Tag Archives: tools az

Vastar Titanium Step Drill Bit Set – Item of the Day

drillbits

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Vastar Titanium Step Drill Bit Set, 3-Piece Set & Automatic Center Punch.  Step bits are a great tool, they don’t do everything but they do a lot of things that nothing else does better.  This set will let you drill holes up to 3/4ths of an inch which is large enough for most things you would use a step bit for.

Some folks call these unibits because one bit does what many bits would be needed for.  While that is true they do have a weakness.  They are generally for drilling holes in thinner stock, mostly metal and plastic.

The reason is obvious when you think about it.  Drill though a 2×4 with a step bit, it will do it NO PROBLEM, but you end up with the largest hole size, or a cone shaped hole.  Each step is just about a quarter of an inch so that is the thickness you can step up to and stop going further with.  I hope that makes sense.

One thing I use these all the time for is drilling out lids for fermenters.   When I convert say a apple juice bottle into a mead fermenter this is what I use.  I also use them when making ball jars into vegetable fermenters.

If you are drilling thin metal to a lager hole size and want to avoid a lot of tearing, sharp edges, etc, just put the metal on a scrap piece of 2×4 or something like that and you will get great clean edges.

I also use these extensively in my aquaponics projects, as I generally use 3/4″ bulkheads for most of my ebb and flow beds and my wicking bed overflows, they larger one is perfect for drilling out tanks and what have you.

What I love about this set is it comes with a damn good spring loaded center punch.  You use this to make a dent in stock so you get the drill started at the exact right spot.  This isn’t really necessary when drilling out a plastic jar lid but when say drilling a piece of PVC pipe or heavy metal stock it is VERY helpful.

So if you don’t already have step bits in your tool collection consider getting the Vastar Titanium Step Drill Bit Set, 3-Piece Set & Automatic Center Punch to fill the void.  At about 13 bucks a set it is a hell of a value and frankly a set of step bits belongs in every preppers tool kit.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

Magnet Tool Holding Arm Band – TSP Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day my favorite Magnetic Arm Band.  Hold on this isn’t one of those wear this and it will cure your arthritis, it is instead wear this and you will keep track of screws, bolts, nails, drill bits, driver bits, etc. when doing a project.

Ever been on top of a ladder, you just took out three screws and want to bring down what ever you just disconnected and not loose the screws on the floor or say in the grass?

How about you drilled a hole and need to swap to a T25 Torx bit?  Great that bit is in the cool little holder on your DeWalt drill, yea I love that thing too, but it doesn’t hold drill bits.  Ever put a drill bit in your pocket only to have it manage to somehow drill itself to escape and never find it again.

Ever put sharp nails or screws in your pocket only to wish you hadn’t for one reason or another later?  Have you ever been on your back under a car and had to remove some nuts only to have one fall and well, you are just not able to get it, so you have to slide out and try to find it?

If only there were a technology that caused metal things to stick to something, gee wouldn’t that be great?  Okay I am being a little terse but you get the point, we call that technology a magnet.

With one or two of these bands your life when doing projects can be so much better.  It isn’t just that you don’t have to use a pocket, it is, you don’t have to reach into your pocket while holding up something heavy in one hand and a drill driver in the other and many similar situations.   That nail, screw, washer, drill bit, allen key, etc, is right there.

I look at it this way, these are like having that helper who can’t do much but can hold stuff and hand stuff to you while you work, except it is only 13 bucks and you don’t have to provide it free beer to help you on a Saturday project.

They are simple to use, very effective and will make your life easier on project days, so why not pick up a Magnetic Arm Band soon, your pockets along with the tender areas near them will thank you for it.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

 

Gerber Dime Multi-Tool – TSP Item of the Day

dimeEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Gerber Dime Multi- Tool.  To me everyone should have a mini multi-tool on their key chain.

This is one of my absolute favorites due to how small and useful it is. There are so many times in our lives we could use a screw driver or a pair of pliers or even a good pair of tweezers.  I spent a lot of time checking into small key chain sized multi tools and the Gerber Dime was the one I settled on.

With this little gadget on my key chain I have the following tools everywhere I go, all the time.

  • Needle nose pliers
  • Wire cutter
  • Fine edge blade
  • Retail package opener
  • Scissors
  • Flat Screw Driver
  • Crosshead Screw Driver
  • Bottle opener
  • Tweezers
  • File

For many years I carried a Leatherman Wave, in fact I often still do.  Frankly I think it is the best full sized multi-tool out there.   But it is a rather large item on your belt and just not practical for every day and all the time.  To much EDC makes one look like a pathetic version of Batman you know.

