It's amazing how I continually stumble across awesome new additions to augment my ever-expanding toolbox. Well, I guess I shouldn't find it amazing since in all honesty I stumble across 'em because I'm continually checking the website of my favorite tool source, The Eastwood Company. It seems as though every time I log onto their site I discover another Eastwood-branded (or sometimes high-quality national-label manufacturers) tool or set of tools that I just can't do without.
Take my latest Eastwood tool acquisition, a new tap and die set. It didn't matter that I already owned two complete sets (both SAE and Metric). What I didn't have was the new 40-piece, T-handled, ratcheting tap and die set manufactured by GearWrench. What makes this set superior to those I already owned was that this one not only came equipped with the standard sliding-T tap wrench handle (the standard tap wrench included in every set I've ever seen or used), but also a unique new reversible ratcheting T-handle designed to be used with both taps and dies. The GearWrench ratcheting handle makes tapping and threading much easier and more successful - especially in tight spaces where the overhand twisting motion used with the fixed T-handle is tough or impossible.
Take a look at the following images and you'll see for yourself what I'm talking about. And if you're a tool hound like me or just an enthusiast who's always on the lookout for the proverbial "better mouse trap," I'd suggest perusing The Eastwood Company website as often as you can cuz those guys constantly develop and/or find and sell some of the most helpful high-quality tools and equipment on the market - and there's nothing better than using the right tool for the job.
01 The features I like most about my new 40-piece tap and die set from GearWrench is the reversible, ratcheting T-wrench that makes threading and tapping work faster, easier, and more successful, especially in tight spots. The wrench's minimal 5-degree ratcheting arc is perfect for tapping in tight, confined areas (which is great because I rarely think ahead before assembling things) and its reversing lever eliminates hand-over turning (which in my case results in dropping the tap wrench at least once per tapping job). Plus, its Twist-Lock Guide System reduces that aggravating die guide "back walk" I often experience with my old set. Another plus is the wide variety of taper and plug tap sizes outfitting the kit for nearly any threading or tapping chore we serious classic truck enthusiasts may run across.
02 The GearWrench sets, both SAE and Metric, include a reversible, ratcheting T-wrench, both small and medium tap adapters, a sliding "T" for the adapters, 17 taps, 17 dies, a thread gauge, and a small screwdriver - all packed in a molded storage case.
03 The tap and die wrench is shaped nicely for a comfortable grip and its ability to work in a minimal 5-degree ratcheting arc really helps when trying to tap a hole or thread a stud located in tight, confined areas.
04 The tap and die wrench's reversing lever is actuated by a flick of the thumb just like a standard ratchet socket wrench eliminating the hand-over turning required by old style tap and die wrenchs.
05, 06 Here you can see the splined wrench gear as well as the die adapter unit and matching spline.
07 The dies are held in place in the die holder by a set screw, in the same manner as a majority of standard style die wrenches.
08 This image shows the die adapter in place in the gear wrench. The adapter and die are held in place in the wrench in much the same manner as a socket is held onto a regular ratchet.
09, 10 The tap holder/adapter fits into the gear wrench in the same manner as the die adapter and the taps into the tap holder in the same manner as a standard tap wrench. You'll also notice GearWrench includes a standard old-style shaft that slides through the tap adapter for use in the old way if one must or cares to because of any obstruction.
11, 12 Another neat feature I didn't realize was included until I received my GearWrench set was that the die adapter doubles as a thumb-wheel too. The serrated ring actuates a trio of internal pins that grasp the drive-end of the taps into the adapter so you can clean out existing threads easily and quickly by hand without using a wrench. As I said earlier, the folks at The Eastwood Company know high-quality tools, and in the event they don't research and develop their own unique tools, they recognize other quality manufacturer's great ideas and strive to offer those to their customers as well. And that's just one of the reasons The Eastwood Company continues to be my go-to source for a large percentage of my tool purchases. Keep your eyes peeled for a couple of upcoming "Cool Tools" looks at Eastwood's awesome new plasma cutter and home shop MIG welder in the near future.