For What Its Worth
Handy Dandy Tools, Invention by
Necessity and General Ramblings
What makes a good tool?
When I am helping friends and they bring out cheap tools I often tell
them, "chances are I am going to bust this tool in little pieces" and
usually do trying to get the first bolt/nut loose that has any
Quality of the material, design of the tool and good manufacturing
execution are all important. You pay for a good tool once, you
pay for an inferior tool everytime you use it.
In school many years ago I did an analysis of tools for a class
project. Cheap tools vs brand name. Some of the cheap tools had a
lot more "good" alloys in the metal since many came from where the
alloys were cheap. Fit on the bolts was much looser than
better tools. Leading to stripped bolts or letting go.
The finish on the tool and fit in you hand can make using the tool
pleasant or painful.
How the tool is made makes it strong and tough. Too many people
just see how shinny it is.
Continued control of the manufacturing process can lead to consistent
quality and customer loyalty.
Am I worried about tool manufactures moving to "cheaper areas"? In many
cases yes. Manufacturing is the complete culture. Suppliers to sales
make the company. Too often management publicly states moving production
is to "reduce costs". I think it is often done to cover their lack of
capability to run a manufacturing organization. It shows up later when the
company still goes out of business.
If you are working on old cars the most useful tool I have found
set of good taps. Ones that can chase a threaded hole. Get
rust and gunk out. It is amazing how much easier things go when
the bolts go right on in.
The most important tool of all is good jack stands, 4 of them. Not 2 good
ones and 2 not so good, or 3, but 4 good ones. And the wheel blocks.
Your life depends on them.
A Good floor jack is important also. It saves hours of cursing
and frustration. Make sure it will lift more than you need.
The wheels must roll easily also.
Why? If you notice when floor jacks lift they also move the
jack point a little forward going up and back going down.
If the cars wheels have brakes on, in gear/park, chucks or the other part of the car
is on jack stands, the jack MUST move. If it wont roll something
will slip. It may be the car off the jack or jack stands
etc. I don't care who makes the jack, never trust you life
and health to a jack, greasy goo on the jack point, and all the
other things that go wrong, use jack stands.
If you have a stock style brake proportioning valve block with the
warning light/safety switch on the car and ever attempt to bleed the
brakes by using your foot on the pedal, you need a special tool.
You take the switch out of the block and replace it with a tool that
wont let the switch move. If you are smart you buy the thing in advance,
if you can find one.. It is dirt cheap and worth it.
It keeps the valve from setting in the warning/low pressure position if you get a little heavy on
the brakes. Resetting it usually involves loosening a line
etc. Prevention is way better than cure.
If you are like me and forgot you don't have every tool that used to be
in the shop you worked at years ago and you need it now! What do
you do? Simple, you make one from left over fittings and a
flat head 6 penny or so nail. Cut and grind nail to length
and you are done. Sorry, if you don't have the right
fittings, just buy the tool it is cheaper and easier! Also if you make it too
long or tighten too much, you could bend or cause the valve to be siezed.
Then the switch will not work as intended. Always be careful
Unidrill for Sheet metal and Plastic
When you have to drill holes in sheet metal or plastic, there is a great
one-drill does many tool. It is called a Unidrill.
Put it in, drill the hole and when you get to
size you want stop
drilling. This one goes from 3/16 to 7/8 in 1/16
Home made pipe thread adapter
What do you do when you pull the temp sender unit out and the 3/8-1/2
adapter stays in the intake and you need the adapter out? Well
brass to steel does not stick as much as steel to aluminum so 9 times out of
10 the adapter stays in the intake. After some thinking This is
what I came up with. Luckily I had the right size pipe tap that fit
snug in the adapter. Then knock in a wood screw in the fluted area to
lock it in. Apply some heat to the intake around the adapter with a
small butane torch, cross fingers and turn tap to remove adapter.
Out it comes. It looks like this.
Saving money is a good thing when it also keeps the wife happy.
My wife is happy with window blinds we purchased with the cost savings.
I needed a good MIG welder that runs on 110v. Many are sold in
building supply stores. After investigating the welding
supply stores I found the building supply welders were not the same as
the similar name welder in the welding store. Same names,
different model numbers. There were in my opinion significant
durability differences. My goal was for a good welder with
commercial grade durability. So I set out on the long term
search. I had given up on finding a used one in the
classifieds. I was ready to buy a new system, with gages
and a gas bottle. Around $950 U.S. I took one last
look before heading off to the store and found a Miller SideKick for
$100. Older, yes, but checking with the welding supply, no
problem in keeping it running if it needed something. It came
with a home made stand, argon gas connections and a large full roll of
wire ready to go. It worked. With a gas bottle, new
tips and a heavy duty 15ft/5meter extension cord I was ready to go for
less than 1/4th the new price. All it needed was minor
repair on a cooling fan. I also removed 2 lbs. of mud-dobber
nests. It had been kept in a not to well sealed garage. On
to practice my welding skills and then attack a few key areas of
sheet metal on the Chevy II.
Best kind of oil filter wrench. This will take off ANY stuck oil
VHubbard. Last update 7/2011
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