So at times I would need pliers, a driver, etc, and just not have it with me.  Well pretty much anywhere I go I have my keys.  To drive home how small this item is when folded here is mine on my key chain below.  As you can see it takes up less space than the key to my 4-Runner.

gerberdime

The Gerber Dime Multi- Tool is also a great deal at under 17 bucks with free shipping on Prime.  It absolutely will not do everything a full sized tool does but it is small enough to always be there when you need it.  To me that is the key with mini multi-tools, better a small set of pliers then none at all!

Remember you can always find all TSPAZ Items of the day by just going to TspAz.com along with a link to Amazon’s top deals of the day.

 

Work Sharp Knife and Tool Sharpener Ken Onion Edition – Item of the Day

worksharp

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Work Sharp Knife and Tool Sharpener Ken Onion Edition.  Recently I was asked my opinion of electric knife sharpeners on the air.  My opinion in short was NOT GOOD, having examined many, they all have one thing in common, well two, first they don’t really work, second they damage knives.  I also said if anyone finds a good one, let me know and I will evaluate it.

Then someone called in who had just bought Work Sharp he was quite satisfied with it and asked me to evaluate it.  The Work Sharp comes in two models

The chief difference between the two being that the Ken Onion edition handles knife angles from 15-30 degrees and is 100% integrated.  It also has some added features like a blade guide and I prefer the way the belts are removed.  So while the caller bought the base model I opted to buy the upgraded model.

The unit arrived Saturday, considering Patrick Roherman’s comments on the Work Sharp that you can read here, I decided to start our with a “junk knife”, a discolored old plastic handled Mora in the back of the drawer seemed to suffice.  It did have a faint remainder of an edge but had been well abused.  I started with the coarsest (sharpening belt), chose a 20 degree angle and went to work, 5 minutes including two belt switches to finer grain belts and my knife was arm hair shaving sharp.

From there I touched up a few of my everyday kitchen knives using the fine belt, very quick a pass or two and nice and sharp.  Time for a real test I thought.  We have a small cheap Santoku Knife that was not just dull, the edge was gone.  My wife kept abusing it and I just never fixed it.  So I dropped down the the coarsest belt they give you, one for “sharpening tools and fixing knives”.  There was literally no edge at all, and lots of dings and nicks in the steel.  Figured a 18 degree angle would work, dialed it in, and went to work.

Total job took me about 15 minutes (going really slow to learn the tool) but in the end, once again I had a bare patch of skin on my forearm as proof the tool works and works well.

Again I invite you to read Patrick’s comments on this tool both pro and con.  I will point out one of his cons that the belts are “proprietary and expensive”, should be taken with a lump of salt.  Patrick is a pro who sharpens thousands upon thousands of knives, the belts are 10 bucks a set on prime and would sharpen a LOT of knives for the homesteader before needing replacement.  And I think Patrick’s final comment sums it up perfectly, “If I didn’t have the equipment I have I would probably consider purchasing one myself.”

I do want to point out that my fast results may be partly because I both do know how to manually sharpen and do have some machining experience.  You may want to pick up some true crappy junk to practice on.  One thing Patrick said about it is that the short belts can over heat faster.  I agree but you get the hang of it pretty fast and it is variable speed so that helps you learn slowly as well.

My advice is if you want sharp knives and don’t want to rely on a pro to sharpen them for you, get one of these and learn to use it.   I know a guy that sharpens knives at a Farmers Market for 5 bucks a knife for small knives and 10 for larger ones.  When you do the math it doesn’t take long for a tool like this to pay for itself.

And personally I see the extra money for the Ken Onion Edition (Ken is an award winning custom knife maker by the way), well worth the extra cost.  No extra parts to loose, easier belt changes, more flexibility, and sharpens more tools than the base model.  That said if you just want something for your kitchen and carry knives, the Basic One will likely make you happy too and not stretch your budget.

Again though, I do want to caution PLEASE if you get one, spend some time using cheapo practice knives with it before putting your expensive blades into it.   And I would go ahead and pick up a second set of belts right away too.  The cheapest practice knives I can recommend to practice with are something I think everyone should have a bunch of anyway, and you should not get these on Amazon, get them from a dirt cheap company called BudK.

