In the Shop
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.
In The Shop: To engrave, or not to engrave
Jan 11, 2012
My coworker Mark is amused by my dedication toward engraving my name or initials on every tool I buy. Many professional mechanics consider it "amateurish" to put your name on wrenches, sockets or screwdrivers, and I admit it's a bit fussy to mark every single tool. Farmers in the past tended to not mark tools since they were the only ones using their tools on their farm, but I've noticed the trend toward sharing machinery--which increases the chance of "blending" tools--has also increased the initials I'm seeing on tools while I'm working on equipment in the field.
Even if they don't engrave their name, folks seem to have ways to identify their tools. Some grind identifying marks in specific places; some put dabs of paint in certain spots on each tool. I've worked with farmers who seemed to know every scratch, dent or bend in each of their tools and used those marks to identify what belonged to them. I knew one farmer who would hold a wrench or hammer, heft it, rub his hand over it, and confidently state, "This is mine," or "This must be yours," and when all the sorting of tools was finished, he was never wrong. He swore that he just "knew" his tools, but I have a suspicion he had discreetly center-punched some identifying marks in specific spots on his tools that only he knew about.
Personally, I don't care if it's amateurish or fussy to mark all my tools. I firmly believe that 99.95 percent of farmers are incredibly honest. The other 0.05 percent WANT to be honest, and putting my name on all my tools helps them be that way.