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Rust Buster


Superior loosener

As a DIY’er, Rust Buster one of my favorite products because it REALLY works. I came across it by accident at a small tractor supply store in southern Missouri. The product typically works instantly, but on heavy duty applications, I like to apply a little (or a lot) on a rusted or frozen bolt or car part, tap the part lightly to aid penetration, and wait. After a few minutes, rusted bolts, screws, shafts, piping, any types of “frozen” connections and assemblies will now break lose. I have tried a variety of other loosening products, but they tend to use heavier oils that don’t penetrate as well. Smaller hardware stores, and farm supply stores will probably stock it.

— Mike Farley



Magnetic wristband


Keeps nails and screws handy

Have you ever held screws or nails in your mouth as a way to keep them nearby while working on a project? This week for my tool review I’m going to show you a better solution. This is the MagnoGrip, it’s a $14 magnetic wristband available on Amazon. I found it on the Cool Tools blog. And if you pick one up using the link in the description you help to support my videos and the Cool Tools Blog.

This is a low-tech but useful tool. It just velcros around your wrist and includes embedded magnets to hold whatever odds and ends you need to have handy. The magnets aren’t super strong, but just strong enough to hold a handful of nails or screws. I imagine if the were much stronger it might actually be a liability.

It’s a durable design, made from thick 1680 ballistic polyester. So having screws and nails rub against it over and over shouldn’t be a problem. The inside that touches your wrist has this nice, breathable padding.

The original Cool Tools review of this comes from Sue Bettenhausen, who recommended it for nails and pins, putting together her son’s bike, hanging pictures, or shortening pants. I also see several Amazon reviews from people using these while doing car repairs to prevent bolts from falling into the engine.

The wristband comes in a few colors, but red seems like it provides the best contrast so screws and nails don’t just blend in.

— Donald Bell



Twin Line Flossers


Two parallel lines of floss

I hate flossing. Or at least I used to. The options out there were all mediocre at best:

–floss, both standard and dental tape, hurts my fingers

–the wand that you add floss to doesn’t keep the floss tight (Reach Access Flosser)

–the pre-flossed plastic handles have the same issue: floss gets loose after a while.

–I tried Brush Picks as someone else on Cool Tools has suggested. They were better, but didn’t actually work as well as floss.

Then my brother in law introduced me to Plackers. They took the same idea of the pre-flossed plastic handles, and just ran the floss twice. With this arrangement, the floss doesn’t droop, get loose, or anything — and I can easily floss. My dentist is shocked at how good my teeth look when I come in. These things rock.

— David Gold



Matt Velderman, Black & Decker Tool Designer

Cool Tools Show 098: Matt Velderman

We have hired professional editors to help create our weekly podcasts and video reviews. It costs us $1,0000 a month. So far, Cool Tools listeners have pledged $320 a month. Please consider supporting us on Patreon. We have great rewards for people who contribute! – MF

Our guest this week is Matt Velderman. He’s a DYIer, an engineer, inventor, and he leads Stanley Black & Decker’s Breakthrough Innovation Group.

Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | Download MP3 | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single page

Show notes:

FlexVolt Miter Saw ($699)
“This is one of the ones I’m most excited to tell you about. This is a new product for Dewalt as of June of last year, I think. In Dewalt we have a platform called 20 volt max, and it’s a very large platform. There’s 130 tools or something like that that run off a 20 volt, but we wanted to make more powerful tools and ones that were more efficient. One of the ways to do that is to make a higher voltage …. so we made a battery that actually converts between 20 and 60 volt mode. That’s a world’s first. What’s really cool about it is you could take two 60 volt batteries and put them in series and get 120 volts. If you know anything about the power grid here, it’s 120 volts AC coming out of your wall. We made a miter saw that runs both off two 60 volt batteries, 120 volts DC, and it will also run off of 120 volts AC coming out of your wall with safe performance, whether it’s corded or cordless.”

