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Sunday, March 1, 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

Original: http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/2009/02/tool-tips-part-one.html