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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.

My Magic Box Of Tricks

Apr 14, 2013

Last year a fellow mechanic asked if he could borrow my "magical box of tricks." I was a little baffled, then he explained with a grin that he wanted to use the plastic toolbox/tacklebox in which I keep tools and supplies related to electrical repairs. He said that when I helped him in a previous repair, every time he mentioned needing a pair of wire strippers, a roll of tape, or some butt connectors, I immediately produced the needed item from my "box of tricks" that I brought to the job.

I have to admit, the electrical repair kit I put together has saved time and a lot of walking back and forth to my service truck or main toolbox. Electrical repairs generally require the same tools and supplies, so over time I accumulated those tools and supplies in one easy-to-carry toolbox. It has my multimeter, extension leads for the multimeter, crimping pliers, wire stripper, a small butane torch for heat-shrink connectors, small needle nose pliers, various tools to disassemble Deutsch and WeatherPak connectors, a couple small rolls of 12- to 16-gauge wire, and dozens and dozens of small zip ties and assorted butt connectors. 

I like the idea of grabbing one toolbox, climbing into a tractor cab or combine engine compartment, and having 99 percent of the tools and repair supplies I need within easy reach. I guess some folks might consider it "magical" to have essential tools easily at hand when making repairs, but I figured it was just a good way to eliminate a half-dozen trips back and forth to my service truck for tools and supplies. Laziness and innovation often share roots in Dan's world.

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