ShopTalk

2018 Tool Gift List

Now that the Turkey and Grandma’s famous stuffing is gone its time to start checking off the list for those who were “nice” this year. I’ve put together a short list of tools that we feel would be perfect gifts for just about anyone on the job site. This is not a paid advertisement, these Read More

Now that the Turkey and Grandma’s famous stuffing is gone its time to start checking off the list for those who were “nice” this year. I’ve put together a short list of tools that we feel would be perfect gifts for just about anyone on the job site. This is not a paid advertisement, these are tools we use ourselves and would buy again based on experience and the value we find in them.

Stocking stuffers under $25

C-RHEX™ Dual-Sided Magnetic Hex Drivers $6.99

These are truly 2 bits in-one. Perfect for the service bag or those that prefer to keep the little stuff in their pockets. This bit switches from 1/4″ to 5/16″ hex drive effortlessly. The bonus is being able to clean the magnet easily and go on with your work. Strong enough for install work but they seem to be a better fit for service in my opinion. Totally worth having a couple in your arsenal.

 

Milwaukee Cut 1 Dipped Gloves $2.99

I’ve been wearing these gloves since the spring and I can honestly say these are some of the toughest $3 gloves I’ve ever tried. Dexterity is a must when working with your hands but protection should not be overlooked and these cut level-1 protection gloves offer the best of both worlds. I’ve got as long as two weeks of use out of a single pair. Click the link on the “buy now” pic here for the lowest cost we have found.

OLFA LA-X 18mm Fiberglass Rubber Grip Heavy-Duty Utility Knife $10

These knives are impressive! So impressive we gave away 300 of them to our friends and followers on The Hub. Pair this knife with their super sharp 18mm LBB heavy-duty ultra-sharp black snap-off blade and it will likely be the last knife you ever want to buy. I’d recommend buying a handful, you can never have too many knives around!

“Wrap-able” tools $25 – $$$

Felo Flexible Shaft Bit Holder/Driver $25

This is a game changer. It may seem simple and it is but without this flexible shaft driver I would be scrambling often to figure out and make thing work with less than desirable tools. Do yourself a favor, if you do any type of plumbing or hvac service, buy one and put it in your bag right away. You won’t regret it. Watch a video from my service call showing the driver being used.

Milwaukee M18 Heat Gun $129

Here’s a tool I thought was going to be a dud, or at the very least only somewhat useful but man was I wrong. Its not going to replace a corded heat gun entirely but having it on my truck has proven invaluable. I never have to run a cord because I can do literally every daily job with battery power and this is no exception. Click here or on the pic for the lowest price we have found.

 

PVO1 Pipe Vise Portable Vise $150

This may be my favorite new tool buy of the year! This heavy duty cast iron vise eliminates the fumbling around of two pipe wrenches and helps you finish the job faster, without busted knuckles. The Pipe Vise team consists of long-time plumber and his college age son down in Texas who are putting all their resources into building a useful tool business from the ground up. Not only will you be getting a super useful tool, you’ll also be supporting the American dream. Watch the video here to see what how the pipe vise works.

Makita 36V Right Angle Drill $359(bare tool) – $469(kit)

Long gone are my extension cords. Rough-ins are a breeze without running a cord for this high demand job. I’ve been using this drill for months now and I have nothing but good to say about its power, smoothness and runtime. The 36V capacity not only packs a punch but keeps you working longer between recharge. This is the strongest, smoothest cordless right angle drill on the market. Click here or the pic to find it in stock and at the lowest price we have found yet.

VetoProPac Tech OT-MC $179

If you haven’t owned a Veto then what I’m about to say is worth paying special attention to. Veto Pro Pac tool bags are the best tool bags available. Sure you can buy a less expensive bag but you’ll be getting a lesser bag. There’s no contest here. Buy once and use it for a decade or more, that’s much less expensive than buying a lower cost bag. The OT-MC is my favorite bag ever. It has forced me to cut the clutter and weight but it has made me 10X more organized and a lot more efficient.

