Category Archives: Tools

The Ryobi RY40620 24″ 40 Volt Hedge Trimmer Is Excellent – Seriously Portable Cutting Power

I told you about my very positive experiences so far with the Ryobi RY40230 String Trimmer in my last post. I bought a RY40620 24″ 40 volt hedge trimmer at the same time because it made a lot of sense to me to buy the whole hedge trimmer kit from Home Depot for $169 vs. spending $129-149 for a spare battery alone.

The box arrived beat up with the battery missing. The unit was undamaged and when I called Home Depot’s customer support number they shipped me a replacement battery right away. I don’t know what happened but I used the battery from the string trimmer and ran the unit without any problem. I was impressed by their customer service – they could have run me in circles but instead moved quickly to do what I asked of them which was to simply send me the correct battery that was missing. No hassle at all. I appreciated that.

I also bought the unit because we previously had a Black & Decker Hedge Hog that did a great job but required an extension cord to work and I wanted to get out to our hedge rows to trim them vs. just the bushes by our house. I also wanted plenty of power because a lot of the branches were 1/2-3/4″ thick.

My experience with the 40 volt Ryobi unit is very good. It came fully assembled and has a ton of power. It’s a tad heavier due to the battery but is well balanced. It will chew through 1″ and even slight larger branches no problem.

One feature is that it can rotate the battery relative to the blade 90 degrees either left or right. I have not needed that feature but it does give you some additional clearance.
I should have taken before and after photos. I am largely done here. The unit made very short work of this hedge. All of the branches were well under a 1/2″. When doing trimmer work, I have not drained a battery yet.
You can see part of the far hedge row. If I could get a branch into a 1″ cutter slot, the hedge trimmer would cut it. It was pretty amazing. I used to do this manually with pruning snips and it took forever. With the Ryobi, I walked along while swinging the unit up and down in arcs and quickly cut back a ton of brush.
This side too. You can’t tell all the brush I cut back here. This isn’t a traditional hedge – more like an overgrown part of our property between us and neighbors,

So, I’ve now used the unit probably 4-5 times to trim parts of the property and probably use it for about a 1/2 hour at a time. No problems – I do lubricate the bar with a spray dry Teflon lubricant just to help it out. Ryobi does not say this is required but I do it anyways.

I’m very impressed by this hedge trimmer and have no reservations recommending it.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


The Ryobi 40 Volt RY40230 Brushless String Trimmer and RYTIL66 Cultivator Are Amazing

Getting ready for this season’s outdoor chores on our 1.5 acre property, I had some decisions to make. For the last two years I had been trying to live with an anemic 18 volt string trimmer that was way, way underpowered for what I needed. I bought it after an old Homelite my father-in-law bought be in 1998 finally gave up the ghost after years of repairs.

The 18 volt Ryobi trimmer simply lacks the power for big lawns where you need to trim around lots of trees, tough to cut areas, etc. It has a single line and you have to make real slow thin cuts to get the work done. With my old Homelite,I had about 30 minutes of work to do on average and living with the old 18 volt Ryobi, it took closer to an hours and two batteries. It did have two things going for it – it was quiet and I didn’t have to mess with 2-cycle gas. So with this current season fast approaching, I started reading up on what to get and it really amounted to my wanting a far more powerful electric trimmer.

Enter The Ryobi 40 Volt RY40230 Line Trimmer

I did quite a bit of reading and opted for the Ryobi RY40230 line trimmer for a number of reasons:

  1. It was 40 volts and the motor had far more power based on all reviews
  2. It was brushless meaning the motor design did not require spring loaded brushes to transfer electricity that wear out and brushless designs tend to have a lot of torque.
  3. It was a Ryobi and it came with a 5 year warranty. Folks, I’ve had good luck with Ryobi battery operated tools.
  4. It used 0.80 line with two strings protruding
  5. Reviews were very favorable
  6. For $199 it came with the trimmer, a 3.0AH battery and a charger
  7. It was expandable – if you look at the Ryobi series of 18 volt and 40 volt tools, they are expanding rapidly. I needed a hedge trimmer also – they had one. I also wanted a light cultivator – they had an attachment that would swap right onto the base trummer.

