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.
Happiness Is A Fine-Toothed Ratchet Wrench
Jul 01, 2014
Even though they're expensive, high-quality fine-toothed ratchet wrenches make me happy. I like their precision, and I enjoy their ability to ratchet in tight quarters where a coarse-toothed ratchet wrench doesn't have room to "click" and get a fresh bite.
Other mechanics are perfectly content with a more economical coarse-toothed ratchet wrench. It seems that for every tool I like, there's someone who likes a different version of that tool.
The reason for my ponderings on tool preferences is based on a conversation I had to day with a customer. We were talking about his line of equipment, which is well-cared for, but "mature." He made the comment that he had no use for autosteer and was totally content to steer his equipment himself. He said the happiest place on the planet for him was to be in his fields driving his "mature" equipment, and that it would make him unhappy to farm with a huge equipment loan hanging over his head.
I've got other customers for whom their happiest days are when they drive new equipment home. They've arranged their finances and farming so that they get something new every year. They truly enjoy studying owner's manuals and learning all the nuances of each piece of new equipment. One of them once told me that it gives him peace of mind to trade combines every year so that every breakdown is covered by a full parts and labor warranty. He said he'd spent too many years fixing combines himself, and it made him happy to call the dealership for warrantied repairs on his combine.
There's a moral somewhere to these stories, but I'm not sure what it is. I like fine-toothed ratchet wrenches; other people don't. I'm not right and they're not wrong. I guess as long as we're both happy, then life is good.