Author: Travis Raynes

Craftsman: Back In The USA?

For decades Sear’s Craftsman was a staple in the garages and shops of America. Found in the hands of DIY guys and professionals alike, Craftsman became the standard by which all other brands were gauged. In the eyes of many, anything better was a professional tool and anything less was inferior. For nearly 90 years Craftsman’s combination of American made quality and legendary warranty ensured it’s perpetual popularity, but a couple of years ago that began to change. In an attempt to return the struggling retailer to profitability, Sears began conducting Craftsman focus groups and in doing so, concluded...

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Mac Axis Series Ratchets: Hands On Review

There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the new Axis Series ratchets from Mac Tools. From the first rumblings nearly two years ago, the unveiling at the Mac Tool Fair in February, to their finally hitting the trucks in the last couple of months, the Axis Series have been one of the most anticipated hand tool releases in recent memory. Why? well, as anticipated as these ratchets were for consumers, they were and even bigger deal for Mac. The Axis Series is the latest addition in a major revamp of the Mac Tools line. Over the last couple of...

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Western Forge To Reduce Workforce by 50% (Maybe)

The Colorado Springs Gazette reported last week that tool maker  Western Forge (Based in Colorado Springs, CO) plans lay off 150 workers (roughly half it’s workforce) in 3 phases between November 1 and April 1, according the WARN Notice filled September 2. Though some older workers will be offered voluntary severance packages, lay-off’s still appear to be substantial. “Following a thorough assessment of market conditions, product demands and our capacity we have determined that it is unfortunately necessary to reduce the workforce at the company’s Colorado Springs location,” according to Western Forge’s letter, written by human resources manager John Quarles   “A...

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The Logica Hextension: American Innovation

These days when we think of new inventions we think of electronics doing things previously unthinkable or complex machines doing their job 4X’s more efficiently. It sometimes seems the era of simplistic innovation has passed us by and it’s hard to imagine doubling the functionally of a tool or accessory without a single moving part, but that’s exactly what Logica Tool did when they created the HEXtension.   The Backstory Before we get into the HEXtension and what makes it different, let’s take a look at how it came to be. Andrew Harrison and Shaun Brown grew up together...

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Mac Tools: The Making Of A Tech Series Box

I love these production videos some manufacturers put out. It’s always cool to see how stuff is made, and this is the first video I’ve seen on a roll cab. Mac offers 3 levels of boxes, the Select Series, Tech Series, and the top tier Macsimizer™. This video shows the production of what looks to be a Tech Series MB1000A, presumably at their Georgetown, OH production facility. The Tech Series gets you a heftily constructed box with heavy duty ball bearing slides, 1,200 lb. casters, adjustable detents, and up to 90,000 cubic inches of storage. It’s certainly nice to...

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Carlyle Master Hex Bit Socket Set (BSH42)

Bit sockets are one of those tools that a lot of people take a minimalist approach to. People tend to buy a basic set when they need them, and make them work even when the job calls for something different. I’m the type of guy that likes to have the right tool for the job, but when you factor in the sheer variety of bit sockets out there, the minimalist approach almost makes sense. When you consider there are Hex, Torx, External Torx, Spline, Triple Square, and many others, most available in various lengths, not to mention the fact...

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Machines Of Yesteryear: Civil War Cannon Lathes

Ok, so there isn’t much call for cannons these days, but when Jabberwoki over at the Garage Gazette shared one of these pics a few days back, I couldn’t stop looking at them.  As a tool junkie, these massive lathes are more interesting than the cannons they made. This lathe resides at The Old Depot Museum in Selma, AL and was used by the Confederates at the nearby Selma Arsenal.   This lathe, while also manufactured in Selma, currently resides at Auburn University. According to it’s story on waymarking.com “During the war an attempt was made to move it...

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Mac Tool Fair: New Products For 2015

2014 was a good year for Mac Tools. With fairly recent upgrades to the hand, air, and cordless lineups, they generated plenty of buzz, and in my opinion, dramatically improved their line. Products like the MacGrip™ drivers, titanium impacts, redesigned wrenches, and the much improved cordless line, have really freshened the line-up over the last couple of years. They’re the type of tools that if you don’t like them, it’s because you haven’t used them. As great as 2013 and 14 were for Mac Tools, it’s a new year and we’re all waiting to see what new goodies we...

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Wilton Tradesman Vises: Quality American Craftsmanship

To me, a bench vise is easily the coolest piece of shop equipment there is. If you’re setting up new bench, the right vise can really make or break the build and Wilton’s “bullet” vises are about as sexy as vises get. I’m not saying women are going to start throwing themselves on you because you have a Wilton bullet vise on your bench, but you’ll certainly feel like they should. Like seemingly everyone else that makes anything worth owning has at some point, Wilton hails from Chicagoland. Starting out just before the United States entered WWII, Wilton grew...

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New Socket Sets from TEKTON

Socket sets can be a funny thing. If you look across different brands, you’ll find dozens of configurations covering different drive sizes, sizes, accessory selection, some metric only, some SAE only, etc, etc, etc. It’s common of store brands to offer catch all sets covering 2 or 3 drive sizes and both metric and SAE, but in the professional tool market the offerings are usually (but not always) broken down into individual or “Service Sets”. Service Sets are a great option to have. They allow you to get more of the stuff you need, and less of the stuff...

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