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Cool Tools [Design
Posted on May 11, 2015 @ 06:03:00 AM by Paul Meagher

I picked up a cool tool this morning. I got this 8 foot long wood trailer for $60.

The guy I talked to used this to haul firewood logs with his All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) but wasn't using it anymore as he had several other trailers and a tractors to haul wood out with. In my startup vineyard, I have a need for lots of trellis posts and can use this trailer to load and transport the posts (often 9 feet long and made of tamarack). For me, this is a cool tool not only because it satisfies a set of use cases on the farm but because I can drag it behind a truck, a tractor, an ATV, or a lawn tractor, it is light and easy to move around, the fat tires will reduce compaction of the soil from the weight of a load, it has been reinforced for hauling wood and is strong, and unlike my other trailer it doesn't have any electrical wiring which is good if you are taking it into the woods and you intend to use and abuse it. The fact that this is a used item rather than a new item might make this a little bit more of an eco-friendly purchase.

Another cool tool I purchased for mother's day for my wife was this PADERNO Spiral Vegetable Slicer.

My wife is a vegetarian and likes to cook so I was looking for something that she might like given these parameters. After searching some best seller lists on Amazon I found this reasonably priced (less than $60) present for her. My wife started using it immediately to see what it could do with a potato. We made 3 different types of oven fries with it (it has 3 different slicers which are shown in the 2 trays at the bottom and the one tray in use) and they all tasted nice but with different textures. Can make potato chips and curly fries with this device and slices a cucumber up nice for a salad. So far, quite pleased with it. Seems like sturdy plastic construction, compact, and easy to clean. My wife is trying to convince us all to become more vegetarian so this gives her another tool to make great looking vegetable dishes to lure is in.

The main reason I am talking about Cool Tools today is because I want to recommend a 2013 book by Kevin Kelley called Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities.

Here is Kevin's summary of what the book is about:

Cool Tools is a highly curated selection of the best tools available for individuals and small groups. Tools include hand tools, maps, how-to books, vehicles, software, specialized devices, gizmos, websites -- and anything useful. Tools are selected and presented in the book if they are the best of kind, the cheapest, or the only thing available that will do the job. This is an oversized book which reviews over 1,200 different tools, explaining why each one is great, and what its benefits are. Indirectly the book illuminates the possibilities contained in such tools and the whole catalog serves an education outside the classroom. The content in this book was derived from ten years of user reviews published at the Cool Tools website, cool-tools.org.

The book is self-consciously carrying on the tradition of the pioneering Whole Earth Catalog. Anyone who is an inventor probably would be interested in browsing this book to see the wide selection of cool tools and his criteria for deciding which ones deserve that title. Anyone interested in material culture will also be interested at the scope of material culture displayed in this book. There is a tool for everything. While the book may seem like an encouragement to consume more material culture, it can also be taken as an invitation to consume in a more discriminating way so that you buy less junk. In the end, a cool tool is what you require in your own life to better satisfy some important wants and needs. In my case, I want/need a farm trailer to lug heavy stuff around the fields and in the woods. I also wanted to buy something my wife would actually find an enjoyable use for and was lucky this year to be able to accomplish that with the spiral vegetable slicer. The Cool Tools book might be useful as a guide for xmas presents. It might also be useful as an encyclopedia of tools to review/consider prior to tackling some job. Maybe some tool will give you an idea for how to make the job easier or more efficient.

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