301 posts tagged with tools.
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Gift for fixer-upper?

Looking for a practical gift for my boyfriend for the holidays. We bought a 1954 house and we (he) really enjoy fixing it up. What tools, items, etc. make home renovation projects easier and/or more fun? [more inside]
posted by brynna on Nov 19, 2015 - 30 answers

Electronics tools

What goes in an electronics technician's tool bag? [more inside]
posted by pH Indicating Socks on Nov 7, 2015 - 31 answers

Project management software for visual people with lots of deadlines?

I need help finding a great project management tool for visual people with too many deadlines. Overly-demanding list of criteria inside. [more inside]
posted by mjm101 on Sep 30, 2015 - 11 answers

Which power tools should you wear gloves when using?

Which power tools should you wear gloves when using and which should you not?
posted by Infernarl on Sep 30, 2015 - 16 answers

Learning woodworking on a small to medium scale

I've always wanted to learn about woodworking, but I know very little about it. I have a workshop in my garage that I primarily use for electronics. I have some room for wood tools, but not a ton. What are some resources to learn how to do woodworking without needing large amounts of space and equipment? [more inside]
posted by primethyme on Sep 15, 2015 - 10 answers

Microsoft Word, I am breaking up with you

After several years writing markup in a text editor, I find myself doing some work further up the editorial chain, where the tool of choice is Word. I hate it. [more inside]
posted by libraryhead on Sep 4, 2015 - 11 answers

What socket wrench set should I buy?

I like fixing things, and I'd like to get myself a nice socket wrench set that will last a long time. Questions include: 3/8" or 1/2" drive, or maybe both? Which brands are good at not rounding your bolts while not being super expensive? What's the best way to store them? [more inside]
posted by danceswithlight on Jun 22, 2015 - 16 answers

How do I set up a decentralized neighborhood tool lending exchange?

I'm interested in starting a neighborhood tool lending exchange, both as a way to save costs on tool, but to also better foster community and getting neighbors to know each other. I'm not (at this point anyway) interested in starting a centralized tool library, given the costs and commitment. I'm imaging a google sheet or something similar where registered members can check and see what tools they're willing to lend and then go from there. Have you had experience with a decentralized tool lending or can point me to successful exchanges where I can learn more about their system? [more inside]
posted by Karaage on May 1, 2015 - 5 answers

What would make tiny electronics repair more comfortable?

My husband likes to take electronics apart and put them back together (cameras, smart phones etc.). Right now his setup is ridiculous: he works (mostly) over a big tupperware container to catch the screws that fall into it, unless they fall on the floor, and he holds the flashlight on his iPhone with one hand while trying to wrestle tiny screws into place with the other hand. There has to be a better way; this looks painful. what can i buy him to improve his setup (lights, magnifiers, other things i haven't thought about)? What do you use in your efficient and effective home repair shops?
posted by andreapandrea on Apr 14, 2015 - 27 answers

Where would I find someone who makes single use tools?

Basically I'm looking for whoever the engineer or engineering company would be that creates some kind of specific tool for a one off specific job. Like the Space Needle is built and finished and then, out of nowhere, you need to change a nut and bolt out that was never supposed to be changed. And to do it you need a 40 foot, weirdly angled wrench. Who would build that? And is there a name for the kind of field or specialty this is?
posted by rileyray3000 on Mar 20, 2015 - 17 answers

What's a good buy at the Harbor Freight?

There's a Harbor Freight near me, and it's filled with bargains! But I expect that a lot of the stuff is junk. What are the good values at HF, and what should I avoid? I don't like buying disposable tools (or anything, if I can help it), even if it's cheap; I'd rather pay for quality than just buy garbage, but I'm sure some of their stuff is a good deal. I've heard good things about their pneumatic brad nailer ($20 or so), for example.
posted by Admiral Haddock on Mar 5, 2015 - 39 answers

Got the bike. What tool should I get?

I just bought a bike, and now I need a killer multitool. [more inside]
posted by pdb on Feb 2, 2015 - 16 answers

Can a small milling machine do everything a small drill press can?

I've been looking into getting a small, bench-top drill press. I'm also kind of intrigued about those small milling machines that places like Harbor Freight sell. Can the mill take care of all my drilling needs and also allow me to, you know, mill stuff? [more inside]
posted by bondcliff on Jan 9, 2015 - 16 answers

How do I maximize this small space?

