Like most folks, you probably read our stories and then move on to other things. But I like to go back and see what readers had to say. Here is a selection of comments from March 1-12 2015.
Premium Carpenter Pencils
Tim Uhler’s story about carpenter pencils really struck a nerve—probably because most people hate the pencils they use on the jobsite. Uhler wrote about two he liked, FastCap’s FatBoy and CH Hanson’s SuperPencil.
Brian Way, a frequent contributor to Tools of the Trade had this to say about the Pica pencil mentioned by an earlier commenter:
I use the Pica pencil (on occasion), purchased at Lee Valley. I really like how sharp the lead stays & it is the only pencil that seems to write on somewhat fresh finishes (unlike all other pencils...) However, I don’t like the diameter. It is way too skinny where your fingers hold it.
Will Repairing the Aluminum Body of the New F-150 Break the Bank?
Our follow-up to the story about the cost of doing body work on the new F-150 inspired Paul Wahler to say:
Another two comments about aluminum body trucks: For 30 years I drove an aluminum body "step-in" truck (the type that UPS, USPS and other delivery companies use). The body was made by Grumman using the same techniques they use in aircraft manufacture. The body was stiff, non-rusting and lightweight (600lbs. less than the identical steel body truck my company had). As far as the repair cost question goes: yes, it will be more expensive to fix for a few years. But after Ford, and then GM puts a couple of hundred thousand units on the road, repair shops will become plentiful and competitive.
Wahler’s comment squares what I read in an interview of an insurance industry expert. The thinking goes, it will be more expensive at first to repair aluminum but prices will drop once enough body shops gear up for it and have some experience doing it.
A Better Way to Coil Electrical Cords
This story was very popular, probably for the same reasons Uhler’s pencil story was popular. It had to do with something that drives tradesmen crazy—in this case, people who don’t know what they’re doing “helping out” by coiling someone else's cords.
A fellow named George writes:
I've been rolling up my cords that way for years. If you drag the cord or hose up a flat area like a sidewalk into a straight line it makes it easier to make loops that lay flat with the coil. I generally connect the ends and then put my hands inside the coil and gently pull the inside and the loops will equalize. I have mini bungee cords attached at one end but I'm going to look at the tarp bungees. Sometimes the hooks on the mini bungees will grab something on the job.
Ben Hurst says:
I was a climbing instructor and at the end of the day we had to coil a thousand feet or more of rope each day, and those ropes had to be coiled such that if you threw one end off a cliff, you wouldn't get spaghetti. Bigger coils helped with this, so we sat on the floor, in a lotus position, and coiled around our knees. We might also do the partial twist but weren't religious about that little twist. The main things after that were to make sure the ends were never anywhere near the middle of a coil where they could get all jumbled therein. Today, I use pretty much the same approach to my cords....using bigger coils, and avoiding letting the ends get mixed into the coils.
Paul Wahler says:
I have been using Ron Paulk's method of coiling cords/hoses for years. It is surprising how what appears to be the simplest of tasks can actually be done badly - this is a simple right way - I am sure that there are some other right ways. The only down-side to this method is that I have to insist that new, or temporary, helpers NOT coil my cords. I like the idea of using tarp bungees for neatness; I have been using a piece of old shoelace tied to one end. I also have one suggested improvement: I always plug the cord ends together to prevent corrosion and plug the hose ends together to keep dirt and spiders out of the hose.