I took a leap and bought both the edge trimmer and the hedge trimmer. I bought the hedge trimmer because it came with a 40volt battery and charger also. I knew I needed a second battery so rather than just buy a spare battery ($129-149 depending on the capacity) , I bought the whole hedge trimmer kit made way more financial sense (it was $169 with a 4.0Ah battery).

Here are the major parts from the string trimmer. Assembly went very smoothly. The first thing you should do is pull out the charger and start the battery charging while you assemble the rest.
Here it is ready to go, It comes with line already installed in the head plus they give you some additional pre-cut pieces and a winding handle for loading the bobbin.
Here’s a closer look at the business end.

The Test Bed

We have a small garden area that is fenced it. Cutting the grass in there just would kill the 18v Ryobi. This was my first test with the 40v model and as you can see – the grass was about 4-6″ high.

The 40v model would either cut this to my satisfaction or get returned.
Boy, it kicked butt. I saw no power difference between the 40v Ryobi and my old Homelite from years ago. For all I could tell, it was just as strong or stronger. I could cut right into the tall grass and a nice regular pace. I was happy. This also meant buying the cultivator head was worth doing to tackle the old overgrown planting bed on the left.

Folks, this brushless trimmer is dong a great job. I’ve now used it for half the summer and have cut a ton of grass with it. I’d say I get 30-45 minutes from one battery but that depends on how thick the grass is and it’s a best guess also since I cut and move, cut and move, etc. I’m glad I have two batteries as I run one until it is drained and swap it for the other.

Next, let’s talk about the cultivator attachment they offer for it.

The Ryobi RYTIL66 Cultivator String Trimmer Attachment

A few weeks passed before I ordered the cultivator attachment from Home Depot. The string trimmer was doing great on our property so when it came time to tackle that garden bed, I drove over to Home Depot and picked the RYTIL66 attachment up. They do sell a dedicated 40 volt cultivator but since I already had the powerful brushless motor unit, it made more sense to just get the attachment.

When I first opened the box I thought assembly would take a lot longer than it actually did.

It looks daunting but the four steel tines (the wheels that cut into the earth) slide right on and are held in place with supplied cotters keys. The replacemnet handle goes in place of the plastic original. I like that handle so much I just leave it on the unit even when not cultivating.
There is some kind of synthetic felt washer that goes between the tines. Note the holes in the axle, you can run 2 tines, 4 tines or whatever you want. I started with all four.
All four tines installed.
To change heads, loosen the grey locking wing nut and push the silver detebt in. The head pulls right off. Put the new one on and tighten it down – done.
I’m getting started. The head uses a ton of power. I went through about one and a half 4.0ah batteries to do the area that was about 4’x18′ long and I tilled down about 3-4″
Here’s what it looked like after about 30 minutes of work. It did the deepest tilling when I pulled the untit backward. I then went through and removed all the roots that it dug up with a rake. We now have tomatoes planted in there.
Other than losing some paint on the tines, which is totally to be expected, the head and the motor held up just fine.
I liked the handle so much that I use it when trimming too.

The cultivator rocks. Growing up my dad had a big heavy one from Simplicity. Due to its weight, it could really sink down in and tear up the soil. The Ryboi unit is relatively heavy but you still need to do some pushing and pulling to get it to work. It really did a good job given its weight, portability and that it attached to the existing line trimmer shaft and motor. I feel it was worth it and am glad I bought it.

The Bottom Line

The 40 volt string trimmer is totally worth it. The brushless model is considerably more expensive but it ought to last a lot longer and be more powerful. Now that I have used it for half the summer I can say it does a great job. I used the cultivator the one time but I used it hard for half an hour – even my wife was impressed. It’s stored in the shop for the next project.

I’ll post about the hedge trimmer next. It’s also done a very good job and held up well.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


The EZRed MR34 Extendable 3/4″Socket Wrench is a Beast With Two Quick and Easy Tweaks

I have both SAE and Metric 3/4″ socket sets that come out once or twice a year when I am working on big bolts on cars and trucks. As you may know, the longer the wrench, the more torque you can apply. Back when I was younger would would slide a piece of pipe or heavy wall tube over a ratchet or breaker bar to get even more mechanical advantage. We definitely snapped some socket wrenches while doing this as we exceeeded their design specs.

You see, a ratcheting socket wrench has limits as to how much torque the mechanism can handle before something either bends or breaks. Quite often, the rathchet pawl would bend/crumple and no longer be able to engage the teeth of the gear. When that happens, we’d toss the cheap wrench.