My rental apartment has a hallway nook at the top of the stairs, one side of which is just a bannister. I have a lot of stuff. How do I use this space effectively and attractively? Is there some kind of sturdy and attractive cabinet or wardrobe or portable closet solution? [more inside]
posted by pseudostrabismus on Jan 7, 2015 - 14 answers

Is a 6mm router bit shank the same size as 1/4"?

I'm looking to buy an unusual router bit to put in a CNC router which takes 1/4" shank bits, but the bit I've found is listed as having a 6mm shank. Can I expect that the vendor (or manufacturer) is just pretending at being metric and ignoring the 0.35mm difference in their listing, or are there incompatible metric router bits out there in the world?
posted by kiwano on Jan 6, 2015 - 8 answers

Suggestions for Small Group Decision-Making/Voting Online?

Please help my little union find an online platform for decision-making. We would like a secure way to dis/approve proposals and vote yearly for officers. Anonymous voting with a unique identifier is required. Bonus points for discussion capabilities and ease of use. [more inside]
posted by willie11 on Dec 17, 2014 - 2 answers

Need computer science maven! Predicate languages...

I was peripherally involved in a recent work project predicate languages parsing and some natural language. I am interested in learning about modern development environments in these areas. Very basic and on up - I know what predicates are and natural language processing at a beginner level, decent understanding of code and networks, but not computer scientist. I want to easily parse and database a string of predicates from another application, set a value, quickly evaluate only if relevant, evaluate them against a database and set a shared memory location. All thoughts appreciated!
posted by sfts2 on Dec 10, 2014 - 4 answers

Armored Cable? Springy Stand-off?

When I use the hedge trimmer to do anything except trimming hedges (such as trimming the weeds that grow between the wooden steps out back), I inevitably nick the power cord. I need something that will either help keep the power cord away from my feet (like an extra-long "strain relief" spring), or a better shielded cord that is trimmer-proof. Suggestions?
posted by IAmBroom on Dec 9, 2014 - 9 answers

how do you secure a christmas lawn ornament to the ground?

How do you secure a Christmas lawn ornament to the ground? I'm talking about the plastic 40 inch high decorations, like the Santa Clauses, and Mrs. Clauses and snowmen. [more inside]
posted by lynnie-the-pooh on Dec 7, 2014 - 3 answers

Best multiple-use tools?

Which hand tools that are made to singly perform the function of a set are worth not just having on hand, but actually replacing the set they attempt to cover for? For a tradesman, for a DIYer, for a weekend warrior, for a fumble-fingered homeowner. (Examples: adjustable wrench, ratcheting dogbone, multi-bit screwdriver) Tell us your favorites! [more inside]
posted by attercoppe on Dec 1, 2014 - 13 answers

It's a thousand pages, give or take a few

TechWritingFilter: As a lone writer, what tools should I use to create amazing user- and developer-facing documentation? [more inside]
posted by woodvine on Nov 12, 2014 - 7 answers

Bootstrapping Music Projects - What Tools are Out There?

Are there any other softwares similar to Hooktheory's Hookpad? [more inside]
posted by Doleful Creature on Sep 26, 2014 - 1 answer

Minimal tools for basic wood projects

I'd like to become more adept at basic wood working/carpentry skills, but I'm pretty clueless. My first project is to modify an existing wood work bench by removing a portion of the cabinets and extending a plywood countertop over the open space[1]. I don't want to spend thousands of dollars on tools, but I'm unclear what the minimal set (especially of saws) is for doing this job reasonably right. [more inside]
posted by primethyme on Aug 3, 2014 - 15 answers

How do I cut a small rectangular hole in plastic?

I'd like to tidy up my Raspberry Pi projects by putting them in custom cases. The pre-made cases have holes for every port, which I don't need (and sometimes I have sensors and other things that need holes of their own). I have some plastic project boxes, but I'm not sure how best to cut the holes I do need. [more inside]
posted by primethyme on Jul 26, 2014 - 6 answers

Measure twice, cut once: tool buying edition

With Father's Day fast approaching and the home improvement season upon us, I've been thinking about tools. Delicious, delicious tools. Let's talk about the tools I need for my toolatorium. [more inside]
posted by Admiral Haddock on Jun 2, 2014 - 18 answers

Give me your checklists and frameworks.

What checklists and frameworks do you use in your professional life? [more inside]
posted by rippersid on Jun 1, 2014 - 4 answers

This is stupid! Please help me enjoy my new toys (Moto G, iPad, Macbook)

I've recently acquired some new toys that I'm not getting any use out of because of my unusually strong hatred of spyware, adware, and "social networking". Specifically, I've had a new Moto G phone for about two weeks, an iPad mini for a few months and a Macbook Pro for about two years. I'm not getting any enjoyment or use out of these tools because I need help configuring them in such a way that they don't bother me with social networking noise and spyware-related crap. Please help. [more inside]
posted by LuckySeven~ on May 14, 2014 - 20 answers

How do I start powerless woodworking?

