Grandpa Witmer's Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Mixer

I recently started using Grandpa Witmer's Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Mixer to mix peanut butter quickly and without a mess.

The kind of peanut butter I buy from Trader Joe's separates into two layers. The oil is on top, and the solid stuff is on the bottom. It's hard to mix with a knife or spoon. The oil is likely to spill on the counter or splash on my clothes. This hand-powered stirrer does a great job. I bought the model with a lid that fits my brand of peanut butter. The stirring rod slips through a rubber hole in the lid, and when I remove it, the rubber hole squeegees the peanut butter off so there's no mess. For me it was $12 well spent. Read the rest

My new 300-page tool recommendation book

Kevin Kelly and I host a weekly podcast called Cool Tools. For more than 5 years now we have invited notable and creative people to talk about their favorite tools. This year our Cools Tools colleague Claudia Dawson took the transcripts from the best 150 episodes and pulled text, added images, and laid it all out in a 300-page book titled Four Favorite Tools. It is now available on Amazon in both color and B&W ($12.99) versions. Inside the book are hundreds and hundreds of recommendations for apps, gadgets, and tools. Read the rest

This travel daypack zips up into a tennis ball sized bundle

On my last trip to Tokyo, I brought along the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack ( on Amazon). It weighs 2.4 oz (my iPhone 6 Plus weighs 6.2 ounces) and zips up into a bundle smaller than my fist. But it holds 20 liters of stuff, and I used it every day to carry water, snacks, sweaters, an iPhone charger, a portable wifi, groceries, and things Carla and I bought while walking around. The material feels indestructible. Read the rest

This is the best pot scrubber

After trying out a lot of different scrub brushes, I think the OXO Good Grips scrub brush is the best. I prefer this palm-style brush to brushes with a handle because I can really bear down on the pots and pans. It's comfortable to hold and the bristles hold up well to rough treatment. I wish the brush was available via Subscribe and Save, because I'd get a new one every three months. Read the rest

My podcast interview with John Hodgman

I interviewed the delightful John Hodgman about some of his favorite tools, and I learned many good tips from him (especially how to reverse sear a steak). As you probably know, John is a writer, performer, former PC, once the resident expert on the Daily Show, and now the author of two books of non-fake facts and true stories from his life, Vacationland and Medallion Status. You can find him at Twitter @hodgman and on Instagram @johnhodgman.

Here are the links to the tools he talks about.

Image: Courtesy John Hodgman Read the rest

Every tool box needs a pair of screw removal pliers

A screw with a stripped head can be difficult to remove.

There are a number of ways to remove screws with stripped heads. Lifehacker has a nice article on this subject.

My favorite method of removing a stuck/stripped screw is with a pair of screw removal pliers. They bite into the exposed sides of the screw head and you can twist the screw loose, then finish the job with a screwdriver. It's also a nice brute-force workaround for tamper-proof screw heads. This is the kind of tool you want to have in your toolbox now, instead of having to run out and buy one when it's needed.

If the screw is really stuck, you risk breaking the head off the screw. If that happens, all is not lost. You can try to drill a small hole into the center of the screw shaft and pull out the screw with a screw extractor. Read the rest

Good deal on my favorite Japanese pencil case

My kids draw every day. I try to join them for an hour or so on the weekends. We store our pencils in these Lihit Lab Teffa "book style" pencil cases (Currently on Amazon). Mine contains my pencils, charcoals, lead holder, erasers, snap-blade knife, and reading glasses. It's not large, but it's designed with "pages" to hold your stuff efficiently. Pens and pencils fit behind straps, and smaller stuff can be stashed in the mesh pouches.

My sketches:

Read the rest

OXO good grips deep clean brush set

Toothbrushes might seem like a good idea for scrubbing small areas, but they are not angled properly for the job and they wear out fast. The OXO good grips deep clean brush set ( on Amazon) has two brushes and a wiper blade designed for cleaning tile grout and other hard to reach areas. Read the rest

Cheap safe looks like a book

If you have a lot of books at home, a cheap book safe like this is a good way to hide small things. The inside storage area is 2" x 5.625" x 9" and the book looks like a dictionary. (Crooks already know to scan bookshelves for The New English Dictionary, so you should put a jacket from another book on it.)

It has a lock and two keys to discourage snooping if someone pulls the book off the shelf. Read the rest

This Sakura Pigma "Manga pen set" is a good deal

The Sakura Pigma Manga Basic Set comes with 5 pens: 4 Pigma Microns (sizes 005, 01, 05, 08) a black brush pen, and a white ink gel pen (for highlights and to correct mistakes). Amazon has a good prices for the set: Read the rest

If you insist on having an image of the Nintendo Super Mushroom on your micro SD card, now's the time to buy it

SanDisk's official Nintendo Switch 128GB micro SD card is on sale at Amazon today for . This is the same price as the unbranded version. Read the rest

Handy, cheap touch sensor lights

I bought a few of these touch sensor lights years ago to put in closets without lights, and we use them all the time. To turn the light off, you just touch the contacts on the light. They are battery-powered and have an adhesive backing to stick them to walls and under shelves. They cost on Amazon. Read the rest

An embossing label gun is my favorite way to label

This DYMO Xpress embossing label gun is the boss. Read the rest

How to get rid of hideous pantry moths

Pantry moths are experts at finding their way into any open container of rice, flour, cereal, chips, nuts, etc. Then they breed in the boxes and bags. I hate it when I open a cabinet and a couple of moths fly out. It's even worse when I look at a bag of rice, and it is alive with motion.

We've been putting our food into wide-mouth mason jars with these convenient one-piece plastic lids. That has reduced the problem. We also started using pantry moth traps. These traps fold into little A-frame houses. The interior is coated with a sticky material that traps the flies. The traps also come with a postage stamp size pheromone lure to fool the pests into thinking a sexy moth is inside waiting for them. These things work well. After using them for a few weeks the only moths I see now are the dead ones stuck to the inside of the traps. Read the rest

Liquid Wrench's dry lube for doors and hinges lubes doors and hinges well

I have been very happy Liquid Wrench Lock and Hinge Lube.

The back lid on my Volkswagen Vanagon started sticking a few years ago. A responsible person who does things right would likely take the panels off, clean everything up and lubricate it with whatever factory stuff was used. I have just taken to spraying some of this dry lube in the locks and other mechanisms once every year or so.

Doors and locks that were sticking or squeaky around the house have also been cured with one or two squirts of this 'ceflon' lubricant.

The spray straw is billed as some kind of special design. It is a very useful straw for directing lube where you want it, like on every other can of spray lube I've seen since the 80s or 90s?

Got sticky locks or squeaky hinges? This stuff is good.

Liquid Wrench LHL04/6 Lock and Hinge Lube - 4.5 oz. via Amazon Read the rest

Prevent luggage overweight charges with this convenient luggage scale

This is the easiest way to weigh your luggage at home, before you get to the airport and find out your bag is too heavy and have to pay a hefty overweight fee. To use it, you place the strap around a handle on your luggage and lift. The weight is displayed on an illuminated readout (you can switch it between lbs and kgs). I've had one since 2015 and it's much better than trying to weigh your luggage on a bathroom scale. Amazon sells them for Read the rest

Great deal on this desktop monitor riser

I bought this monitor riser in early 2017. It lifts my desk monitor 4.25 inches, and I use the space below to stow external disk drives. Amazon has it on sale right now for . Read the rest

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