Tool Definitions for Dummies

Guide for getting the most out of your work tools


AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty or stubborn bolts or nuts which were last over-tightened 30 years ago by someone at Ford, and instantly rounds off their heads. Also used to quickly snap off lug nut studs.

BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touchup jobs into major refinishing jobs.

CRAFTSMAN 1/2" x 24" SCREWDRIVER: A very large pry bar that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end opposite the handle.

DRILL PRESS: A tall upright drilling machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, splattering it against that freshly stained heirloom piece you were drying.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG YELLOW PINE 2X4: Used for levering an automobile upward off of a trapped hydraulic jack handle.

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent the object we are trying to hit.

HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to make fuel, vacuum, heater, hoses too short.

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes without the brake drum and tire, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

MASKING TAPE: Useful for securing the Band-Aid on your index finger so you can finish the job without worrying about the Band-Aid coming off.

MECHANIC’S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.

OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for setting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for setting the grease on fire inside the wheel hub you want the bearing race out of.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids and for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads. Women excel at using this tool.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters. The most often the tool used by most women.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.

RADIAL ARM SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to scare neophytes into choosing another line of work.

SKILL SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

SMALL THREAD CUTTING TAPS: A tool for making new threaded bolt holes that is just as hard as any known drill bit that snaps off neatly thereby turning a good day into a
bad one.

STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws.

TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.

TROUBLE LIGHT (with a bulb, not the fluorescent kind): Sometimes called a drop light, it’s the home mechanic’s own miniature “sunburn tool.” Its main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105 mm Howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading.

TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters, metal cuttings and wire wheel wires from your hands and fingers.

TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of the motor mounts you forgot to disconnect.

VISE GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

WELDING GLOVES: Heavy duty leather gloves used to prolong the conduction of intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16" or 1/2" socket you’ve been searching for the last 45 minutes.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint, dirt and rust off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers.


 

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03-Apr-2020