When we went shopping for a multi-tool we did our research and settled on DeWalt’s DWE315. It has a system that allows fast blade changes, without having to use a tool. We switch blades frequently when we work on seams and planks, and having to use a tool to change blades slows the work down and risks losing the fastening screw and washer. The DeWalt comes with a universal adapter, meaning we can use the full array of blades available, no matter which of the half-dozen fitting attachment configurations might have. We like the long 10′ cord and the LED work light on the tool. The DeWalt has a variable-speed control trigger—rather than a switch as on some other models—and continuous-on trigger lock. The powerful 3-amp motor has been up to all the jobs we’ve done with the tool.
The TS 8000 has some very nice features that are a great improvement over my ordinary propane torches. A finger trigger starts the gas flowing and ignites it with a piezo-electric spark. Releasing the trigger stops the flow of gas, extinguishing the flame. That’s safer and less wasteful than a propane torch, which has a valve to control the flow of gas. The TS 8000 has a valve for adjusting the rate of flow, but you don’t need to turn it to light or extinguish the flame. The trigger has a safety lock to prevent the torch from being turned on either inadvertently or by curious young hands. The trigger also has a “run-lock” button to keep the torch operating without having to keep your finger on the trigger. The cast-aluminum body of the torch provides a comfortable grip that’s more secure than holding a gas cylinder.
Guide posts are L-shaped and available in different widths and heights. Most are 40″ to 60″ high. They are simple to install—just attach them to the trailer frame with brackets and bolts provided, and set them between the uprights a distance about 2″ wider than the widest beam of the boat. Posts come in galvanized steel or aluminum; for bigger boats, steel is better able to sustain larger side loads.
I’d done a bit of research before buying the 1×30 belt sander at one of the local Harbor Freight stores, so I wasn’t dismayed when I first turned it on and discovered it had a lot of vibration. The drive wheel was, as I expected, the main culprit; I’d seen some YouTube product reviews about that very problem. So I put a sharp beveled cutting edge on the end of a flat file as a quick stand-in for a lathe tool and ran the sander without a belt or the table in place. A horizontal ledge on the frame served as a tool rest while I carefully worked the wheel to true, which took care of the vibration.
The day before after I happened upon the V-DrillGuide on the web, I had made a wooden block guide for drilling a pilot hole for a lag bolt to support a bathroom shelf I’d made. That guide was, like all the others that preceded it, destined for the pile of wood scraps that would go into the fireplace on a cold evening. The V-DrillGuide looked like a much longer-lasting tool.
One of our favorite uses for the Vac is cleaning up sanding dust left over from fairing a hull. It can also collect dust when its hose is attached to our random-orbit sander. With the hose switched to the exhaust port, we use the Vac as a blower to get debris out of bilges or to test the Sunfish sailboats that we restore for air leaks.
The pot is a 1-liter aluminum cylinder with nonstick coating and a base that connects it to the burner. It has a neoprene insulating sleeve to retain heat and a webbing handle so you don’t need a pot gripper. Welded to the bottom of the can is a corrugated aluminum heat exchanger that greatly increases the efficiency of the heat transfer from the flame to the pot, so much so that the flame doesn’t melt the neoprene. The burner has a built-in piezoelectric lighter; its isobutane fuel canisters are available in 100g, 230g, and 450g. The insulating sleeve has a window with an indicator that changes color as the water comes to a boil. It works, but you can hear when the water boils.
After some Internet searching we came across P.O.S.H. (Portside Out, Starboard Home) manufactured by Langman Ropes. It has a soft feel that’s easy on the hands and a natural-looking tan color that looks right with our boat’s bright-finished wood. The three- or four-strand polyester twisted line that is UV-stabilized, pre-stretched, and made with spun yarns rather than filament yarns—think knitting yarn versus monofilament fishing line.
The monitor and camera have robust housings with a nicely textured finish that provides a good grip even when wet. The mounts are well designed and easily adapt to fit different boats. The monitor screen is simple with few icons: mirrored or normal viewing, signal strength, battery levels of monitor and camera (once paired), and a screen brightness level that’s visible only when changing the setting. Five buttons across the bottom access all of the functions.
The translucent handle is a 50-lumen lantern that provides all-around, softly diffused light; very handy for sorting through gear prior to a dawn launch or when tending to camp duties before turning in during an overnight cruise. The handle can also glow red, good for illuminating a boat without compromising our night vision. One button cycles through the AR-Tech’s five functions, which, in addition to the lantern and flashlight functions, include a red flasher and flashlight plus the flasher.