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In the Shop

RSS By: Dan Anderson, Farm Journal

As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.

Tools I'm Ashamed To Like

Jul 23, 2013

 I admit I'm a tool snob. I refuse to use the cheasy, cheap, unbalanced, underweighted claw hammer my wife keeps in the kitchen drawer. At hardware stores I look down my nose at bargain bins full of screwdrivers on sale for 99 cents each. I generally wouldn't be seen in public using any of the multi-tools that have a 38 different tips, bits and accessories stored in the handle.

But there are a few tools that I own that I'm embarrassed to admit I like. For example, while I'm too good to own one of the multi-tools with 38 tips, bits and accessories, I confess the go-to screwdriver at home and around my garage is a sturdy plastic-handled screwdriver that has a removable shaft with a Phillips tip on one end and a flat tip on the other. And the Phillips tip and flat tip are double-ended, so I end up with two Phillips tips of different sizes, and two flat tips of different sizes. This particular reversable screwdriver has a quality handle and hardened tips that have endured a lot of abuse. I actually bought two more of that brand and style of reversable screwdriver, so I'll have spares in case they stop making them. 

I've got a fancy digital tire pressure guage that would probably give my wife justification for a new pair of shoes if she ever found out how much I paid for it. It's got a neat, LED-illuminated round gauge-housing mounted in shock-absorbing rubber, with a hose to a two-way chuck. It's really cool. But most of the time when I need to check air pressure in a tire, I grab my old slip-stick tire pressure gauge. It's quick, it's easy, I never have to calibrate it and its batteries never go dead because it doesn't have any. Just like the screwdriver I'm ashamed to own--the slip-stick tire pressure guage is what I use at home when nobody else is around.

Yes, I am a tool snob. But not such a snob that I don't recognize a simple, useful, durable tool when I see one. When I tried to explain my tool buying philosophy to my wife, she smiled, patted me on the head and said,"That's the exact strategy I used when I was looking for a husband."

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