Prep Master Cutting Block

My wife and I have been using these cutting boards (we actually have two side by side) for about a year now.

What makes them so great is that you can scrape your scraps — peels etc. — in to a hole in the front of the cutting board, below which is a metal tray. When that metal tray is full you can simply pull it out, carry it to the garbage, and throw everything in. It’s so much easier than either picking up all your peels off the cutting board and carrying them (often dripping) to the garbage, or else picking up the whole cutting board and tipping whatever is on top in to the garbage. There’s also a groove around the whole board, so whatever liquids end up on the board end up in the groove, which channels them in to the metal tray.

It’s superior to other cutting boards because a) it’s a thick, heavy board that’s going to last a lifetime and b) it’s got the removable tray. Lots of people comment on how well designed it is.

-- Julian Humphreys  

John Boos Newton Prep Master Reversible 18″ Square Cutting Board with Juice Groove and Pan
$150

Available from Amazon



Trauma Shears

Several years ago I needed about half a dozen tools for a series of workshops I was hosting. I needed a hand tool that could safely and easily shape plastic and thin sheet metal, but not break the bank. I found trauma shears at the local hardware store for a couple dollars each and bought every pair they had. Although I had misgivings about the price they worked great. I still have them and they all get constant use and abuse.

Sometimes called EMT or Paramedic scissors, they were originally designed for emergency responders to cut through seat belts, zippers, denim and leather. The rounded tip and bent handle made to safely cut along skin also make them useful for cutting along other surfaces without snags or jabs.

They’re somewhat famous for being shown cutting through a penny, which they’ll do without too much trouble. More practically they’ll cut sheet metal, wire, cable, plastic, cardboard, staples, rubber, foam, branches, and small bolts, to name a few. They’re the scissors I reach for when I don’t want to ruin my good scissors, and you’ll find them scattered throughout my workshop. They’re also great for opening plastic clamshell packages and I’ve tied them into bows on presents to help get into gifts.

-- Steve Hoefer  

Trauma Shears
About $3

Available from Amazon