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.
Someday I'm Gonna...
Mar 10, 2012
Every time I find myself banging through the drawers of my toolboxes looking for tools, I promise myself that someday I'm going to take a few simple steps to organize things so I can find them when I need them. My list includes:
-take a block of oak and drill a pattern of holes in it to make a rack to organize the carbide bits for my die grinder. If a carbide bit isn't currently in my die grinder, it usually takes a half hour to find it somewhere in the "air tools" drawer in my toolbox.
-drill another, larger block of oak to make a rack to hold the chisel tips, hammer tips, pointed tips, rivet-head tips and other bits I use with my air hammer. I've got a dozen or more different bits, but only know for sure where two of them are, and one of those locations is "iffy."
-outfit a "battery tools" toolbox. Just a small, single compartment, fishing-tackle type of toolbox with a 1/2-inch wrench, a battery terminal cleaner, digital battery tester, a battery-carrying handle and other assorted tools commonly used when working on batteries. I like grab-and-go toolboxes dedicated to specific chores. Several years ago I outfitted a toolbox with a multimeter, assorted test leads, wire strippers, wire cutters, and an assortment of electrical connectors, and dedicated it to electrical testing and diagnostics. Its been a real time-saver, something I can tote up in a combine or inside a tractor cab, that ensures I have 99 percent of the tools I'll need for most electrical problems.
-sharpen all the dull drill bits I've accumulated over the years. I easily set aside a dull bit and replace it with a sharp one, but can never bring myself to actually throw away the dull one. If I ever take time to Drill Doctor all those drill bits I should have three or four complete sets of drill bits...
-throw away all the broken drill bits. Why I think I'll ever be able to sharpen all those shortened, ragged-tipped bits is beyond me, but I keep saving those darned broken bits.
-clean out my toolboxes. The few times I've actually done a to-the-bottom housecleaning of one of my boxes, it's been like Christmas morning---it's surprising the tools you find that you forgot you had, or thought you'd lost. Who knows what I'll rediscover if I ever drill open the jammed drawer on my "junk" toolbox.