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Everything posted by fm2176

  1. fm2176

    What tools did you buy today?

    It sure is. Around 2014 I was frequenting GJ and made note of the DeWalt SCMS penny deals others were scoring. That kicked off my HD aisle combing but I never scored anything better than an $.02 deal (usually about 75% off) in that area (Savannah, Georgia) Since then I've gotten two penny deals--3 cheap calipers on one occasion and a weed puller on another.
  2. As the title states, what is your favorite and/or most used level? This thread is intended to primarily discuss spirit levels, but feel free to bring up any other style if you use that kind almost exclusively. Length, brand, type; I'm interested to hear what you use and/or prefer. I have a number of levels but find myself using 24" and 48" box or beam levels most of the time. Lowe's decision to clear out Fatmax levels a couple of years ago resulted in my acquisition of lengths up to 96", but to be honest I've yet to use any of those. As for brand, I like Empire's US manufacture at an outstanding price (particularly during the holiday sales), but my Fatmax levels tend to be my standbys. Finally, as an aside, I just bought another 2 pack of the Empire torpedo levels. At $5 apiece you can't go wrong, and I find them to be perfect for versatile magnets to stick on the fridge, entry doors, or elsewhere.
  3. fm2176

    Why Ridgid (AEG)? Why Not?

    This is the same as the DeWalt and Milwaukee threads. Though Ridgid seems much less popular in these forums, what made you choose to buy into the brand, or set you against the idea? For me it was the Georgia heat. I was sweating away in my truck while staying overnight with initial entry soldiers in the field, loving the space in the backseat but unwilling to let it idle all night for the AC, as my coworkers would do in their much newer vehicles. All of the buzz around the forum and on other tool-related sites was about the upcoming release of the DeWalt fan. It was late August, I saw the fan would be available in October, and I figured that enough was enough. After seriously considering Ryobi, a Special Buy lured me into Orange. Buy two bare tools, get a 2.0Ah starter kit free. Two is better than one, right? Plus they had a few 4.0Ah two-packs left over. The next day I forked over some $220 and walked out with two fans, three batteries, and a charger. Follow-up Special Buys netted the router, ROS, air compressor (bought for $150, returned and rebought for $50 a week later), and vacuum. Follow-up clearance deals found me with a special edition 4-tool kit (mainly for the two additional 4.0Ah batteries) and belt sander. The fans? Well worth it, I used both Monday while replacing my brake booster and master cylinder in the searing heat. Everything else? Outstanding so far. The LSA for everything? Kicked back once for the belt sander, scanning and uploading the receipt saw it approved within a few days; the 4-tool kit took a couple of weeks to process but was approved without a problem.
  4. fm2176

    Why Ridgid (AEG)? Why Not?

    I own three of the 3-piece stacks, four milk-crate style boxes, two newly acquired organizers, and a few miscellaneous medium and small boxes. They are all great and if anything have held up better than my ToughSystem boxes so far. The only issue I've had is with one or two of the open-top boxes warping slightly after resting at an odd angle for a while (they were haphazardly stored and fell).
  5. fm2176

    What tools did you buy today?

    Went to Home Depot with plans to buy the M12 1/4" ratchet with free 2.0 battery. That doesn't qualify for the promo (3/8" and Fuel 3/8" and 1/2" do, however), so I ended up with the Packout combo I never planned to buy. Also added the low profile organizer. Here are a few pics next to the ToughSystem and Ridgid combos with organizers, to include the layout of each organizer: Note the height of the Packout handle compared to the other two, allowing for an extra box if needed; overall not too bad, but we'll see if it's worth twice the holiday price of the other two.
  6. fm2176

    DCD996 - Type1 & Type 10 differences

    A quick Google search on the subject pulls up a number of similar questions on this very site (not sure if Google results are skewed by the fact I'm a daily visitor). One such thread is here: The consensus is that the types are based on minor internal differences, though a thread on the DW715 miter saw a few years ago reveals that the Type 3 removed the ability to add the LED light and some believe that later types might indicated cost cutting features to meet price points. If the latter is true, I could see the saw-bundled DCD996 cutting a few corners to save a few dollars.
  7. fm2176


