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Thought I'd post up some of what I consider to be really favorite hand tools I've built up over the years - the amount of stuff I've worn out is amazing and recently I've had to start replacing a lot of things . Finding good quality without going broke is tough , but here's some good examples.
One of the best places to get high precision with incredibly tough steel is Japan - their idea of a screwdriver makes the rest of the world look pathetic - Vessel is one of their top companies. Philips screws , as some may know , are designed to "cam out" at a certain torque limit. Japanese Industrial Standard cross head drivers are intended to easily exceed the torque limit of the fastener - and never slip. The angles of the tips are slightly different - use a Philips driver on anything made in Japan , such as a motorcycle or Japanese car and you'll absolutely ruin their cross-head screws. Use the right driver for the job - it really applies here.
Nice part - use that JIS cross head driver on a Philips screw, it grabs so hard they can snap the head off before slipping.
US market distributor is JDV products on the east coast - Larry is the best contact in sales and can help answer any questions. I have set up a discount code for IH8MUD members - maybe I can get him to set up a Red Square discount as well - he's done us a great service.
Take a gander at their Impacta line - it has a built in breaker mechanism in it for use with a hammer and they truly work quite well. Even the rusted, nasty screws on my old Land Cruiser snap right loose with their tools. Vessel supplied Toyota as well as KTC , Kioto and a few other companies in the included tool kits in their top line trucks and cars. The tool kits in some of the older Land Cruisers were amazing - a nice canvas roll that even included a mini grease gun . These trucks were designed to live in the worst corners of the planet and survive, nothing else like them.
Just a few of the Vessel drivers I have, didn't have an Impacta silver one handy as they live in the Cruiser at all times, lol...
My absolute favorite hand drivers I've ever used, super comfortable on the hand and excellent grip - very hard but not brittle tips that will knock the most stubborn fasteners loose easily - made by KTC with dark lacquer wood handles, beautifully built and not very easy to get . They have to come directly out of Japan - no US distributor will bring them over for some reason.
When it comes to pliers I've worn out every brand you can think of - from Crescent, Channelock, Klien and everyone else including some German built. They all wear out their teeth and really never work like they should - Knipex beats everyone as far as I'm concerned. Oldest pair I own is 8yrs old, not one sign of wear on the teeth yet and they grip far better than anyone else.
Knipex Cobra pliers - try these and you'll melt your Channelock's out of disgust - these grip far better, have a wider range, more torque transfer and far harder teeth . They hold so well they will stay on a round object by themselves.
Knipex high-leverage diagonal cutters - rated up to very hard piano wires, small bolts , ect. They can even handle my 3/32" 312 & 316 SS tig filler rod that would destroy any Channelock or Klien cutters - dented both brands on that stuff already, these handle it fine but take some force.
For that heavier 1/8 Stainless filler in higher grades, bolts or anything else that will fit in the jaws - Cobolt compound leverage cutting pliers from Knipex , love 'em and effortless in how well they work. These have been through about 4lbs of ss wire filler already as well as other odd jobs including hardened metric screws . Barely started to remove the jaw coating....lol.
Knipex 6" angled needle nose pliers w/cutter. Very well made, excellent grip strength and tips that don't wear or bend, unlike everyone else.
Knipex S shaped special needle nose pliers - these reach those pesky cotter pins and hair pin clips while allowing you to actually see what you're doing. Perfect for working on carburetors, wish I had these 25yrs ago.
More to come soon - show us your favorites, it's interesting to see opinions on different brands/uses/durability . I've learned the hard way over the years you replace cheap tools again and again, learning the whole time if you'd have bought better quality you'd have only done it once. I do have some literally throw-away stuff - and it shows it's been used for that very purpose, but I keep those cheap tools around to prevent destroying an expensive specialty tool, some of this stuff is very expensive but worth every penny when it lasts and does the job. One lousy special long-armed puller cost me $500 back in the day when I was working in the shops, but still have it and use it far more often than I'd like despite the cost, it's well paid for itself over the years. Wish now I'd spent the rest on the complete set of heads/arms/attachments - today they are worth a lot of money above what they originally cost but it's done the job well with some attachments I've made to fit it . Just pulling the hubs, steering wheels and hitch pins on the Horse was worth the cost alone.