The knife is a mora clone called the wahoo killer, these are used by every fishing guide I know in South Florida.  To these guys time is money so when one gets to dull to cut bait they toss it out and buy a new one.  At 3 bucks a piece they are a good value and frankly you won’t care if you screw one up.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. – Since I ran this item the first time in 2016 over 60 members of this audience purchased one.  I have heard back from ONE and only ONE who had a problem, where a part broke.  They contacted Work Sharp who promptly apologized about the part, said just throw it away and immediately sent them a brand new one.  I am now absolutely sold on this product and more so the company that stands behind it.

 

Winchester 51 Piece Gunsmith Screwdriver Set – Item of the Day

smithkit

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day the Winchester 51 Piece Gunsmith Screwdriver Set.  I am bring this one back around because I reviewed long before we began our gunsmith kit project for 2017. Look strait out of the gate this is not really “the kit” for the big time gun enthusiast that tinkers often with many projects.  It won’t do everything  you will even need in drivers for guns, but it will do most, like 95%.

No what this kit is for is your range bag.  I can’t tell you how many times I have been at a range and a fellow shooter had some maintenance issue and no tools to fix the situation.  With this kit and a basic cleaning kit, a shell extractor and some lube if you can’t fix it at the range, you likely need a gun smith or to use your warranty if it is yet to expire.

driverkitbackThis is more than just a gun smith kit though.  Come on, 12 bucks for a good quality kit that has 48 different driver bits in it.  You know what I am going to say right.  Put one in the glove box of your vehicles.  Perhaps one in your Go Bag or BOB as well.

Does it have every torx bit, no but it has 7 and the one you are looking at pissed off because you expected it to be a Phillips bit likely will be one of those.  This is also a great gift to a young person who has finally be trusted to maintain his/her own firearms and frankly a good gift for anyone you need to get something for, not something spectacular just something.  You know what I mean.

Pick up one or a few of these and the first time you need it, you will feel like it just paid for itself.  Again this isn’t top quality on the level of say Forester or Grace USA (which I keep in my smithing box) but for 12 dollars it is extremely versatile and I have never had one fail me yet.  So give the Winchester 51 Piece Gunsmith Screwdriver Set a look and determine if it might be the right product for your range bag or other needs.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

Komelon Tape Measures – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Komelon USA Tape Measure.  These are available in 12-Foot, 16-Foot and 25-Foot lengths.  I had three requests in the past month to do a tape measure for item of the day so I guess it is about time I give up the goods on the one I like best.

Let me start off with something, I have had very expensive tape measures break and by break I mean come unraveled and once that happens, just accept your fate and throw it away.  It usually happens when someone is “helping” and jerks the thing hard past the end of its reach (for which there is no good reason) and blammo it is toast.

So I stopped in my quest for a tape that would never break, because additionally I don’t know what it is but there are three things I lose more than anything else. They are in order sharpie markers, tape measures and nail clippers. I just don’t get it, I am talking not leaving a room or a garage, having just had it in my hand and fing GONE LIKE A FART IN THE WIND. Sometimes they show up, a day, week or month later, sometimes they are gone forever.

I tend not to believe in the super natural but if their are gnomes or some such shit that steals things, they must adore pens, tape measures and nail clippers.

So I set out a couple years ago to find a tape I could buy 2-4 of at a time, keep some in a drawer so when I lost one I just had another one.  Funny thing though, I have misplaced these but I have yet to break one.  I am going to call it luck but when I got sick of losing tapes and tried to find a low cost reliable one this was the first one I tried.

Now here is what got me to give them a look, other than a lot of positive reviews it was a feature called “power lock”.  Now most tapes work like this, you run the tape out and then engage the lock.  You disengage the lock to retract it.  “Power Lock” is the reverse, it is sort of always on, when you run out the tape it locks so it will not retract but you can just keep running it out until you have enough to measure what you are working on.

When I thought about this, my first thought was, “why the hell would you make a tape the old way in the first place”?  Seriously have you ever run out a tape and thought, man I am so happy that it didn’t self lock?  Have you ever run out a tape and not needed to lock it, or at least hold it with finger tension so you could use it to well, measure something?  Or have you ever thought, man when I lock that thing I am so glad you have to unlock it to pull more tape out of the holder?  I mean a bird or a frog or something might just grab it and pull it out and mess me up!

In the end it seems completely backwards to have tapes lock the way they always have.  If you have used tapes your entire life it does take a day or two to stop reaching for the lock and inadvertently unlocking it, but once you get used to it you will never and I mean never want anything else.

Once again these are available in 12-Foot, 16-Foot and 25-Foot lengths.  Personally I see little utility for 16 foot tape measures and I instead have standardized on keeping a 12 foot and 25 foot tapes around.

