Tool Glossary for the Do-It-Yourself'er
Air Compressor - 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 which were last over-tightened 30 years ago by someone at Ford, and instantly rounds off their heads. Also used to quickly snap off lug nuts.
Aviation Metal Snips - See Hacksaw.
Belt Sander - Electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.
Craftsman 1/2 X 24-Inch Screwdriver - Very large pry bar that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end opposite the handle.
Damned Tool - Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling “DAMN IT” at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need, hence the expression, “Where’s that DAMNED TOOL?”.
Drill Press - 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 soda pop across the room, splattering it against that freshly-stained heirloom piece you were drying.
Eight-Foot Long Yellow Pine 2x4 - Used for levering an automobile upward off of a trapped hydraulic jack handle; See Hydraulic Floor Jack.
Electric Hand Drill - Normally used for spinning pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age.
E-Z Out Bolt And Stud Extractor - Tool that is ten times harder than any known drill bit that snaps neatly off in bolt holes thereby ending any possible future use.
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.
Hammer - Originally employed as a weapon of war, in modern times the hammer is used as a kind of divining rod, used to locate the most expensive parts adjacent to the object we are trying to hit.
Hose Cutter - Tool used to make hoses too short.
Hydraulic Floor Jack - Tool used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.
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. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.
Oxy-Acetylene Torch - Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub you want the bearing race out of.
Phillips Screwdriver - Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids and for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.
Pliers - Tool used to round off bolt heads; sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.
Pry Bar - Tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.
Radial Arm Saw - A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to scare neophytes into choosing another line of work.
Skil Saw - Portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.
Straight Screwdriver - Tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws.
Table Saw - Large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.
Trouble Light - 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, 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.
Tweezers - Tool for removing wood splinters and wire wheel wires.
Two-Ton Engine Hoist - Tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.
Vise-Grips - Generally used after pliers to completely 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.
Welding Gloves - Heavy duty leather gloves used to prolong the conduction of intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.
Whitworth Sockets - Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16”socket you’ve been searching for the last 45 minutes.
Wire Wheel - Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the work bench with the speed of light; also removes fingerprints and hard-earned guitar calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say “****”.