    Also completed. First saw this a few minutes after you posted it but the survey wasn't yet up. One suggestion would be to add a "sometimes" to the question about going for another socket. As a former mechanic I'm generally pretty good about estimating socket sizes, but if working blindly or with unfamiliar hardware I occasionally have to try a few different SAE and metric sockets before getting it right.
  8. fm2176

    Just Joined

  9. fm2176

    Lowes is struggling

    I wrote the lengthy post above on this very subject, but can't blame anyone for missing the link in the wall of text. ☺ We can only hope that this is a proactive business move that is designed to streamline Lowe's operations, as opposed to the reactive measures taken by Sears in recent years. Unlike the latter chain, Lowe's seems to stay fairly busy, well stocked, and with newer stores, technology, and more helpful associates. On the contrary, Sears mostly stuck with anchor locations in malls built 30-50 years ago, has archaic ('90's?) checkouts in most locations, and hard to find associates that are often unhelpful.
  10. I'm not surprised, as SBD and Lowe's probably want to maximize Craftsman sales. After seeing some of Craftsman's newer tools, it seems that they will be covering the gamut between lower-tier Stanley and Fatmax tools.
  11. fm2176

    New Ridgid Clear Organizer

    I just wanted to add a few more pictures of the newest addition to my Ridgid modular toolbox assortment... Side by side with the 4 or 5 year old small box/organizer: Looks similar to the older box besides the lid: Inside as originally configured: As predicted in the "What Tools Did You Buy Today", the new organizer's bins fit in the older box: Unfortunately, the older box's black dividers don't fit well in the slots of the new box; they'll probably work but a piece of plywood would be sturdier. Notice the bend in each divider: The smaller divider boxes are the same size, though the newer ones can be discerned by the corner notches (on right in picture).
  12. fm2176

    Lowes is struggling

    I could see this as having potential. Perhaps eliminate the contractor packs in the regular stores (or keep them but reduce the associated discount) and have bulk building materials, hardware, and expendable/wearable items such as bits and blades.
  13. fm2176

    Lowes is struggling

    This is an interesting concept, but would likely only work in the largest of metropolitan areas. Lowe's isn't exactly a small store, so HD would have a hard time filling it only with premium tools and materials. Factor in too the fact that losses are high enough in regular stores--about four years ago it seemed like butane torches were being stolen from every greater Savannah-area store. I know I found packages missing only the torch both hidden around various stores or sharply reduced on the clearance shelf. This is from Savannah to Vidalia to Brunswick to Americus, basically all of Eastern Georgia and over 200 miles in-state. I've seen too many open boxes and, while losses are probably insignificant in the grand scheme of things, they impact both costs and profits. I wouldn't think that Home Depot would want to assume the risk of having large footprint stores with multiple blind spots and entrances/exits, all filled with only the highest quality (yet still mass-marketable) tools, equipment, and materials. If I were a thief, I'd definitely choose the "Pro" store over the standard one. In my mind, likely driven by different experiences than you, I could see a similar concept working, should HD's largest competitor (at least in the Eastern U.S.) go under. That would be to buy the stores where Lowe's has dominant market share. Most of the aforementioned towns have basically two choices for tools or hardware nowadays. Lowe's, Ace, or maybe a smaller chain like True Value or Do It Best. Many will have builder's supply stores and maybe even a small tool store. Still, if Lowe's were to just disappear (not likely at the moment, though I'm sure people said the same of Sears 10-15 years ago), then Ace or the largest local competitor would be the go-to place for everyone in the area. Home Depot would establish a more compact store format in many of the newly vacated building (small-town Lowe's stores are dwarfed by stores in more built-up areas). I like your concept, but feel as though it would be better served in a store the size of, say, Dollar Tree, though building materials and lumber would naturally increase the size.
  14. fm2176

