A Quick, Down and Dirty Job with the new DeWalt Tools

I had to replace the stoop boards leading onto my back entry yesterday since they had finally rotted way after umpteen years of being buried under the roof drop snow though the Maine winters. The stoop is on the north side of the house, and the boards never get enough light to dry out even in summer rains. Add in that the years of sand and grit going thru the cracks had built up to touch the undersides, and there is no wonder they were getting poggy.

It was just a little throw-away job, but the perfect example of the ones that get postponed from the hassle of getting out “all those tools”.

The DeWalt crew made short work of it.

 

The DeWalt DCS570, 7 1/4″ circular saw gave a wicked clean, smooth, and high-speed cut on the 2×12 stock, despite the fact that I had mounted an old, used blade [24 tooth framer].

I was very impressed with how quickly it powered through the 2 x 12 Stock.It was equal to what I would’ve expected out of my old SKILPro.

I was equally impressed with the blade break feature… almost instant stoppage.

I used the DCS367 recipro for the cutout to fit my post footing. Even though it was just eye-ball guess-timated, it was close enough for government work.

Finally, I ran the 3 1/2″ treated deck screws in with the little Bosch impact driver… 12 in less than 2 minutes. The Bosch set is quite powerful for its small size.

I don’t think that I had mentioned previously that one of the nice things on the DeWalt batteries is their charge level indicators… 3 LEDs that let you see what’s left. I used the same battery in both DeWalt tools [the smaller 2Ah one] and there was no power drop at all.

I was done with the job in twenty minutes, and that included getting the 2×12 down from the barn and the clean up afterward.

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A Tale Of Three Tool Kits~ Part One

I have often mentioned my 90%/50% Rule [If you can get 90% of the utility for 50% of the cost you’ve made a good deal]. However, I was also raised to believe in the idea that you should buy things for the long-term. This means purchasing with the idea of getting the best quality, and then not having to replace the item [at least for a long time]… especially for things that you know you will be using regularly. Ever since I started spending my own money, I have been a fan of L.L.Bean’ clothing, Sears-Roebuck’s “Craftsman” brand, Toyota, my Bark River and Grohman knives etc… established brands you know you can count on for not only the finest quality, but also for standing behind their products with good service and warranties. For me, most particularly, this policy has always taken the form of spending full price for excellent, professional grade tools.

IMG_4700

Now that the Château is up for sale, I have been dealing with the collection of “Everythings” that has accumulated from four generations of my forbears, and however many families that actually includes. This also means that I have been selling off all the contractor’s grade tools that I’ve accumulated over the last four decades. And it means that since these tools were worthwhile when first purchased, they had a reasonable resale value, and I’ve been able to make a considerable amount back… I can’t call this “profit”, but I can call it a depreciated return on investment.

This is only a portion of the tools I had up for sale. By the time this photo was taken, many items had already sold.

Realizing that I would still want to do many things with power tools that I have done before, but not at the contracting type level, I have been looking into the new generation of 20V battery powered toolkits that provide a wide selection of tools. All of which are powered from the manufacturer’s proprietary battery system… you have to choose a product line or suck up the cost of multiple battery systems and chargers. One of the biggest advantages though is that there are no more grimy power cords to deploy and have snaking all over underfoot. [In the clean out I’ve found I had accumulated 14 of them, ranging in length from 10′ to 100′]

While I was in North Carolina with the Rev. elfLiza a Bosch drill-driver and impact driver set went on sale at an irresistible price point of $99 including a charger, two batteries and a “fitted” case. They were only 12V, but had the advantage of being much smaller in the hand that most of the 20v offerings. Since she lives in an urban setting where Amazons”Prime” means overnight delivery, I picked it up.

My buddy, TOG already had a similar drill driver from Makita that I really liked using, so I pretty much knew what I was getting… Decent power and the big advantage of being small enough to drop right in the pouch of my tool belt or stick in a hip pocket. While I had purchased the set with the full intention of leaving it behind in North Carolina for use down there, I discovered I liked it so well, and it was so small that I could tuck it under a seat, and it went in the car and came back to Maine with me.

I wasn’t wild about the little, squared off fabric case that came with the Bosch Combo, and I ended up I substituting a small Gladstone tool bag that I had up in a closet. It was a perfect fit for the entire kit… drill & driver, both batteries, charger, plus two sets of specialty drill bits and a DeWalt driver-bit set in a hard-shell case that I already had. Pretty much anything I am likely to want to do with a drill/drive can be done with what’s right in the bag. Despite their small size, the batteries charge up fully in just over a half an hour, so I can’t really imagine any work slowdown ever occurring at my expected level of use.

