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.
More Fetish Tools
Aug 26, 2012
First--if any of you were directed by a Google search to this blog in hope of finding some weird sexual fetish--sorry, but this is about, "...an odd or unusual preoccupation with an object; a fixation..." and is about how I'm irrationally fond of some of the tools in my mechanic's toolbox.
Anyway. I'm the first to admit that I'm unexplainably fond of some of my tools. Some tools are just "cool." Some earn my affection by being incredibly useful and versatile. Some I can't explain, but I'm glad I have them every time I use them.
My ice pick is a good example. Tool catalogs call them scratch awls, or metal awls, but they're nothing more than a screwdriver with a pointed end. Aside from chipping block ice back in the day, I'm not sure what metal awls were actually designed for, but I find dozens of uses for mine. I poke holes in the plastic lids of oil buckets so they won't "glug" when I pour. I clean out grease zerks, I scrape gunk from bolt holes, I use my ice pick to align small holes when assembling sheet metal. I've had to resharpen the tip a few times, pound the shank straight on an anvil a few times, but it continues to be a useful tool with no specific use, that gets a lot of use.
I always get odd satisfaction from using my click-type torque wrenches. I like the precision associated with torquing a bolt to an exact specification. Click-type torque wrenches give a satisfying audible click and tangible snap through the handle to confirm the fastener has reached a specific torque. When I'm using a small torque wrench I'm always surprised how little effort inch-pounds take to achieve, and when I'm grappling with a 3/4-inch or 1-inch torque wrench to tighten frame bolts to 750 foot-pounds of torque, I'm always relieved when I finally hear and feel that satisfying click/snap.
My left-handed drill bits, part of a kit to remove broken bolts, often make me happy. Removing broken bolts can almost be fun with left-handed drill bits. The heat and vibration of drilling into the center of the broken bolt, combined with the reverse torque of the left-handed drill bit, often spin out the offending bolt without having to resort to an E-Z-out type bolt remover. What's not to like about that?
I've got a battered set of seal drivers that I always enjoy using. Maybe I spent too many years using wooden blocks and odd chunks of metal to install bearings and seals. It's nice to have a tool actually designed for the job. I get a small burst of satisfaction every time I use a seal driver that exactly fits a bearing or seal, and installs it precisely with a few blows from a hammer. I like precision, I like fast, and I like hitting things with a hammer. Some things more than others, but that's a topic for a future blog.