Gadgets you can't live without

lamaluDecember 4, 2007

Hi! I'm looking for stocking stuffers for my BF. He's a self-employed landscaper/remodeler/carpenter/handyman who owns about every tool I can think of. I'm making him a christmas stocking and I'd love to fill it with items that will make his work easier. They have to be small [to fit in the stocking!], in the $5 - $10 range, and unusual enough that he might not already have one. He is also a hunter and fisherman.

What gadgets do you love?

Thanks!

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lazypup

I am a Plumber and I do a lot of renovation work in old homes before they have the electrical service turned on. This involves countless hours working in dark basements or crawlspaces and generally working alone.

Did you ever try holding a soldering torch in one hand, solder in the other and trying to figure out how to balance a flashlight?

My solution was to get an inexpensive headlamp that I attached to my hardhat with the supplied elastic band. In this manner the light is always pointing directly towards where i am looking, which is often very difficult when working with a helper because they can't always know where you need the light. Some people laugh when they see that light on my hat, but i can assure you that I would not want to be without it.

The one I have was made by Ray-O-vac and has an LED bulb and uses two AA batteries and cost about $10. The battery life is excellant too, about 12 to 16hrs on a pair of AA batteries.

The whole thing weighs in at bout 4oz but its worth its weight in gold when working in cramped quarters in a dark basement or crawlspace.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 12:27PM
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lamalu

That's an awesome idea! I would have never thought of that!
Thanks!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 1:21PM
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davidandkasie

good work gloves are also always needed. i have 4-5 pair. i keep one pair in my cab of my truck, 2 inthe tool box of the truck, and a couple at home. and it never fails, i need a pair and i am away from all those places! so maybe get a good pair for him to throw inhis tool bag.

a small retractable magnet is good too. mine is about the size of a pen, but extends out to about 18" and works great when you drop a nut or bolt in a hard to reach spot.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 10:51AM
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lazypup

Here is a gadget that both you and your boyfriend are going to think is silly, but after I explain its use, you will see the value of it.

A Ladies pocket makeup mirror, preferably about 2"x4" mirror with a plastic backing.

I have one that was made by Revlon Cosmetics that is a plastic frame with a small handle section on one end of the paddle and a 2"x4"mirror. Cost about $2

I use it when i need to see into a really tight spot such as reading the data plate on a motor when the data plate is on the backside and otherwise couldn't be seen without pulling the motor. In a dark spot you can shine a flashlight on the mirror and the light is reflected to where you need to see, while you can still read the data plate in the mirror.

It may sound silly and it may offend the macho sensibilities of some guys but I can assure you that after you have had opportunity to use it a few times you will wonder how you ever got along without it.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 1:54AM
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davidandkasie

LP, i agree with that one. i have a small mirror in my tool kit that extends out. it looks like a dental mirror. when i need a larger view, i use one of my wife's old make up mirrors.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 10:03AM
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yadax3

Thanks for starting this thread. It's nice to read about something fun and interesting.

My husband is also a DIYer and every year I go through the same exercise looking for his stocking stuffers. Over the years I've picked up some strange little items but yesterday he told me I actually hit on a winner once in a while and cited these examples:

TELESCOPING BACK SCRATCHER:

http://www.amazon.com/Telescoping-Back-Scratcher-Massager-Therapeutic/dp/B000QX9S18/ref=pd_bbs_sr_3/104-6196766-4383929?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1197330996&sr=8-3

LED EAR LIGHT:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000EY15VU?smid=A1VC38T7YXB528&tag=nextag-kitchen-mp-20&linkCode=asn

These items don't have much to do with home improvement but he liked them anyway.

I wonder what he'll think about stuff I bought him this year:

CABLE IDS:

http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?CATID=62523&PRODID=10019508

TRACLITE MINI-TOOL:

http://www.amazon.com/Tool-Logic-TracLite-MiniTool-OX371/dp/B000G6ZOM2/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&m=A3RF1PFY0FDGKY&s=home-garden&qid=1197332308&sr=1-6

Good luck & happy holidays!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 7:23PM
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lazypup

Here are three small inexpensive item that are not only handy for trouble shooting, they can be a life saver.

Get a single probe type "Voltage Detector". They look like a large ballpoint pen and when you touch the tip against any surface that is electrically energized there is an audible beeping sound and most have a flashing red tip.

I have one made by Greenlee that is a bright yellow color with a red tip and can generally be found in the electrical section of Lowes or HD for about $12. It uses two or three tiny hearing aid type batteries which come prepacked in the unit ( I am not sure which because I have had it 4 yrs and have not yet needed to change batteries).

They are excellent for testing a wire to see if it has power but what I have found is even more important is then when working on an unknown piece of equipment you can touch the outer housing to quickly determine if a short circuit has energized the housing. I have avoided a number of nasty electrical shocks since i acquired this tool.

Another very handy item is a pocket sized Volt,Ohm, Milliamp meter commonly called a V.O.M. I got one and glued a couple strips of rubber magnet material on the back, which I salvaged from and old refrigerator door gasket. With the magnets on the back when i am working on an appliance, central furnace or AC condensing unit the meter will hang on the metal cabinet by the magnet and i have both hands free to hold the two test probes. Simple V.O.M. are available for about $15 while more elaborate ones run up to hundreds of dollars.

There is also an inexpensive electrical outlet tester that looks like a 3prong plug adapter with 3 LED's on the end. You plug it into an unknown outlet and you can quickly tell if the outlet is wire correctly and if incorrect it will tall you what the problem is by the configuration of which L.E.D's light up. These run about $8 to $10

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 1:14PM
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