Saturday, June 16, 2007

MicroMark Summer Sale

Because I like to include a picture with my blog entries, this is a homemade holder for my flex shaft accessories. You can make all kinds of simple tools to fill your needs. For this one I found a drill bit slightly larger than the shafts on my tools, and made rows of holes in a scrap of wood.

One of my favorite places to shop for the tools I don't make, MicroMark, is having their summer sale. It ends on September 11. Some good things: a gauge for drill bits and screws; #10123, a ball peen hammer for riveting; #22119, or a chasing hammer; #80811. They also have drill bits and brass and copper sheet metal and tubing.

I don't buy cutting hand tools from them, like wire cutters. I find the less expensive cutters just don't cut well. But I think for the "passive" tools like hammers, lower priced things are usually okay. I haven't used their digital calipers; #83857, but have ordered a pair for myself. I'm hoping they will be middle of the road - not too expensive, not totally precise. I also ordered the metal bending brake, #82817. It will be fun to test these out.

If you are considering a tool, look closely at the gauge specifications. Their claim that the bending brake will bend metal up to 16 gauge may be too optimistic. I think 20 gauge would be fine, though. I'm not sure about their power tools, either. They sometimes claim they work on both wood and metal, but they may not be powerful enough for metal. I haven't used any of them.

These optimistic claims aren't unique to MicroMark, I don't mean to imply that they are dishonest. This is a common thing that happens with tools. They may work at their maximum occasionally, but doing it all the time would wear the tool out too fast. And I am a tool snob. I like tools that last forever. It annoys me to use a wire cutter for a couple of years and find it has little nicks in it and won't cut anymore.

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