    Lowes is struggling

    I went to Lowe's for the first time in a month or so and then rediscovered this thread. A quick search reveals that the timing is near-perfect: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/these-lowes-stores-are-closing-in-the-next-three-months-2018-11-05 So, 51 stores are closing (30 in Canada and 21 in the U.S.). I mentioned above how the Southeast seems mostly locked down by Lowe's in smaller or more rural cities and towns, and sure enough, only three southern stores seem to be closing (for now), in Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. I also mentioned above how "bland" I used to find the store. Things are much more colorful now, however, with all of the seasonal Craftsman displays. There's red all over the place, contrasting nicely with the aforementioned relative drabness of most of their brands. Anyway, the Northern Virginia store I went into this morning was well stocked and organized, with probably around ten employees restocking or organizing shelves. Tool World was well-laid out and comprised perhaps 10-15% of the store (not counting Lumber and the outside portion of Lawn and Garden).
  15. fm2176

    Home Depot

    Stopped into a local store this morning and found the DeWalt DC385 reciprocating saw on clearance for $50. I got excited at first because a DCS387 kit was in its place, but no such luck. YMMV, but this isn't bad for someone still on the 18v XRP system, or who is budget-minded and already owns the DBA1820 adapter.
  16. fm2176

    New CT MIDI coming with Bluetooth

    I've yet to get any dust collection, outside of my cordless wet/dry vacuum (let a friend of my wife's borrow the noisy BF special Ridgid and don't expect to see it again). While the plan is to get inexpensive stationary equipment for the shop, I'd love to be able to eventually get a portable Festool. They're tools are far too rich for my blood, but I hear their dust extraction is hard to match (and admittedly, I like the look).
  17. fm2176

    Buying Auto Parts from Amazon

    I don't know about now, but I used to always hear good things about Rock Auto. Also, the major chains usually have good discounts on online orders. I've gotten to the point where I order online for in-store pickup, since they seem to reward such actions with 15%-25% discounts (not to mention the lines often suck in-store).
  18. fm2176

    What tools did you buy today?

    Not power tools, but I picked up a couple of the new Ridgid clear lid organizers. There are two double length bins with slide-in dividers to section them into thirds, while the other eight bins seem to be the same as the older organizer/small box. Increasing the modularity even more is the fact that there are rails molded in that should work with the older box's slide-in dividers.
  19. fm2176

    Dcs355b question

    Just returned from Home Depot, where the display DCS355B had a conveniently broken lever. It's hard to tell from the poor quality cell phone pics, but the lever is definitely plastic of some sort. You can almost see the texture and some areas of lighter (almost neutral) tones. This was a 2017-dated Type 2.
  20. fm2176

    Dcs355b question

    Just checked both of mine (Type 2, 2016 and 2017 dates); they're both plastic. Not that there should be a difference, but one was a bare tool while other came in a kit.
  21. fm2176

    STAFDA 2018 News

    I haven't had time to really track anything, so this is news to me. Thanks for the update!
  22. fm2176

    DeWalt 040 battery light failure

    I've had one of these for nearly three years, and accumulated two more since then. One had a similar issue, though not as terminal in nature. It would sometimes blink when jostled. I gave it to my brother and since it was fortunately still under warranty he simply had it replaced. While LED work lights are much nicer than their incandescent predecessors, but one frustrating thing is that most of them are designed to be unserviceable by the end user. Ten years ago, the bulky and awkward (by modern standards) work lights merely required a spare bulb or two. Now, with all the electronics and permanent LEDs, they seem to have a bit less durability in many cases (I'm talking about regular kit-style work lights, not the more specialized and toughened special models). Regardless, I hope you're continuing to enjoy your light, and that you have no issues with the new one.
  23. fm2176