I have two means of cleaning paint/rust here and some thoughts that might help others about their use and mods to make them perform better . One is an old Snap On glass bead blast cabinet that lives in the basement shop , the other an older model Clarke sand blasting pot . The Snap On works ok , but it's gun was super expensive as well as replacement tips and especially the tempered glass window in the cabinet . Solved the gun issue with a TP Tools Scat gun with a carbide blast nozzle and their custom pickup tube design which helps to better mix air into the media stream since this cabinet is a suction type . The dumb glass window and it's associated gasket was replaced with some aluminum extrusions , gaskets and just common grade single strength glass from the Hardware store . Lasts just about as long as the tempered , much easier to change and I've only broken it once . I also opened up the cabinet's air intake with a larger hole and diversion baffle to help it flow air better . Still needs a proper dust extractor , will eventually get a Scat Hepa type as they have a nice design and far better pricing on filters and such . TP also has some pretty good rubber coated gloves at half the cost of Snap On - and they last longer .
The Clarke blast pot has been a pain in the keister for a very long time . I hated the dead man valve setup it used , the tips weren't easy to get nor cheap for their short life span and they only sell the dumb things in 3-packs that are 3 different sizes , if you need only the 1 size you're screwed with quite a few useless spares . A trip to the large Auction site and solved that problem by switching to a ball valve setup that a guy builds that uses the more common and far more durable 3-3/4" long by 5/8" tip by 1-1/8" base tapered ceramic venturi nozzles . Now - for the warning : this is not a dead man setup , if you drop it or something happens to you that setup will not shut itself off since it's just a common ball valve , so be wary with it . However , those tapered cone style nozzles last 50 times longer than the little junk design short ones that come with these common Chinese built blast pots . There is another dead man gun out there that might work better if you want to go that route and it will use the cone style nozzles , but it's quite cumbersome and hard to use in tight areas . To stop blasting , this one works by just shutting the ball valve off , quickly . Be aware that his included valve won't last long since it's brass - the thing wasn't even machined straight and the Black diamond media found it's way around the ball in short order , so it started to leak/bypass air pressure a bit . Once that gets started , in a short time of about 100lbs of coal slag it blew a hole in the side of the valve . Found an old heavy USA made steel valve rated for high pressure steam systems - this one should hold up for a long time .
First , let's start with a bit of lesson on media - it can be the biggest part of what you're trying to accomplish . Too heavy of a grit requires a much larger nozzle and far higher cfm compressor , which most people don't have . The profile left by that larger media or screen size can also damage lighter gauge sheet metal , aluminum and other soft metals - it will leave a very rough profile . Now , on heavier rusty , scaled steel such as 1/8" thickness - it's perfect but having enough cfm is the problem .
Here's a chart to help understand the media sizing :
The numbering system is the screening sizing - 2040 means grit size between 20 and 40 grit , which is pretty aggressive and works only with larger cfm/hole size tips , otherwise it will clog easily . At 3/16" nozzle sizing , that would require either a very high volume reciprocating 2-stage compressor over 30cfm or a engine driven rotary . Running 30/60 grit and using the smaller 1/8" nozzle allows the use of a good quality 2-stage compressor in the 23-28cfm range . Common size machine for most shops and finding a good used one is generally pretty easy . It must be a continuous run capable unit - not the cheap modern versions sold in the stores today but a commercial grade type with a heavy cast iron pump and at least 5hp . Anything smaller/lighter won't last long and can't keep up with the demand of the cfm required - you'll just burn it up and probably ruin the pump/motor in short order from heat . I use an old early 80's Speed Air 27cfm 2-stage unit with 5hp heavy series motor - this thing is north of 500lbs total with the 80 gallon tank and was a freebie - but needed repairs such as new legs and some work on it's pressure switch . It's ran here for nearly 20yrs now with barely a glitch , oil changed when it turns dark and new air filters when needed - will probably outlive me . Nice part of this one is the common Champion rebuild/gasket/reed kits will fit it as the pumps were made by Champion in my hometown of Princeton , Illinois . If you can find an older R-30 series equipped pump/ 80 gallon compressor used - buy it as they run forever . Prior to 1985 is best , but even later models are far better than other brands .