This is why breaker bars were made by the way – they have no ratcheting mechanism and, thus, can handle more torque. There’s one problem though, there are times where you can’t get the breaker bar into position because you can’t turn the handle relative to the socket. So, what is a person to do when they need a ton of torque and a ratchet mechanism?

The short answer is to get a wrench with a long handle that is designed to handle a ton of torque. A ton of companies make socket wrenches with longer handles. I have a couple of these but what I find really handy are wrenches with extending/telescoping handles. When you are working in a relatively tight space, you may not have room for the fully extended handle or you have need to work it into position before you can open the handle.

The EZRed MR34 Wrench

So, when I need a ton of torque and mechanical advantage to help me get there (I’m at the age where I need to work smarter because my body doesn’t support harder any longer 🙂 – I break out the wrench I affectionately call “The Beast”. It is a beautifully made and chromed giant 3/4″ ratchet wrench.

The wrench is sold in the US by a firm called “EZRed” with a lifetime warranty and, like many things, is actually made in Taiwan. When you do some digging around, there are a lot of guys using this wrench for heavy equipment, farm equipment, trucks, steam pipes and more. After reading about the real world experiences with the wrench, I ordered one in.

Here is the wrench closed and you can see it is about 24″ overall.
Here is the MR34 fully open and about 40″ long overall.

The first things I noticed was that it’s a big wrench even without the handle extended. Next, it’s a heavy wrench and weighs in at about 8.5 pounds. I have to be honest, I don’t usually pay much attention to looks but the chrome finish is gorgeous.

Pull the collar down and a detent is released that allows the handle to telescope out. The handle then locks into position in the next available hole. The locking feature is definitely nice.

I use this for 3/4″ sockets and also have a SunEx 3/4 to 1/2″ reducer for those times I want to apply a ton of torque to a smaller bolt.

Here’s the wrench with a SunEx 3/4 to 1/2″ adapter.

So far, I am very happy with the wrench. As you can tell, I haven’t used it a ton yet but for the few quick jobs so far, it worked great.

Two Big Tips

A fellow recommended apply Blue Loctite to the head screws and grease the wrench while it was open. He was spot on – the screws were surprisingly lose. Even though they have blue thread locker on them from the factory something seems odd and guys have reported losing the screws. I really think if Ihad not followed the fellow’s advice I would have already lost mine as well – they are that loose.

The screws come out and then the head is very serviceable. You can see the two pawls and their springs plus the selector in the middle. What you don’t see is any lubricant! I must say I am a bit surprised.
You can see the faceplate and the 24 tooth geared head.

So, I used a brush and lightly applied SuperLube grease to everything, reassembled the wrench and put Blue Loctite on the two head screws before tightening them down. The whole thing took maybe 10 minutes start to stop including taking the photos.

If you ever need it, the EZRed sells a rebuild kit – part number RK34.

Summary

I really like the wrench. It’s worked great so far but I really haven’t done anything super stressfulso far – just breaking some very rusty 1/2″ diameter carriagle bolts free off my plow. It’ll definitely get used this upcoming summer a lot more.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


EZ Red RK34 Head Kit for MR34 Monster Ratchet

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EZ Red RK34 Head Kit for MR34 Monster Ratchet Excellent Quality Free Shiping

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E-Z Red MR34 3/4" Drive Extendable Monster Telescoping Ratchet New Free Shipping

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EZ Red 3/4" dr Extendable Locking Shaft Ratchet, 24" to 40" Long #MR34

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REPAIR KIT (EZR-RK34)

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3/4" Replacement Head Kit E-Z Red RK34 EZR

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E-Z Red RK34 REPAIR KIT

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3/4" Replacement Head Kit EZR-RK34 Brand New!

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Do It Yourself Cold Weather Mechanic Work Gloves That Are Insulated But Still Allow You To Work

Here’s a quick tip for you when you need to turn a wrench outside except it is really cold but you still need to feel what you are doing or can’t wear bulky insulated work gloves.

What you need to do is real simple – put on nitrile gloves first. This layer next to your skin insulates and protects you from both the wind and your hands getting wet. This is a big deal when there is snow. The second layer is your regular thin mechanics gloves. I have several brands of work gloves but Mechanix is probably the brand I use most followed by Ace.

