Happy 2012 to all of my faithful followers, sorry that it has been so long since my last post, but the holidays and other activities of January have placed my blog on the back burner. But now, just for you, I am giving you my Top 10 low-tech tools/accessories for 2012. These are tools that I will use everyday, or devices that I think are list-worthy. Enjoy!
#1 - Keurig Single-Cup Brewer:
If you've read any of my recent blog posts, then you know that I use my Keurig Single-Cup brewer every morning. I love coffee, and this machine is a low-hassle, maximum flavor, brewing machine. I own two of these, that's how important they are, one is located at my office and the other in my house. This is a must-have for 2012 if you do not already have one.
#2 - Work Boots:
I know safety should always be first, but coffee is paramount to me. Let me explain--I'm not always in an industrial environment, but I always have coffee. Enough said.
These Thorogood work boots boast an electrically isolated Vibram sole, 75 lbs rated steel toe, 8" leather uppers, and have a classic look that will make your coworkers jealous. These really are more comfortable than they appear and will keep your feet cozy/safe all day---no matter what the situation. Every morning that I put these boots on, I know that I'm going to get a lot of work done.
#3 - Cell Phone / Calculator:
Need to phone home? The supervisor wants to talk to you? Need to find the volume of some box squared? Not a problem with my Casio G'zOne cell phone. This thing is tough, but still feature-packed.
I have integrated my cell phone into my daily routine: alarm clock, weather alerts, bank balances, texts, clock, navigation, email, calendars and more! This is my go-to device for any analytical questions I may have throughout the day. Also, it makes calls and handles voice-mail. Awesome.
#4 - Rope:
Rope is a tool? Absolutely, a tool that I use multiple times a week. In fact, it is perhaps the most important tool in my toolbox. Rope is an ancient tool and versatile for so many different situations--especially when working at height. The photo above shows my 4 main working ropes. The first 3 are 5/8" haul lines (also called Derby Rope or Braided Poly Rope), which are used for non-human hoisting/lowering. The fourth rope is an 11mm New England dynamic rope used for climbing, rappelling, or other human-contact situations. Trust me, you would be absolutely amazed what you can do with a piece of rope...
#5 - 8" Crescent Wrench:
For hanging theatrical lighting or tightening/loosening any kind of bolt, an 8" crescent will get the job done. I also have a 6" crescent that stays in my glove-box, but an 8" is a must-have for any serious stage work. This is an 8" Kobalt with a side-sliding adjustment to quickly change sizes. The side-slide adjustment is a real time-saver, but if you have to apply serious torque to a bolt, stick with a regualr Craftsman 8" wrench. I hardly ever use the built-in caliper section of the jaws, but they're there if you need them... (my wrench is pictured with a Black Diamond carabiner + Black Diamond daisy-chain, which is my preferred fall protection for my hand tools.)
#6 - Screwdriver:
I suppose any pair of Straight/Philips head screw drivers could suffice for this category, but my Klein 10-in-1 is 10x the screwdriver in the same amount of space. The driver features: 5/16 In. & 1/4 In. nut drivers, #1 and #2 Phillips, 1/4 In. & 3/16 In. slotted, #10 & #15 TORX , and #1 and #2 square-recess---all in one screwdriver! This tool is so handy that it stays in by back-pack and is always ready to be used. Worth every penny.
#7 - Canon 5DII + 50mm lens:
I love second-shooting with my wife, and I have taken more than 30,000 photos in the past 3 years, and I plan to add another 8-12,000 this year. What have I used for the majority of those photos? The Canon 5D Mark II + Canon 50mm f/1.4. Simply put, this set-up delivers the most bang-for-buck in digital photography. Don't believe me? Every photo for this post was taken with this set-up, except the photo above, which was taken with a Mk2 + 50 f/1.2 (costing nearly 3 times more than the 1.4), and you would probably never be able to tell the difference.
50mm is a great all-around focal length, and the MkII is the best sub-professional Canon body currently in production. This is a work-horse set-up and will deliver amazing images every-time. Even though I absolutely love Canon's 50mm f/1.2, this lens has no comparison for its price.
#8 - Fluke Multi-meter:
My Klein 10-in-1, my tape measure, and my Fluke multi-meter make up the trifecta of tools that live in my back pack, yes it is that handy. The Fluke's main (and most obvious feature) is its 600amp clamp-meter, which is rarely used around the house, but is essential for balancing loads on large transformers, generators, or various feeder cable.
This meter also measures Volts AC, Volts DC, and has an Ohms/continuity meter with audible alarm that I use ALL THE TIME for lamping. Peak hold features and a vivid green backlight, what else could you possibly want? Buy one used or new, it doesn't matter. They're built tough.
#9 - Sharpies:
You may not consider Sharpies (or any ink marker) as an essential for 2012, but for me they are an absolute necessity. During my drawing courses in college I discovered a love for fine-point Sharpies.In fact, before I started working on this blog post, I sketched it out (as seen above) on thick resume paper with fine-point black sharpies. I'm not sure why, but I feel the most creative and the most artistic when I use Sharpies. Sharpies have too many possible uses to mention here, plus they're only a couple of dollars for a two-pack. Take the plunge and buy a couple.
#10 - Tape Measure:
Finally, the last on the list, a tape measure. It has been said that man's greatest accomplishment is being able to measure his universe---that's why I always carry a 12' tape measure. Yes, I do have a 25' and a 200' tape measure, but this one lives in my backpack (where everything essential lives). 90% of the measurements I need fit within 12', so why lug around something larger?
Maybe I'm too analytical, but I am constantly needing to measure things. Furniture sizes, rope diameters, various flanges/caps/clamps, or widgets. My daughter Annie loves tape measures. Whenever I come home she asks to borrow my measure, and she spends hours measuring things. What do I do if I misplace this tape measure? Simple, a dollar bill is (approx) 6"x2.5" and quarters are approx 1" in diameter...but a tape measure if by far superior.