Favorite DIY Stuff 2016

Welcome to the 2016 edition of AZ DIY Guy's Favorite Stuff, the premier echelon on AZ DIY Guy based annual DIY stuff lists.

The stuff I feature on this list is a small selection of stuff I have actually gotten my hands on this year and recommend picking up. Not only that, it's stuff that a DIY'er can actually afford to bring home to the workshop.

I've included Amazon.com (affiliate) links for sourcing, but you can find most of this stuff at other retailers.

So on to the good stuff...

A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.

                                                                                               - George Carlin

DeWalt 20-Volt MAX Battery Adapter for 18-Volt Tools

What's a weekend warrior to do with a big investment of rock solid, legacy 18 volt DeWalt cordless power tools when their NiCad batteries start dying off like the dinosaurs? Purchase more of those heavy beasts? Nay!!! Get an adapter to bridge time and space. I love this sweet doodad that lets you upgrade to modern, 20 volt MAX, Lithium Ion technology. 

I've been running this powerhouse battery tech in all the tools of my 18 volt arsenal this year. It ran everything I had, the circular saw, reciprocating saw, hammer drill, impact driver, grinder, and flashlight. Here's the review I did earlier. 

This is a cool widget. I'm really impressed that DeWalt values its long-term customers, unlike a certain, fruit logo'd technology company that changes their chargers and accessories every couple cycles so you have to re-purchase all their high-priced stuff, like a chump.  

Here's the Adapter:  20-Volt MAX Battery Adapter  and the kit with two batteries: 20-Volt MAX Battery Adapter Kit for 18-Volt Tools on Amazon.

Bernzomatic ST-500 Micro Torch / Soldering Iron

This is a sweet multi-use torch, just the size of a permanent marker.  It's a refillable, butane powered 3-in-1 unit, with a soldering tip, hot air blower, and a pencil torch. It's even got trigger start for one-handed wielding.

I used this torch originally to burn the detail into pallet wood for my distressed pirate flag project. It was a perfect size to do the fine work, like using a paintbrush,... a flame-throwing paintbrush. I also used it to do the soldering on the stained-glass ornament project I just wrapped up.

Little Giant Adjustable Ladder

I'd seen the infomercials on these beauties for years and always wanted one. Now that I've finally added one to my arsenal, I'm smitten. This is simply a beast of a ladder. It's unbelievably stable with its extra-wide base stance. It can be climbed from both sides and it doesn't twist and walk like my old 6 foot fiberglass stepladder. 

The coolest thing is that it's a transformer,... but not the robot's in disguise type. This rascal can be set as a stepladder at several heights, at a angle with one side is vertical against a wall while the other is angled, on stairs, and as an extension ladder at various lengths. I haven't tried the two piece ladder configuration with a scaffolding plank yet, but I 'd like to soon on the kitchen remodel. There are about 24 combinations, plus the Saguaro cactus supporter configuration created (patent pending).

The only challenge is the weight. It's a bit of a haul. The good thing is they've got that covered, mine has wheels to help tug it around like a trailer. (Here's the proof!) You can still buy the wheels to retrofit older versions.

You're going to see this climb-tastic tool around here for years to come.

Check out Amazon for the Little Giant, or go factory direct here:

I used to use a simple, pump-style woodworking clamp with the Kreg Jig Jr. R3 pocket hole jig ( a gem from my 2013 Favorite Stuff list). I can't believe I didn't pick up one of these automatically adjusting clamps sooner.  I'd been fiddling with pump and C clamps long enough, like a putz. Never again.

It's awesome, not only for the drilling part, but to clamp pieces together when running the pocket hole screws in. It's also a handy general-use clamp to have around the shop. It's a one-handed, speedy wonder tool I keep finding uses for.

Order from Amazon: Kreg KHC-PREMIUM Face Clamp

3M Headlight Restoration Kit

For some reason, I'd mentally relegated this type of product to the "As Seen on TV" line of chicanery. Before buying new headlight lenses,  I tried the 3M kit on the well-weathered Miata I'd inherited from my Dad and shipped over from Michigan. After using the kit, I realized I was wrong. This thing actually did the trick and brought my yellow, fogged headlights back to minty factory-fresh in a matter of minutes.

Here's my step-by-step, hands-on review: How to Easily Restore Headlights to Beautiful, New Clarity

The kit uses a series of grinding and polishing wheels with a couple fluid packets, evidently of Gandalf's alchemical goop to make the magic happen. It actually works!

(Power drill and 2-seat roadster not included

Order from Amazon: 3M Headlight Restoration Kit - Heavy Duty with Drill-Activated Sanding

Good Clean Fun:

Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop

Yeah, I'm recommending a book. So what? It's a damn fine book, containing a triumvirate of delights: wood working, food, and humor.

Nick Offerman, the guy that played Ron Swanson on Parks and Rec, s a real-deal woodworking aficionado. I had the pleasure of attending a performance / book signing recently and got to speak a couple words with and shake the man's hand,... along with several hundred others from the greater Phoenix area. I managed to wrangle an autograph too.

This beautiful, best selling book is worth snagging a physical copy in an age where most of our books are digital. It's nice to sit on the couch and enjoy a flip through a beefy, hard cover coffee table book (although there is a Kindle version too). Trust me, this is one you will enjoy.

Order from Amazon: Good Clean Fun