I meant to write about this last year but forgot. Yesterday I had to work on my plow and it was +9F. The above worked great. Of course there is a limit and I don’t want anybody getting frostbite so use your common sense and play it is safe it is super cold.

At 9 degrees Farenheit, holding steel tools and moving metal parts around is a recipe for frostbite. It was this kind of work last year that led me to experimenting with putting Nitrile gloves under my thin Mechanics gloves.

I buy boxes of 5 mil Nitrile gloves whenever they go on sale at Harbor Freight. I think the sale prices tend to be around $5.99 and there are 100 in each box. I use a ton of them with my plastics work but also when working on cars. Any brand ought to work but I think the Harbor Freight gloves are a great deal when on sale.

I settled on 5 mil thick gloves because thinner ones fall apart very easily and thicker ones start to be bulky and mess with your sense of touch. I tried both 7 and 9 mil gloves before going back to 5.

I like 5 mil. It’s neither too thin nor too thick in my opinion. Note, they are meant to be disposable so you may or may not get more than one use from them.

The outer gloves are just basic Mechanix brand gloves.

I literally snapped this photo on my way out to work on the plow in 9 degree snowy weather.

I hope this little trick helps you out! I set up some Amazon product links for you below this post in case you would like to buy gloves.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


The Rise of Useless Reviews on Amazon – Read Before You Buy

Amazon is really cool. I can get good deals on stuff and have it delivered to where I live. The problem is that I used to historically look at the number of reviews and the average score to determine if something was worthwhile or not. A pure math approach of looking at the numbers is not working any more and let me tell you why.

I’m noticing a lot of reviews where people give 4 to 5 stars without really using the product. I don’t know if they feel they need to report right away or just what but you will read stuff like “it looks good” or “it feels good” and nothing about the actual use. I suppose it’s better than nothing but not by much.

Also, some merchants reach out and correct problems then ask the buyer to revise the score. You know, I’m cool with that. A friend of mine recounted the story of being hounded – email after email – from the seller to change the score. So, you need to be aware of this too – I’m not a huge fan of wasting time troubleshooting stuff – I want it to hit the ground working.

Recommendations

Again, the basics are true. Products with no reviews are very risky and less than 30 are still risky but you are starting to get a safety margin. However, you must dive deeper to learn what folks are saying.

What I am finding is that you need to read the reviews and:

  • Look for people who actually used the product and are reporting back.
  • Look for trends – was the product great and having more and more problems or vise versa?
  • Look out for tons of edits where people post that they have revised the score after the vendor sent a replacement. Why was this necessary? I could understand a few but not a lot and definitely not a trend.
  • Be sure to click on the number of reviews right under the product name so you can see the breakdown of scores and even click on the number of stars to read the reviews. So, if you click on “1 star” you can read those reviews.

Fortunately with Amazon, they give great customer service and I can’t guess how many times they have made things right over the years. I think a lot of folks have a level of comfort with Amazon now and I also think you need to use the tools they gave us to make a better purchase decision.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Be Careful With the DBPower 1200A Portable Jump Starter For Your Car or Truck – They WIll Not Hold a Charge Long

In August 2016 I bought a DBPower 400A DJS10 Peak jump starter amd found it handy. At the end of August 2018, I bought two of the bigger 1200A portable jump starters. I was busy and the units sat until some time in November when I tried to charge them. One was dead on arrival and would not charge no matter what method I tried (USB or their supplied charger). I contacted the seller and they were cool about immediately shipping a replacement. I charged it no problem and put both in our cars as a “just in case” measure.4

So, fast forward to February 1, 2019. Michigan was in the grips of an arctic freeze with ambient temperatures ranging from -8 to -12F and windchills under -20F. It was this way for two days. On the first, I went to start my wife’s Camry for the first time in several weeks and the starter could barely turn a few times before the solenoid clicked. The battery read 11.17 volts.

I thought myself lucky that I had the foresight to buy the batteries as I would not have to move my truck around to jump start it or run an extension cord out to use one of my Noco Genius chargers. The DBPower unit had been in the card and it was about +9F at the time. The whole point of these things is to store them in the car, right? It was fully charged when I put it in there.

