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Entered on: 03/25/1998
HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays
is used as a kind of divining rod to locate 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 boxes containing seats and motorcycle jackets.
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 mounting holes in fenders just above the brake line that
goes to the rear wheel.
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.
OXYACETELENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various
flammable objects in your garage on fire. Also handy for igniting
the grease inside a brakedrum you're trying to get the bearing race
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.
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
that freshly painted part you were drying.
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, "Ouc...."
HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering a motorcycle to the ground
after you have installed your new front disk brake setup, trapping
the jack handle firmly under the front fender.
EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2X4: Used for levering a motorcycle
upward off a hydraulic jack.
TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters.
PHONE: Tool for calling your neighbor 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
TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST: A handy tool for testing the tensile
strength of ground straps and brake 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 motorcycles 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 off 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 tightened 60 years ago
by someone in Springfield, and rounds them off.
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 1/2 inch too short.
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