Gareth's Tips

Putting Together the Lightest Possible EDC Toolkit

Gar's Tips & Tools - Issue # 150

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Putting Together the Lightest Possible EDC Toolkit

Todd Parker challenged himself to put together a robust everyday carry (EDC) toolkit that was as compact and lightweight as possible. He wanted everything from a pen and flashlight to a knife, pliers, and scissors, to a ratcheting driver and bits. What he ended up with is a very smartly curated set of 7 tools and 14 driver bits. The whole thing only weighs 5-1/4 ounces. And, believe it or not, it all fits inside of a wallet, along with money and his credit cards. Here are the tools he ended up including. For a few of them, he had to buy a larger multitool to get a few tools he wanted for his EDC:

Victorinox small officer’s knifeTopeak Lite DX rachet kitLeatherman Bit KitKnipex Cobra mini pliersOHTO micro penOlight i1R 2 EOS flashlightVictorinox SwissCard (for scissors and tweezers), Modern Carry Minimal Card Holder.

Testing 12 Brands of Work Boots

In this episode of Project FarmTodd trains his testing instruments on work boots. The brands he tested were Red Wing, Redback, Steel Blue, Carolina, Rockport, Reebok, Herman Survivors, Larnmern, Dunlop, Black Hammer, Ad Tec, and Brahma. Prices of the boots ranged from $24 to $275. The boots were tested for dry traction, traction on oil, toe impact resistance, toe crush resistance, sole puncture resistance, leather puncture resistance, high voltage electrical hazard, and boot sole resistance to damage from hot surfaces. Bottom line? The most expensive boot, the Red Wing ($275), was best in show. But the Reeboks, at $111, came in second, and the Black Hammer, at only $40, performed surprisingly well. The shocker for me was the Carolina boot ($130), a darling among the maker community. It did not fare well on the subjective comfort rating and on wet and dry traction and puncture resistance, all important functions of a work boot.

Are You Doing Your Sandpaper Wrong?

On this Stumpy Nubs video, James talks about sandpaper and when you should change it on a palm, disc, or belt sander. As he points out, far too often, in a misguided attempt to save money (what amounts to no more than $1.25 for a good sanding disc), we go too long before changing discs. Working with an exhausted disc takes up more of your time, can mess up your finish, and can even tax your tool. He offers tips on knowing when your disc is ready for a change. He also talks about cleaning your discs to get more life out of them and storing them in an airtight container to reduce humidity damage. If your discs are bent, your belts twisted, they’ve succumbed to humid conditions. He highly recommends 3M Xtract Cubitron II discs (top-quality discs that are only .84 each).

Setting Up a Basic Home Machine Shop

Chris at Clickspring has been doing a series of videos on the tools he uses. In this installment, he looks at the basic tools needed to start a home machine shop. He offers lots of good advice, like acquiring the minimal amount of machining tools and accessories that you need to get started. Then, you can add the additional tools you need as you take on new projects that require additional tools. In other words, after the initial, basic shop set-up, let the projects direct your purchases as you expand your interests and capabilities.

Smoothing Seams in 3D Prints with a Soldering Iron

Have you ever thought of using a soldering iron to close up small gaps in your multi-part 3D prints? In this Uncle Jessie video, he uses a $16 temp-controlled soldering iron to smooth large gaps in a multi-part print. He also uses bits of scrap print-plastic to fill in the wider areas of the gap before smoothing over with the iron.

Reminding Yourself of Gifted Tools

When I was a kid building scale models and hobby rockets, I always drooled over the X-Acto Knife Set, the one in a smart little wooden case, that was advertised in all of the hobby magazines I read (and displayed in a showcase at Bob’s Hobby Shop on Cary St. in Richmond, VA). But I never bought or was gifted one — until a few years ago when my mutant offspring, Blake, thoughtfully gifted me a set for Christmas. Or was it my wife? Crap, I don’t remember! I’m pretty certain it was Blake.

One of the things I love about getting tools as gifts or hand-me-downs is the associations with the giver that comes with them. Every time you use the tool, it’s like you have a little visit with the giver. Last night, as I used a knife from the X-Acto set, I had the same internal conversation with myself I have every time: Who gave me this? I decided that, from now on, whenever I’m gifted a tool, I’m going to note somewhere on it (or in my workshop notebook) who gave it to me. Thanks, Blake! (I think.)

Mistakes Were Made

Reader Jim McLaughlin pointed out that the link for the Milwaukee Milwaukee M18 FUEL 21 actually pointed to the 18g brad nailer, not the framing nailer. This was immediately fixed on the web version, but obviously not fixable in the email newsletter. I apologize for the confusion and thank Jim for the catch.


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