Guess what? The DBPower read “Lo” voltage on the LED display when I turned it on and tried to charge the battery. It didn’t help the cart start at all. I was pissed. These things were $72.99/each. I felt like I had wasted a ton of money on junk. That is not a good feeling.

So, I decided to run an extension cord from my shop and hooked up my big Noco Genius G2600 charger to the battery and set it to the 30 amp quick charge setting that runs for five minutes.

This time around, the story ends a lot better – the car started right up. My wife used her car to run errands and I let it charge all last night with the normal charging cycle on the Noco.

4/16/19 Now, DBPower did make things right and replace both units and told me I have to change the units every two months to have reliable power. If you open a unit up, you will find out they have Lithium Polymer (LiPo) power cells. These can hold a big charge and discharge quickly but they lose the charge as they sit – typically in about two months.

Bottom line, if you get DBPower jump starters for your car, plan on charging them every two months. Don’t make my mistake of charging them once and thinking they would be good to go all Winter. Now that I’ve had the DBPower and the Noco jump start unit, I’d recommend the Noco.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


NOCO GB40 Genius Boost HD 1000 Amp 12V Gas/Diesel UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter

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NOCO® Genius G1100 6V/12V 1.1 Amp Battery Charger and Maintainer

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The Tekton 1/2″Torque Wrench is Affordable And Accurate

Folks, if you do much work on cars, trucks or fire arms, you are going to need a good enough torque wrench. This Tekton 1/2″ unit is pretty decent. There are over 2,300 reviews on Amazon with an average score of 4.4. You can only get this kind of score if you have a good product.

This wrench is affordable, has a decent degree of accuracy (+/-4%) and a very nice wide range of 10-150 foot pounds of torque.

It’s a “clicker” style meaning you dial the torque setting and the wrench will “click” audibly, plus you can usually feel it as well, when you reach the specified torque.

There is one thing you need to remember with any “clicker” style troque wrench – be sure to reset the dial to zero torque before you put it away.  If you don’t do this, the spring will relax over time and not be as accurate.


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If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


How to Safely Change AR Muzzle Devices and Barrel Nuts Using a Magpul BEV Block

If you like working on AR-type rifles and plan to replace a muzzle device or change a barrel nut to install a free-floating handguard or to swap barrels, you are going to need to apply a lot of torque. Torque and aluminum are not friends and this is certainly the case with the upper receiver for AR rifles and pistols.

What not to do?

I actually want to take a minute and tell you two things not to do. First, do not simply clamp your lower in a vise and go cranking on whatever on the upper. Remember that the upper is connected to the lower by two steel pins going through relatively soft aluminim. Not a good combination.

Number two, there are work fixtures that look like a rectangle that allow you to remove the upper from the lower and then pin the upper to this block that is then held by a vise. I’m not fond of this either because then your two aluminum connection points on the receiver take up all the stress and they weren’t designed to do so.

Please do not do either of those or you may regret it. The odds are that you will regret it. I word it this way because you may get by once or twice but these methods are risky so don’t do them.

So what do I recommend?

At this point, it comes down to two options that engage the barrel extension, which can handle the torque of any AR upper operation you may need to perform. The first is the Geisselle Reaction Rod. It’s pricey but it does the job and you can get a relatively good price on an AR tool kit from them on Amazon.

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B01F48QSDK”]

The second approach, which is what I use, is to secure the upper in a vise using a Magpul Barrel Extension Vise (BEV) block. It’s a very well designed block that engages via the barrel extension with its own steel lugs that are designed for strength but also to not harm the extension.

This is the top of the BEV block. You can see the front engagement lugs, the rear protrusion is for the bolt carrier and I would recommend keeping that O-ring oiled. The hole just under the front lugs is for a cross pin to secure it to the upper.

The BEV block uses a bolt carrier with the bolt removed to further secure it in the upper. You could remove the bolt from the bolt you normally use. I have a bolt carrier body that I keep in my toolbox for just this purpose.

The following photo shows it partially inserted in the upper.

This next photo shows it fully forward with the bolt carrier assembly installed. It does not have a cross pin installed at that point. Even without the pin it can handle the rotation stress. The pin just keeps it all in position and is not load bearing.

