Sunday, December 9, 2012

HOTR Holiday Tool Advice a 2012 Update

I chat with Midwest Chick and Mr. B. as much as my family. Sometimes Midwest Chick and I discuss all manner of intellectual things. Sometimes we just talk about chocolate recipes,  tools and soap.

After putting up the Christmas Tree this evening, a $20 special I picked up right at dark, which somehow looked, well. fluffier in the late evening light.  It's not a Douglas, it's not a Spruce. I'd say it was the more rare Rogaine Pine. But it's up, my very own Charlie Brown Christmas tree, with lights and ornaments and 1960's elves that were my Mom's. Now that Christmas decor is up at my crash pad (for even if I'm here a couple weeks a month it's still home), I have time to chat with friends.
M.C. had made some homemade laundry soap, always learning to prep and create new things for long term household and personal care use at a fraction of the cost.  The idea seemed great except she said she ran into one little problem.  Apparently the amounts she was given were incorrect, and when she realized that after mixing a couple of the ingredients there was no going back.  She now has laundry soap to last into the next millennium.

She said "guess what you're getting for Christmas", and we laughed.  I think she was kidding?

But I admire her, both she and Mr. B., who can use pretty much any tool or tractor out there, making their home and business secure, weather and zombie proof on a budget they can live with.  Learning the skills is one thing, but getting the proper amount of tools is another.

How do you know YOU have the proper amount of tools?

When your end table looks like this.

And your significant other gives you that sign that says"no seriously, honey I have a headache".

You know you have a lot of tools around the house.

I thought I'd learned a lot when I fixed up a very old, way too big, house to sell a couple of years ago. Now as I make plans to buy land and build a small home for weekends and retirement, I"m learning more.

What I've learned most is - LIVE SIMPLE. START SIMPLE. 

 I'll start with the basic concept of tools picked up from the Internet, hands on experience, the occasional YouTube video and, well, you saw all those boxes of band aids didn't you

A SHOP VAC perhaps. And yes, it WILL suck up a dead mouse, that diamond earring you've been looking for AND an entire Hostess Snowball. But you don't want to, trust me, I mean Hostess Snowballs are collectors items now!

To accompany that, you can add some COMMON FASTENERS which come pre-stripped for easy over torquing.


WIRE WHEEL - Cleans paint off of bolts and other things quick as a wink so when they drop to the floor they are even harder to see. Can also be used on those college era cookie sheets that you really need to throw away.

SKILL SAW - "Skill" saw can by an oxymoron. A portable cutting tool used to make things 1/4 inch too short.

ADJUSTABLE WRENCH - Phase one of the detailed process of completely stripping a bolt head. Not to be mistaken for an Adjustable Wench which was popular during Medieval Home Remodeling.  Can also be used as a hammer but make sure the jaws are closed.  Nothing says Amateur like flailing away at your target with the jaws of your wrench wide open.

BANDSAW - Can be confused with a  musical saw.  But only once.

PLIERS - Used to attempt to remove said bolt heads. Can also be used to attempt to pull corkscrew from wine bottle after mangling Roberta X's wine opener. (I told you Tam, we needed C4 on that thing.)
BELT SANDER - When hand sanding is not enough, this handy little electric job can turn the most minor touch up jobs into a complete home finishing project as quick as you can say, a la' George Jetson, "Jane - STOP this crazy thing".

SAW - The Congress of tools, it starts with a good idea and a straight course, then turns every which way due to lack of direction and a tendency to lean to the Left, ending up with something that doesn't even begin to look like the original plan.

VISE-GRIPS - When heated up during any welding project, they make handy branding tools.

LATHE - a large testosterone laden machine that will perform amazing tasks.  If demonstrating its many uses down in the basement during a dinner party, wear a clip on tie.

OXYACETYLENE TORCH - (The DIY Microwave!) When you thought that setting fire to your kitchen towel was going out of style, get one of these! Useful for lighting any flammable object in your shop in only seconds.

