From julie@DRYCAS.CLUB.CC.CMU.EDU Mon Dec 2 12:54:25 1996
Subject: (fwd) FYI: Tools, Explained
I have no idea where this came from, but here's the header that came
My sources tell me this was in "Road & Track" last month, and was
crafted by Peter Egan... it's auto-related, but still a fine read for
the "wrench" in all of us... enjoy!
HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is
used as a kind of divining rod to locate expensive car parts not far
from the object we are trying to hit.
MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of
cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly
well on boxes containing convertible tops or tonneau covers.
ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning steel Pop rivets in
their holes until you die of old age, but it also works great for
drilling rollbar mounting holes in the floor of a sports car just
above the brake line that goes to the rear axle.
PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads.
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.
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 those stale
garage cigarettes you keep hidden in the back of the Whitworth socket
drawer (What wife would think to look in there?) because you can never
remember to buy lighter fluid for the Zippo lighter you got from the
PX at Fort Campbell.
ZIPPO LIGHTER: See oxyacetelene torch.
WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and
motorcycles, they are now used mainly for hiding six-month old Salems
from the sort of person who would throw them away for no good reason.
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 the
Rolling Stones poster over the bench grinder.
WIRE WHEEL: Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere
under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint
whorls and hard-earned guitar callouses in about the time it takes you
to say, "Django Reinhardt".
HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering a Mustang to the ground after
you have installed a set of Ford Motorsports lowered road springs,
trapping the jack handle firmly under the front air dam.
EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2X4: Used for levering a car upward off a
TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters.
PHONE: Tool for calling your neighbor Chris to see if he has another
hydraulic floor jack.
SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for
spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog-doo off your boot.
E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool that snaps off in bolt holes
and is ten times harder than any known drill bit.
TIMING LIGHT: A stroboscopic instrument for illuminating grease
buildup on crankshaft pulleys.
TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST: A handy tool for testing the tensile
strength of ground straps and hydraulic clutch lines you may have
forgotten to disconnect.
CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 16-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large motor mount prying tool
that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the
end without the handle.
BATTERY ELECTROLYTE TESTER: A handy tool for transferring sulfuric
acid from a car battery to the inside of your toolbox after
determining that your battery is dead as a doornail, just as you
AVIATION METAL SNIPS: See hacksaw.
TROUBLE LIGHT: The 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 105-mm 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 lids of old-style
paper-and-tin oil cans and splash oil on your shirt; can also be used,
as the name implies, to round-out Phillips screw heads.
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
suspension bolts last tightened 40 years ago by someone in Abingdon,
Oxfordshire, and rounds them off.
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