My rational is as follows.  The 12 foot tape is compact and caries easily on a belt or in a pocket.  Because it is so small I tend to put it in my pocket when working and hence the gnomes that steal my stuff are less likely to find it.  I find that a 12 foot tape with be enough for 90% of my daily project work, cutting lumber, measuring pipes, doing estimates etc.

For everything else I go grab my 25 footer that lives in a place in my pantry that the gnomes have yet to find, I use it and I put it back.  Take that you thieving little gnomes!

In all seriousness I have never had a 25 foot tape in my hand and said man I wish this was 9 feet shorter!  So here is what I recommend, pick up two pack of the 12-Foot, tapes for only 15.71, that way you will have a spare if the gnomes get one of them!  Then pick up at least one 25-Foot one and keep it in your tool box or some other gnome safe location.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

The VIAIR 300P and 450P Portable Air Compressors – Item of the Day

compressEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the VIAIR 300P or if you have a very large truck or RV I recommend the VIAIR 450P.  These two compressors are not cheap, priced at 134 for the 300P and 254 for the 450P but they are top notch tools.

And guys I have looked and looked for a decent and reliable portable compressor that could be had for under 50 bucks, there are some that are okay but I have yet to find one I would recommend though.  I personally own the 400P and I am really happy with it.  I went for the larger compressor because I drive a very large truck with very big tires, and I wanted something that could fill one without over heating.

The 300P should be sufficient for most vehicles though.  When you get your hands on one of these you understand instantly why it is more expensive than your typical portable compressor.  Because it is built like well, a true air compressor.   Solid and heavy duty, proper cooling fins.

Note that it DOES NOT have a 12vdc plug rather it clips onto your battery posts.  This means it can draw enough power to run a tool of this wattage.  As Steven Harris would tell you, you can only pull about 120-150 watts across a cigarette lighter plug.  Any more and you will pop the fuse to it.  So higher power tools need to be clamped to the battery.   Yes this means raising the hood but trust me for the power you get, it is worth it.

Along with your compressor you want to make sure you have some 40 amp fuses.  These compressors have an inline fuse of standard Bussmann design.  You will also want a tire plug kit.  This is some vehicle prep that really can save your butt!  We are talking making a real pain in the ass into a minor inconvenience.

So what if you just can’t afford the expense of one of the VAIR compressors or say you can for one vehicle but not two?  Here is the best sub 50 dollar compressor I could find.  It is the Q Industries HV35.  At least it has a 10 foot cord so you can likely reach any tire on your vehicle, but you want to check for sure if you have a quad cab truck.

That is the other thing I love about the VAIR, you have long power cables but you get a really long air hose, I have filled up tires on a trailer without having to drop it with mine.   But hey the HV35 will in most instances at least get you off the side of the road and to a service station, so it is better than nothing.

Still all in all, if you want something that will work and will last check out the the VIAIR 300 and 450P compressors.

Remember you can always find the TSP Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop online you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. – Note that the only weakness the VIAIR compressors have is the air hose.  It works really good and stores very easily.  But after several years mine did get brittle and sprung a leak.  I upgraded to this braided hose, man this thing is built like a tank!

Nelson Hose Repair Clamps – TSP Item of the Day

femaleEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Items of the day are Nelson Hose Repair Clamps in both Male and Female.   Let me be clear these are not for “IF” something goes wrong with one of your hose ends, they are for when something goes wrong.  Garden hoses are something I buy the very best I can get with.  After a lot of searching I settled on the ones they used to sell at Home Depot.

maleThis hose is the Gilmour PRO Commercial Hose and they are built like tanks and I have yet to have a fitting fail on them.  I can’t say that my wonderful wife didn’t run over the end of one with a tractor though!

Also I have a lot of other hoses that I bought in my quest to find the best, I am not going to throw them away.  We are a working farm, we wear stuff out and hoses are necessary for happy ducks.  The Nelson hose repair fittings are the only thing I use.

Everything else I tried was junk, I am not saying nothing else is good, just that I have yet to find anything as good as these.  First they do not leak, second no stupid band clamp that ends up cutting you, a simple compression clamp that uses standard phillips head, this makes tightening easy.  What ever fool thought a strait screwdriver and a flexible hose went together needs a solid slap!

What I like best is they are heavy, this means when you toss the end into a stock tank and turn it on, the damn thing stays in the tank.  Well unless your friendly ducks manage to get it out so they can play with it.

