Old-School Solar Tool – Solar Pathfinder Review

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Long, long ago, in the dark days before mandatory digital technology, we toiled away installing solar equipment without the benefit of phone apps. Yes, it’s true! We went out and surveyed sites for solar installations with nothing more than a pencil and paper and some crude stone tools! Actually, the tool we used was anything but crude, and in reality, I still rely on my Solar Pathfinder to do really solid solar site surveys. Despite the fact that there are some dandy apps out there for analyzing solar potential at a given site, the good old Pathfinder is one of those rare cases of an analog tool adapting quite nicely to the modern, digital era, and it works equally well with the accompanying software, or using it the old fashioned, analog way. It is a truly elegant piece of equipment, and looks like it might be a prop from the original 60’s Star Trek series or possibly a steampunk device from the deck of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus. [Read more…]

Kids Gardens – They Plan the Darndest Things

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There’s a touch of cabin fever going around our house. The ground is completely frozen outside, so we’re dreaming of sunny days and springtime weather. To shake the winter doldrums this week, we took a field trip to our local garden center. It was mostly empty, but it didn’t stop our child-like imaginations from running wild. In less than an hour, we transitioned our attitudes from gray and wintry to bright and optimistic. We found something for every youthful garden fantasy. Our little trip inspired us, and we returned home chock full of fun ideas for this coming season. [Read more…]

Paint Station And Can Holster – Coming Soon To A Ladder Near You, Maybe!

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Painting is one DIY task that pretty much anyone can take on. A fresh coat of paint can brighten up a room, make it seem bigger, or help you descend into your tranquil, happy place at the end of a hard DIY day. And while anyone can do it, if you want to end up with a better job, it’s good to seek the advice of those who have gone before. Good technique is only half the battle, though; having the right tools can make a huge difference in your painting experience, and your ultimate result. We recently got wind of two new products that want to help you in your quest to outdo Michelangelo – the Paint Station and its trusty sidekick, Can Holster. [Read more…]

In Praise of Older Pocket Knives – 4 Vintage Knives to Know and Love

The timeless Opinel comes in many shapes and sizes.

Leatherman? Got one. Gerber Multitool? Yup. Engineering miracles, they are. But what is the one tool that I go for most often? My pocket knife. And not some fancy-pants Swiss Army knife with a million gizmos. A plain, old-fashioned pocket knife. Believe me, I love my gizmos, but sometimes simple is best! Check out this roundup of 4 vintage pocket knife classics every knife fan should know. [Read more…]

When the 70s Call Asking For Their Cabinets Back, Hang Up and Bring Them Into This Century

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Are your cabinets in good condition but old, worn out and dated looking (kind of like me!)? With just a few tweaks you can bring them into this century and get another 10 to 15 years of life out of them. It seems like back in the 70s and 80s kitchen cabinets were built on site and built to last! That’s the case with the kitchen I’m currently dealing with, the entire kitchen was site built, they made one long face frame for an 8’ bank of cabinets – picture all the face frames of your cabinets connected together and installed as one piece, that’s how this kitchen is. Anyway, I was happy with the layout, it’s pretty basic, so to save some money I decided to work with the existing cabinets by removing the valance, replacing the exposed hinges with concealed hinges and adding glass inserts to the upper, upper cabinets – you’ll see what I mean in a minute. If you have ever thought of updating your dated kitchen cabinets, you’ll definitely want to check out this article in all its splendor. [Read more…]

Are We Not Men? We are ManPlow!

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Super Bowl Sunday, 2015. Some will remember it as the day that the Seattle Seahawks snatched defeat from the jaws of victory with a bum pass in the final seconds of the game. For those of us in the midwest, it was also the day of the mighty Super Bowl Sunday blizzard, that dumped a foot of snow across the heartland. A blizzard on the manliest of days requires the manliest snow shovel. And that shovel is MANPLOW! [Read more…]

Milwaukee M18 FUEL Hole Hawg Right Angle Drill – A Free Range Hawg!

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For the average DIYer or tradesperson, a good-quality 12V or 18V drill driver will do pretty much anything you need. Drilling holes, driving fasteners, or using a paddle attachment for mixing margaritas are only a few uses for this versatile tool. If you’re a plumber or electrician, though, doing rough-in on new construction, you need something way beefier. For decades, the go-to drill has been the Milwaukee Hole Hawg. With a motor approximately twice as powerful as the one in my wife’s Subaru, the Hole Hawg can drill through pretty much anything, all day, every day. Assuming you have somewhere to plug it in, that is. Recently, Milwaukee solved the “no power” problem with their new battery powered Milwaukee M18 FUEL Hole Hawg. They sent us one of these new cordless beasts to evaluate; brace yourself, and we’ll take a look. [Read more…]

Seed Catalogs That Brighten Your Winter

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Winter is a fun time to be a gardener. I know, that may sound strange… What can a gardener do in the winter? IT’S COLD OUTSIDE! Yes, I know! In several previous articles I have discussed DIY greenhouse options. A geodesic dome greenhouse is a fun project, and a DIY gothic greenhouse is a cheap alternative to buying a professional greenhouse. But even if you aren’t set up for four seasons gardening, you can still have a lot of fun on those cold winter nights, warming your feet by the fire, reading seed catalogs and making plans for the coming spring. [Read more…]

Which Paint Sheen is Right for You

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Nothing can change the appearance of your walls like a toddler with a permanent marker. If this has ever happened to you, you may have found yourself desperately gawking at a selection of paint colors to cover up the dastardly deed. Selecting a color is challenging enough, right? But seeking a sheen that will not only cover your decorative toddler’s current designs but help thwart future disasters too, can be a trigger for post traumatic stress syndrome. And even if you don’t have an artsy-fartsy little one spreading their unbridled talent all over your walls like I do, you might have wondered which paint sheen is right for you. [Read more…]

World of Concrete 2015 – Bosch Media Event Coverage

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Last year was my first time attending the World of Concrete trade show in Las Vegas. Why should you care about this event? One word: TOOLS! Like moths to flames, several of the major tool companies swarm WOC every year to show off their latest and greatest tools, all while selflessly risking incarceration for a myriad of transgressions while in the city of sin. This year is no exception! [Read more…]