    Sears Files for Bankruptcy

    Well, Sears has filed for bankruptcy: http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/sears-files-for-bankruptcy-mired-in-debt-and-deserted-by-shoppers/ar-BBOonxR?ocid=ientp I know we've been forecasting this for quite some time, but Sears may be gone sooner rather than later. According to what I've read, there are still some who are cautious optimistic that Sears will stick around, but others think it will only last as we know it through the holiday season. The nostalgic side of me is saddened by the thought of a store my family shopped at for decades simply ceasing to exist, but then again this isn't the first time such an instance will have occurred. Montgomery Ward preceded Sears' decline, while more specialty big boxes also no longer exist. Thirty years ago, Circuit City and Toys R'Us were juggernauts in the electronic and toy retail sectors (respectively), and the retail landscape was vastly different prior to the internet becoming so omnipresent. So, what does this mean for us? Almost nothing, really. When was the last time anyone here even stepped foot inside a Sears? For me, it was probably last year, when I visited the Columbus, GA Sears prior to it closing. I picked up some discontinued DeWalt safety footwear for cheap (the fact that it seems to have been discontinued for a couple of years at that time yet was still in stock speaks volumes about the store's sales) and walked through the tool section, feeling melancholy as I realized it might be the last time. Let's face it, though, those of us who frequent home improvement stores, supply houses, online retailers, or myriad other sources for tools and supplies are unlikely to even notice if Sears ceases to exist.
  24. fm2176

    Sears Files for Bankruptcy

    I don't exactly stay abreast of the latest business news, but based on a few sources, it seems that Best Buy is considered to have had a revival of sorts. A few years ago they were in dire straits but have reversed and are actually pulling a profit again. JC Penney was mentioned in a few articles, but the consensus seems to be that they will gain from Sears' current situation. They are, after all, one of the few national mall anchors left.
  25. fm2176