I hope this list has been useful, I’ll be sharing more before the end of the year.

Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) is manufactured using three different methods of cross-linking. PEX-A is produced by the peroxide (Engel) method. Common brands sold in North America produced under the Engel method would be Uponor, Rehau & MrPEX. One unique property of PEX-a is its ability to be heated, using a heat gun, and repaired if kinked Read More

Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) is manufactured using three different methods of cross-linking. PEX-A is produced by the peroxide (Engel) method. Common brands sold in North America produced under the Engel method would be Uponor, Rehau & MrPEX.

One unique property of PEX-a is its ability to be heated, using a heat gun, and repaired if kinked in the handling process which eliminates the need to cut the tubing and install a coupling. This information is widely known by plumbers having experience with this type PEX but for those not familiar I thought I’d take a couple minutes and put it all in a quick video. The total time it took to make this simple repair was about 5 minutes using the cordless heat gun. I edited the video to speed up the process, using a corded heat gun would also quicken the process. No manufacturer condones the use of a flame (torch) as a heat source.

 

From ASPE in Atlanta, Uponor’s Daniel Worm talks about the company’s transition fittings; the new press adapters are 1/2″ to 3″. https://youtu.be/p3khuEufifU Read More

From ASPE in Atlanta, Uponor’s Daniel Worm talks about the company’s transition fittings; the new press adapters are 1/2″ to 3″.

I’m not sure where I first learned of the uni-strut pipe wrench holder trick but after trying it myself I can say its great! Typically I keep my pipe wrenches upright in a 5 gallon bucket, the bucket is heavy and doesn’t last much more than a few months due to the weight and having Read More

I’m not sure where I first learned of the uni-strut pipe wrench holder trick but after trying it myself I can say its great!

Typically I keep my pipe wrenches upright in a 5 gallon bucket, the bucket is heavy and doesn’t last much more than a few months due to the weight and having to move it out of the way often. For now I’m still using the bucket for the larger wrenches as I make space in the truck for their strut hangers but as you’ll see in the video, the smaller daily wrenches are taken care of.

ACME Tools

Extra space is a premium on any type of service truck. Having a van and pickup myself I see the challenge from both sides. Organizing everything is important but having the tools you use everyday quickly accessible can make you day much more efficient and honestly, a lot easier. My hats off to the person who first shared this trick, I absolutely love it.

One tip I’ll share is that you’ll want to use the 1-5/8″ strut for wrenches 18″ and longer. I installed the pipe wrench holders in late July and have yet had any of the wrenches fall out of their holder. I chose to use small stainless stove bolts and locking nuts with fender washers, I’d say this hardware was a good choice. Please share a link back to this post with your friends if you find this helpful, I’d appreciate it!

I have been using the M18 FUEL Metal Cutting circular saw for over a year now for cutting strut and other metals like this. Its motor and drive system turn the blade at 3900 rpm, the perfect speed for the high torque task of metal cutting. You can find all the specs or get the best price on the #2782-20 M18 saw here: M18 FUEL Metal Cutting Circular Saw

Hauling out old, leaking and dirty tank water heaters can be a messy job. I’ve covered walkways with drop cloths, tarps or plastic in attempt to contain the dripping water, soot or rust and still have had carpets get soiled; not since we started using the “body bag” heater hauler. It’s a giant duffel with Read More

Hauling out old, leaking and dirty tank water heaters can be a messy job. I’ve covered walkways with drop cloths, tarps or plastic in attempt to contain the dripping water, soot or rust and still have had carpets get soiled; not since we started using the “body bag” heater hauler. It’s a giant duffel with a water resistant lining inside that contains the mess. It’s always on my truck and I haven’t had to hire a carpet cleaner for years now.

Check out my first review from 2015 on The Hub

Bradford White Heater Hauler