Additionally, I had an older set of Ridgid brand battery tools that I bought while I was building the Château.

IMG_4847This had the hammer drill, a smaller drill-driver, a 6 1/2″ circular saw and a work light, as well as the charger, three large batteries and two small. They were state of the art back then. I offered them up for sale both on Craigslist and at barn sales with the other power tools, but no one was buying, even at the decent price I offered. They all still run well and were great tools when they were purchased, but the batteries are now about two generations behind, and don’t hold a charge as well as they used to. I had tried several times to sell them all for $35, and have ended up hanging on to them more or less by default.

In retrospect, I’m grateful that no one took me up on the deal. My lady friend is coming up for several weeks from North Carolina, and I will simply send this set back down with her to replace the Bosch set that I absconded with. That way, that I will have perfectly OK tools available there until I make the actual move.

 

All this post is by way of preamble. Even with these two perfectly usable sets in hand, I knew that in the long run I was going to want something better and featuring a wider variety of tools to replace my pro setup. I had sufficient money from all of the sales of my other tools, so…

…and THAT will take us to Part Two of the series which I will post separately.

The Dewalt DCK694P2 20V Max XR 6-Tool Combo Kit Quick Review ~~ “A Tale Of Three Tool Kits”~ Part Two

This will be a broad look at the DeWalt Combo Cordless Kits. Reviews of the individual component tools will come as I get a change to work with them in the coming weeks.

After reading a lot of reviews, and looking at a lot of the various “Combo” sets in some of the big box home improvement stores, I ended up choosing to go with Dewalt’s 20 V Max “XR” system. Even then, it was a real problem choosing from all the varieties of kits offered. Not only do the tool selections very from kit to kit, but DeWalt also offers them in 18V as well as 20V, and brushless versus brushed motors.

See what I mean…?

I went through a lot of Internet research, and I’ll share some sources that I’ve found the most worthwhile right here in case anyone else is considering a similar purchase.

I finally limited my choice to two six-tool kits: the DeWALT DCK684D2 and the DEWALT DCK694P2.  They offer DeWalt’s heavier duty, brushless motors [the lower cost sets have brushed motors], and having the power I am used to from my contractor grade tools was one of my primary criteria. DeWalt claims that the brushless motors run far cooler, and have “run-time” between battery charges that can be more than 100% greater.

Trust me. There is a good bit of difference between these two very similar looking sets…

Since I was already well equipped in terms of drill drivers from the previously mentioned Bosch and Rigid sets [see Part One], the three tools that made the most difference to me as I tried to hone down my choices, were the reciprocating saw, the 7 1/4″ circular saw, and the new multi-use “oscillating tool”. The same three models were offered in each of these kits, so the real choice was down to the other amenities offered by the drill drivers and the battery sets.

[Interestingly enough, all most all of the tools seem to have LED lights built in, so the “work light” DeWalt puts into all the combo kits to boost the “tool-count’ is especially redundant]

There is a basic cost difference between these two sets of approximately $100 due to the bump from a 2Ah battery set in the x84 series of kits to a 5Ah battery pair offered in the x94s. The 694 kit also upgrades you to a hammer drill. A real “buyer’s remorse” concern with many of these DeWalt Combo sets arises from the fact that the prices on these can change up or down overnight and by as much as $50-$100 over the course of a month. If the price on a set “lurched” it could make it more or less desirable in an instant. After much obsessing, and way too much compulsive researching, last weekend it seemed that the price on the 694 set had dropped by nearly $100 overnight, bringing it to within $20 of the cost of the 2Ah one. I made my choice, pulled the trigger and placed my order.

…. And promptly screwed myself.

In my rush to buy I ordered the wrong set. I acted too quickly, and without reading in detail, without looking closely enough [ I probably had my glasses up on my forehead], and I ended up getting one of the x94 series hammer drill kits alright… but it was the four tool one that did not include the oscillating tool… that’s why all of a sudden the price was so inviting. My mistake was compounded by the fact that the particular Amazon vendor my order went through had only a 30 minute window during which you could cancel your order… of course I didn’t see the error until the next morning. And, of course, it was also Memorial Day weekend so their customer service was closed. You can probably guess… the tools shipped on Sunday night, and I couldn’t talk with CS until Tuesday morning. Despite the difficulties, and after some finagling, I actually found myself quite satisfied once the tools came and my final cost evaluation was done.

