LED Lenser X21r.2 Review

Atticus James checking out the 3000 lumen flashlight from LED Lenser. This beast of a flashlight is your heavy duty professional grade flashlight.

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Click here to see the video review of this monster flashlight.

 

The No Flat Discount Tire Review

I had a recent blow out on my dual axle trailer which sent me to Discount Tire. It made me think it was high time to write a review of years as a loyal customer. My family has been customers at Discount Tire for a long time. I called my local shop to see if they had the date we started shopping with them. Sadly, the only information Discount Tire had kept is from 2002 and on.

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While researching with my father, we realized that we have had at least 15 cars and trailers on the account dating back at least 25 years.

The Flat

While hauling my trailer a few weeks back I heard a noise. I looked to see if it had a blow out but my F250 didn’t react as if there was one so I had to pull over to check. I always have a spare so I mounted it and noticed I had belt separation (the metal bands inside of the tire had separated from themselves and started bulging the tires treads).

After work, I took the trailer and dropped it off with Discount Tire. Because I had purchased my tires through Discount Tire and I always buy the certificates. With the certificates, Discount Tire just replaced the bad tire and sent me on my way.

Certificates

Or “certs” as you might hear them called, are a way that Discount Tire warranties the tires you buy in addition to the manufacturer’s warranty. The price for the certs vary from tire to tire but in the end they will save you a good amount of money.  When you get a flat tire and the tread is still within safe driving tread they will fix the flat. If the flat is in an area of the tire like the side walls, where they cannot fix the tires, they replace them with a new tire.

Balanced and Rotated

Discount Tire also offers free balance and rotation for your tires and they always check air pressure. It is recommended to follow your vehicles maintenance schedule but for those of us who just are looking for a general rule of thumb it should line up with your oil changes, 7500 miles or 7 months whichever comes first.

Why I Have Been Loyal To Them For Years

They don’t do all kinds of car maintenance. They focus on what they are named for and they do it well… TIRES. This means they are never going to put the wrong brand of blinker fluid in your car. You are not going to be charged for consulting fees because you came in for a flat fix and they decided to rummage through your engine looking (or creating) a problem they can charge you to fix when the only thing wrong was your flat tire.

With loyalty, that does not mean I do not shop around for the best price. They have price matched a competitor’s price for me in the past.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to taking care of my vehicles I start at my tires. I am known by the manager at my local store. I am there enough getting my vehicles and trailers tires balanced and rotated that they know me. My father started me using them and I am glad I have. My truck is always taken care of. I am always in and out in a quick and timely manner.

One final comment, keep in mind this is a large company and there are always going to be a few bad eggs out there. If you have a bad experience, it pays to not hold on to the anger but to share your thoughts and opinions with their customer service. I talked with a few today and it was a very good experience.

Work Sharp Blade Grinder and Tool Grinding Attachments for the Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener

At the end of 2014 I reviewed the Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener. The company was very nice and shipped me out the Blade Grinder and Tool Grinding Attachments to test shortly after that. I wanted to wanted until after winter and into spring so I would be able to get a good use out of the tool grinder so I would have a enough time behind the sharpener to write a fair review.

The Tool Grinder/Sharpener

The tool grinder is designed for exactly what it sounds like. To grind tools and sharpen the cutting edge. I use three tools for all of my outdoor cutting yard work. a chainsaw, pruners and loppers. I don’t care much for use of an axe or hand saw unless I am just wanting to get some exercise in because the chainsaw makes quick work of any large projects. for my pruners and loppers however I dull them pretty fast. In my workshop I have a vise that I can secure either in and in just a few short passes I can be back to work with sharp tools.

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This tool grinder attachment was the easiest of the kit I own (tool grinder, blade grinder and the Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener) to get the edge I wanted since you are not looking for a razor edge on your gardening tools.

Growing up in the BSA we were always doing conservation projects that required us to fell trees. I would always have to spend 30 minutes getting my two axes ready for work before we starting felling trees. I wish I had this sharpener back then so I could always have the best axe heads. Before I would have to sit with the metal file and work on the edge and this would have made quick work of that. 

The Blade Grinder

I have not really liked this for sharping my knives. While out at a show in Vegas I saw Benchmade using the Blade Grinding Attachment with razor precision.  I have found I am better at getting a good blade with just the base Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener than I am with the blade grinder. I know that you can get a better edge on the grinder but I haven’t been able to achieve it yet.

