Tools and Their Uses

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A compilation from AMC Eagle Nest Members. Feel free to add your own if you have contributor status. If you don't have contributor status just ask an admin to see if we can fix you up.

SUBJECT: TOOL DESCRIPTIONS: A PRIMER

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.

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

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.

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, or other nearby body parts.

OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable or valuable 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 9/16 or 1/2 socket you've been searching for the last 15 minutes.

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.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2X4: Used for levering an automobile upward off a hydraulic jack handle.

TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters.

PHONE: Tool for calling your neighbors to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack. Secondary usage: used to call 911 when car has fallen on you.

SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog **** off your boot.

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 use anyway.

TAP: See Bolt Extractor above.

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

CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 16-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large pry-bar that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end opposite the handle.

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 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; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip 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 bolts last over tightened 58 years ago by someone at ERCO, 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 50 cent part.

HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to cut hoses too short.

HAMMER: Multipurpose, if the smaller one does not work, use larger model. 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.

MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts.

PIPE AND/OR CHEATER BAR: Used to provide leverage on stuck or stubborn parts, since you should have had the strength to do it but recently have only been doing 12 oz curls.

WATER PUMP PLIERS: Larger, with more adjustment points than ordinary pliers, it is used to round off bolt heads too large for ordinary pliers. Also doubles as a device to check one's palm pain tolerance when the jaws slip off the rounded off bolt head causing the handles to pinch the fleshy part of your palm below the first finger.

ANGLE GRINDER: Used for grinding off flesh of knuckles and finger tips.

ADJUSTABLE WRENCH: Commonly used to round off bolt/nut heads and slam your fingers into the sharpest nearby object.

SNAP RING PLIERS: Used to expand and then shoot your only and very necessary snap ring into another dimension (distant relative to wire wheel.)

Oxy-Acetylene Torch: Also known as the Acetylene Wrench....When the progression of hammers fails once you get to the "Thor", try the acetylene wrench also known as "Metric".

SAFETY GLASSES: Meant to protect your eyes, but only serve to become fogged-up and distort any amount of vision provided by the aforementioned trouble-light.

4 - 6' STEEL PIPE: Used to snap breaker bars in half to reduce their length. Also good for breaking sockets and rounding off nuts and bolt heads.

TOOL BOX: Place where the tools you do not need are stored.

KITCHEN DRAWER/WIFE'S PURSE/KID'S BEDROOMS: Places where the tools you need are stored.

GASKET ADHESIVE: Substance guaranteed to stick to everything but the parts you are trying to get it to stick to. Works best to seal the tube it comes in after one use.

WORK BENCH: A portal to an alternate universe. Parts placed there will be transported to this universe and only be returned after you return from the parts store with the new replacement part.

UNDENIABLE TRUTHS: No matter which fastener you leave until last -- it will be the hardest one to remove. You will have one left over fastener.

TOOL AISLE: Tool used by merchants to assist you in buying tools you might need someday.

PEN: Used to sign checks and credit card slips at the parts store.

ELECTRICAL TAPE: Used in conjunction with fast food napkin to bandage wounds incurred using above mentioned tools.

FULLY EQUIPPED MECHANIC'S WORKSHOP: Something you don't have, and will be required to visit with projects you can't complete.

LAWN MOWER/SNOW BLOWER: Used to find tools and parts.

STANDARD TOOL SET: One flat head screw driver. One claw hammer. One rusty pliers. One half a saw blade.

PROFESSIONAL TOOL SET: One Vise Grip pliers One nail One Phillips screwdriver One old roll of duct tape and a roll of (rusty) tie wire, aka balin war


LOCKING PLIERS (COMMONLY CALLED "VISE GRIPS"): Originally designed to operate Hood Release Cables on Eagles, they have been adapted to a wide variety of uses.