Adam Savage, Tested.com
Cool Tools Show 177: Adam Savage
Our guest this week is Adam Savage. Adam has spent his life gathering skills that allow him to take what’s in his brain and make it real. He’s built everything from ancient Buddhas and futuristic weapons to fine-art sculptures and dancing vegetables. Today, Adam hosts and executive produces MythBusters Jr. as well as a brand-new series, Savage Builds, which premieres on Science Channel in June 2019. He also stars in and produces content for Tested.com, including behind-the-scenes dives into multiple blockbuster films (including Alien Covenant, Mortal Combat and Blade Runner). He’s also got a new book out called Every Tool’s a Hammer.
Hobart Battery Powered MIG Welder
This is a battery powered MIG welder, which means this pelican case is all that you need to lay down a weld bead. You don’t need gas. You don’t need to connect it to anything. I bought this during MythBusters, and there were a couple of times it saved our ass. We carried it to the top of a crane to take care of something that we couldn’t have taken care of any other way. On the new show I have coming up on Science Channel, Savage Builds, this thing was a completely mission-critical tool on almost every episode. This also can be hooked up to gas if you want to, but in general I keep flux core wire in it so that it creates its own gas envelope. What I also love about this is I just watched Aliens the other night for the first time in a few years, and it’s still a perfect movie. There’s all these points at which the marines are like, “Close that door and weld it.” They’re welding the door shut, and I’m like, “That’s not science fiction.” You could carry this welder on the back of a marine and weld the door shut behind you. This would be along with a generator one of the most important parts of my bug out kit at the end of civilization, which might be a couple of weeks away.
Gilbow G56 Straight Jewellers Snip
These are Gilbow nippers. I found out about these while working on that suit of armor there with Terry English in Cornwall, England. Terry is the armorer for Excalibur. I’ve mentioned him on your podcast before. He pulled one of these out to cut through some fairly heavy aluminum in this precise way to get around this thing. I was like I love the idea of a non-power tool making these tiny little precise cuts in aluminum to do the shaping he was doing. He made these things really sing in his hands. They’re more rugged, and they’re made with a tolerance. You can really clamp down and you can feel it just like it wants to cut through a fairly reasonable gauge of aluminum. The pair that Terry was using was probably 35 to 40 years old. I was really pleased to see that Gilbow is still in business, still making tools, and they seemed every bit as awesome as they always were. I always like finding an old tool that’s still being made by the same company.
Ammoon Convex Thumb Plane
This is a plane with a convex bottom. It’s got a hardened steel blade that sticks out of a flat on the bottom. This is meant for planing out the inside of the back of a violin. This comes about from I’m always on the search for industries that are using things I haven’t seen before. I’ve been watching a lot of luthiers and violin makers over the last couple of years on YouTube, because I just love watching that precision, the slow, methodical pace. I’ve been over the last couple of years becoming more attuned to finer woodworking, to gluing all my joints, to making the joints rabbeted, or doweled, really making things that last. It’s a totally different mindset. This is part of that program. I have collected a larger collection of planes and spokeshaves and things like that. I’m really bringing them more into my process.
USB Digital OLED Pocket-size Portable Soldering Iron and DEWALT USB Power Source
The other tool is a sort of a twin tool. At the business end is the newest kind of soldering iron that I have encountered, which is effectively a USB powered soldering iron that when you connect it up to a power source, and you can literally plug this from this power input to a USB. This thing heats up to its full heat in about 10 seconds. Its heat is highly adjustable. I have never found a bench top soldering iron to work for me, to stay hot enough. What I’ve plugged it into is a power supply that connects right up to one of my DeWalt FLEXVOLT 60 volt batteries. There’s been this whole new thing lately of add-ons for power tool batteries. Not only USB power supplies for powering your phone and external power supplies for powering things like this, but also, and Tom Sachs introduced me to this, there are main market and aftermarket adapters for any battery to almost any other cordless system.
Every Tool’s a Hammer
Through stories from 40-plus years of making and molding, building and breaking, along with the lessons I learned along the way, this book is meant to be a toolbox of problem solving, complete with a shop’s worth of notes on the tools, techniques and materials that I use most often.
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