Eventually, I had bullied my way up through several levels of CS management with the seller and was able to get a 5% reduction in the charge on the cost of the 594 kit. Then I went ahead and ordered the oscillating tool as a “standalone kit” that also came with its own single 2Ah battery, a [2nd] charger, and a tote, as well as a plastic tote box of DeWalt brand O-tool blades, accessories, and some of their own proprietary shaped sandpapers. To finish replacing the corded tools I had sold, I also went ahead and ordered a nice, easily portable DeWalt 2 gallon wet/dry vac that operates both corded and cordless… since this was not included in any of the kits it made no difference in my final price.

This is my shot of the new gear fresh out of the boxes… no blades or accessories attached.

What I ended up with:

  • 996 hammer drill/ driver
  • 887 impact driver
  • 367 reciprocating saw
  • 570  7 1/4 inch circular saw
  • the new 355oscillating multi-tool with the bonus of everything that was included from buying a standalone kit
  • the 581 wet/dry corded/cordless vac
  • two charger bases [one not shown]
  • two 5Ah Max batteries and a single 2Ah one
  • [the only tool that has not been replaced so far is a jigsaw. The Bosch version that I sold was their top-of-the-line unit and I got a very good price for it on eBAY… so good in fact that my replacement cost is a “wash” when the DeWalt cordless unit drops back to levels I have already seen. Even more so if I choose to get a re-furb]

My total cost for all of these top-end DeWalt tools was only $65 more than if I had purchased the lower cost set [the one I had originally intended to get] together with the shop vac. I am satisfied because the cost is really deferred by the fact that I got the more powerful hammer drill, a total of three batteries and two bases including the higher powered batteries, and the nice accessories kit that came with the oscillating tool. All of the tools are about as good as I could get, and all of the expense was covered by the sale of the corded “contractors” tools, and the other accumulated tools I let go. [In fact, I will come out quite a bit ahead once all of the other extra contracting and shop stuff has sold or gone to auction]

Wrap Up:

Why I got the DeWalt lineup:

  1. All the sites I read reviewing the cordless tool “combo sets” from competing brands always placed DeWalt high at the top of their favorites
  2. I really wanted to stay with the larger 7 1/4″ Circular saw that I was used to, and I also have have a metric shit-ton of 7 1/4 inch blades for various materials that are still in excellent shape. In the circular saw comparisons that I read, the Dewalt unit was consistently the highest rated unit, and additionally, I had just never warmed up to the 6 1/4″ Ridgid saw despite its smaller, more handy size.  Other than the size, the argument is that the left-mount blade is easier to see and keep on track for most right-handed folks. I prefer the wider base on the board that the right-mounted blade on the 7 1/4″ saw gives. I have 40 years of practice looking down the back of my right knuckles. I can hold my speed square in place with my left hand, the saw is rock-steady on the board surface with no tilt-off,  and the cut off board end falls away to the right… that’s just “how I work”.
  3. The DWS570 circular saw unit also has a heavy aluminum base plate with flat edges rather than one that has been stamped out of lighter material where the edge curves up. This may seem like a small thing, but it makes it much easier to guide the plate with a speed square for more true and exact cuts.
  4. Lastly, I am really excited to try out all the stuff I can do more easily with the new Oscillating tool… small/tight sanding/ flush cuts/ scraping, etc. I want to do some furniture restoration and refinishing when  get to Carolina, and I think this tool will be perfect for those needs.

What I like about the tools comes right down to their convenience:

  • NO cords/Light weight…. I don’t know how many times I have put off doing a small job around the house simply because the set up, with the extension cords, power cords, the out-of-reach outlets and the heavy tools themselves made it seem so daunting. The trouble I had to go to seemed out of proportion to the accomplishment.
  • Anywhere/ Anytime…. I can carry a power tool up to the barn for a quick, one-board job with no hassle. I am done and back before I would have gotten set up with my contractor’s gear.
  • Quick Charge/ Long Use… My mistaken order actually got me the larger, 20V Max XR 5Ah batteries that I might have had to buy down the road. They are advertised to charge in only 90 minutes and the brushless motors on the x94P2 series tools are supposed to deliver incredible battery life and up to 100% longer run-time. Right now I cannot see any circumstance in which I could possibly run down all the batteries and end up “powerless” unless I intentionally left the charger or extra batteries behind.
  • I am already truly loving how easy the 2 gallon shop vac is to carry around and use. It makes staying ahead of my cleanup much simpler… and that makes the job go quicker.

