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In the Shop

RSS By: Dan Anderson, Farm Journal

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.

No Tool Is A Bad Gift

Dec 04, 2013

 Sometimes we fret and stew about what tools we should give as gifts to friends or family members. As someone who considers the acquisition of tools as an ongoing quest, I can guarantee there is no such thing as a "bad" tool if it's given as a gift.

More than 40 years ago Dad gave me a 32-ounce wood-handled ball peen hammer. For years it was my main instrument for beating on things. Once Dad passed away, for some reason it felt appropriate to retire it before I broke the original handle or--even worse--lost it.

I was pretty sure when my son was a teenager that he never listened to a thing I said. Till one Christmas, when he gave me a battery terminal clamp puller as a gift. I had mentioned, "It would be nice to have a battery clamp puller," several months before Christmas when we were working on his car. It's one of my most valued tools, not for what it does (and it's a very handy and useful tool), but for what it symbolized when it was given.

My wife has for years bought me mundane, "boring" shop accessories as Christmas gifts. "Boring" to her, but I think of her every time I roll under a machine on my top-of-the-line mechanic's creeper or sit comfortably on my rolling mechanic's chair. 

So, when buying tools as a gift, don't agonize over getting the "perfect" tool. Even if they already have 5 left-handed pipe wrenches, the one YOU give to them will be the best one in their toolbox.

BUT--if you're tired of getting left-handed pipe wrenches for Christmas, be a nice guy and drop some heavy hints, maybe mark pages in a tool catalog, or even make a detailed list of tools you'd like to have. Remember--your wife feels as comfortable in the tool section at the local hardware store as you do in the dress department of her favorite clothing shop.


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