Description of common tools
This lovely article was originally one of Peter Egan's "Side
Glances" and has been making the list rounds on the net being
modified along the way.
HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer
nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate expensive
parts not far from the object we are trying to hit.
MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents
of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly
well on boxes containing new seats and soft tops.
ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used
for spinning steel Pop rivets in their holes until you die of
old age, but it also works great for drilling mounting holes in
the body just above the wiring harness.
PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads.
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.
VISE-GRIPS: Used to 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.
OXYACETELENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting
various flammable objects in your garage on fire. Also handy for
igniting the grease inside a brake drum you're trying to get the
bearing race out of.
WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British
cars, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or
1/2 socket you've been searching for the last 15 minutes.
DRILL PRESS: A tall upright 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 painted part you were drying.
WIRE WHEEL: Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws
them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also
removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar calluses in
about the time it takes you to say, "Ouc...."
HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering a car to the ground
trapping the jack handle firmly under the front wing.
EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 4X6: Used for levering a car
upward off a hydraulic jack.
TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters.
PHONE: Tool for calling your neighbor to see if he has
another hydraulic floor jack.
SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich
tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog-doo
off your boot.
E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool that snaps off
in bolt holes and is ten times harder than any known drill bit.
TIMING LIGHT: A stroboscopic instrument for illuminating
TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST: A handy tool for testing
the tensile strength of ground straps, fuel or vacume lines or
electrical connections you may have forgotten to disconnect.
CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 16-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large motor mount
prying tool that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver
tip on the end without the handle.
BATTERY ELECTROLYTE TESTER: A handy tool for transferring
sulfuric acid from a car battery to the inside of your toolbox
after determining that your battery is dead as a doornail, just
as you thought.
AVIATION METAL SNIPS: See hacksaw.
TROUBLE LIGHT: The mechanic's own tanning booth. Sometimes
called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine
vitamin," which is not otherwise found under cars. Health benefits
aside, it's 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.
PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the lids of
old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splash oil on your shirt;
can also be used, as the name implies, to round off Phillips screw
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 Pneumatic impact wrench
that grips rusty bolts last tightened 40 years ago by someone
in Solihull, and snaps the heads off.
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.
HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to cut hoses 1/2 inch too short.
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