How do you tell when a new tool has a chance of sticking around? When it actually does something better, or makes doing something useful notably easier. Here are two new clever new gadgets we think have an excellent future.
The UFO Tool and Flashlight
Most of us have been there: shoved into some cramped, poorly lit space struggling to form a workable engagement between a screwdriver and fastener, working mostly by feel. True, many tool manufacturers have responded by equipping their cordless drills with a single, often greatly appreciated, “headlight” for low light fastening and drilling situations. Now, thanks to the UFO Tool and Flashlight, you can have illuminated drilling and driving on a variety of hand and power tools.
The aptly named UFO slips onto the end of any typical screwdriver or cordless tool driver tip and lights up the work area with three shock-resistant, wide beam LED lights. The compact 1-5/8” by 5/8” disc is small enough not to interfere with your line of sight and so light (.77 oz.) that you barely notice it’s there – except that you’ll be able to see what you’re doing. It’s powered by three replaceable 1.5v button cells, has a no-slip, weatherproof plastic housing and features three magnets on its back side for convenient storage
The UFO is great for screwing in the back-end screws of drawer slides, installing closet hardware, or just random driving and drilling in a dusky recess of your basement. Portable to the extreme, the UFO fits comfortably in a shirt pocket and makes a great all-occasion mini-flashlight. Notwithstanding a resemblance to the favored transport of little green men, “UFO” here stands for “universal”, “functional” and “original”. That’s a lot to say about a tool, but this case, it seems true – especially the “functional” part. And with a price tag of less than $10 it’s hard to think of a reason to pass.
The Picture Hanging Level
If you’ve ever had to hang something on a wall that requires two anchor points – a shelf, a heavy painting, a large mirror, etc. – you’ve probably noticed that the procedure leads to something of a catch 22. To get the object hung in the right spot, you need to mark off the distance between the two hanging points, and you also need to make two level marks for the height. Unfortunately, unless you’re comfortable with scrawling pencil marks willy-nilly across a pristine expanse of wall, you run into a problem: to know where to discretely mark of the distance between the hangers, need the height marks in place first. But to make two inconspicuous marks where the hangers should be height-wise, you need know in advance where the hangers need to be horizontally.
The Picture Hanging Level neatly sidesteps the conundrum by combining the two operations into one simple task. Along with inch-scales on both edges, this level/yardstick combo features four slides with pencil holes for marking off the exact location of hangers or fasteners on precisely the same level-line. To make matters even easier, one of the scales has a standard linear layout from 0” to 31” inches, and the other is split in two, with zero in the middle. So, whether hang-ee has two, three or four attachment points, and whether you know where it needs to be centered or where one edge should be, you’ll be all set.
The Picture Hanging Level makes marking off the hanger locations of just about anything you’d ever want to stick on a wall a two minute process. And its other uses are many. Use it, for example, to mark off both a level line and 16” OC stud locations for a cabinet installation in one fell swoop. Just like a standard level, the tool measures both level and plumb, and so works great for marking off any type of cutout where the end result needs to be plumb, level and (consequently) square. And, of course, the leveling and layout functions can be used independently of each other for various tasks. Whether you build houses to people who just live in them, just about anyone who uses tools at all will get their (approximately) thirty dollars worth out of the Picture Hanging Level in no time.