of Tool Definitions
as defining moments from experience.
Hose Cutter: A tool used to cut hoses too short.
Hammer: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays
is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive
parts not far from the object we are trying to hit.
AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy
produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms
it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic
impact wrench that grips rusty bolts last over-tightened 58 years
ago and neatly rounds off their heads.
PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip
or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a part.
AVIATION METAL SNIPS: See Hacksaw.
TROUBLE LIGHT: The home mechanic’s own tanning booth. Sometimes
called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, “the
sunshine vitamin”, which is not otherwise found under cars
at night. Health benefits aside, it’s main purpose is to
consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105-mm
howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours
of the Battle of the bulge. More oten dark than light, it’s
name is somewhat misleading.
PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the lids of old-style
paper-and -tin oil cans and splas oil on your shirt, but can
also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw
HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile
to the ground after you have installed your new disk brake pads,
trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.
SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich
tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog — off
E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool ten times harder than
any known drill bit that snaps off in bolt holes you couldn’t
TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the tensile strength
on everything you forgot to disconnect.
HACKSAW: One of a family
of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms
human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the
more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your
VISE-GRIPS: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else
is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding
heat to the palm of your hand.
OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting on
fire various flammable objects in your shop. Also handy for
igniting the grease inside the wheel hub out of which you
want the bearing race.
WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British
cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating
that 9/16" or 1/2" socket you’ve been searching
for during the last 15 minutes.
DRILL PRESS: a
tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal
bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest
and flings your beer across the room, splattering it against
that freshly painted part you were drying.
WIRE WHEEL: Cleans
pain off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench
with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints whorls and
hard-earned guitar calluses in about the time it takes you to
ELECTRIC HAND DRILL:
Normally used for spinning pop rivets in their holes until you
die of old age.
PLIERS: Used to
round off bolt heads.
Lee, a Roamin Angel, is the owner of Lee’s
New definitions will be added monthly.