SWISS ARMY KNIFE - A multi purpose tool that comes complete with scissors, screwdrivers, corkscrew and bottle opener. The bottle opener is the most essential.

TABLE SAW - A large stationary power tool commonly used as a shop trebuchet, to fling hard objects into that wall you just dry walled and repainted.

FLOOR LAMPS - When the low/med/high button shorts out to only the 747 landing light position, it can be used to find the wire brushed bolts OR interrogate prisoners.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER - Useful for poking a hole in the top of the brownies to see if they are done. There's a rumor they can be used remove screws but it's only a rumor.

SCRATCH AWL - Rumored to be good for making a pilot hole for drilling. However, true to its name, when you put it in your tool belt, it scratches ALL, including the wearer.

STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER - A tool for opening large paint cans that you will need after using the belt sander.

WIRE CUTTERS - Common divining rod to determine if electric current is in your vicinity.

HOSE CUTTER - A tool used to make hoses too short .

FLASHLIGHT - Handy storage unit for dead batteries. See also HAMMER

HAMMER - Occasional tool of violence in places where guns are outlawed. It is well known that the hammer is commonly used in other states to destroy the areas immediately surrounding where you are trying to hit.

UTILITY KNIFE - Handy for use in cutting open packages from the UPS guy. Works equally as well on refund checks, plastic bottles or small plastic reloading supplies that you really needed. Best left out of the hands of those prone to "packaging rage".

TWEEZERS - Forget those stray eyebrow hairs, this thing can actually remove wood splinters!

PHONE - Tool for calling your  buddies for help. Do NOT lose this item.

SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER - my oldest brother restores old cars, so I found this in the toolbox. I'm not sure WHAT it is for, but it will get rid of the Barkley yard landmines from the bottom of your shoe after your made that trek out to the shop.

E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR - Viagra couldn't make this tool any harder. Harder than any drill bit ever made, it will snap off into bolt holes faster than you can say "hey, what are you doing tonight?"

PRYBAR - useful for that cookie that just does NOT want to let loose from the pan after baking.

TROUBLE LIGHT - What Partner probably calls the headlights of my truck as they hit his driveway. Sometimes known as a "drop light", from the tendency to drop it on a hard surface and break it one day past its warranty, it's a good source of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin which will help with S.A.D. as well as that urge to take the pry bar and . . . .

Its main purpose however it to consume expensive 40 watt light bulbs at a rate equal or greater than all the .30-06 cartridges used in WW II.

PLIERS - The tool used most often by women.  In addition to creating nifty blood blisters it can also pull the little metal shells of the  *#(@ tea candles out of their 1/16 inch too small holder after your "Calgon Take me Away" bubble bath.

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL - A device used to spin pop rivets in their holes until your kids move out of the house and get a job.

AIR COMPRESSOR - The Fifth Law of Thermodynamics: Things Get Worse Under Pressure.  .A machine that converts energy into compressed air that travels to power an impact wrench that can then efficiently round off the heads of any over tightened bolt
DUST MASK - useful for drywall and cleaning BobCat's litter box. Or blind dates. 


If you're going to solder in shorts, shave your legs.

Never get between electricity and where it wants to go.

Before you arc weld, take off your ring.

Most metal fabricating tools can mangle a manicure in ways you could never imagine. Red polish will match the blood though.


When you "cut corners", the energy you saved will all be used in coming up with a really good excuse.

An automatic garage door does not have the power to lift even a small 2.5l inline 6 engine.  Trust me on this one.

 - Brigid


  1. If you secure pantyhose over the mouth of the shop vac, it will save that bolt, the diamond earring, and all metal shavings in a three-state vicinity from actually getting sucked into the machine. Just sayin'.

  2. Miss D. - what are these "pantyhose" of which you speak? I only have stockings. Black, for the symphony or trying to explain why there's ganache hardening on the ceiling.

  3. For real mayhem, you need a chain saw. Or, you can hire Red Green to instruct you.

  4. Well Seasoned Fool - Red Green is my hero!

    Off to sleep, much travel in the next week or so, posts saved to come up with perhaps a fun live one thrown in.

