14 August 2018
Affordable, cut-resistant hand protection
These fiber/stainless gloves are used in the restaurant industry to defend against knife and mandolin cuts, as well as handling trash that may have protruding bits of glass and fish bones. I read about them in a cooking magazine, and bought one glove after cutting myself on a mandolin.
I find the glove allows for ample movement and dexterity. It’s definitely flexible enough to carve with and feels a lot like wearing a winter Thinsulate glove. These days, when I use the mandolin, I find I can get in closer for a few extra slices. Although the glove hits the blade, my hand’s always safe. My gloved hand has even survived an errant cleaver (Fortunately I didn’t hit myself not too hard).
I’ve used mine about five times a month for the past three years. I’ve washed it and haven’t noticed any deterioration, though it does feel a little stiffer at first. Bonus: The weave is much tighter than with a pricier chain mail glove, so it also seems better for guarding against knife pokes.08/14/18
(This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2007 — editors)
13 August 2018
Stowable citrus pulverizer
We make tapenades for the local farmers’ markets and each contain the juice of half a lemon. Before getting this sturdy juicer, not only were my hands and wrists aching after a morning squeezing (literally by hand), but the lemon juice would get onto my fingers and, after a while, burn.
With this juicer, I insert half a lemon and push down using my whole arm rather than squeezing the lemon with my fingers. It works great and takes half the effort. No juice is wasted by dripping onto the hands. And the device is small enough to tote around. One caveat: Smaller seeds can sometimes pass through the juice holes, so I prefer to squeeze the juice through a sieve.
— Bruno Teersteeg
I’m sure some folks are partial to using the specific color-coated sizes, but we rely on the orange juicer for all of our citrus needs. If you’re tackling a bucket of lemons at home you’ll probably want a counter-top unit like the previously-reviewed Hamilton Beach juicer. However, if you’re juicing a few on the fly, I highly recommend these enameled aluminum juicers. There are similar stainless steel hand presses with soft grips, but they can be twice as expensive. Ours is tough enough. Besides, there’s nothing like a bright orange tool to break up the monotony of the silverware drawer.
Available from Amazon
Available from Amazon
Available from Amazon
12 August 2018
Put screws in impossible spots
This time, we’re taking a look at this right angle adapter for your drill or impact driver, made by Dewalt. I picked this on Amazon for around $18, and if you want one for yourself, using the Amazon link in the description helps support my videos and the Cool Tools blog.
Sometimes you need to put a screw in a spot where your drill just can’t fit. I recently had this happen right here in my shed where I record these. I had to repair some of the rotten framing in the corner, but the spacing between the studs was so tight I couldn’t get my impact driver in there to screw in some new wood.
This attachment from Dewalt is specially made to get into tight spots. It can be used with any driver or drill chuck, not just Dewalt. By spinning the shaft, the adapter spins the screwdriver bit at a right angle.
The bit can face left, right, up or down, and you need to stabilize it with your other hand to direct it where you want to go, but it does the job.
One thing that surprised me about this adapter, but is actually pretty smart, is that you have to use a screwdriver or extra bit to eject whatever bit is in here. This helps minimize how much space the bit takes up
It’s also because Dewalt has this magnetic lip out in front of the bit that latches right onto your screw head and holds it flat, which is a great feature when your dangling the screw into a tight spot or over your head, and you don’t want it falling down.08/12/18
(Cool Tools has a YouTube channel with many more tool reviews — editors)
12 August 2018
Recomendo: issue no. 107
Easy flight delay compensation
My International flight to Los Angeles was delayed for 10 hours. The airline didn’t tell me I was eligible for compensation, but I friend told me about an app called AirHelp. I entered my name and confirmation number. Instantly, AirHelp told me the airline was obligated to pay me about $700. AirHelp did all the work, and about a week later I got the money, minus a 25% commission for AirHelp, which was a small price to pay for not having to do anything. — MF
Learn about nature
I first heard about the iNaturalist app from a Cool Tools Podcast with David Lang. I used it for the first time last week when I was hiking and took a picture of a tree that I wanted to know the name of. I just uploaded the picture and labeled it as “I don’t know what this is.” The next morning, I was happily surprised to see an email alerting me that another user identified it for me! It’s like a collaborative classroom on your phone. — CD
My mother-in-law is 90, doesn’t speak English, and lives with us. She, and I enjoy watching the new season 3 of BattleBots on Amazon Prime. This mindless machine-on-machine violence of robots demolishing other robots is universally entertaining, and spectacular. No language needed. — KK
Instagram cliches made beautiful
Insta_Repeat is an Instagram account that beautifully highlights common cliches on Instagram. Like view through tent hole, or standing on white van. Hey, travel and outdoor Instagramers, don’t do these! Try something different. Yet I follow it because arrays of the cliches are mesmerizing in their nearly identical images. — KK
Effective no-kill rat trap
I bought this small rodent trap ($8) a couple of years ago and have caught several mice and rats with it. It doesn’t kill the animal, it just traps them in the cage when they touch the lever with the bait. (I use a bit of peanut butter for the bait, and put a little bowl of water in the cage so they don’t get thirsty before I check the trap.) With these kind of traps you have to deal with the problem of what to do with a live rodent, of course. — MF
Affordable inflatable kayak
This inflatable two-person kayak is perfect for beginner couples. It’s sturdy and easy for one person to steer, and it even survived when we took a scary turn toward some fast flowing water — although it’s better for floating down flat water. The best part is it’s really comfortable to sit in and it took less than 40 minutes to both set up and deflate. We bought this a month before summer for $80 and right now it’s $115, reviewers say the price fluctuates between seasons. — CD
10 August 2018
Cool Tools Show 135: Dan Dubno
Our guest this week is Dan Dubno. Dan is an Emmy Award winning journalist, technologist, curator, and founder of nonprofit organizations. At CBS News, he developed many new technologies that have changed the face of broadcast television. Presently, Dan is working for DARPA and is also Contributing Editor for Popular Mechanics.
