Valentine’s Day tools, edition 2023

Let me present and quickly review 3 tools, that clearly have nothing to do with Valentine’s Day, but coincidentally are being reviewed that day, which explains the title. They may be recommended for tool lovers, that’s the only connection between them and that feeling. These are tools from Bosch, Axminster and Stanley – one each, that can make jobs a little easier, quicker and more accurate. They have been tested for some time and they are going to stay in my tool collection.

Bosch Professional GSR 12V-35 HX Cordless Screwdriver belongs to the 12-volt platform, so it’s smaller and lighter than an 18V drill. It shouldn’t be compared to an impact driver, because it is a different tool even though it looks like one. It has a clutch, just like a drill, but it’s equipped with a quick-release chuck, just like an impact driver. I use it for small and delicate jobs, with the clutch turned to a minimum, usually with standard Phillips bits, but there are times when I use it with the clutch in a drilling (max) position and with Pozi bits. It’s now used more than an impact driver, perhaps to the nature of my latest projects that didn’t require that much power to be delivered and only precision. If I take a moment and analyse its recent applications I realise that all the screws driven with it were either into pre-drilled holes, part of electrical appliances, at heights on a ladder or delicate jobs. That’s why it was used more often than an impact driver, which is perfect for tougher jobs, but also a lot heavier and bigger. I like the size of this tool and its weight, that’s why I only use it with a small 3Ah battery – if I want more power I can always use different tools. This one is small, light, precise, easy to hold and operate and quiet, all these features make it a tool of choice for all smaller jobs.

Axminster Professional Ultimate Edge Sharpening System is a costly set of tools, but it offers a controlled, repeatable and effective way of sharpening and polishing tools and knives. There is a competitive system on the market, Robert Sorby ProEdge Sharpening System, but I’ve chosen the Axminister’s for a couple of reasons. It can run in both forward and reverse directions; price – including taxes, shipping cost and customs; and lastly the set of accessories it initially comes with. While the competitive system is designed for wood turners, the one I have comes as a kit equipped with jigs that I can use straight away. So the system is more practical for me straight out of the box. The support bar can be used with many Tormek, Record Power and Triton jigs, which is very convenient. I had to order a few accessories for it and those were: felt mop arbour, felt wheel, polishing and honing paste, small universal sharpening table, angle gauge set, abrasive belts and a honing guide for chisels and plane blades. I also reused jigs from other manufacturers: short and long knife jigs, short carving tool jig, turning gouge jig and even an axe jig, but this one didn’t work with the system well. Additionally, I purchased a leather strop and compound bar for refining my carving chisels and gouges. It was a quite complex and dear purchase but it works and it does the job well. I like its speed, that was the first thing I noticed – it was fast, really fast. Within minutes, I can sharpen anything – once the tool is fixed in the right fixture, with all the angles set, it takes only a few seconds on each belt to get the tool super sharp. I use 3 grits of abrasive belts: 800, 1500 and 2500, each job is finished with buffing on the felt wheel coated with polishing paste. It is a great tool for all my woodworking needs as well as sharpening kitchen knives. It is pricey but it saves me time and the results are great.

Stanley FatMax Auto-Lock 5m Tape Measure is single-sided and equipped with a self-locking mechanism which can be disabled if need be. I personally like this feature and keep it enabled at all times. This mechanism isn’t very strong but keeps the tape extended when used, most of the time. A single-sided tape is all I need, but what is important to me is that the first couple of markings is clearly visible and not covered by the hook. If the tape is wide enough, like this one, this is not a problem. I use these markings for setting the blade height and they must be there for me. The tape comes with 2 interchangeable attachments that can be stored on board when not in use. I barely use them, however, from time to time I need the magnetic hook, not for intended use but to pick up screws that fall down from the bench. It even doesn’t have to be locked on the rivets, I just put it on top of them and it does the job – it picks up lost hardware from the floor. When attached to the rivets, it’s very tight and doesn’t allow the hook to move back and forth freely, so I keep it off. The same with the other XL hook – too tight on the rivets. With that said, it is still quite accurate, seems to be durable and has a nice thick and wide blade. However, there are minor flaws in the design – what should be tight – isn’t tight (a self-locking mechanism) and what should be moveable isn’t moveable either (additional hooks).

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