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.

 

Atticus James Canon T5i Unboxing Video

Atticus James Canon EOS Rebel T5i EF-S 18-55 IS STM Kit Unboxing

I am always excited to play with new camera gear and just gear in general. After a few months feeling naked
without my DSLR I finally found a great deal online to replace my Canon T4i.

Stay tuned for future reviews using this camera.

Click here For the Unboxing Video.

Leatherman Tread: Now Boarding First Class and Business Class

As many of you know, I own two websites, a firearm review site GearsofGuns.com and “AtticusJames.com A guys Life In Review” site. I have written a few reviews about the Leatherman tools over the last few years. So when I heard about the Leatherman Tread, I jumped on getting one as quick as I could.

 

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Easy? Check

 

Complete? Not So Much

The Leatherman Tread is not the one and done tool you should carry. I doubt the designers had that in mind when they dreamt this tool up, I believe what they did want is a tool that was easy to travel with and that was something that went with any style. They came up with this:

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Around the World in 28 Days….Well the Miles Anyway

As you can read in my previous posts, I just spent a month in India. I just quickly did the numbers so you can see what the experience was.

· 3 Countries

· 9 Airport security check points

· 9 Flights

· 10 Security checks from hotels, tourist attractions, etc

· 10 Airports departing and arriving from

· 29,656 Miles Flown

· Circumference of the earth at the equator = 24,901 miles

Why do those numbers matter? Because that means that in all three countries and in all 10 security checks I went thru, never once was my Leatherman Tread questioned. It was never looked at as anything more than a bracelet. I never once had to check it in my bag. In fact, in two airports I didn’t even have to take it off my wrist.

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Looking at diamonds in Surat, India.

TSA Approved

The Leatherman Tread doesn’t have a knife on it, so it is TSA approved. Most people who see it look passed it, as it just looks like I am wearing an unusual watch band or a metal bracelet.

Crazy Person Here

I am right handed, but I normally wear my watches or bracelets on my right hand. Most people think that I am a crazy person doing that. Honestly I am not really sure why it matters. If I am right handed wearing my watch on my right hand, so what? I like it on my dominant hand.

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All The Tools

The Leatherman Tread has a bunch of tools on it. Hex keys, wrenches, screwdrivers and even a SIM pick. I found it to be really handy for me on the trip because I used a camera holster. It is a spider holster, which has a metal plate with an hex key to attach the plate to the camera.

The problem was, that is blocks the battery compartment. Every time I needed to change the battery, which was often, I had to loosen the plate to get to the battery. I didn’t carry the Hex key (Allen Key) with me since I had the hex key on the Leatherman Tread to change the batteries.

A Conversation Starter

This was fun for me. People would watch me take off what they thought was a watch, fold it and use it to remove a plate. It gave me something else to use to connect with complete strangers, other than just trying to start a conversation about nothing.

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The Price

The Leatherman Tread starts at $160 for the Stainless Steel model. It isn’t a cheap tool and to be honest it isn’t my go to tool in most cases. But it is a tool that has it place. It was perfect to travel with. It is great for those times when you don’t need a heavy duty Leatherman or a full tool bag. It comes in really handy. And let’s admit, it looks great.

The Weight

At first it felt heavy on my wrist. That is mainly because I hadn’t worn a watch in over 10 years. Now that I wear it whenever I leave the house, I don’t really notice it.

I have learned not to swim laps with it on because it feels like a weight dragging my arm down. If you wear a big watch or a smart watch, you probably won’t even notice the weight.

Final thoughts

I still carry my Leatherman MUT at the range and my wave when I know I’ll need a tool. For daily operations, The Tread does just what it is suppose to. Be an awesome bracelet and backup tool.

I really want the black Leatherman Tread too. I would like to see if I scratch up the bracelet as much as I have this one. The scratches really aren’t noticeable unless you are really playing with the bracelet. I believe that is just normal wear and tear that seems to happen on things I own. That’s just the kinda guy I am.

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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.

 

Leatherman MUT First Impressions

This is my first impressions of the Leatherman MUT (Military Utility Tool). I plan to release my full review later this month, after I have had a chance to use the tool more. I have had the Leatherman MUT for about a week now. I haven’t used it much in the field and it has spent most of the time in its pouch on my person or in the desk next to me.

SPECS of the Leatherman MUT

MUT SPECS

The Leatherman MUT weights in a 11.2 oz. or 317.5 g so it falls on the slightly heftier side of what I normally carry (Leatherman Wave 8oz).  The weight is not that noticeable on my hip.

I did take the 3/8 wrench/ AR front sight tool out of the pouch as I am afraid of losing it. I have been carrying the Leatherman Rail to the range since I got it Christmas 2013 which has the sighting tool on it. I think if maybe there was a way the wrench combo could have been added to the MUT that might have been better. I don’t know yet and I will get back to you on my finding later.

Serrations VS. Straight Edge

The Knife has serrations which I have never been a fan of on the same blade as your straight cutting blade. Since Leatherman was trying to make this the best battle tool they could, I get it, as there are a lot of people out there that like that. It is all about getting the tool to fit your hand and not weight 400 pounds.

A Gunsmiths Point of View

The carbon scraper will be nice when I am cleaning the review guns as they tend to be more worn than my firearms. I took this tool into my gunsmith who agreed that this was designed nicely for taking your guns down.

The pouch is sewn to handle even the heaviest of wear and tear. I will talk more on the webbing and how it adjusts for your belt or molle gear in the next article. 

Overall Thoughts 

I am very happy with this new (to me) Leatherman MUT.  I can see this replacing my Leatherman Wave for everyday carry.

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