What tools do I need to start powerless woodworking? If I go to Home Depot, what are the 5 or 6 most essential tools to pick up? [more inside]
posted by BradNelson on Apr 26, 2014 - 20 answers

Desperately seeking replacement bolt for Harbor Freight oscillating tool

I'm at my wits' end trying to find a replacement accessory bolt for my Harbor Freight (er, Chicago Electric) oscillating tool. HF customer service (ha) says that this part isn't available to purchase on its own, HF Twitter is ignoring me, and my local HF store just says they don't have them. [more inside]
posted by ndg on Apr 26, 2014 - 9 answers

Seeking jigsaw recommendations

My week-old $30 Black and Decker jigsaw crapped out over the weekend and I'm in need of recommendations for a reliable homeowner-grade jigsaw that can cut straight lines. Most reviews I've found online recommend the now-discontinued Bosch 1590. Looking for anyone who's been happy with something currently available for around or less than $150. [more inside]
posted by ndg on Apr 7, 2014 - 7 answers

Choose your own Operating Procedures?

Currently I work in an administrative clerk-type position in local government. I need to create a manual for my job, so that someone else could step in if need be to do my work. Are there any apps or programs that would walk me through this? [more inside]
posted by checkitnice on Mar 17, 2014 - 5 answers


I see lots of writing submissions trackers, such as Duotrope and Assignmint, and job application trackers like Huntsy and StartWire. Is there a web app that helps me track multiple kinds of submissions? [more inside]
posted by divabat on Mar 16, 2014 - 1 answer

Mobile tool storage ideas

I often work on my family's cars, however I don't have a garage and have to work in the driveway or in a rented (by the hour) garage with lift. In my workshop I have the tools organized on pegboards and in drawers. That's all fine and dandy, but I've come to realize that 90% of the time I use my tools I have to chuck them in tool bags and boxes and either bring them outside or to the aforementioned garage. I want a mobile storage system where everything has its place and I can see at a glance if something's missing. Like the pegboards, I guess, only portable. [more inside]
posted by Harald74 on Mar 12, 2014 - 8 answers

Rusty tool (no really) - bring back to life?

I have a bag of old tools that have gotten rusty. Like this image. The moving parts are semi-seized up. Clearly on something like a hammer it's not a big deal, but please how do I revive them all back to nice and useable condition? I'm hoping there's some magic oil that I soak them in and it solves all my problems? Thanks [more inside]
posted by Xhris on Feb 28, 2014 - 12 answers

Multitasking air compressor?

I’m looking into buying an air compressor that will work equally well with an airbrush and a framing nailer. Does such a thing exist? [more inside]
posted by bondcliff on Feb 24, 2014 - 14 answers

Tell me what my job is, in another industry

I have transitioned into a slightly unusual role at my job, and want to know whether it exists outside my current industry, and what it is called. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 8, 2014 - 12 answers

What kind of Resource Management Tool would help my company?

I'm a Project Manager at a web company that makes websites, apps, etc. We are pretty small so any solution needs to be affordable and easy to use. There are so many project management tools out there and we have evaluated many. I have a short list of things I'm looking for which I'll outline inside but mainly there seems to be a lack of resource management at an hourly level. So, either that is too high level for the price/ease of the tools we are looking at, or people are managing that some other way. Data and management geeks, please help!! [more inside]
posted by amanda on Jan 24, 2014 - 8 answers

Help me build a gangplank.

I need to get on and off my boat easily. More to the point my pregnant wife needs to be able to. (Because we both live in the boat). I have recently built a new wooden gangplank which is not too bad. (but heavy) But for reasons I will go into below I think I need a replacement. [more inside]
posted by Just this guy, y'know on Dec 18, 2013 - 13 answers

Looking for those inkless, perforating library stamps.

Sometimes, one of the first pages of a library book will bear an identifying stamp made of perforations punched through by a special tool. This practice seems to have disappeared, and Googling for it has only frustrated me. What is the tool called and where can I find one? [more inside]
posted by viewofdelft on Dec 2, 2013 - 10 answers

You know, other than spending my entire next paycheck at Ikea.....