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The Box

Work Sharp as far as I have seen only sells a “gear bag” for storing your sharpener and attachments. I do not like soft bags to store my tools in because I  prefer to be able to stack boxes on my shelves in the workshop. While over at my local home improvement store I found a Husky 16-Inch Rugged Hand Tool Box with Metal Latch. the box measurements of 8.8” W x 15.4” L x 8.2” in height. This box is perfect! It cost $15 online but $10 in the store.

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Overall thoughts

The  Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener is a great tool to have at your disposal for keeping your everyday knives at the sharpest they can be. If you are someone who does your own yard work and the tool grinder is invaluable. You always run a higher risk of hurting yourself or others when working with dull blades and edges on tools.

The blade grinder is something I am hoping to master in the next few times but until then I always have the main Ken Onion Edition sharpener.

(Attachments sold separately! Requires Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener WSKTS-KO)

Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener Review

For Christmas last year I went out and got myself the Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener (Without tool sharpener). I didn’t really spend much time trying it out for the first few months. It seemed complicated and I was being lazy with my semi-dull knives. It wasn’t until a friend who is in the Army came to visit, that I really took it out and started learning how easy it really is to get a razor edge.

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Introduction

I have been on the hunt for a razor edge on my knives since I was old enough to learn how to sharpen knives. I have stick sharpeners, block sharpeners, diamond sharpeners, kitchen and utility sharpeners. I have so many sharpeners that I have a shoe box full of them and I am still finding ones from my youth. In my early teens I destroyed a few of my cheap knives by trying to sharpen them with a rotary tool and a metal grinding bit, all in search for the elusive razor edge.

First Impressions of the Ken Onion Edition

At first I wasn’t impressed with the edge I was getting with this Work Sharp sharpener. It was sharp but I really didn’t feel I was getting my moneys’ worth from this Work Sharp sharpener. The kit comes with a DVD that walks you through the steps. I just wasn’t impressed because the knife wasn’t all that sharp. I figured this wasn’t a dummies guide to sharp knives and that it really took a long time to learn how to get the edge you were looking for.

My First Sharp Knife

After working with the sharpener for a few hours I figured something out. My knives had been to hell and back. I have been “sharpening” them for years on different stones and angles and I had made a mess of my blades.

I needed to start fresh and re-profile the blades to the correct angle (as per the angle and belt guide in the book). I took my P120 extra coarse belt (this is a step I took on my own without guidance from the book as they do not talk about doing this) and redefined the edges on all of my blades. This was the first and most important step I have found to the perfect blade.

You need to start clean and have all the nicks and divots in the blade removed. Once I had done that, I followed the user guide and lo and behold I had a razor edge on my 10 year old EDC (EveryDay Carry) knife.

I have noticed that the knifes that have been re-profiled last a little bit longer between each sharpening now. I can see how re-profiling is not a one step method. It may take many sharpening’s before it is a super sharp leather cutting blade.

My $10 Razor Knife

There was a deal on some website offering these folding half serrated knives for $10. I picked up one for each of my family. I wanted them to have an inexpensive knife they could carry without worrying about losing an expensive one.

For those of you who do not feel the need to carry one on you, I recommend trying it out for 1 or 2 weeks. Count how times you find yourself using it.

When I opened the package with the 4 knives I wanted to see how sharp they were. I tried to shave some arm hair and found I couldn’t even cut warm butter.

I wanted to put this Work Sharp sharpener to the test and see if I could find a real edge on the knife or see if I had just bought myself 4 knife shaped paper weights. I went to my first step of re-profiling the edge. I quickly got a razor sharp edge on this knife and now I have been carrying it for about 3 months.

The Belts

The Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener comes with 5 belts:

Belts
(1) P120 Extra Coarse Grit Norton Ceramic Belt,
(1) X65 Coarse Grit Norton Norax 65 Micron Belt
(1) X22 Medium Grit Norton Norax 22 Micron Belt,
(1) X4 Fine Grit Norton Norax 4 Micron Belt
(1) 6000 Extra Fine Grit SiC Micro Mesh

The “X” belts are the ones you will use the most. They are meant for every blade with the exception of serrated, gut and bread knives which you use the 6000 Belt on.

