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: Tools You Should Have
Sep 18, 2011
You have tools in your toolbox that I don't have in mine, and I have tools in my toolbox that you don't have in yours. I have little use when repairing farm equipment for fencing pliers, fence stretchers or other livestock or farm maintenance tools. I have specialty tools dedicated for specific models of machines that would be a waste of money for a farmer to own. But if I was to give up the glamorous job of farm equipment mechanic and become a full-time farmer, there are a few tools that I would definitely bring along.
I'd definitely bring some air tools: air wrenches of various sizes, and definitely an air hammer. As a farmer I might use an air hammer only two or three times a year, but those two or three times would be worth the price of the air hammer. If I used an air hammer only once a year, with a chisel bit to remove rivets that hold the poly plastic to the bottom of a soybean platform and a riveting bit to install new rivets and plastic, it would be worth the other 364 days a year the air hammer lays in my toolbox.
A voltmeter would definitely be part of my tool inventory if I farmed. I like being able to determine not only WHERE voltage is, but HOW MUCH voltage is there.
Yes, it would be redundant to have battery-powered impact wrenches if I have air-powered tools, but battery-powered tools are SO handy and save so much time when compressed air isn't available that I'm willing to pay the price of that redundancy.
I'd obviously have to bring along my basic metric and standard wrenches and sockets. My assortment of hammers and pry bars would be part of the inventory. There are a few specialty tools designed for specific makes and models of machines I could sacrifice, if I was confident I would never work on those machines on my own farm--and there are definitely certain makes and models of machines that would never turn a tire on MY farm.
The final two tools that would definitely make a transition would be my little pocket screwdriver and the high-intensity, LED flashlight I keep in my shirt pockets. I feel naked without them. I've been known to paw my pockets, groping for one of those essential tools, when my wife and I out on a night on the town. If she keeps dragging me to dimly-lit restaurants where I can't see well enough to read the menu, I may resort to carrying the pocket flashlight.