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.
Ridding Shops Of Mushrooms
Jan 24, 2010
We've all got a few mushrooms in our toolboxes. Best examples are old, abused cold chisels with their heads "mushroomed" after thousands of hammer blows. The heads of punches, crowbars and cheap sledge hammers often "bloom" in the same manner. Some winter day when you're less than busy and messing around in the workshop, take time to put on a pair of goggles or a face shield, a pair of thick leather gloves, and carefully grind away those mushrooms.
It's a petty thing, and I have to force myself to do that chore about once a year on my own tools. But a couple scars--one on the back of my left hand and one on my right cheek-- help remind me. On two occasions I was pounding on a chisel or punch and a piece of the mushroomed head broke off and embedded itself in my flesh. Both chunks of metal were ragged, sharp-edged and about 3/16-inch in diameter. Both drew blood and both produced unmanly whimpers when I used a pair of tweezers to dig them out of my hide. The one in my cheek drew special attention because it glanced off the edge of my safety glasses. It would have been much more difficult to have plucked it out of my eye.
So now I make a point of grinding away the mushroomed edges of chisels and punches on a regular basis. A smarter man would have learned after the first time he lost blood to a mushroomed tool.