Years ago, I reviewed the Eclipse Tools 900-005 Cable Tie Gun [Tape Op #29]. If you’ve ever used a tool like this to tension and cut cable ties, you’ll never go back to using your fingers and a set of diagonals (or pliers) to perform the same job. A cable tie gun is essential for bundling together wires, and for attaching those wire bundles, as well as wall warts and other items, to racks, power strips, and other mounting points. Last year, I looked for replacement cutting blades for my well-worn Eclipse guns, but I couldn’t find a supplier. So I purchased a new gun for just $4.99 from my local Micro Center — a price far lower than the $19.99 I paid for one from the same store 15 years before. The new gun looked just like my old ones, but it was built to a much lower quality level; the moving parts had tons of slop, and subsequently, the tool’s performance was very inconsistent. I did some research online and discovered that reviews for the Eclipse tool (and its countless lookalikes) mirrored my experiences with the one I had just purchased. Therefore, I decided to go upscale, and I bought a Panduit GTS-E for $150. The GTS-E is the newest in Panduit’s line of cable tie tools, and its standout feature is less kickback. If you’re a professional wire installer using this tool thousands of times a day, you’ll appreciate the reduced chance of injury from repetitive impact shock.
The rest of us will extol the perfect cuts the tool makes every time, due to its greater stability as the trigger “snaps” and releases the cutting blade. The GTS-E is bigger than the Eclipse gun, but it’s also lighter, and its barrel nose is thinner, with a clearer view of its tensioning jaws; therefore, I can position and tension ties more accurately with it.
Plus, its tension setting is far easier to change. And unlike the equally expensive Ty-Rap tools from Thomas & Betts (the company that invented the cable tie), the GTS-E doesn’t seem to have any issues with ties inserted upside-down into its head. ... Speaking of tools, I like to keep my mics in the drawers of tool cabinets, the kind that you see in auto repair shops. In my studio, I have cheap, generic, multi-drawered cabinets that I bought online years ago, but in my garage, I have Home Depot Husky chests. The tack-welded Huskys aren’t crazy expensive like the fully-welded ones from Proto and other companies serving the aviation market, but the affordable Huskys are still solid, and their full-extension, ball-bearing drawer-slides operate better than the friction ones in my generic chests. I find that these kinds of tool cabinets are ideal for holding mics; you can roll the chests around, multiple drawer heights are available, and a single key will lock all their drawers. Plus, the selection of aftermarket organizers and liners for the near-standard drawer depths and heights seems endless. In this regard, I recommend products designed for kitchen use that won’t secrete or off-gas any chemicals that could damage delicate mic capsules. My favorite are silverware trays and drawer organizers from Madesmart These are made of just-flexible-enough plastic that seems unbreakable, with semi-soft, in-molded rubber liners. When I place my mics (with their clips attached) inside these trays and organizers, the mics stay in place, even when I roll my tool cabinets across door thresholds. For my larger tube mics, I sized and placed non-slip, kitchen shelf liners along the bottoms of the taller drawers. Resting on the liners, the heavy mics and shockmounts stay put, and they don’t bump into each other when I roll the cabinets. –AH

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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