The Cons:

  • the DCD996 Hammer Drill is likely over-kill for my probable use. Any need likely will be so limited that the old Ridgid hammer drill would have done just fine
  • I also suspect that time will tell me that I have no real need for any drill/driver chore that is bigger than I could have dealt with using the Bosch pair… those have surprising power for something that small and being only 12V
  • the 5Ah “Max” batteries weigh a hefty 1.3 lbs each which is a trade off of a considerable load in the hand for the long use between charges. They make the tiny Bosch pair look mighty inviting for any chore involving the drill or driver. [The whole Bosch drill with its battery only weighs 2.3 lbs.]

Right now, these tools a completely new to me. I have not had any time to put them through their paces and get a feel for them. For that reason I am not going to go any further with “reviews” of the individual tools.

Once they get some use, I will post my experiences and review each one individually.

Bonus Review To Come:

There is actually a fourth tool kit for me to talk about and review. In the things that were left in my barn several years ago [by a man who promised, “only for a little while” and, “I’ll pay you $25 a month”…. and then never did, and ended up unable to return at all] there was a LNIB Dremel 3000 Rotary Tool in a case, and with two full, and different, sets of accessories. I haven’t even had time to power it up, and it is still in the plastic bags inside the case. …Gotta get to that, too.

Incoming On The Snailmail

 

The free-range Postal snails should be carrying these down the scenic, yet perilous trails leading into the Wannaseeamoose Valley in the next few days.

A mildly used Bark River Northstar that comes with a custom prototype sheath, as well as this amazing one, custom-made and hand-tooled in dragonscale from Diomedes Industries. I also get the original BR sheath.

“The Project Knife” Wrap-Up

 

This was the photo on EBAY when I bid and won the no-name, “Project Knife” back in early February.

The stacked leather handle was a bit loose, ragged and uneven. The sheath was a sub-in, and too short for the 6″+ blade. The blade itself was dull, with some surface pitting etc.

Only the tiniest bit of cleanup and polishing on the blade by the time this photo [above] was taken had let me see that the knife was indeed worth the time and effort to bring it back up to grade. [this was after only 15 minutes work with some strop compounds and a bit of rag, right in my lap].

 

There was very little really wrong with the knife. Just neglect and abuse that needed fixing up. You can find the previous posts showing some of the progress by scrolling down a ways here on the timeline.

The handle took a bit of reshaping, but you can see how it was starting to come back.

 

 

 

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All told, I don’t believe I have much more than three hours of my time invested in the whole restoration process, and virtually NO money beyond the $10 cost of a replacement sheath. A good bit of the job was waiting for glues and etc to set between sessions, and I certainly didn’t “buckle-down” to the job. I grabbed a few minutes here and there.

I am completely satisfied with the end result. I have been finishing up the job with some work to clean up the brass blade guard, some time to further polish the blade itself, and some more sharpening and stropping. This morning I worked a bit of my friend CurleyMaple’s fantastic beeswax and oil mixture into the handle leathers to penetrate and seal the leather. The matte result gives a good, firm grip. Anyway… Imma callin’ it “done”.

I like the knife… and I think it looks great!

  • nice weight in the hand without being too heavy/ good balance
  • the colored bands at the guard and pommel cleaned up well/ the leather handle was returned to a rich dark shade/ that helps hide the fill-in that was necessary to tighten up the leather disks.
  • the blade came up very sharp with less effort that I has anticipated/ It remains to be seen how well it holds an edge over time, but I am betting it does as well as any.
  • the sheath is now a good fit/ I love the basketweave pattern/ the color deepened and the grain came out nicely with some Lexol/ I kept the old snap-strap from the sheath that came with it because it was broken in and had a better fit… and to give some continuity 

 

Yeah, I could have taken the Project Knife further, but I am looking for a tool, not a showpiece. I really do like the classic Bowie knife styling. Nothing fancy… just a clean, traditional shape that truly says, “hunting knife”. A lot of people have carried this style of knife through a lot of years… and it takes me back to a similar one I had in my Boy Scouting days. I am glad I went through the process to restore this one. I learned a lot, and will have no fears about taking on another knife project when one comes along.

Kindle VOYAGE e-Reader Review

I am an unapologetic Apple fanboy. However, I am not a fan of either Apple’s own iBooksReader nor the Kindle application for phones and tablets. Thus I am also a Kindle e-reader fanboy.

I started off with one of the non-backlit, keyboard models…something like the Kindle 2, I believe. I had to buy a little clip on light in order to read in bed in the evening, or out in my hammock in the woods, but I loved the “electronic ink” reading experience. As long as you were reading outdoors or with a decent light over your shoulder, it was phenomenally better than the overly bright and glaring tablet and phone readers available.

