Friday, February 27, 2009

Tool Tips - Part one

My good friend Dean in Arizona has graciously granted my request for a series of post on mechanic stuff, machine shop, and tools for the D-I-Y people out there. I hope everyone will take advantage of his knowledge and skills to solve some of your proplems or just add to your own wealth of knowledge.

Tool Tips - Part One

Hi everyone!

I'd like to take a moment to thank RW for inviting me to do a guest post on his site. I've been a long time reader of his, and his tips and ideas are great! He has invited me to pass on tips and tricks for not only what must have, should have, or how to, about tools and how to use them. My background is in the machine shop, I have a degree in automotive engineering, Tool and Die, and almost a mechanical engineering degree, so I know a bit about tools!

First, let's address the quality of your tools. I keep hearing about the poor quality of "Harbor Fright" tools. Sure, they are cheap, but I have some over 15 year's old and going strong! Not that I would use them for a living, but in a pinch, they work. If you’re not a professional mechanic, they will work fine as long as they are not abused. I was a machine shop manager for General Motors for a few years; they made fun of my Craftsman tools! I could not justify the price of SK or Mac tools, but I didn't rely on them the way they did.

I think every tool box should have at least 2 of every tool you can think of, a good set, and a cheap set, metric and standard. NEVER loan out the good stuff! When I was off road racing, I carried the cheap stuff on my bike or truck, the good stuff stayed in the pit. A few set's of cheap stuff will also be a great barter item, so get a few of everything!

So, let me go over what every basic toolbox should have. Granted, I’ll try to keep it to a minimal list, in my opinion, but it is must have stuff. Even if you don't know how or what it does, you might run into someone who can use it, fix your whatever, and be on your way! Depending on your skill level or ability, these may or may not apply, and I'm sure to get lot's of comment's about what I missed, I welcome them!

1. Socket set’s, metric and standard, regular and deep wall

2. Allen wrenches, metric and standard

3. Crescent wrenches, 4 6 8 and 12 inch

4. Screwdriver's, a full set

5. Breaker bar for the socket's

6. A flex head ratchet...a life saver!

7. Extensions for the sockets, at least 1 1/2 inches long

8. Torx wrench set. Common on newer cars and trucks

9. A small and big pipe wrench. When the crescent won't fit.

10. Tin snips.

11. Wire cutter/strippers and a connector set.

12. Chisel's, all size's

13. Hammers, a small and big one

14. A multi meter for electrical work

I know this is a minimal list, at least to me, but it will all fit into a hip roof type toolbox, and will fix 99 percent of what you may run into. If you have an ATV or some foreign vehicle, you may need some special tools for that, but this kit will do the basics at least. RW and I have discussed further posts regarding shop tips and such, maybe some how to stuff about welding and fabricating things.

We'd love to hear your input and ideas about what you'd like to see in the future!

Thanks again RW!

Dean in Az


riverwalker said...

Just wanted to say thanks. I look forward to more informative posts from you for my readers, especially about the welding and machining stuff.


Anonymous said...

And my thank's to you! I'm hoping we all gain tip's and trick's from each other,that's what we're here for!
Dean in Az

Anonymous said...

Dang!!! I forgot a ton!! Vise grip's,plier's,channel lock's!
Dean in Az

riverwalker said...

To: Dean

Are we going to need a BIGGER tool box?


Anonymous said...

A bigger toolbox is a GOOD thing! Guess I just got nervous,I'm a blogging virgin!
Dean in Az

Grumpyunk said...

There is some sort of virus that infects tool buyers. Once you get it you get the attitude that "If I need to borrow it once, I need to own it".

It's darn near impossible to have to many tools. Mechanics tools, Garden tools, woodworking and building tools, it goes on and on. And if you get into power tools? Whoa! But it's a good thing having what you need when you need it.

Anonymous said...

To Grump:
Yes,tool's are addictive! I'm the type of guy that believe's that if you need one might need it again! That's 1 good point of HF. Cheap enough to buy,and stash til needed again. If I needed it daily or weekly,no way,but for a now and then,loan it out,cheaper than renting tool, HF is great! Then again,I'm a packrat! I'm the neighborhood go to guy for every widget wrench! If I don't hav it,I can show them how to,or make what they need!
Dean in Az

Anonymous said...

I recommend a Spark plug socket for all your vehicles also, and a wobbly extension for your sockets.The cheaps sets can also be ground down bent etc... to make custom tools.

Machinist said...

A wood saw and a couple of hacksaws are very useful. A small hacksaw and a 12". These are best of good quality as cheap ones are a pain to use and tend to fail when you need them. Extra blades in different tooth counts are important.

Files are almost a universal tool as well. I had well over a hundred but a basic set will cover most needs. These don't have to be fancy for household stuff. I had expensive Swiss pattern files for gunsmithing and precision work but they are not needed for routine tasks.

irishdutchuncle said...

please add punches, drill bits, a drill, and a die grinder with stones and burrs to that list.

riverwalker said...

To: Machinist

I use my files pretty regularly. I also have a set of round files for sharpening my chainsaw blades. I also have the small hand held hacksaws that you insert the blade into the handy. These work great in tight places and confined areas.


riverwalker said...

To: irsihdutchuncle

Can't forget some drill bits. Although you are going to need a drill! Thanks.


Anonymous said...

I was going to get into drill's and file's in a future post,but since you mention it... Watch what type of drill's you buy, avoid any that are High Carbon,as they are junk. A drill must be at least high speed steel,M42 or Cobalt are better,Same with tap's and die's. Most of the HF tap set's are only hi carbon,ok for cleaning up a bolt,but not making one.
Dean in Az

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