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Craig

Workshop tools explained

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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-stained heirloom piece of furniture drying out after re-varnishing.

 

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned guitar calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, "Oh sh--...."

 

SKILL SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

 

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters. The tool most often used by all women.

 

BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

 

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 future becomes.

 

VICE-GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely 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.

 

WELDING GLOVES: Heavy duty leather gloves used to prolong the conduction of intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

 

OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub you want the bearing race out of.

 

WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 13 or 16mm socket you've been searching for the last 45 minutes.

 

TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.

 

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake pads, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

 

EIGHT-FOOT LONG PINE 2X4: Used for levering an automobile upward off of a trapped hydraulic jack handle.

 

TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters and wire wheel debris.

 

E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool ten times harder than any known drill bit that snaps neatly off in bolt holes thereby ending any possible future use.

 

RADIAL ARM SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to scare neophytes into choosing another line of work.

 

TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.

 

SNAP ON 1/2 x 24-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A very large pry bar that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end opposite the handle.

 

AVIATION METAL SNIPS: See hacksaw.

 

INSPECTION LAMP: 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, its main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105mm howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading.

 

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids and for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads. Women excel at using this tool.

 

STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws.

 

AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a power station 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty bolts which were last over tightened 30 years ago by someone at Ford, and instantly rounds off their heads. Also used to quickly snap off lug nuts.

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