Misc. Tool Talk: Dewalt Cordless Mowers, Furnace Wiring, TiN Coated Tools, Workbench Status, & More

Dewalt is coming out with 2 new cordless mowers, one in the 20V Max platform that works with (2) battery packs, and another in the 40V Max platform.
In another post, a reader asked whether the 40V Max platform is dead. Nope, it’s still active. They came out with some new things last year, like a multi-port charger. If Dewalt is slow to release new tools for that platform, it could be because they’ve already covered the core tools. What 40V Max lawn & garden tools do you want to see them come out with next?

Last year, an HVAC team was trying to make sense of why our humidifer wasn’t working properly. The story behind the humidifier is a long one, but here’s the summary:
New furnace systems and the humidifer were installed in late 2015 by HVAC 1. (Don’t ask me why they kept the old filter holder, which opens against a wall, taking 10 minutes to wiggle the filter out at an angle.)
In Spring 2016, our also-new AC units weren’t working. HVAC 1 told our contractor that the humidifer was triggering something to something something. Oh, and the circuit breakers for the ACs were never turned on.
In Winter 2017, the humidifer wasn’t working. Something that HVAC 1 must have done to “fix” the AC. My contractor referred us to HVAC 2. I remember there being at least one disconnected wire. They couldn’t sort things out, I tried to help them. I took a photo of the wiring that HVAC 1 did.
Is it me, or is that just a little too much copper exposed? HVAC 2 trimmed things down better (or at least he said he wanted to or was going to), but this was the “before” pic.
We couldn’t get the humidifer to turn on the furnace fan even in the absence of heat, which is what it was set to do the previous winter. It just wasn’t happening. Once we go the humdifier to flow at all, and open with heat, we left it at that.
I was told I could contact Honeywell, but Honeywell won’t deal with me as I’m not a contractor. Maybe this will be something to look at again next year.

This is the Kobalt tap and die set that I bought some time ago, for “just in case” purposes. I donated it to the local high school a few weeks ago, taking this photo before I boxed it up.
When buying TiN (titanium nitride) coated tools, I try to stick to brand names. A reader asked for my thoughts on an OrangeA-branded set found on Amazon. I’d steer clear.
I posted about TiN-coated drill bits before. Generally, if I’m buying things like taps, I go for high speed steel (HSS). I’d rather have a good HSS tool, or other uncoated tool, than a cheaply made and coated TiN tool.
TiN tools have a pretty gold color, and that’s probably why you’ll see it on a lot of cheaper tools – for the perception of high quality. But you might not see any benefits if the TiN (or TiN-like) coating is applied to cheap and low performance tools.

I’m still working on my office/electronics workspace. Sketching on paper is good. Test fitting has other benefits.
The cabinet on the right was extended to have 3 separate sections, but I’m going to change it back. I’m going to increase the space, moving the drawer cabinets over to the right, so that I have more access space for the corner cabinet.
These pieces were pulled from another workbench project. I just used what I had, and so the final spacings will be different. If you look closely, you can see swivel feet and larger diameter leveling feet.
I like swiveling feet a lot more, despite the higher cost. On unlevel floors, whether wood, vinyl tile, or concrete, fixed feet don’t conform well, and you don’t get a perfect fit. I have a Gladiator workbench with a deformed foot, or worse – twisted and damaged mounting threads, that can attest to that.
Swivel feet allow for more contact with the floor when things aren’t perfectly flat. The ones shown here have white Delrin pads and rubber “cushions.” They can support 700 pounds – each. I also ordered some nickel-plated ones to replace the non-swivel leveling feet used for visualization and mock-up purposes.
Cost-wise, the plastic and nickel-plated steel swivel feet are close enough where one style is not more economical than the other. (They’re $9-11 each via McMaster Carr).
I love using 80/20 because it’s so versatile, and it’ll last forever. You can cut it and drill it yourself, or pay machining fees to have it delivered in a “ready to assemble” state.
I also LOVE my Beta tool cabinet. Its lock is in an inconvenient place (rear left side), and its top is thin diamond plate on top of MDF, but the drawers are excellent.
Once the new workbench is framed together, I’ll start building drawers. Once the middle bay is finished, that Beta cabinet will go someplace else, maybe the basement.
One of these days I’ll have to tell you about how it only cost me $20.
I need more drawer-building time. Maybe tomorrow? I have enough plywood for at least a couple.

These NewAge Pro series wall cabinets have been serving me well. I recently hung 3 more up in the basement. They’re not the highest quality, but they’re good for the money. Some of them I purchased, some were provided in a set that Home Depot sent over at my request.

I have been using BOSCH laser levels for all of my cabinet-hanging tasks these past few months. There were 5, maybe 6 occasions. I like them a lot.
Honestly, I like the red lasers better. Green laser light will be more visible from greater distances, but red is good enough for my needs. Either way, I’ve had good experiences with Bosch.
They sent over a range of laser levels  (at my request), and I have been trying to evaluate them all comparatively. It’s been a little difficult.
I was also sent one of their entry-level lasers during the holiday season. While not quite as good as higher-priced and more featured lasers, it’s all a lot of DIYers might ever need.