    Blinded by Brand Loyalty

    Before I begin, let me recognize the fact that many of us here and on similar forums are somewhat receptive to owning tools from different brands, being capable of recognizing that the "best" isn't always proprietary to a favored tool brand. Also, though this thread will naturally concern tools in general and power tools in particular, a representative example of how close-minded some people are can be had in the endless debates on which truck brand is best. Ford guys stick to Ford, GM to GM, Dodge to Dodge (or Ram to Ram I guess nowadays), etc. So, how many of you have met someone so blinded by loyalty to a certain brand that they refuse to acknowledge that sometimes that brand comes up short? Such consumers sometimes waste tons of money on products that receive poor reviews or that are inferior to offerings by competing brands (sometimes even at lower cost), yet become rabidly defensive when confronted with facts or differing opinions. In this thread I'll share my thoughts on a few of these types of individuals as well as their potential motivations for staying loyal to their preferred brand at all costs. First, a couple of valid (IMHO) reasons: 1) Wanting to restrict the number of cordless tool platforms: cordless tools take batteries which can be quite expensive and which usually require separate chargers between brands and/or voltages. Even if a tool company doesn't offer the absolute best tool for the job, necessity sometimes dictates that a slightly inferior tool is purchased for the sake of battery compatibility. For example, a company that runs M18 tools might not desire to buy DeWalt nailers, even though they seem to perform better than Milwaukee's current offerings, since doing so would incur additional costs to buy and maintain batteries for those. Another example might be considering whether or not to buy a FlexVolt circular saw when one already has 20v Max. Sure the FV battery can be used with existing 20v Max tools, but the reverse isn't true, making the jump into the new system pricey if only one tool is to be purchased. 2) Availability: the availability of tool brands is subject to a person's location. In some areas, one brand may be easy to obtain while another may be impossible to find locally. Add in factors such as authorized repair centers and other customer service aspects of ownerships and use, and the effect that a brand's availability has on loyalty is evident. While home improvement centers have made common tool brands readily available in most areas, they have also limited that same availability to an extent. Consider Home Depot's two proprietary brands, Ryobi and Ridgid. Both have a loyal customer base that swears by the tools, with the former appealing more toward novices with some definite professional use and the latter sometimes considered an underrated brand that competes with premium brands. Both are only available at Home Depot, however, limiting owners of said brands to shopping there in person or online. This has the opposite effect of limiting those brands' appeal to tool users who might otherwise be interested. As a Milwaukee owner, should I buy the fan that my local hardware store carries and have instant gratification? Or should I order a Ridgid version, wait for it to be shipped, and have to use the internet if I have any issues with it? I had the opportunity to expand into Metabo tools for cheap a couple of years ago, but passed on it as I knew that I'd be unable to find additional tools and accessories locally once the supply ran out. Now, on to some less logical reasons: 1) Country of origin (COO): let's face it, few tools, and fewer power tools are domestically manufactured anymore. Yet some people may point towards COO as a reason to only buy one brand while ignoring another. I have a large number of DeWalt tools and often point out that some are assembled in the US. I usually add the fact that some others are made in Mexico but most are of Chinese origin. Why? Because I'm misinforming people who are less familiar with tools if I imply that DeWalt produces all of their tools here in America. I've read comments around the internet from people slamming Milwaukee because of its parent company while praising DeWalt for supporting the local economy. Some people even confuse a brand's name with its COO; I'm sure some of you have met a person who though Milwaukee tools were made in Wisconsin. The same holds true for Bosch (German), Makita (Japan), and other brands whose names denote the country they were originally founded in. For better or worst, the majority of power tools are sourced from mainland Asia now, regardless of whether the name sounds American, German, Japanese, or Ethiopian. 2) Tenuous claims: most companies market their tools as being superior to other brands, often using data that is skewed to put them in the best light. Some people fall victim to this tactic, considering x brand to just be better than y brand because the packaging says so. Amusingly, these same people are quick to call foul when another brand claims to offer something "their" brand doesn't. Since I've mainly covered brands that most of us recognize as solid performers, I'll pick on the perennial whipping boy of tool retailers: Harbor Freight. Harbor Freight seems to rely a lot on having the best prices, often coupled with deep discounts making good deals absolute bargains. In turn, they gain a lot of loyal fans who stop there before even considering another retailer, since they just assume that no one can beat them. This tactic has doubtlessly led to decent sales on their newest cordless tools despite the fact that more tried offerings from the likes of DeWalt and Milwaukee can be had at little, if any, more cost. I can't name how many times I've heard someone lavishing praise on Harbor Freight while dismissing the very thought of paying a little more for a lot more quality. Deceptive ads comparing tools and accessories to name brands costing much more leads people to believe that they are getting more for their money. In some cases, yes. In many, no. 3) "'Cause I said so": this is akin to the truck brand argument touched upon in the opening paragraph. Some people just allow their experience and pigheadedness to make them oblivious to reality. I have owned DeWalt and have had no problems with their cordless tools. I also own Milwaukee (albeit much fewer tools) but have an issue with the trigger on an impact wrench. Should I sell my red tools and badmouth the brand as producing substandard garbage? Of course not. Should I place both my yellow and red tools on a pedestal and declare them vastly superior to all tools because they are mine? No, most major tool brands, even lesser tiered ones such as Porter Cable and Ryobi, offer exceptional value to customers, and no amount of he said, she said will change that. In other words, let our experiences enlighten us, but we should never refrain from trying out something different if we need to. 4) "It's the best, why buy less?": this can sometimes be justified by the want or need to restrict platforms, but if we find ourselves buying a $300 tool for a one-off project because it is red, when a green one can be had with battery and charger for half the price, we might be drinking too much Kool-Aid. This is the most subjective entry on this list as it really does depend on a number of variables, but it could be viewed as compromising versus not doing so. Brand loyalty sometimes finds us choosing a certain tool not because it is truly needed but because it is the best compromise (even if it is overkill) and it's offered in our favorite color. If I need to drill a few holes in masonry but lack a hammer drill, do I buy the M18 Fuel SDS-Plus, or consider the much less expensive Ryobi? If I'm going to use it more than once, maybe. If I'm not even certain I'll keep it afterward, why waste the money? Ultimately, we decide what is worth spending our hard earned money on. Brand loyalty can be advantageous to our bank accounts but it can also drain them. In a similar manner it can make us appear to be snobs, or worse fools, especially when two hardheaded people with different opinions start arguing over whose tools are better. I guess it's all part of the joy in having so many options available, though; maybe it's me who is the fool writing such a lengthy post about this.