Ok, so I recently purchased a pullup cage/station. You know, includes a side for dips, a pullup bar, etc. and is one large metal structure put together with nuts and bolts. Anyway, I think I enjoyed putting the darn thing together even more than I will using it. What other projects/hobbies can I work on/build/create using a tool box, wrench, other hardware type stuff etc. in my small to medium sized apartment that won't lose me my security deposit?
posted by sendai sleep master on Nov 27, 2013 - 10 answers

What should I keep in my truck's toolbox?

So I have an old truck. I'd like to hear your suggestions for tools, spare parts, fluids, etc that I should keep on hand in the truck either in case something goes wrong or in case I find myself having to do something tool-related while I'm out of the house. Hit me with your best suggestions! [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Nov 5, 2013 - 20 answers

I want to measure things! For science, and thrift!

I want to measure and test things in my life (home, car, etc.) for maximum efficiency, thrift, and measuration, which is a word I just made up to combine measurements and data wankery. What measurements can I make and what fun tools do I need to buy? [more inside]
posted by Admiral Haddock on Oct 23, 2013 - 20 answers

Help Make this Space happen: Suggest your favorite tools and resources

I am tasked with stocking up a Maker Space gallery that will be part of a museum. I'm very much a crafter and maker myself, but am looking for the Makers of MetaFilter to tell me your favorite tools, especially ones for small hands (we will be catering to kids and families, as young as 3 years old). We will be doing simple woodworking projects (already looking at Japanese Pull Saws), sewing, circuitry, paper art, lots of tinkering (including activities with recycled materials and new materials). We are focusing on "real" tools (no plastic Fisher Price kids stuff, please), and I expect to buy a couple different versions of some items (hammers for smaller people, hammers for bigger jobs). The tools will get lots of use, so I'm happy to spend a bit more if it means I don't have to constantly replace broken items. I am especially looking for specific recommendations for specific tools, reviews, or resources ("these sewing scissors are amazing for the price" or "don't buy this brand of clamp" or "this site sells very good quality paper punches"). Thanks in advance!
posted by leastlikelycowgirl on Sep 19, 2013 - 12 answers

Non-Obvious Everyday Bag Items.

My daily/everyday bag is a canvas haversack - about as large as a small messenger bag. I already know to carry things like breath strips and a small umbrella and a paperback around, but recently I've been looking to expand on the everyday items. For example: there was an awkward lull in conversation during a train ride. I happened to be carrying a pack of cards and taught everyone to play German Whist - wonderful ice breaker, great way to spend the trip. I'm looking for things like that, small, non-obvious essentials to put in your bag that can be used in many different situations.
posted by The Whelk on Sep 5, 2013 - 53 answers

Help me build a basic apartment tool set!

I am at the stage of life when I need to move from a random collection of tools to an organized tool set that equips me for basic home/apartment maintenance. What do I need? Budget: just-finished-grad-school poor. [more inside]
posted by philosophygeek on Aug 26, 2013 - 32 answers

Name this plier-like culinary tool!

I was at a vacation home recently and came across this cooking impliment. It had a corrugated stationary anvil and a flat (IIRC) moving head. When closed the device has its drainage off to the side of whatever's being squished, sugesting that the juice is the thing here and the flesh of whatever's being pulped is neither desirable, retained, nor delicate enough to require much straining past the rather large holes. What's it for?
posted by Ogre Lawless on Aug 24, 2013 - 11 answers

Exterior paint removal question: MILD EMERGENCY

Exterior paint removal question: MILD EMERGENCY [more inside]
posted by ashtabula to opelika on Aug 7, 2013 - 15 answers

How can I become one of those people who can build/fix anything?

My grandfather was one of those people who could build anything he needed and fix everything else. My dad can do much of the same but I don't know if it was as instinctual to him or he just learned it all from his father. How can I become one of these people? [more inside]
posted by Beti on Jul 19, 2013 - 34 answers

Who shops at an open-air market for dental tools?

Does New Orleans have an open-air market for dental tools? Back in the late '90s, I visited New Orleans with my parents. I have one memory from that trip that I am still bedeviled by. One afternoon, we headed to a big open-air market -- rows and rows of stalls, I think under some kind of canopy, various goods for sale. I guess this was probably the French Market, but I don't specifically remember. As we got further and further into the market, the stalls started to get a little funny. Everyone had POW-MIA flags, and I saw one that read, "KILL THEM ALL AND LET GOD SORT THEM OUT." [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Jun 25, 2013 - 18 answers

Tight torx?

I need a tool to loosen torx screws (T27) in a space that has about an inch of clearance. [more inside]
posted by QIbHom on Jun 3, 2013 - 28 answers

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