I have noticed that after about 40 knife sharpens the belts are starting to wear. The book says “Belt discoloration is not an indicator of wear. Engineered belts expose new abrasive as they break down. Used belts may take extra strokes but will continue to remove material. These belts will keep going longer than you think. Keep using them as long as they cut.” [Found in the Ken Onion Edition User Guide]

Final Thoughts

I have found my razor edge!

Once I took the the time to sit down and read the book and started practicing, the easier it was to put a nice edge on my knives. Work Sharp does not have a hard box for this $150 sharpen which I think would have been better.

I keep mine in the original box it came in with all the belts and book. I think if it had a carrying case, like that of most drills, it would really add to the life of this sharpener.  I have had a few friends come over with knives to have me sharpen for them. I have taught all of them how to do it themselves so they can take my Work Sharp home and sharpen all the knives they have at home.

Porter Cable 20V Lithium Ion Drill 2014 Review

I purchased this drill at the beginning of 2014 because all of 5 my Milwaukee 18V Lithium ion batteries had started to reach the end of their life span. I needed a good drill for some home remodeling projects and just normal honey do list items around the house.

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Introduction

Over the years I have owned five different cordless 18 volt drills. I have learned that about the time that all my batteries for that model drill, start to reach the end of their life cycle it’s time to shop. There is always a newer drill that is smaller, lighter and has better torque for a cheaper price than it is to replace my old drills’ batteries. I was lucky when I found this Porter Cable Drill on a deal-a-day site for a much better price than I had found anywhere else.

Specs & Features

· Voltage: 20

· Battery Type: Lithium Ion

· Max Power: 330 UWO

· Clutch Settings: 23

· Chuck Size: 1/2″ ”

· Tool Weight: 3.5 lbs

· Length: 7 3/4”

· Height (w/battery): 9”

· High performance motor delivers 330 Unit Watts Out

· 2 Speed gear box (0-400/0-1,600) delivers the power needed to complete large and small applications

· Metal ratcheting chuck minimizes bits slipping in chuck

· Battery gauge displays charge remaining in the battery

· LED light brightens dark work areas

· The compact size and light weight  allows tool to work in tight areas and minimizes user fatigue

· 20V Max Lithium Ion batteries with 1.5 amp/hour cells delivers more power and runtime in a smaller package

Size

This is the smallest, yet most powerful drill, I have owned as of yet. My last drill from chuck to back came in at about 11” which makes this drill noticeably smaller. The battery even come in at under 2” which is an inch and a half shorter than my last drill.

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Power

After about one year of use, the drill still has a very strong battery. I have on occasion drained the battery and had to switch over to my Milwaukee to finish the job. It is a simple remedy to just buy another battery, I just haven’t got around to it .

Torque and Speed

This drill has a lot of torque. If you are new to higher quality cordless tools it is important to remember that these are work tools and not just a cordless screwdriver. One of the ways to find out how much torque I have to drive a 3/8” lag bolt into a piece of hardwood like oak. If I can snap the head off I know that I have to watch what I am doing more carefully.

This drill has two speeds as most current construction drills have. You generally need to drop the speed down to “1” if you are using it as a screwdriver because it will easily strip out the screw head.

Weight

The biggest difference I like from a fatigue standpoint, is that the Porter Cable 20v battery is one pound less than my 18v Milwaukee battery . Any reduction in weight without losing any power is a major benefit.

Grip and controls

The grip size is perfect for my size medium hands and there is still room for larger hands. The grip is rubber so you are sure to keep a grip even with sweaty hands. The forward and backwards controls are in perfect reach for my thumb and index fingers to quickly change the direction. Your speed or torque switch is mounted on the top of the drill like most other drills and is very easy to switch when you need more speed or more torque.

This drill comes with two magnets on top to store extra screws while you are working on a project.

Charger

The charger is very easy to use. The only complaint or concern I have is the power cord. It reminds me of the power cord on the “no name” throw away drills that are given to people who don’t use power tools but feel like they should own one. The wire for the cord is either a 18 or 20 gauge wire with thin insulation so one needs to be careful when using it.

Final thoughts

Overall I am very happy with this drill. I would have liked to have had a second battery but for the price it isn’t a problem. If you are used to the older cordless drills you will like the way this drill handles. The battery life is very long considering how lightweight it is.