  5. As a cabinet maker this was priceless. Thanks!

  6. You had me at George Jetson on a belt sander...

  7. I can see you definitely know your way around tools and equipment. God must like tinkerers or I don't think most of us would have made it this long. Makes me think He has a sense of humor, and we fill that hole?

  8. LOL

    Now I can blame it on the tools, because it sounds like it happens to others and not just me.

    Stay safe in your travels :)

  9. Right after I got out of high school I attempted to restore a '66 Mustang. It was unsuccessful.

    Most of my time was spent with a pneumatic tool that was a bit like a dremel, with a wire wheel on the end. I had a week's growth of beard most of the time because hey, last summer before college, but occasionally after working on the car I would find that some of the beard hairs were in fact pieces of the wire wheel, embedded in my skin.

    Eventually I decided to wear a face shield.

  10. Do not forget the damage a Dremel can havoc.

  11. Dinner party around the lathe.


  12. Brigid that was brilliant, a Kevin Wilson of home DIY!

  13. Actually I found the corkscrew on my Swiss army knife is just the thing for lifting o-rings out of their grooves. It even works passably well as a corkscrew & eyeglass screwdriver holster.

    Remember to cover up or slather on the industrial grade sun screen when arc welding. Yes, you can get sunburned from arc welding.

  14. LOL, I've got all of those 'except' the lathe, but I've got friends... :-)

  15. What a wonderfully humorous post to start the week out right!


    Thank You!


  16. I have a crowbar in the trunk of my car. I say it's there in case I run over an animal and have to put it out of its misery, but really it's just because I like the idea of it being there.

    The tire iron I keep up front next to the driver's seat, because you never know.

  17. Nothing says Amateur like flailing away at your target with the jaws of your wrench wide open.

    The jaws of my wench are always ... oh, wait, you said, "wrench". Never mind.

  18. Your brave. I would probably burn down the house with a sodering iron even if it wasn't possible I would find a way. Tip has been filed away in brain.

  19. I have everything on that list except the lathe and torch (Map propane torches braze OK) and most I have multiples of. I'm still working on the answer to dear wife's question "Why do you have 13 different saws?" let alone why I have 2 of most types. And she's not buying the 2 is 1 and 1 is none argument.
    Does all this make me a tool junky?


  20. For more tool jokes, do a quick search. I found this one: which has hilarious pictures!

    Where did you get that picture of the antique metal lathe? I want it! (the lathe, not the pic)

  21. Lazy Bike Commuter - Welcome! and well. . ow!!

    mushroom - people looked at me like I was crazy when I read that (who is that redhead with the small device and why is she laughing her head off).

    Tunnelly Newhollow - welcome as well sir! You ALL caught me on a busy week so just a quick note here before back at it.

    Old NFO - yes you do. You need to visit. There's all sorts of metal and wood tools, AND protective equipment (cleverly disguised as a large stack of boxes of empty beer bottles for the home brew projects.)

    Joanna - I have one as well. Sorry I missed you at the last couple meets. We'll catch up soon.

    James - I remember the first time I went to Phleghmfatales home and saw a big blowtorch on the kitchen table and I thought - there is a REASON I like this gal.

    Jim Dunmyer - it's in the basement. :-)

  22. I like the lathe as well. If that paint is original, it should be about a 1920 vintage.The saddle and apron are certainly in that vintage. I had a 52, and a 66.

    I am lucky enough to have several friends who have shops full of that sort of thing; I'll take some pics next I get around.

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Og - It was purchased from a gent not too far from you. It still is not totally put together (it came with many accessories) but you should probably stop by to see it.. . and then go eat carne asada

  25. Snort!

    We call the 'adjustable wrench' the 'all sixteenths'. Proper terminology IS important.

    Soon to be Lurking from the Boat!

    Fair Winds, Fair Brigid!

    Cap'n Jan

  26. *giggle*

    I've got to send this to a friend who co-owns a woodworking shop!

  27. So, after the lathe is finished, you will hunt down a vertical mill, yes?


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