My Favorite DIY Stuff (Move over Oprah!) - Part I

Sweetie told me Oprah revealed her latest list of favorite things again. America's High Queen of taste-making likes some stuff and the country goes crazy. Obviously, both Ms Winfrey and I have a fan base of roughly the same size, so it's only appropriate that I shamelessly borrow her idea and follow with a list of my DIY favorites this year.

There's nothing new or groundbreaking here. It's all solid stuff that I use and that the average DIY'er can actually afford. It's stuff that might not be in every tool kit yet, so there are some good ideas for holiday gift giving. So, in no particular order...

The Stuff!!!

Victorinox Swiss Army SwissTool - This isn't Grandpa's Swiss Army Knife. I've grown to love the multi-tool class of pocketknives. There are many brands and styles of this pliers + knife + the kitchen sink concept, with Leatherman probably being one of the most well known, and generally used as the generic name for this whole class of tools. I shopped around quite a bit before settling on this particular beauty by Victorinox, the original Swiss Army Knife company.
Victorinox Swiss Army SwissTool

I chose this model for four key reasons:
  1. It had the best mix of tools for my needs (full list below). 
  2. It's stainless steel! Most others are not. It's harder to sharpen, but it stays sharp longer.
  3. All the tools lock in place and release with an easy lever. I've never had one slip out of lock.
  4. When in pliers mode, the handles are smooth, with the other tools on the inside, not digging into you hand. In folded mode, the tools are on the outside, easy to access.
  5. Lifetime warranty. Outstanding quality.
Victorinox Swiss Army SwissTool  -

This tool is not a toy; it easily gets more use than any other tool I own. When I go to work on something and include this in my pocket, it inevitably saves me a trip back to the garage. It's the kind of thing you don't buy because you need it, but if you have it you use the hell out of it. It's also a huge help for being a parent on the go. Using the razor sharp scissors to punch a straw hole in the top of a plastic fast food milk container has saved countless car spills. Other parents have actually stopped me and asked where I bought a cap with a straw hole (of course they might just be feeble-minded, and easily impressed).

Victorinox Swiss Army SwissTool  -

Included tools:

  • 2-, 3-, 5-, and 7-1/2-mm screwdrivers
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • wire cutter
  • scissors
  • bottle opener
  • large knife blade
  • metal file
  • metal saw
  • wood saw
  • reamer/punch

  • chisel/scraper crate opener
  • wire bender
  • wire stripper 
  • wire scraper
  • can opener
  • 9-inch ruler 
  • 230-cm ruler
  • electrical crimper
  • lanyard hole
  • belt pouch

Victorinox Swiss Army SwissTool  -
...and this "poke a hole in the ground  for flags" thing...
Like an idiot, I managed to lose my first one and had to buy another one. (FREE ADVICE: Check inside your recliner folks. Stuff can fall out your pockets and slide inside.) I now have two SwissTools, one for daily use and one for weekends, holidays and formal occasions.)

"...with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time."

I bought mine on Amazon, but have seen it for sale elsewhere. Grab one!

Red Wing Moisture Wicking Socks - Seriously,... Socks. I fell victim to the salesman at my local Red Wing Shoes when he used the old "...and would you like fries and a drink with that?" sales tactic on me. I decided to humor the guy, because he took such good care of me with the boots, and took a pair of these socks home with me. I was probably just weak from the excitement of picking up my new, leather weekend-warrior foot-gear. But,.... Holy Crap! They really work AND they're ridiculously comfortable!

Of course there's high-tech scientific mumbo-jumbo about weaving patterns, space-age material, and alien technology in play here, but I don't care. These things feel good and keep my piggies dry. (= no foot stench horror at the end of the day).

Red Wing Moisture Wicking Socks
"You can have any color you want, as long as it's black,... or white."
I returned and bought 5 more pair the next week. (Be careful with your wallet, they sell some cool stuff) I comfortably wore these heavy-duty beasts, in boots, during some of the most God-awful Phoenix summer heat and am thoroughly satisfied.

They're a bit spendy, but they last really well. Sometimes you can catch a special buy 5 get one free sale. Pick them up at your local Red Wing store (ladies sizes too).

Red Wing Moisture Wicking Socks -
Here's the real stars of the show!
Take care of your toes folks, you only get ten!

Carhartt Nail Apron In another impulse buy at Red Wing Shoes, I walked out with this beefy waist apron. I've always liked the quality of Carhartt's products, so I figured this would last. Sure you can pick up a cotton, tie-on cheapie at the hardware store or home center for 99 cents, and the Carhartt is about twenty bucks, but the cheap-o's wear out pretty fast and look nasty quick. I hate loosing stuff through holes or getting scratched by a screw when it pops through.

Carhartt Nail Apron - in action -
Guess where I'm carrying extra nail strips.
I like a nail apron in general. It's just handy to have what amounts to a lightweight tool-belt to lug your stuff while in the workshop or up a ladder. Unlike a side-pouch tool-belt, I don't have to be as careful about scratching up your doorways and furniture as I walk past, wider than I'm are used to being. Plus, I like being able to un-clip and drop my tools all at once when the pizza arrives, without having to fish pliers pliers and screwdrivers out of all my pants pockets.

Carhartt Nail Apron - in action -
Did someone say the pizza was here?!!!
This is made from the bullet-proof, heavy-duty cotton-duck material common to Carhartt jackets and clothing. In addition to the big, double-decker, bulk pockets it has a couple tool loops, a pencil holder, and a thick belt with a sturdy clip.   You can find this at Amazon and many other retailers who carry Carhartt.

Did you notice I'm wearing mine in my "Gunslinger" logo?

Diablo Demo Demon Carbide Reciprocating Saw Blade - I've used plenty of reciprocating saw blades in my time, bi-metal, wood cutting, brush cutting, etc. I picked up this blade to do the front porch demo project. It's my new favorite.

Diablo Demo Demon Carbide Reciprocating Saw Blade

I was drawn to for the carbide tipped cutters, like you might find on a table saw blade. I had a hot mess of sun-baked, nail encrusted wood, shingles, and who knows what else to destroy. I only bought one blade to try it out, since it was a little more expensive than standard steel at nearly $7.00

Diablo Demo Demon Carbide Reciprocating Saw Blade

It performed really well. I pushed it through wood, nails, screws, shingles, metal brackets, and whatever else got in my way. It easily wreaked havoc and destruction without mercy.

Diablo Demo Demon Carbide Reciprocating Saw Blade butter

It was noticeably real easy on the cordless batteries. I think it was due to the longevity of the sharp cutters. There's mention of a "Perma-Shield" coating too. The color stayed on for quite a while, but I managed to burn it off. Still, it kept right on slicing, even without the pretty red paint job.

Carbide tipped teeth, after several days of fierce combat. Still sharp!
I've spotted Diablo's blades at Home Depot, and a few other hardware stores. I plan to try out some of their circular blades at some point too.

Since this is running long, I'll break this post into pieces to let you digest it easier, but I'll leave you with the words of our finest poets on the subject of "stuff",

"A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff"
- George Carlin

At least that's the cleanest quote.

How about you; have you tried any of this stuff yet? What's on your DIY favorites list?

Stay tuned for Part II

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