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.
I Waited Too Long To Buy A Tool
Apr 14, 2014
I have blogged several times about how I bought this or that tool on a whim, didn't use the tool for a year or more, then was glad when that tool saved the day during a difficult repair. The other side of that coin is to have mutlple opportunities to buy a tool without pulling the trigger to buy it, only to run into a situation where the un-purchased tool would have saved time and effort.
Today I was on a service call, trying to couple a roller chain that was just a shade too short to get the master link to fit between the two ends. I was confident that the oily chain would squeeze the grease from between links and become "looser" once it ran for a while, but just couldn't gain enough slack to get the master link to slip into position.
The situation was even more aggravating because I have on multiple occasions turned away from buying "chain link pliers" designed for exactly that situation. The pliers have narrow jaws with special notches that allow the user to grab the rollers on the chain ends and easily draw them together for installation of a master link or half link.
The more I pulled and tugged, the more annoyed I got, because I knew it would have been a done-deal if I had bought those pliers when I had a chance. At one point I muttered about wishing I had a pair of chain pliers, and the farmer who was watching me work on his machine got a funny blank look on his face.
"I think I've got a pair of those that I bought off a traveling bolt and tool salesman one time," he said. He disappeaered and banged around in his toolbox for a few minutes, and re-appeared with a pair of chain pliers. "I've never used them, and almost forgot I had them."
Twenty seconds later the master link was installed, the farmer was returning his now-prized chain pliers to his toolbox, and I was stuffing a note into my shirt pocket to, "BUY CHAIN PLIERS."