When the Kindle Paperwhite was made available several years later, I upgraded to that and was even more satisfied. It’s not only had a brighter and clearer screen with a higher pixel count, But it introduced a”backlight”… Actually a row four light sources across the bottom edge of the screen that projected up evenly and could be adjusted from barely there to very bright.

Somewhere around 18 months ago, Amazon introduced the Kindle Voyage to their lineup, but it was awfully pricey, coming in at around $200 as opposed to a Paperwhite price of just over $100.

There was actually nothing wrong with the Kindle that I’m currently using, but there IS always that nagging “newtoyaphilia” that all technophiles suffer from. A week ago, Amazon put put them on sale for a slightly reduced price and I was very tempted. However, I thought to check eBay listings and I found one in “like-new” condition going for right around $100. It had the added advantage of being unit that did not come with “Special Offers”… ads by any other name, and another $20 charge to turn off. Anyway, I lurked, I sniped at the last second and I got it.

 

The seller shipped it that same afternoon and I had it two days later. Thankfully since it was used, it was just as represented. I couldn’t find a single thing wrong with it… Not even a scratch or an uncleaned fingerprint.

So, why would I [or you] want upgrade to something [originally] costing nearly twice as much?  Well, to quote directly from the Amazon site:

  1. PagePress sensors with haptics~ PagePress is a custom-designed force sensor made of carbon and silver, which reacts to a subtle increase of pressure, triggers a page-turn, and provides a haptic response only your thumb can perceive. Because PagePress has no moving parts, the haptics provide you with the most minimal indication that you have pressed the button, to reduce distraction from reading.
  2. Sleek yet durable designs~ Kindle Voyage was designed to come one step closer to a sheet of paper, with a flush-front bezel for a clean, streamlined design. With a magnesium back and a specially-reinforced glass front, Kindle Voyage is both durable and sleek.
  3. An unsurpassed 300 ppi display~ Kindle Voyage features a bright, high resolution and high contrast display. The micro-etched glass display diffuses light to eliminate glare and matches the feel of paper.
  4. Adaptive front light~ In order to more closely resemble reading on real paper, we researched and hand-tuned the optimal brightness setting for every lighting condition. The adaptive front light automatically adjusts the brightness of the display based on your environment, and can even be fine-tuned further to your personal preferences. When reading in the dark, the adaptive front light slowly lowers the display’s brightness over time to match the way the eye responds to darkness.

VS the Paperwhite:

  1. Touchscreen where you “swipe” to turn pages, and touch to “click” features
  2. The screen is inset, and is of some type of poly material with a slight texture
  3. The actual ppi is the same at 300
  4. Only four light sources vs the Voyage’s six.
  5. They both share a feature where they can power-up and resume where you left off reading by opening a magnetic case if you choose to add one.

The Voyage is also a little smaller in all dimensions, and the difference in weight is actually noticeable when you hold it for awhile.

I read a great deal, preferring it to television, so these small changes in the Voyage’s construction and details are noticeable to me, but might not be to everyone. In fact, most reviews that I read when it first came out suggested that unless you break your old e-reader, there was really no reason to upgrade to the Voyage. I would agree with that conclusion overall, but because I spend as much time reading as the average American does in front of the tube, it seemed that the upgrade might be worthwhile on my part.

I really like the difference in ergonomics that are the result of the magnesium case and the flush glass screen. The Voyage simply has a better feeling in my hand. I like the idea that I can use either the new haptic press OR the old faithful swipe to turn the pages. And I especially like the changes in the back light. This was where I had always had my most difficulty with all of the models I’ve had in the Kindle line.

 

The early units did not have built-in lighting at all, so, it was wonderful to get the real lighting feature in the new Paperwhite when it came out. However, that backlight always had a problem of turning itself off all on its own. I would pick up my unit, open the case, and the magnet activated screen would power up right where I had left off reading… but about 50% of the time that was without any backlight. I even went so far as to have my original Paperwhite exchanged for a new unit in the hopes that the backlight problem would go away… no such luck.

The Voyage initially auto-set the brightness to the same 14-15 range that I had been self-selecting on my own in my standard reading environment. After several days reading I have not had the light drop out even a single time.

As far as screen resolution goes, on the the Kindles, no matter what version, my go-to typeface has been Bookerley set at 5 on the slider… this is comparable to most library books in size. On the new Voyage the factory reset default was only to 4, and I was able to read at that [more like a paperback] resolution with very little extra effort.

