable air compressor on a hand truck with 1" pipe clamps makes it truly portable. I just wheel the air compressor to where I want it, put a gallon paint can under the handle of the hand truck, plug the air compressor in and turn it on. The gallon paint can holds the hand truck horizontal so that the air compressor thinks it's on level ground.
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Old 02-09-2009, 01:11 AM   #15
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While reading this thread, i started thinking about my favorite "No Name" tool that I have used. I bought a 7" wet/dry tile saw at Harbor Freight a few years ago, to help my stepdad do a tile floor in my parent's house. Since that time, I have used it on a few occasions for small projects, like my refinished kitchen counters in the house I just moved out of. It has been one of the best fifty dollar investments I have made, especially considering that I bought it with the intentions of using it once, and then selling it off.

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