Lamp of Learning
NOTHING is as annoying as inadequate lighting when you decide to read in bed at night. Eye strain, wrist cramp, and thought interruption are all symptoms of a poorly designed book light.
Whether camping with the kids at the Franklin Institute, assaulting a defective circuit breaker in a blacked-out debris strewn basement, or preserving your marriage during marathon midnight Machiavellian mental musings, a quality headlamp is an investment which, time after time, will pay handsome dividends.
Personally recommended is the Surefire variable-output LED series of headlamp. Designed for our nation’s fighting forces, this item has crossed over as a favorite of spelunkers, tradespeople, bookworms, and Hollywood [recently featured on “Glee” during the power blackout episode].
Variable-output means that you can crank the brightness from a super-dim to a blinding beam. LED means it is a low-power-consumption, practically indestructable light bulb. Meets Department of Defense qualifications for being US origin. Order a box  of Surefire CR123 batteries to go with it. You’ll be set for a couple of years.
The list price is pretty high, as one would expect for a device that can blink S-O-S for days on a tossing life raft, but that online photo video place has them for much less. I buy my batteries direct from Surefire, however, two boxes at a time, and suck up the delivery charge.
Survival With Clean Socks
A FEW years back, when a hundred miles riding bicycle through the open country *on an empty stomach, without water* was a lark, I was given my first set of DeFeet cycling socks from the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia. Snazzy white socks, open mesh across the top of the foot, low to the ankles, with a bright yellow stripe at the top. So began my stylin’ bike gear collection.
Despite care and hand-washing, these socks began to fall apart after about ten years. The horror! But since The Internet had by now been invented, I was able to track down the manufacturer. Interesting story here, but the short copy is that a cycling guy wanted a better sock, invented it, and used his family background to open a knitting facility. It was the first open mesh weave airflow design sock, totally customizable. DeFeet was born. The year was 1992. –DeFeet
The Grab Bag is recommended. A dozen pair of seconds or over-runs, delivered, works out to about $3 per pair. Significant savings over standard per-pair price. You get an eclectic mix, possibly including logo’d socks from Triathlons in far-off lands as well as Benefit Runs for well-deserving causes.
Editor’s note: The Grab Bag apparently comes and goes. At the time of this edit, Web Deals appear to be the only “special”.
SAFETY IS NOT AN ACCIDENT
BACK when starting out, a few years into the manly occupation of tradesman, I quickly discovered one thing about cheap eye protection. It didn’t work well. Uncomfortable, foggy, loose, scratch-prone, easily broken. Did I mention uncomfortable?
Searching high and low, it turns out that good eyewear could not be bought off the shelf. Specialty eyewear = specialty supplier. I headed to Grainger [pre-internet].
This is where I discovered the Uvex S3960C Stealth Safety Goggles. Great fit, even over my eyeglasses. Replaceable lens. I eventually bought them for all my people. Anyone swinging a hammer or grinding an old pipe apart would get eye protection. Then came replacement lenses, 10-to-a-pack. Everyone got new, clear replacement lenses when required.
You can’t spend too much to protect your eyes. Quality eye protection, at about $10 a set, is cheap. Uvex by Sperian. Anti-fog. Scratch-resistant. Gap-free fit. Made in USA.
GIFT-giving time again! With the giving comes the re-gifting. But not all is bad. This year I received a post holiday re-gift, more of an Anytime Present actually, from my dad. A tool pouch I gave him last year. But not just any pouch.
One I’ve wanted for years but never splurged on. Usually, I buy the canvas bags for cost savings. But Klein makes a beautiful bag in leather. This one is made in the USA with mostly domestic materials.
Mmmmm! Smell that leather! See the brass zipper glint! Built to last. Lifetime warranty!
Klein offers a lifetime warranty on material defects and workmanship for the normal life of the product.
Klein makes tools and supplies for the hardcore professional. Any task you set out to accomplish is easier and more enjoyable with top-quality tools. Next time you need hand tools, treat yourself to the best. The job will turn out better, and you’ll have invested in tools that will last. – jim s. –