The 2013–2014 Grainger catalog just landed in my mailbox with a thump: Its 4,674 pages weigh about 8 pounds and offer more than 570,000 products. There are hand tools, power tools, and accessories, plus loads of safety gear, from eyewear to fall protection. But you’ll also find motors and bearings, circuit breakers and thermostats, hand trucks and casters, hoists and winches, thermal imagers and video borescopes, ladders and scaffolding, nuts and bolts, lags and deck screws, pneumatic hoses and couplers, pumps and water heaters, gate valves and check valves, airless sprayers and welding supplies, and so on. There’s also useful technical information, such as an LED lighting guide on page 661.

I can’t remember if I’ve ever ordered from Grainger. I’ve always found lower prices for power tools elsewhere. But I’ve used the catalog as a problem-solver and idea book for years, even consulting it for terminology. Order the free catalog at or by calling 800.472.4643. You can also view it online. —Bruce Greenlaw is a contributing...

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