Now , to the pot -
This old Clarke used a crappy cast tee and brass ball valve to regulate the media at the bottom of the tank . This results in a less than consistent media flow and the tee's won't last long due to the media having to make that 90* turn when it's mixing into the air stream . I found some mods others have done on the net and ordered a malleable iron wye fitting in 1/2"NPT . Not easy to find , but they are out there -
This fitting mod allows a much smoother transition and far better/more consistent mixing of the media and air as well as provides better overall air flow/volume . Much less clogging at the valve as well . It took some adapters and such to get it fitted but sure made a difference how well the unit works .
I'll have to get some better pics but you can pick the wye out in this photo of yesterday - trying to clean out a batch of wet media from the pot (no , not fun) .
Blasting this irritating 6.5'x12' US Cargo utility trailer and it's heavy mill scale/rust/paint . They evidently used imported steel and the mill scale layer is tough to get off - not to mention they painted right over the top of it , which allows it to rust from inside out easily . The heavy rust/mill scale where the decking was sitting had to first be removed with the needle scaler - otherwise you'll spend a lot of extra time blasting it off as the stuff creates a cushion to the media stream . Needle scaler is the Ingersoll Rand attachment version that fits the common air hammers threaded heads - scaler runs on a simple medium barrel one and works great for the $40 cost at TSC .
This all started when the trailer was loaded , the big D180's hydro coupling failed and I had to put the trailer on the jack loaded . The original tongue was only built with 1/8" thick 2x3 angle iron - not a good idea in my opinion but I'm no engineer . Needless to say - the tongue failed when the trailer tried to roll against the wheel chocks when it was on the jack - just a slight depression in the driveway did the damage as the tongue just twisted into a pretzel as I was trying to hook it up to the truck . Watching it slowly go sideways to the ground in the truck's rear view camera is a sight no one wants to see , trust me .
New tongue is 2x3x3/16" wall rectangular tubing , US Steel specifically . All welded with 7018 rod with beveled joints in 2 passes for proper strength . This will also help stiffen the nose of this thing - the angle iron allowed far too much flex in the front half of their design - it had cracked 4 welds in the main frame already - all of which have been properly repaired .
Between the heavy mill scale and rust in the main frame areas I've had to switch from the lighter 80/100 grit from Menard's https://www.menards.com/main/building-materials/concrete-cement-masonry/bagged-concrete-cement-mortar/black-blast-blasting-sand/p-1444445322601.htm
to the more coarse 2040 Black Diamond from TSC . The only nozzle size I had here was the 1/8" tapered cones so I'm waiting on UPS this morning to bring the 5/32" size nozzles from McMaster in Chicago - I love how they can get me stuff overnight .
I'll try to get some better pics today of the blast profiles , Clarke pot tank mods and the nozzle setups I'm using . Maybe it will help others determine what to get and how to use it when cleaning their tractors/equipment/trailers for restoration work or otherwise . So far this mill scale issue has cost me 14-50lb bags of coal slag . I should have used the heavier grit size to start with , but the finer grit should have done the job . I will say this - the Black Blast brand from Menard's might be cheaper at $6.99/bag , but the amount of dust and extra fine media isn't worth the savings unless you're doing very light work . The Black Diamond brand is far more consistent and nearly no dust or fines , but it also costs more at $7.99/bag . If the trailer hadn't been so bad to start with I'd have used a large tarp to catch the media and recycle it into the pot with a sifting screen to keep out the junk . It's more work , but does save money in the long term .
Hope this all helps - figured I'd give back to the forum a bit while I'm waiting on the brown guy to show up with my nozzles ...lol .