A few months ago I ordered a couple of Proto 540S-series tool boxes. They’re smaller than the Proto 550S tool box I reviewed. (I am currently organizing the drawers with precision tools – please let me know if you want to see photos when I’m done!)
The 540S tool boxes are made in the USA! The one shown here was one of the two that I had to send back, out of three ordered. Shipping damage. Uch. I can’t tell if the damage was done during freight shipping, or at Zoro’s factory.
I don’t have regrets, other than having to go through the hassle of rejecting part of the shipment and waiting for a refund.
These cabinets are… very no-frills.
The locking caster wheels only lock in one place, and can still swivel freely. The drawers only have built-in drawer pulls. The drawer slides are pretty basic. The construction is decent though.
For the same money, you can get a lot more in an imported box, such as better caster wheels, soft-closing drawer sides, nicer and larger drawer pulls, and so forth.
The only reason to buy Proto 540S tool boxes is if you like the configuration options, or the size of the tool boxes, and can spend extra for USA manufacturing.
I have no regrets about keeping the one that wasn’t damaged, although I might have to move it from the garage to the basement.
Shipping damage – ugh. It looks like something heavy was dropped on top of this one. The other one was similarly damaged.
This wasn’t the only damage. This was the only photo shared to my Google Drive at the time. I came across it when uploading another image, and figured “okay, I’ll use this image in a quick mention, why not.”
Little dings and dents are one thing, but structural damage is unacceptable. I don’t weld, and can’t – and shouldn’t have to – fix structural damage to a tool box due to shipping damage.
I have seen different kind of shipping damage to tool boxes. With structural damage, there’s damage you can see, but also damage and weakened areas that you can’t.

Stanley FatMax has sent over a couple of lawn and garden tools for testing. These bypass pruner shears are pretty decent. I used them a few times last summer and fall, and I like them a lot. They’re hard to find, though, which is why I haven’t posed about them yet.

I took some photos the first time I used them, but their availability never really improved.
I have a small tree that likes to spread out into the front walkway and by the garage door. At the time, I was only able to work on things like that every few weeks, and so there was a lot that needed to be trimmed.
I like my test sample, and if they were more widely available I would have recommended them in a post last Fall. Are they better than others on the market? I don’t know. I do have a couple other pruners I bought and plan to use for Spring prep. Ask me in a few months and I might have an answer for you.

It has been a YEAR and I still haven’t done much with the Dewalt LED light heads I bought. I do have a couple of drivers for powering them. Before I can work on electronics, I still have to design an elegant way to mount them.
I think that these might be nice “machine lights” that can be mounted to a drill press, lathe, or whatever.
It will be too hard to design a pivoting lock, but I should be able to come up with a friction-fit design that allows for some adjustability.
They do NOT open easily. All Electronics has started selling another version that doesn’t have any pigtail wiring, for $1 less. These were $2.50 each, $2.25 each if you buy (10). The new listing, which appears to be the same module (based on LED and dimensional specs), and so that $1 savings is likely due to the hassle it takes to open them up for wiring.

One of my Rockler Bandy Clamps broke. I don’t even know what happened. I went to use it one day and found it broken.
Rockler says:
Thank you for your email. I apologize your clamp broke. Unfortunately we only warranty our products for one year. You would have to purchase a new clamp as we do not sell replacement straps. I apologize for the inconvenience. Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Ah well. But hey, at least it’s still a good spring clamp.
I’ve had another problem with 2 of my clamps. There’s a plastic pin that holds the pivoting clamping pad to the clamp. It can come loose. I talked to Rockler about this, and a little Superglue fixed things nicely.

I considered building a small table for my daughter, but it would have taken me too long, and that would have been unfair to her. How big should it be? How tall? What kind of stain? So I bought a kids’ table from Ikea and I let her help me put it together.
I bought her a Green Toys tool set, and she can name almost everything in the tool box.
My son did the same – poke at every hole with a screwdriver. He can handle hex fasteners pretty well, though. I might make him some kind of fastening activity center. Turning a screwdriver is supposedly good for little hand muscles.

A review sample for Dewalt’s LED tripod light came in (yesssss!). The first thing I noticed was how sturdy it felt, and how easy it was to deploy and operate.
The second thing I noticed was the little black lint or dust flec that’s sitting on the LED emitter housing. Maybe it’ll burn off?
My Sola Big Red 24″ level has lint in one of its vials. These things haunt me.

This is how I like to see wood finish quart cans packaged for shipping. It’s why, if I can’t buy something locally, I’ll buy from Rockler and not Amazon. If not Rockler, than another woodworking supplier that knows how to ship things like this with minimal risk of damage or leaks.

This is what my basement looks like now. HA! Just kidding – this was at IKEA a few months ago. I have a bunch of photos like this, for an eventual post about the tools that Ikea workers use when redoing sections of the store or putting up new furniture displays. I WISH my basement was this empty.

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