Bob's Best

Sunday, August 17, 2008

This post has nothing to do with beer, politics, or Smitty's testicles, but I figured that ATK's 1.8 million readers might enjoy a forth topic of conversation.

I enjoyed reading Rickey Recommends, a list of a few of Rickey's favorite things over at Riding with Rickey, so I completely ripped off his idea and decided to come up with a little list of recommendations of my own. I am so shameless, I even ripped off the alliteration.

Here are five of the best things in life, new and old, that bring joy to my little world.

Old Tools
Old tools, including antique tools, are often way more useful than that laser-guided, carbon tipped, nutron-powered, wonder saw you have been eyeing at Home Depot. There are hand drills, planes, saws and other cutting tools built a hundred years ago that often out perform their modern, electric counterparts. They can often be found cheap at garage sales too.

My Dad gave me an old hand plane that was his Dad’s. My Dad remembers going into the store with my Grandfather to buy the Fulton, 3710 when he was a kid. I cleaned it up, sharpened it and have been using it as often as possible. While I am no pro at using it, it has gotten me out of a bind more than once, when power tools failed me.

I also have a forty-year-old, Senco pneumatic stapler. I picked it out of the trash, ordered a rebuild kit for it for $26 off the internet and now I have a great stapler that would cost $400 bucks new. It’s as dangerous as hell, because it was built without all the safety gear. You can shoot it rapid fire in mid-air without pulling back a safety. It also randomly shoots off a round whenever you hook it up to the air compressor, so its best pointed away from the important, lower regions whenever setting it up.

The Kitchen Aid Mixer
This list could’t just include just guy stuff. That said, the Kitchen Aid mixer is one of the manliest kitchen appliances ever. These things pull more amps than the average table saw. If you stuck your hand into it while it is kneading dough, it’ll twist your hand off at the wrist. It is also rebuildable. The contact points in the motor (brushes) can be replaced if the motor wears out and the professional models are still all cast aluminum and steel, so you know they will out last you.

I recommend buying one when you get one of those 20% off Bed, Bath and Beyond Coupons in the mail. It’ll save you 70 bucks or more.

Lie-Nielsen Planes and Saws
All of their hand planes and saws are made in America from designs centuries old. The planes start at $75 to over $500. The handsaws start at $125.

Yep, these are hand tools. They are as expensive as hell. But with this shit, you don’t need electricity and the tools are works of art in themselves. The planes can shaves wood so thin, it looks like paper. The finish on the wood is so smooth, it is ready for finish without sanding. The saws cut like lasers.

Lie-Nielsen Toolworks

The Chevy Small Block V-8.
"The V-8 is dead, the future as all hybrid cars"…Blah. Blah. blah.

Nothing matches the durability, compact size, light weight and performance of these engines, whose ancestors started rolling off a Flint, MI assembly line in 1955. These aren’t dinosaurs though. The modern Chevy V-8 gets the best mileage out of its applications and powers the one of the fastest, best handling cars in the world, the Corvette ZR-1. The Chevy small block is simple, has less moving parts, and is more cost-effective than the competition and now can run on ethanol.

Anything Made Out of Titanium
I have owned a whole bunch of bikes made of aluminum, carbon fiber, and steel. I like carbon a lot, but there is just something cool about a bare metal titanium bike, or other product for that matter. My bike is almost 12 years old and looks as good as new. Newer bikes still haven’t caught up to combination of characteristics that makes this thing cool. The material offers great shock absorption, light weight, its tough as hell, and as bare metal it doesn't corrode. It even has a cool, nickel-like grey color. Titanium is just an awesome material, as you have probably seen in golf club heads, hammers, bolts and more.

That's it. I have started my first post of "Bob's Best" things out there. I'd love to hear from the other contributors at ATK on their recommendations.


Smitty 9:29 AM  

My brother, having graduated with a furniture design degree from the college for creative studies, is solely responsible for my new appreciation for certain high-quality handtools. Granted, there is always room for machines, but the fine detail work is best done with a little time and effort exerted by hand tools of the finest quality.

Bob 10:32 AM  

I have never met your brother, but he is instantly cool. IF...(big IF) I ever get a resonable amount of free time, I want to build more furniture.