At this point you are good to go to change muzzle devices, barrel nuts or whatever else you may need to do without risking damage caused by torque. It’s a solid tool and I highly recommend it.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Magpul BEV Vice Block Armorer's Gunsmith Tool - MAG536-BLK - New Genuine

$46.29
End Date: Wednesday Sep-4-2019 7:07:34 PDT
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MAGPUL BEV Armorer's Vise BLOCK Tool MAG536-BLK GENUINE FAST SHIP

$45.97
End Date: Tuesday Sep-10-2019 12:58:41 PDT
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MAGPUL MAG535 & MAG536 Armorer's Wrench & BEV Armorer's Vise Block Tool SET

$114.74
End Date: Tuesday Sep-10-2019 12:58:45 PDT
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Magpul BEV Vice Block (Barrel Extension Vise) Reversable Armorer's Tool MAG536

$49.99
End Date: Friday Sep-20-2019 21:40:42 PDT
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Magpul MAG536 Black BEV Block (Barrel Extension Vise) For 223 Rem Gunsmith Tool

$47.45
End Date: Wednesday Sep-25-2019 10:43:42 PDT
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This Rechargeable LED Worklight is Bright, Long-Lasting and Very Affordable

This is a pretty slick little light. It’s compact, doesn’t weigh much and can kick out quite a bit of light for at least eight hours.  Because it LED, you don’t need to worry about the bulbs burning out plus it runs cool vs. the scorching hot halogen worklights.

It does have one weird feature that I would tell you not to use – it has a red and blue light emergency situation flasher. In Michigan anyways, red is fine but the blue light is reserved for police. I didn’t buy this light for that feature and simply will not use it.

As small rechargeable worklights go, this is a great deal.  I bought mine because over 1,100 reviewers on Amazon gave this 4.3 out of 5 stars. You can’t have a rating like that unless your product is solid.

[amazon-element asin=”B015E6M23C” field=”desc”]


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


The Ingersoll Rand 125 Needle Scaler is a HUGE Time Saver + An Into to Needlers

One of the things you learn in Michigan when you have to work on cars is how to deal with rust. Most cars after 10 years in Michigan look like they were dipped in the ocean and then allowed to rust like crazy. It’s pretty much inevitable. The older the car the worst shape they will be in. This year while working on my 1996 Landcruiser I decided to invest in a needle scaler to go faster and save my hands.

Historically, I would use chisels, screw drivers and wire brushes to remove loose rust from part still on the car. This was time consuming, my carpal tunnel would flare up and my hands would ache.

A friend helping restore an old submarine told me about how he bought a needle scaler to help remove rust faster, I had never seen one at the time and filed it away for future reference. One day in Harbor Freight I finally saw one but I really wasn’t keen on buying one of their tools. I’ve had one too many HF tools die at the wrong time and have slowly moved away from them for most tools.

At any rate, I like Ingersoll Rand air tools and read up on their model 125 needle scaler. It has 4.5 stars out of 5 stars on Amazon with 73 reviews. So I read up more about it.

It generates 4,600 blows per minute using 15 CFM at 90 PSI. It has a rubber seal on its throttle to reduce leaking and you can disassemble the unit to clean or replace needles without tools. To stress that next to the last point – you can buy replacement needle packs for the unit.

So, I took the leap and ordered one from Amazon.com and it showed up in two days courtesty of Amazon Prime. My wife now grills me when Amazon boxes show up 🙂

Out of the Box

It arrived fully assembled both longer (about 12″ without the quick coupler fitting) and also heavier than I expected at about 6.8 pounds, also without the coupler.

The first thing I did was install a quality Milton quick connect male plug. These are case hardened steel and not soft brass like you find at Harbor Freight and the big box discount retailers like Home Depot and Lowes. I swear by Milton now because I haven’t had one fail yet (I’m sure they will eventually) but I have replaced countless Harbor Freight, Home Depot and Lowes air fittings over the years.

I also use quality PTFE/Teflon tape. I’ve also given up on the cheap tape. Ace brand tape is pretty good and lately I’ve been using this AntiSieze Technologies brand heavy duty tape and really prefer it.

Taking it Apart

There apparently is a secret society of air needlers who protect the world from very much information being given about these tools. I kid you not, 90% of the manual is legal disclaimers, safety notices and useless boiler plate. I am seeing this trend over and over with the tool companies.

