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THE ROCK FATHER Magazine

WORX rolls out LIVE Online Demo of 56V Yard Tools...

I get really torn when it comes to my power equipment for Lawn & Garden use. There's no disputing the power of gas, but I often hate what comes with it - like the upkeep, the smell of exhaust, and having potential contaminants or dangerous materials on-hand where kids could come into contact with them. Right now we have a mix of gas and electric in the arsenal here at Rock Father HQ, but one brand I've been curious about is WORX. I've seen their rechargeable cordless tools in stores... I've seen the commercials... but I have yet to see them in-action. Today (4/7/16) that changes, as WORX will be hosting a LIVE online demonstration of their 56V MaxLithium yard tool lineup, including a string trimmer, hedge trimmer, leaf blower and lawn mowers.  The folks at WORX tout their tools as offering "gas-like performance & extended runtime with zero emissions." My interest is piqued, and the webcast begins at 1pm ET. To participate, visit the WORX site.

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Home & Garden: 10 Tips for Getting Your Power Equipment Tuned-up for Spring!

OPEIThe official calendar start of Spring is just days away, and like many of you, I'm ready to get outside and get the winter mess cleaned-up to get a jump on making the yard nice for the year. As the lawn mowers and trimmers start to emerge from storage, it's important to make sure that those, and any power equipment, are ready to rock safely for the season. The folks over at The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, has put together a list of 10 Tips for Getting Your Power Equipment Tuned-up for Spring. There's simple basic stuff here, but everyone could use a refresher once in awhile, and starting with the basics like inspecting equipment, reviewing manuals, and double-checking safety procedures is a great thing to do.

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Head-to-Head: Snow Joe 18" iON Hybrid vs. 21" iON PRO

What a weird winter this has been. The first snowstorm in mid-November was a bad one - around a foot of snow here in the far northern suburbs of Chicago, but a mess that quickly melted and was periodically replaced by on-and-off dustings. By January, we had ice on top of more ice... then some snow, then more ice. And then, cold. I was ill-prepared for this season, coming off of sharing a snowbird neighbor's gas-powered snow blower and teetering about making the switch to electric. When we last spoke about the winter weather, I stated that, despite it being late in the season, I'm now more prepared than ever to deal with a snowstorm - the new owner of a Snow Joe iON PRO Series 21-Inch Cordless Single Stage Brushless Snow Blower (iON21SB-PRO) that I bought from Amazon, and the new 18" iON Hybrid (available at The Home Depot) - the first snow blower that allows AC/DC operation, with users able to switch between corded and cordless use, that machine sent to me by Snow Joe as part of a Brand Ambassador deal. As I sit here today, there is no snow outside - and spring temperatures have already popped-up for a few days, but there was a storm I was able to tackle to put these to the test. But, in the new reality that is Chicago-area weather in 2016, it's already melted, and tomorrow is set to bring perhaps one of the messiest winter storms of the season. That's before we hit the 50's again this weekend.  So how do these to blowers stack-up?

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Snow Joe: I Have Never Been More Prepared for a Snowstorm...

When it comes to power equipment, I'm always torn - I love the sheer power and performance of gas, but like the environmental benefits of going electric. My wife knows that I struggle with this battle often, and over the years I've flip-flopped how I do things on more than a few occasions. There is, however, one particular area where I've long-hoped to make a switch - and that's the snowblower. Sure, I dug the power, but I hated the post-snowblowing shower - a necessity to wash away the nastiness of the exhaust fumes that were created by a noxious gas/oil mix. Having admired the cordless options of Snow Joe for a few years, I bought the Snow Joe iON PRO Series 21-Inch Cordless Single Stage Brushless Snow Blower (iON21SB-PRO) from Amazon. Then, in some strange synergetic coincidence, the folks at Snow Joe got in touch about working together - "The Rock Father" becoming a late-season Brand Ambassador. Already a customer, I accepted - and as of today, I've never been more prepared for a snowstorm... and I'm crossing my fingers that one comes very soon.

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Holiday Wish Guide: Craftsman Extreme GRIP Tools - Perfect for Makers & DIYers (+ Win a Set!)

Craftsman CrewTHE ROCK FATHER has partnered with Sears as a paid member of the Craftsman Crew.

No matter how well the preparation has gone, the Holiday Season has not just "crept-up" on us, but has emerged swiftly and with unusual force this year. It's somewhat hard to get a grip on all the moving parts that go with a successful and stress-free season these days (14 variations on Thanksgiving, 79 versions of Xmas - you know how it is), but when it comes to gifting, I'm pretty good at picking what works, hence my annual Holiday Wish Guide. For me, this is a time for fixing up the place - but even more so, being ready for toys... specifically, always being ready to open the battery compartments on toys. Since just about everything takes batteries at this point (even things you wouldn't expect), I've encountered some tricky spots - spots where some good grip comes in handy. With the new Craftsman Extreme GRIP Lineup of tools, I'm well taken care of - and that's why I'm including them in my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide. There's an Extreme GRIP tool for just about any application, and they're on-sale right now! A great gift idea, and a great asset to any toolbox - the perfect ally in the battle against rounded, stripped or just hard-to-grip fasteners.  Check out some Rock Father picks below, then enter to win a Craftsman Extreme GRIP 6-Piece Diamond Tip Screwdriver Set!

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