NEMO waterproof drill and angle grinder
“A friend of mine who we call Nimo is in Hong Kong and he’s making all of these waterproof underwater power tools. He was asked to help in the Thai rescue. He’s been making underwater drills and angle grinders and underwater lights. They’re pressurized and they’re handheld. Before, you had to connect them to the surface and power them pneumatically or by other means. These just have a battery and can go underwater and it’s all waterproof and fun. … They’re a special kind of shaped lithium batteries that they’re using. You have to pressurize them for depth by pumping some air with a bicycle pump, which is supplied. So the deeper you go, the more pressure you have to pressurize it before you dive. But he’s making a whole series of really cool tools, and I think these are something that definitely fit in the Kevin Kelly catalog of coolness.”
ZMAN, a DARPA project to climb walls
“I was the first person outside of the government to get to use and write about the Z-Man, which was a DARPA project to climb walls. I climbed a plate glass wall that was about 30 feet in the air, and it basically uses the principle of the gecko. It has these striations that are in these rubber pads that you hold in your hand while you are attached on the foot side with these straps. Your body’s attached to this device, and you kind of put the suction cups that your hands are holding on the wall or on the flat surface. You step down on one foot, and that basically lets the suction cups suck and adhere to the wall. As you move to the other side, your other hand lifts up and lifts higher and your leg steps down, and that sucks onto the wall and you lift higher on that side, and you release the other leg. So you’re going from hand to hand, leg pressure to leg pressure, as you’re climbing straight up a plate glass regular office wall … It works on all kinds of walls. Not so good on steel. They have a magnetic climbing device that has a similar look to it but uses magnets and it’s for climbing up ship hulls and things like that. It’s a remarkable device. It will be available for sale if it isn’t already available for sale by a company called Alice Devices, which is a Boston-based company which has been doing some remarkable stuff. There’s something very cool about climbing walls. You feel like Spiderman.”
Lumu Power Light & Color Meter
“If you’re in the movie business, if you’re a lighting technician, if you’re a person who does television and wants to know what the Kelvin temperatures are of what you’re shooting, or if you’re a photographer who wants to be consistent about the various lights that they’ve set up for your portraiture shoot or your video shoot, you might want a light meter nowadays …. [This] plugs into the port of an iPhone. … [This is great for] knowing color temperature and being able to quickly assess it and for a very reasonable price.”
“Every couple of years we bring together scientists and inventors and people who are designers and people who are architects and scientists and the people who are creating the future, we put them on a ferry in New York, we take the ferry to some hard-to-reach place that has a big auditorium, and about 150 people get to present things. People are showing making very short presentations, or they’re displaying the latest technology, or they’re playing with rocket-powered carnival rides or we’re using flamethrowers to flambe dessert or strange things with giant Tesla coils and all kinds of wonderful devices. If you go to the Gadgetoff website, you can see some of the things we’ve done in the past and give you a taste of what we’re planning for the near future.”
We have hired professional editors to help create our weekly podcasts and video reviews. So far, Cool Tools listeners have pledged $385 a month. Please consider supporting us on Patreon. We have great rewards for people who contribute! – MF08/10/18
10 August 2018
Classic, cast iron cooking
The first time I saw one of these finely crafted grills was on a ranch I visited back in the late ’70s. They’ve changed very little over time: the one I have now that is a few years old is essentially the same as the first one I saw almost 30 years ago. Being cast iron, it absorbs and retains heat, radiating it evenly, so the whole stove is part of the heat source — not just the coals.
It’s cast iron instead of stamped tin or steel, so it’s heavy, but substantially built. And it’s a hibachi, not a lidded grill, so it’s not a smoker. It is small enough to put in the trunk or chuck box and take camping, or to use on the patio (about 20″ x 10″ x 9″ and the legs lift the bottom about 4 inches off the ground). But what I like best is it fits in the fireplace, so you can grill in wet or cold weather indoors.
It is lower in profile than most charcoal grills, but about twice as big as most hibachis. If you are cooking for 8 or more people, obviously it will stretch its capabilities, but for the two of us or when we have a couple of friends over for kabobs, it can’t be beat. It is just about perfect for a couple or small family.
The grate you place the food on is not welded wire — it is cast iron like the rest, so the cross pieces are as wide as the slots in between. They hold food well, hold heat well, and when you sear your food, you can see the wide dark sears on the food. The grate is also strong enough to hold pots, pans, coffee pots, etc., — thus, it can function as a small stove.
There is a door that opens down on the front to add coals or help the dampers to adjust the heat. The damper doors adjust by sliding side to side so you can adjust the draft perfectly. The grill disassembles for cleaning. It’s only four parts: the base with the front door, pin-hinged at the bottom, the top grate, the bottom grate, and the sliding damper.
Again, the lower grate the coals rest on is cast iron, so it won’t burn out or warp over time. The whole grill is really well made. I burned out several imported hibachis before getting this grill. It should last a lifetime.08/10/18
(This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2007 — editors)
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