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.
You Might Be a Shop Rat If...
Aug 27, 2011
Some of you are shop rats. You are happiest surrounded by tools, equipment and clutter. You like the smell of arc welding fumes. You can never get all the grease and grime out of the skin of your hands, no matter how hard you scrub. If you have doubts, here are ways to tell if you're a shop rat:
You might be a shop rat if:
-you can tell which way a ratchet wrench is set to turn without "test turning" it.
-you know immediately what size wrench comes between 5/8" and 3/4". Extra points if you know the metric equivalents of 5/8" and 15/16" wrenches.
-you have an old frying pan or FryDaddy in your shop to "cook" bearings before installation.
-there are one or more overstuffed chairs or recliners in a corner of your shop near the wood stove, oil burner or heater. Give yourself a gold star if your shop is air-conditioned.
-you have ever given instructions for a friend or helper to locate a wrench or tool "under the bench, in the old ammo box at the back, inside the coffee can with the cracked plastic lid, wrapped in a blue shop towel," and it was exactly where you said it would be.
-it's easier to shovel the floor of your shop than to sweep it.
-the UPS and FedEx men don't waste time hauling boxes to your house -- they bring them directly to your shop.
-there is a designated parking area outside the shop for friends, helpers and loafers.
-you have any project in a back corner of the shop that has been torn apart and awaiting reassembly for more than two years.
-you use old towels and discarded clothes from the house as shop rags. Extra points if you've ever flopped a set of oily gears on the parts counter at the local equipment dealership and realized you have them wrapped in a pair of your old, torn underwear.
-you do much of your repair work on the tailgate of your pickup just outside the shop door because you can't get the truck inside and all the workbenches are too cluttered to actually work on.
And finally, you ARE a shop rat if your wife, girlfriend or hired man has ever found you at midnight in the shop, asleep...and left you there.