Since I can’t point you to a page, let me try and explain. At the end of the day, an air needler is an impact tool. Inside the body is a 1″ piston that is driving an “anvil” up against the base of the needles 4,600 times per minute. It’s pretty much what you would expect to see if you pulled apart an air hammer except the body is a straight line vs. a pistol-like configuration.

Why is it long? My guess is that it helps the unit get into tight spaces by reaching further.

Now, the needles are really 1/8″ diameter hardened steel rods. These “needles” are really good at getting under rust flakes and popping them up and off the steel surface. It’s a loud tool but it does its job amazingly well.

So you rotate the black color and it will pull straight off the machine and you can see the three groups. The main tool is on the right, the color is on the top left and the needle assembly with two needles removed for you to see are in the lower right of the next photo:

The needles are held in position by a disc with holes to position each needle and a heavy spring shoves the needles back against the anvil to enable the hammering effect.

Here’s a better photo of the disc with some of the needles pushed out for you to see:

This photo shows how the needles and disc would line up with the piston if head when the collar is in place:

All in all, it is a pretty straight forward tool. You will want to take it apart to clean periodically – at least I do. I take and hose the needles and collar down with brake cleaner and then apply a light oil to the needles.

Also, be sure to keep the air tool lubricated. I do not run inline oilers due to my plastic work and need for clean dry air. Instead, I add 4-6 drops of air tool oil (not regular engine oil) in through the quick connect coupler.

I did think it was interesting that IR listed the exact ML of oil to pour in before running the tool. I just counted off 20 drops of air tool oil before I ran it for the first time and called it even — it’s ran just fine by the way.

The Results

I am really pleased. I used the model 125 a ton on my old Land Cruiser this summer that had flaking rust all over the place including the running boards that were in tough shape. One was salvageable and the other I had to make a replacement. Other parts of the truck were just covered in rust. This needle scaler allowed me to do the work much faster and more thoroughly than ever before.

I ran it at 90 PSI through about a hundred foot of 3/8 inch air line with 1/4″ quick connect fittings. I had no trouble whatsoever blasting through anything that could be removed.

It will definitely dent the hell out of thin sheet metal but I was not worried about that. I just wanted to get rid of the rust scale. I also found that I could use it to hammer on places that I was worried about and if it punched through I knew I had an area I needed to work on. For example some of the fenders while they still had paint had rusted really badly from the inside and we’re paper thin.

What I found interesting was that after a ton of work, none of the needles showed wear when I was done with the truck.

I definitely recommend this Ingersoll Rand model 125 needle scaler. I think it did a superb job and will definitely be using it on future projects.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Ingersoll-Rand 125 Air Needle Scaler IR125

$139.95
End Date: Sunday Sep-1-2019 5:30:01 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $139.95
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Ingersoll Rand Edge Series Needle Scaler Attachment- For Use With Item# 1540331

$39.99
End Date: Tuesday Sep-10-2019 10:38:05 PDT
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Pneumatic Needle Scaler Kit Ingersoll Rand IR-182 K1

$324.99
End Date: Sunday Sep-22-2019 10:56:32 PDT
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Ingersoll Rand EC400-NS Needle Scaler Attachment Use with model 114GQC "NEW"

$40.00
End Date: Saturday Aug-31-2019 6:26:51 PDT
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Ingersoll Rand Model 125 Needle Scaler Serial 204L 90 PSIG

$44.99
End Date: Sunday Sep-1-2019 11:14:23 PDT
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INGERSOLL RAND 125 Needle Scaler,1-1/8 In. Stroke,15.0 CFM

$192.79
End Date: Tuesday Sep-17-2019 22:48:17 PDT
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Ingersoll Rand Air Needle Scaler-8 CFM 4600 BPM #125

$129.99
End Date: Tuesday Sep-17-2019 2:55:30 PDT
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INGERSOLL RAND 172 AIR PNEUMATIC NEEDLE SCALER IR 172 TOOL

$219.99
End Date: Saturday Aug-24-2019 13:03:02 PDT
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INGERSOLL-RAND 172 NEEDLE SCALER/ CHISEL

$65.00
End Date: Saturday Sep-7-2019 8:44:51 PDT
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Ingersoll Rand 170PG Pistol Grip Pneumatic Needle Scaler 3,000 BPM 1/4 NPT 90psi

$225.99
End Date: Saturday Aug-31-2019 13:06:47 PDT
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