Maximum tool bag

This is a sponsored post. This doesn't change the style, but it does mean covering a subject matter I would not have otherwise covered

I was approached by an agency working for Canadian Tire about doing a sponsored video to promote some of their new Maximum line of tools. They had a list of tools to chose from.

One of the tools I picked was a tool bag. Why a tool bag? A router I bought a few years ago came with a bag instead of the usual moulded plastic case, and I started using that as a tool box. I find it much handier than an actual tool box.

If you are one of those people that has a carefully arranged tool box where every hand plane, mallet, chisel and dovetail saw has its dedicated spot, then a tool bag is no substitute. But I just throw what I need in the bag and go. And for that, a tool bag makes much more sense than a box.

The nice thing about a tool bag is that if there isn't much in it, it doesn't take up much space. But if you need to carry something bulky, it can take a lot.

For example, I wouldn't carry a tool box big enough to throw something like a router in, but this bag takes it no problem.

This bag also has all kinds of pockets all along the inside and outside for various tools. To be honest, the bag I have been using so far didn't have any pockets, and I didn't miss them. I'm sure pockets can be handy if you are organized, but I doubt I'll use them to their full potential.

There's also a clip for a tape measure on the outside, and a pouch of sorts on the end. I suppose that could be useful for a water bottle, which I wouldn't normally throw in with the tools.

And a zipper to close it all off.

Just picking the bag up by the handle pulls the sides in enough that there's no risk of stuff falling out, so the zipper is not something I ever used on my other bag. A tool box would be quicker to close than doing up the zipper. And there's no practical way to lock this bag, so if you keep your toolbox locked, a bag is not for you.

The bag also comes with a carrying strap. Another feature that could be handy but I doubt I'll use it much. But when I was a teenager working at my parents' housekeeping cottages, there was lots of carrying tools around for fixing this or that, so maybe in that context, the strap would be useful.

I doubt I'll use all the features of this tool bag, but I think tool bags are definitely an improvement over tool boxes.

Maximum tap and die set

Many years ago I bought a large tap and die set on sale, at Canadian Tire. While I don't use it often, when I do use it, it comes in very handy. It's one of those things I wouldn't want to be without.

I also figured it would be handy to have a set for my other shop, which is one of the reasons I picked this for review. This set goes to larger sizes than my other set.

The set comes in a metal box, with two layers of plastic inserts. The dies are in the lower layer. To get at them, you have to lift the top layer out, but there isn't a very good place to grab it. The insert is made out of thin plastic, so pulling it out too many times may break it eventually.

Another layer of clear plastic covers the dies, and if you leave that out, some of the dies may fall out when the box is closed. So getting at the die part of the set is a real nuisance.

I may end up attaching a thin layer of plywood to the bottom of the top layer, with a pull tab to lift it out. That might make it easier and make the plastic last longer.

What I like about newer tap and die sets like this one is that the dies are hexagonal, so they are easier to hold in the die holder and aren't liable to spin.

My older tap and die set came with a die holder that had three prongs that you could adjust to line the die up with the shaft being cut, though it wasn't the most precisely formed, but it was useful to help get the die aligned straight when starting a thread. At right, you can see a thread I started with poor alignment. The thread just goes further off to the side the further I cut.

I drilled a hole in a square block of wood to help me get the die started square to the shaft this time.

Looking down in the tap as I'm cutting. It's important to back up every half a turn or so to break the chips, though this is much more critical for cutting inside threads with a tap than it is for a die.

Now picking the corresponding tap to cut a thread in a hole.

The set comes with a one page instruction sheet which also lists the correct drill size to use with each tap.

Breaking a tap in a tap and die set is not at all uncommon, and the instruction sheet contains some useful information on using them. Being just one page, it only contains the useful information. I wish more "instructions" were like this.

For starting taps at a right angle, some people put the tap in a drill press chuck, then manually turn the chuck to start the thread in a piece of metal on the table.

For this hole, I just used the same block of wood that I used to start the die at a right angle now with the tap to get it started perpendicular. After a few turns in, with the threads engaging, I backed the tap out to take the block off so I could see what I'm doing.