 

This does allow for more screen real estate and less page fiddling. Somehow, the combination of the new glass screen, the better backlighting, and the existing 300ppi resolution, have created a more readable screen.

One feature on the Voyage that I cannot make any confident comment on yet is the battery life. You’ll notice in the second photo above that the battery has already dropped by perhaps 30 to 40%. I think this is because I had only remembered to toggle the “Airplane Mode” just before the photo was taken. Amazon, of course, leaves it turned on at a factory reset… They want you to spend as much time connected and deep in their universe as they possibly can. I am sure that the constant searching for a Wi-Fi signal causes the battery to drop more than it might under just a reading condition.

The conclusion is that I am quite happy with this “upgrade on a whim”. Plus, my newtoyaphilia is damped down temporarily… always a good thing.  Speaking for me personally, somehow the various small changes Amazon has made between the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Voyage makes my reading experience better overall. The eBAY price and the condition of the unit that I received means that it comes in reasonably well on the 90%/50% scale as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four-sided Gordon Diamond Hone Block Review

I ended up with an unwanted credit at the Harbor Freight store the other day… unwanted because they couldn’t/ wouldn’t give me back cash for a return where I had already paid off the credit card charge. Anyway I now had $50 on a card that I was planning on cancelling, so….

I picked up a 4-sided Gordon Diamond Hone Block for $12 of the credit. I figured I could toss this puppy into the knife drawer in the kitchen and reclaim my nicer DMT and Eze-Lap diamonds for my good knives.

The block’s four bonded diamond surfaces are claimed to be 200/300/400 & 600 grit. Since there is no real standard for “grit” claims, and it’s “600 Fine” does seem much rougher than my DMT “medium”… who knows. Any diamond grit surface will wear down with any use at all as the less well “bonded” stuff scrapes off leaving the rest. I’ll find out more as time and usage break it in. Who cares?…. it does what it says, and it is what it is… it’ll be fine for my not so expensive kitchen blades.

[BTW: this “wear in” does not mean that the diamond surface itself is becoming worn out. It only means that the material that stuck up higher and was less well “bonded” into the steel abrades off first leaving the the remaining surface fully usable at the grit grade indicated. I have that info direct from my contact at Eze-Lap… I have no real concern that these steel/diamond bondings will wear down any faster than the more expensive ones]

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can certainly see the difference between the 200 and the 600, as well as that the eyelets that catch the honed off debris are quite adequate. They are actually deeper than on a DMT block. The manufacturer seems to have left just enough space beneath to let the crud wash right out under running water for cleanup. Being a diamond hone, it of course just uses water for lubrication. Both factors make for quick and easy use in a kitchen situation.

To try it out, I gave two carbon steel Old Hickory steak knives a quick tune up on the two higher grit sides… they really didn’t need anything more intensive than that.  Added in a couple of stropping passes on my commercial, restaurant supply house chef’s steel, and I’m perfectly happy with the results. I don’t need to shave with them, just to cut a nice, thin slice of rib-eye.

My next test was to go thru all four sides on a much larger 12″ Sabatier INOX Chef’s knife. I have had that one for years, and have had thoughts about not even including it in the stuff for the move South because the edge never seems to stay up to par… I have to whet it nearly every time I take it out, so, I don’t take it out. Now, I think I’ll leave it in the to go pile. The edge came back to waaayyy sharp very quickly.

My final test will be to take this new block Upptacamp and see what it can do the pitiful losers in the knife drawer there… it’s a knife homeless shelter. Talk about orphans… those wretches could stage “Oliver”. [Anyway, I’ll try to remember to post an update after the next trip up.]

 

The four-sided hone block fits down nice and deep in the included rest, but the thumb cutouts mean it slips out easily to swap surfaces.

There are even a pair of rubber grippy strips underneath to prevent it from moving around. The endcaps also have EZ-reference markings indicating the grit strengths that you can see over the base edge.

Best of all for me was that the block in it’s base was the perfect height to just fit down in my knife drawer without catching!

So far, and all and all, this seems a good deal at the price if you want something handy to keep you cutting in the kitchen.

 

Interestingly enough, the Harbor Freight price is several dollars cheaper than the same block [under different names] over on Amazon. So, obviously this is a Chinese made jobbie that gets rebranded over here. However, it seems to make the 90%/50% grade, given that a set of three graded diamond mini-paddle hones from DMT will run you $23+, I think it was money well spent.