A FEW DECADES AGO A MASTER Plumber told me of a great pipe wrench. This wrench had saved his hide on several occasions, mostly because he had it with him. He had it with him because it was compact, light, and very strong.
The brand? Ridgid. Their 10″ aluminum pipe wrench. Easy to pack, doesn’t take up too much room, hard to forget. When I had the money and the right job, I closely followed his advice. Instead of the 10″, I acquired the 12″. Packs perfectly in the tool satchel with a closed length under 14″. Very light. Virtually unbreakable. And if the wrench does splinter apart (I’ve never heard of this happening) Ridgid will be happy to replace it for you. Free.
The Ridgid Aluminum Pipe Wrench. A perfect wedding gift for the do-it-yourselfer.
Back when this cub chronicler began his journey, the February 2014 North American Winter Storm struck. Warm Valentine’s Day hearts awoke to 28″ of snow. Our country was somewhat unprepared. Smaller retailers had long since exhausted supplies of shovels and snow-melt.
Home Depot, by chance or foresight∆ had just received pallets of new snow shovels. In their foyer, waiting for the lucky few, one could choose from three USA-made snow shovels. I opted for a “Good” and a “Better”. Both of these Ames True Temper® products have held up wonderfully, proving themselves yet again against Blizzard 2016. Not as severe, with only 22″+ inches, the 4′ drifts are a bit of a challenge. Yet the True Temper chews through the white stuff without a whimper.
The second shovel selected in 2014 has the same handle but polymer body. The less expensive of the two, we find it handier with thick light snow. Today we salute the True Temper 18 Inch Poly Combo Snow Shovel with D-Grip !
∆ Repeated requests for comment have been politely ignored. We shall never know if The Home Depot acquired their stock of snow shovels by chance or foresight. Regardless, we honorarily christen this company The Hope Depot, both for their contributions to the economy and because it is easier to type.
Scottsdale Arizona is one of my favorite towns in America. Residents take care of their properties, the streets are clean, and there is plenty of shopping. Old Town Scottsdale is their “downtown”, where one could lose themselves for a day. Some stay a lifetime.
One of my favorite areas is First Avenue west of Scottsdale Blvd. Grimaldi’s Coal Fired Pizzeria. Arcadia Farms Cafe. The studio & gallery of world-renowned potter, Jim Sudal.
Jim’s life has had its bumps and turns. Several albums worth, as a blues musician would say. But with redemption comes discovery; Jim’s work is now at the forefront of artistic creation.
Jim Sudal is well-known throughout the Southwest for his desert inspired ceramics and pottery which is exceptionally unique in the world of ceramics. His work reflects the beauty of the desert landscape through vibrant, garden-inspired colors and well-known imagery such as prickly pears, blooming aloes, and his signature design – the agave. – Jim Sudal Ceramic Design
Speaking of shoes, did we mention how cheap I am regarding footwear? We discussed Alden Cordovan Loafers when my favorite $120 dress shoes fell apart after only a year. Long conversations with Kenny over leather, insoles, lining, vamps, and welts produced one firm conviction. The cheapest shoe is the best shoe. He then opened Sherman Brother’s inventory to my perusal.
Wow, what nice material! Hey, these are absolutely the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. But Kenny, did you notice the price? $400? $600?
Who doesn’t love a great salesman! Kenny Sherman brought it all down to my level. You buy a shoe that is designed and manufactured to last years after it becomes your “favorite”. Instead of falling apart, it is just getting started. After three-to-five years, your cost is identical to an average shoe. Another year or so, and you’re MAKING MONEY! And when something fails, this shoe can be recrafted. SOLD!
After Kenny hooked me with superior dress shoes, he appealed to my vanity. “Jim, you seem the type of guy who likes wearing loafers without socks”. Yup, quietly wealthy. Tennis camp, dinner at the Club. That’s me. Who doesn’t like the feel of leather against skin? I invested in my first pair of Alden Unlined Flexwelt Loafers.
These are, literally, the closest thing to going barefoot. Your foot will sing the praises of superior American craftsmanship. New England at it’s finest! Easily surpasses their chowder! Skin soft suede. It is no wonder a Special Order of these takes months to get. Asia’s appetite for quality American shoes is voracious.
If you want a three season (four, in some locations) shoe comfortable as a fine leather glove, visit Kenny. Or someone with his passion. Get your feet accurately measured. Slip into a pair of America’s finest summer shoe. Alden’s Suede Unlined Flexwelt Loafers!
Socks? We don’t need no stinkin’ socks!
Putting the squeeze on
WAY BACK, WHEN MY job seemed to be lugging an eighty pound (36 KG) box of tools behind a guy who smoked often and explained little, I began to notice a pattern. Almost every plumbing job required the use of one particular set of pliers, which Boss called the 430’s. These side-jaw pliers were of a size that fit nicely around the trap nut on a kitchen sink drain, with many uses in addition. One could squeeze, bend, pry, hammer, support, scoop, and more with these pliers. Multiple jaw widths were possible with these tongue-and-groove, slip-joint pliers.
After I finally began buying Craftsman tools for the lifetime warranty, I asked, “Why doesn’t Craftsman make a similar product?”. Simple. A tradesman could buy one set of each size,
and never have to buy another. As it is, the original Channellock, patented in 1934, will last the typical plumber for several years before replacement is necessary. And the 5th generation of the DeArment family, still running the private company founded 1886 in Evansburg, Pennsylvania by George B. DeArment, has a great warranty, if there should be something amiss.
Channellock Pliers Model 430 • The Perfect Gift