Market Monday: ToolTopia

This week’s Market Monday supplier is ToolTopia. ToolTopia is an online tool supplier – they have just about any type of tool you might need at pretty good prices. I purchased my Motorguard air filter and cartridges from them for my plasma cutter. Check them out if you are looking for tools.

Handy Tool: Knife Sharpener

I recently picked up a Gatco Professional Knife Sharpening System. I haven’t had a good knife sharpener before this. Not only is this a good knife sharpener, it is cheap and easy to use too. Gatco has a few different kits ranging from upper $20s to $80 or so. I chose the “professional” kit as it has a good selection of stones and was still relatively cheap. The next model up has diamond stones and the next model down has one less stone. I am sure both would have done what I needed of them, but I chose to get the ultra coarse stone with it as well – planning for a future need.

The key to this system is the blade clamp angle finder thingy. Gatco calls it an “exclusive knife clamp/angle guide,” but whatever. This device clamps the blade securely and holds the stone and guide rod at the correct angle. The difference between this system and ones I’ve use previously is in this system the stone moves and the knife remains stationary. The clamp has settings for 11, 15, 19, 22, 25, and 30 degrees. This versatile system can sharpen nearly any blade out there.

I was only touching up some blades, not putting a new edge on any knives I tried it on so I only used the fine and medium stones. I found it very easy to use and very quick to give great results. I did have some trouble chasing a burr from side to side but it only happened on one of the three blades I tested it on so I am not sure if it was my technique of the blade steel quality.

I plan on building a knife here in the not too distant future and this will come in very handy for that process as well. I may even try to adapt it to sharpen my hatchet.

New Air Compressor

Sanding the truck has been an exercise in patience with the old air compressor – one of the rear fenders took something like two and a half days to sand. This led me on a quest for a new one a few weeks ago.

I spent many hours reading about compressors: single stage or two stage, pressures, CFM ratings, gallons, and a multitude of other things. I scoured the internet reading reviews and arguments about what is and is not important for air compressor purchasing. I finally settled on an Ingersol Rand TS4N5 from Tractor Supply. It is rated as 5HP, 80 gallon, 15.8 CFM at 90PSI. It features an oiled cast iron pump (though made in India) and an Emerson 230v 5HP motor claiming 22 amps. I don’t have a flow meter to check the CFM rating, but it will start up, fill the tank, and shut off while running a 6″ DA sander. It is very quiet too; about as loud as a shop vac.

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