The Best of "What Is It?"
See if you can guess what these mystery tools are. Trust us, it's harder than you think!
Ever see a tool and wonder, "What on earth is that thing?" Well, apparently quite a few readers have asked themselves just that after discovering an old tool at a yard sale or on the shelves of their local hardware store. Here are 10 of our biggest stumpers, as featured in This Old House magazine. See how many you can guess correctly!
A. A lawn-hatch remover
B. Stucco stippler
C. Carpet fluffer
The roller's many plastic fingers push around—and pop any bubbles in—freshly poured self-leveling concrete or epoxy floors, but they do not interfere with the curing or leveling process.
About $94; CS Unitec, Inc.
A. Bucket screen for paint rollers
B. Clip-on step-ladder tray
C. Debris guard for gutters
These Wal-Board Tool steel clips grip the edges of a drywall hole, making it easy to patch. One screw holds the clip tight to the drywall while another one anchors the clip to the patch. The clip's arms snap off so that the patch can be finished flush.
About $4 for 6 clips; The Home Depot
A. Surveyor's plot marker
B. Architect's drafting tool
C. Lumberman's board-foot calculator
The Angle Master accurately captures inside and outside angles, then transfers them to a miter saw or table saw, taking the guesswork out of blade adjustments.
About $72; Affinity Tool Works
A. Fertilizer scoop
B. Smoothing tool for plaster
C. Grass shield for lawn mower
The polyethylene Dryflekt captures water flowing down the edge of a roof and diverts it toward the gutter. Properly installed, this one-piece flashing prevents water from splashing on and damaging the side wall.
About $12; DryFlekt
A. Shock absorber for riding-mower seat
B. Drain auger
C. Corkscrew weeder
This invisible connector uses two springs, each one anchored in a hole in the pieces being connected. Twisting the pieces engages the springs, which pull the pieces tightly together. To loosen, twist them the opposite way.
About $5; Spring-Bolt
This device is in my father's old tool chest. I'd like to know what it's called and what he used it for.
—Susan Jones, Carleton, Mich.
This specialized bit, when fitted into a bit brace, was used to make the round tenons found on stair balusters, table legs, and chair parts. This auger can be adjusted to make tenons of different diameters.
A. Key for opening paint cans
B. Gauge for measuring wire thickness
C. Safety anchor for fall protection
The aluminum Nite Ize Figure 9 Large allows you to easily snug down a load of cargo without tying a trucker's hitch—and minus all the extra rope it requires. Just follow the laser-engraved directions and you can quickly pull a rope taut or loosen it. Works with rope from ⅛ to ⅜ inch in diameter.
About $5.30; Lee Valley Tools
A. Paint-sprayer nozzle
B. Ladder bumper
C. Water- temperature sensor
The GenieClip is a rubber-and-steel fitting that reduces sound transmission through floors and walls. Screwed to wood framing and attached to a steel furring channel, the GenieClip performs as well as a thicker, more expensive double-stud wall.
About $5; Pliteq
A. ID tag for plants
B. Taping head for drywall
C. Depth gauge for self-leveling concrete
The Tuscan Leveling System grips the edges of freshly set tile, ensuring that each piece is evenly spaced and flush with its neighbor. After the thinset hardens, the installation tool, shown, snaps off the white strap.
About $1.50 apiece (minimum order: 200), $110 for tool; Tuscan Leveling System
A. Honing steel to sharpen pruning shears
B. Probe for measuring soil pH
C. Spike for anchoring wire trellises
Unlike hinge-mounted doorstops that can dent the casing and the door, the bumperless DoorSaver II pushes against the hinge leaves, saving the door and trim from damage.
About $5; Perfect Products