Sopor 11:38 AM  

OMFG you've got an Ocoee? I would love me a Litespeed, but my Kona Cindercone does pretty well ;-) I LOVE the short wheel-base of the Kona frames!

Oh, and the coolest thing I've ever seen made out of titanium? A spork.

Bob 12:12 PM  

"OMFG you've got an Ocoee?"

Yes. It is true, my bikes are cooler than me. Fortunately, I used to work at a bike shop where I got like 50% off at a time when I needed money for 0% responsibilities.

The spork is awesome.

Sopor 12:22 PM  

Ah-hah. That explains it! It would take me years to afford a Litespeed frame alone!

So if you ever get free time, which it sounds like you don't... want to go for a ride? Just keep it in mind, I don't have any riding partners anymore...

Bob 12:42 PM  

I am fat and out of shape, but definately need riding partners. Do any road riding? I have been doing a little more of that lately.

I could go for a trail rise too, but I am way out of practice.

Sopor 1:18 PM  

I mostly ride on the road, got semi-slicks pumped up to 55psi on the bike right now.

But just a swap of tread and I'm ready to shread!

Oh, and I'm fat and out of shape too!

Smitty 1:42 PM  


When I last saw you, you were like 160 pounds. Fat and out of shape??? Hardly.


A few weeks ago, you still seem to be built like a long distance runner from Kenya. Fat and out of shape??? Hardly.


My brother's tool box almost looks like a complicated dentist's office with the unheard-of hand tools...

Sopor 3:00 PM  

Hehehe... you haven't seen how much I've been drinking lately ;-) Some say they have a six-pack... I have a pony keg!

Bob 3:48 PM  

Oh, the genes are in my favor, which doesn't excuse the belly, the lack of muscle mass or lungs that operate more like the late Chris Farley’s than Lance Armstrong’s.

Christian 8:15 PM  

My father-in-law graciously gave me a lot of his old tools and I do enjoy them. I have a 30-40 year old Craftsman power drill in the old steel casing. Looks hardcore. Got an old hand drill that belonged to his pops. And an ancient bar clamp. This man bought good shit and took good care of it. Course, I used power tools to build my boy's bed, three sets of oak bookcases, and other misc furniture.

I do miss the 305 that sat under the hood of my 72 Nova. Now I go out to my Buick and eyeball the 3.8 liter something-something and I can't identify a damned thing.

Bob 8:47 PM  

"I do miss the 305 that sat under the hood of my 72 Nova. Now I go out to my Buick and eyeball the 3.8 liter something-something and I can't identify a damned thing."

While I would love the old 305, that 3.8 is one fine motor too.

It is also known as the 3800 in various versions and is known to go for hundreds of thousands of miles. I have two friends with them. One has 240,000 miles on his and another is approaching 300,000.

Rickey Henderson 7:50 AM  

You know... if there's one thing Rickey's column has been missing, it's recommendations of handsaws, pneumatic staplers, and other old timey implements of destruction. Well done sir.

Sopor 10:47 AM  

"that 3.8 is one fine motor too"

Hell yea Bob, I was going to say something like this too!

Not only will that 3800 last forever... but slap a big Turbo on it, ala Buick Grand National, and you've got one BEAST of an engine. 245bhp, 355 ft-lb of torque in 1987, stock. I've seen these things drag race with 600+ bhp, holy hell!

Smitty 10:54 AM  

Let me remind you gentlemen that we are moving dangerously close to NASCAR territory here, and NASCAR is specifically banned on this web site.

Bob 12:04 PM  

Actually it is closing in on NHRA drag racing territory, which is essentually the same thing as NASCAR, except NHRA fans have a shorter attention span.

George 2:24 PM  

I've got a 45 year old tool, but it's not like the ones you're writing about....

steves 5:06 PM  

Where I am from, the UP, the Grand National was known as the UP Lamborghini.

Christian 9:32 AM  

The 3.8 engine may last til 300k miles, but the fucking metal on the car won't. My rockers are rusting out and the four door grandma-esque nature of the car has my balls shrunk down to the smallest measurable unit of manhood.

John 2:42 PM  

Was reviewing your post concerning the Fulton 3710 plane. Do you have an estimate of when your granddad purchased the plane. I am trying to assign an age to one that I have.


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