It's important to backup every half to quarter turn to break the chips, and for deeper holes, it helps to back out the tap and clean it up every few turns so it doesn't get clogged with chips. The tap can get so jammed with metal chips that it's impossible to go forwards or backwards without breaking it. This is especially important for deeper holes and smaller taps.

With both threads cut, I can join the shaft with the strip of metal.

This is more precise than could be done with welding, and stronger than any sort of glue.

More thoughts on Canadian Tire and sponsored videos

For those not from Canada, "Canadian Tire" is a Canadian hardware store chain. that focuses on hardware, house wares and automotive products. They also sell tires, but not lumber. They have their "coupon" currency, known as "Canadian tire money"

As much as I like buying tools from Canadian Tire, I figure I should address this point: You can buy some real junk from Canadian Tire. Once or twice I've seen an item or two that I saw in the flyer and wanted to buy it, but just holding it in my hand in the store I concluded that the tool was not of sufficient quality to be useful.

This is much less of an issue with their Mastercraft and Maximum line of tools because they stand behind those tools and, in my experience, they are very good about replacing anything that's defective. For instance, I found the metal on this die holder on my old set had turned very britle more than ten years after I bought it (presumably faulty metal), and they replaced it no questions asked. Another time, many years ago, I bought a hammer on sale at 75% off for $4. I bent the handle while pulling nails with it (kind of an abuse of the hammer). I figured no harm in trying to bring it back. They didn't have that hammer in stock, so they gave me store credit for the full purchase price of the hammer. Sweet deal! :)

Canadian Tire has some substantial discounts on items from time to time, and when a good sale is on, the items are often an excellent deal. My drill press (they no longer sell that one), and my thickness planer were bought at 50% off. I also bought three of their routers. They aren't the best routers, but at $100 to $120 on sale for an interchangeable base, 1/2" collet router, well worth it. Other tools I bought were a 1"x30" strip sander, an "oscillating tool" and a right angle drill, plus quite a few hand tools.

Another interesting Canadian Tire find is this oddball adjustable C-clamp. It was on clearance at the time I bought it. It makes a great hold-down for my slot mortising machine. I wish I could buy another one just like it.

Required disclaimer
Although I was compensated for my participation, the views and opinions expressed herein represent my own and not those of Canadian Tire corporation or any other party and do not constitute financial, legal or other advice

The MAXIMUM line of tools is the new premium Canadian Tire store brand of tools, sold exclusively at Canadian Tire.

This video has been a long time in the making. Daniel from the agency handling this first contacted me at the beginning of March, but there has been a several delays for this and that reason. I think the core of the problem is that big corporations like Canadian Tire and YouTubers like me occupy entirely different worlds.

Big corporation have lawyers and legal agreements and are used to dealing with other companies that work the same way. And they are probably used to having more control over the messaging on media campaigns.

I actually called it quits on this one more than once, but Daniel was very persistent in terms of working things out with both sides (I imagine it took quite a bit of back and forth with Canadian Tire as well). Kudos to him. It also gives me respect for YouTubers who do a lot of sponsored videos. It's a lot of work behind the scenes!

Viewer attention is slowly shifting from TV to YouTube, and big personalities with big egos are popular on YouTube. It's just so much more interesting to watch than corporate controlled TV and commercials. And the best way to reach the YouTube audience is to work with popular YouTubers.

But I guess it takes some courage to involve a loose cannon like me to say something about your products. No wonder most of the comapnies sponsoring YouTube creators are younger, smaller companies with much less at stake.

There are others YouTubers who are more used to dealing with corporations, but they wanted to deal with Canadians for this campaign, which cut down on who to work with.

The changing media landscape puts big companies in a tricky position. It will be interesting how this develops over the coming years.

They also sent me a table saw, which I'll also be doing a review on as part of this deal, though that will have to wait a few weeks until after my vacation.

I'm not sure about doing other sponsored videos in the future. It's a lot of back and forth, and also kind of a conflict of interest on my part.

More about the maximum line of tools at:

More references to "Canadian tire" on

Other Canadian YouTube woodworking channels:

John Heisz, Alain Vaillancourt, Words N wood, The Samurai Carpenter, Jack Houweling, Wooden Tool Man, Toolify, Canadian woodworks

See also:

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