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MAKE Newsletter

June 26, 2012

I love quotes about tool use almost as much as I love tools. Here are a few gems:

I can make just such ones if I had tools, and I could make tools if I had tools to make them with. -Eli Whitney  ||  Man is a tool-using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. -Thomas Carlyle  ||  The best investment is in the tools of one's own trade. -Benjamin Franklin

Do you have favorite quotes about tools? If so, send them to us. They may find their way into a future Make: Newsletter. Send shop tips and favorite tools, too.

-Gareth Branwyn, tool wielder

Rockler Silicone Glue Brush

Rockler Silicone Glue Brush

I first tested my Rockler Silicone Glue Brush using wood glue. You can clean it up wet, but if it dries, the solidified mass of glue doesn’t stick in the silicone bristles: just flex them a bit, and the dried glue falls off or pulls out in a single clump. If, like me, you use disposable foam brushes to save clean-up time, a silicone brush can be a more environmentally responsible, and in the long run, probably cheaper option.

—Sean Michael Ragan

Snap-on Ratcheting Screwdriver

This is a SSDMR4B ratcheting screwdriver by Snap-on. The handle unscrews for bit storage, and is fairly capacious, and O-ring sealed. The ergonomics and handle are excellent, and the knurled drive shaft is also great for quick removal/insertion of screws that are only finger tight. This is possibly the most solid ratcheting tool I've ever owned. It's more bombproof than some socket wrenches that I've had. The plastic is some sort of uber-tough polymer that will probably last longer than it should. The control ring is quick to change direction or lock solid for non-ratchet screw-driving.

—Make: Newsletter reader Jay Bryon

DIY Metal Hook

When I was in middle school, I was 1) a Boy Scout and 2) in shop. I found a need to have a hook to hang things off branches or whatever, so I took some stock metal, ground the ends round, bent it into a shape, and used it. Simple. In college, I put it over the side of my dorm loft and hung my coat from it. Similar use in the open-floor-plan office I used to work in, and again now.

It is the only thing I owned or even made nearly 30 years ago that I can even find today, much less put into nearly everyday use.

— Make: Newsletter reader David Jacoby

Senkichi Gold Stainless Steel Bonsai Shears

Scissors in this classic pattern are sometimes called “butterfly scissors." The finger rings are integral to the blades, and are formed by bending the steel stock back on itself in two simple, elegant loops which, taken together, suggest a pair of wings. I have owned several disappointingly cheap pairs in low-grade carbon steel which tend to rust or wear out pretty quickly. This is my first pair in stainless steel, and they are a complete pleasure, both to look at and to operate. They are razor-sharp, and come with a small leather button-snap sheath to protect both the tool and its human companions when the blades are not in use. And if you should actually have occasion to use them, they will cut the heck out of stuff.

—Sean Michael Ragan

Roper Whitney Punch

One of my most favorite tools is my Whitney punch. It quickly punches perfect holes in sheet metal, plastics, rubber, etc. It will even nibble, as long as you don’t expect a perfectly straight edge! I have both the No. 5 Junior punch (the first one I got), and the No. XX, which goes much bigger and has a MUCH deeper throat. If you deal with electronic enclosures or sheet metal, you NEED a hand punch! The Harbor Freight clone of the Junior model actually works pretty well too, but I would recommend spending the extra $ to get the real thing!

—Make: Newsletter reader Rod Shampine

Tuna Can Stacking Bins

You may have seen stacking metal lunchboxes like this before. They’re apparently called “Tiffin boxes” and have been around since the 19th century. What’s remarkable about this project is not so much the object itself as the awesome improvised tool the maker came up with to make it, which the video found on the link above demonstrates in action.

Pretty impressive results from pick-up materials. Looking forward to trying this one myself.

—Sean Michael Ragan