Rockwell JawStand ($45)
“A clamp / stand combination that allows me to do a variety of work solo that would otherwise require another set of hands. I use it for holding doors, outfeed for a table saw or surface planer, as a support for long boards in the bench vise, to hold a deadman for installing hanging cabinets, etc.”

Honda Electronics Ultrasonic Cutter ($305)
“This is probably one of my favorite tools in the lab at work. We do a lot of modification of plastic. We have to make very quick prototypes and usually hacking up something that already exists. This gives me super precision to make precise clean cuts off existing prototypes or production parts. What it is is it’s like a penknife that has a small ultrasonic motor, for lack of a better word, inside of it, and it oscillates at a very high frequency with very minute movements and more or less melts the plastic as it cuts through the prototype or whatever you’re trying to hack up. I just have not found a better way to modify things. Tools like a Dremel or any of the kind of power tool that rotates just doesn’t have the precision to mate stuff together and make these clean cuts.”


Stanley Removable Compartment Professional Organizer
“A great way to store random small parts. The real value of this system is when you commit to the system, get a bunch of them, and create a DIY storage cabinet. This an alternative to Adam Savage’s sortimo recommendation. It’s basically the same thing, but at a lower cost and more available. I recommend both Stanley and Harbor Freight varieties.”



Pocket Bellow Collapsible Fire Tool


20-inch lung-powered telescoping bellows

Anyone will tell you that a roaring fire is an essential element of camping. Starting a fire is often another story, especially if your wood is wet. I don’t recall how I discovered these Pocket Bellows but they have been a game-changer for me. Instead of blowing into the fire directly to stoke it, this telescoping tube allows you to maintain a safe distance from the fire while directing oxygen exactly where it’s needed. No more dizziness from hyperventilating, no more coughing from inhaling smoke, and best of all no more singed eyebrows. After seeing mine in action, several of my friends who use wood stoves have bought their own, claiming the bellows drastically reduce the time needed to kindle embers and the amount of soot on their pots. If you’re not convinced there are countless 5-star reviews on Amazon and Youtube; most negative reviews seem to focus on the semantic use of the word “bellows” or feel that the product is essentially an overpriced car antenna. As the manufacturer points out (and I will attest), the edges are chamfered so they don’t cut your lips, the blend and thickness of the steel will not rust or kink, etc, so a lot of thought went into the design. For about $13 and 21g of weight, this should be a no-brainer addition to your backcountry arsenal.

— Blake Aubrey



Cool Tools 2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Kevin’s Picks

The editors of Cool Tools have curated a number of gift suggestions selected from the pages of Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities (which itself makes a great gift), and from the website. This week: Kevin’s picks.

Everyone can use a perfectly balanced, lifelong kitchen knife. It’s an ideal gift. One I like to gift is the Kuma Chef Knife ($25) which gets rave reviews from kitchen knife aficionados who normally review two-hundred dollar knives, yet the Kuma only costs $25. It’s ergonomically optimized for your hand, easy to keep razor sharp, and will last generations. These days it’s the one I always grab. When I lift mine, I smile.

I give IFixit Toolkits ($20) as gifts for the tech adventurous.

Bose QuietComfort 20 Headphones ($250) are expensive, but they really work and are super portable.

This Cardboard cutter ($8) is a kid-safe knife for cutting corrugated cardboard

I found a whole army of knock-off Legos from China available on Amazon. They cost about 2.5 cents per piece.

Want more? Check out our other 2017 gift guide picks, as well as our 2016 Gift Guide, 2015 Gift Guide, 2014 Gift Guide and our 2103 Gift Guide

— KK


Clear Removable Mounting Squares

I have been using these wonderful little Clear Removable Mounting Squares from Scotch for about 2 years now for holding things up and down and together and have loved them. I was desperately searching for an easy and elegant way to tack down my speaker wire for a new surround sound system when I stumbled upon these little gems and knew that I had found the answer. These squares are like a cross between Sticky Tack and the best Scotch tape you’ve ever used–they are gooey and very sticky, yet hold their form and are almost totally invisible. For tacking down speaker wire, many folks nail those little “U” shaped brackets into the wall; but these are so much better. I simply stuck one to the wall, stuck the speaker wire to it and then stuck another one over it to make a “sandwich” with the speaker wire in the middle. It looks fantastic, it’s non-marring, it’s easy and fast, and it really holds well! Not to mention that these hold up pictures, posters and even light objects with ease. They are truly an innovation and fill a need that many don’t realize they have until they see the product. They are just great to have around.