My view with hoses again is buy top quality and that means spending good money, a hose repair kit keeps things running.  And while the Gilmour PRO Commercial Hose has limited lifetime warranty, your spouse running over it with a tractor is not covered.

So pick up 2-3 of both the Male and Female clamps, put them in a place where you know where to find them and when you need one, you will be happy they are there.  And these guys outlast the cheap hoses you still have in inventory.  So when you finally give up on one, pull them back off and keep them in inventory.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

 

Entsport Saltwater Fishing Pliers – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Entsport Saltwater Fishing Pliers.  Now given that 95% of my fishing is in fresh water you may wonder why I selected a salt water set as my go to.  Well pliers are pliers to a degree if they are good ones anyway and have similar features.  Yet something designed to hold up to salt water corrosion will do very well for the fresh water fisherman.  I.E. they don’t rust easily or corrode easily.

I have tried out several brands and these are the best I have found.  Like everything I review they are well reviewed and highly rated on Amazon, with 5 Stars total with 41 reviews and a FakeSpot.com Grade of an A.

Some of the features important to me on these include.

  • The cutters are tungsten, hence they hold an edge a long time and don’t end up making cutting braid or wire a pain in the ass only a few weeks into fishing season.
    ~
  • They have a sheath and a lanyard, bluntly I drop stuff and dropping stuff in 8 feet of water usually means it is gone.  I also sit stuff down and lose it, not going to happen with these guys.
    ~
  • The jaws are stainless steel and that means they won’t rust if you provide just minimal maintenance.  The body is aluminum again big time resistance to corrosion and no rusting.
    ~
  • They perform many functions, for instance see that little tooth at the tip of the jaw, that allows you to open split rings for rigging up different things.
    ~
  • They are spring open designed, in other words when you pull them out they open with a tension spring, this makes doing things one handed a LOT easier.

In the end they are the best set of fishing pliers for the money and I think with just a bit of care they should last many many years.  So check out the Entsport Saltwater Fishing Pliers and give you fishing kit an upgrade in 2017.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

 

Victor Tire Plug Repair Kit – Item of the Day

plugkit

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is a product that if you don’t have it in  your car, well, you are wrong.  I almost never say anything like that but when it comes to how cheap this product is and how much of your ass it can save, I’ll say it.

The item is the Victor Tire Repair Kit (we just really call these a plug kit).  These things will fix a flat tire, or going flat tire, 90% of the time or more.  The only thing they won’t fix are holes in the side wall or completely torn, cut, etc. tires.

For instance one day on the Dallas Tollway I hit a piece of angle iron and it cut about a 4 inch slice in my tire, I had to put a spare tire on, at rush hour, about 50 feet from the toll both in August when the car thermometer said it was 114 degrees.  NOT FUN, and quite dangerous due to other drivers (aka idiots).

Had it been a nail or something more common, it would have been pull out nail, put in plug, air up tire with my portable compressor enough to get to an exit, then fully air up tire.  Total time about 2 minutes, vs. the 15 doing the spare took.  In other words 13 less minutes risking being killed by an idiot.

Tire plugs are very reliable and surprisingly effective.  My uncle and I one time got a flat in his jeep.  We found the leak and an odd black thing about the size of a big man’s thumb in it.  Puzzled we looked at each other and he pulled it out with a pair of pliers.  It was a screw driver, with the handle almost all the way in the tire.  We pondered it, tried a plug and it held.

I have some experience with tire repair, you see my father ran a tire business for 20 years.  I broke down and fixed a lot of tires as a kid.  My dad would sell a person a replacement, or do a patch or do a plug.  But when he got a flat he would always just plug the tires on his own car.  Now the best practice is to go to a shop afterword and see if a proper internal patch can be applied.

But here is the thing, most tire shops are now run by liars, or people trained by so many generations of liars they don’t know they are lying any longer.  They will say the tire can’t be patched and you need a new one, why, well to sell you a new one.  If I was faced with driving a plugged tire when my set had say 10,000 miles or a bit more on it before I replaced them all anyway, or buying one expensive tire, well, I’d be driving with a plugged tire.

The key is with a plug kit you can get going again fast.  Oh and if you have a lawn tractor and live where thorny things grow, these are an absolute requirement.  Ask me how I know.  Finally the kit I recommend on Amazon is a good low cost option, the truth is though they are all good really.  There is really only one way to make a plug kit.  I don’t care where you get one of these but have one and learn to use it.   For what it is worth though Victor Tire Repair Kit is a top quality kit that is cheap enough to keep one in the garage and one in every vehicle.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.