— Peter Lio

[This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2004]

Scotch Clear Removable Mounting Squares ($5)

Available from Amazon

Manufactured by 3M


Car Lock Pinball [Maker Update #60]

The best maker tools and projects of the week

This week on Maker Update: A Pi-powered Airplay boombox, the Hackaday Grand Prize winner, pinball with car parts, drying filament, and exploded diagrams. The Cool Tool is a LewanSoul Servo Tester.



Mont-Bell Compact Camera Case

I may be part of a dying breed but I still carry a dedicated P&S camera on my backpacking trips. At the risk of offending Apple (or Android) fanboys, the image quality from my 1” sensor easily bests that of any smartphone. For epic trips like Patagonia and the West Coast Trail, I won’t settle for anything less. Since my G9X is not ruggedized, it requires a protective case. At first I used a clamshell hard case that fit in my hipbelt pocket. I quickly discovered it was tedious and time-consuming to withdraw and replace the camera every time I wanted to take a photograph. I also missed countless opportunities to capture elusive wildlife (e.g. a puma) while fumbling with the zippers. I then tried carrying it without a case and “being careful,” only for it to go tumbling when I tripped or forgot about it during breaks.

It was only a matter of time before I would break the camera so back to the irritating hard case it was. While purchasing some ultralight gear from Mont-Bell, I came across their Compact Camera Case. It’s essentially a neoprene sleeve that attaches to your shoulder strap for easy access. The open-top design allows completely unfettered access to your camera but the material is thick enough to protect against casual knocks and falls. There’s an ingenious little shock cord on one side that normally stays out of the way, but can quickly be pulled over the opening to keep the camera from falling out when navigating dicey trail sections. The sleeve itself slides off the attachment loops if you want to carry the camera around basecamp (and also exposes the belt clip for an alternative carrying method). Because the neoprene is pliable, it also accommodates smartphones (probably not anything “plus” sized) and GPS units so you’re not limited to just P&S cameras.

As a nice bonus, a long lanyard is included and can be anchored to the case (of course) for even more security. I’m slightly embarrassed to be gushing over a camera case but I feel that I’m truly enjoying outdoor photography now. I have peace of mind that my camera is reasonably protected from the vicissitudes of the backcountry, and subsequently I’ve been able to take some amazing photographs that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. Incidentally, Mont-Bell offers a lifetime warranty on all of their products but after two years of use I haven’t found any sign of wear. The case is available in two sizes but I would recommend the large size for the most versatility (for reference it fits a Canon S95 and G9X).

— Nabhan Islam

Mont-Bell Compact Camera Case ($28+)



Colorku is sudoku as a game board with colored wooden spheres. Each color represents a different number in a sudoku game. It’s a great way to be able to play sudoku as a family. The colors are more visually appealing than plain numbers and give the game a different feel. When contemplating possibilities for a given row or square, you can hold the missing colors in your hand and mentally try them out. For advanced sudoku it helps to write possibilities in the squares to help analyze patterns. That is just not possible with this setup. It’s great for kids to learn pattern matching and deductive logic. They can contribute without having to solve the entire puzzle themselves. As a math game it also gives people a chance to explain their reasoning and get feedback. My main complaint is that the balls in the plastic holder sit too deeply making it difficult to grab the ball. That is not a problem with the wooden board, which is shallower. Pets can also find the balls irresistible to chew on or bat around. We’ve had our set for at least 10 years now and still pull it out every month or so.

— Monty Zukowski

ColorKu ($34)

Available from Amazon