Friday, January 23, 2009

Living with Tools

I've been living with tools the past few weeks, and I noticed them today. That happens when something fails. My circular saw died today. NOT A GOOD THING! I knew when I bought it that it wouldn't last long. It was cheap, and I got what I paid for. Fortunatly I was almost done, and able to finish with a hand saw. When you buy tools that you know you will use a lot, buy the good ones. Yes they cost a a bit more, but the long term life and reliability is well worth it. If I had bought the right saw the first time, my now defunct saw would be on its way to the manufacturer to be fixed or replaced. Lesson learned again.

Here is a picture of tools I live with all the time.

I love the roll around scaffolding. It is adjustable up to 4 feet high which is perfect for working with my tall ceilings. It comes apart and folds up for easy moving and storage. WAY better than a ladder in the house. I use it for everything in the house, green house, even painting out side. I love it! (I should be getting paid for tool endorsements, but I don't have the marketing skills or the site traffic. If you want to know what kind of tools I love you will have to ask me specifically.) Since I am doing drywall right now I also love the giant t-square for drawing straight lines. If you don't ever cut sheet goods you wouldn't want one, but if you do they are great.I also find that I am constantly using my drill and a variety of pry bars, pliers, and hammers. A good drill is worth it's weight in gold. I'd also recoment the best/most powerfull cordless drill you can find. The one I bought was a bit on the cheap side, and it has long since died. My extention cord collection only reches about 300 feet which isn't far enough on our farm. A cordless is priceless.
A Sawsall is also a most usefull tool. Anytime you have old buildings you want to fix or modify, being able to cut through everything short of concrete is very useful. Get a good one and lots of blades.
My mostly defunct circular saw, and in the background a set of wrenches and sockets. The wrenches/sockets are very important. Get good ones. I like the Kobalt line from Lowes (they should be paying me for this). Made by Snap-On. Great quality, good price.
A good tape measure, a "tonker", a monkey wrench, and a life saver. The funny green pen is a circut tester. Hold the yellow end near an electrical connection, touch a light socket, stick it into a plug, and if there is power it flashes and beeps. Saved my butt numerous times. Well worth the price.
My favorite tool. This is the one I have with me all the time (except at the Airport where I would be arested.) NOT a Leatherman. It is made by Gerber. Better quality blades, and the handle doesn't hurt your hand when you try to use it because all the bits are inside. I wear mine everywhere, even to church. (Father Bill has sought me out when he needed a screwdriver just before a performance, becauce he knew I had one with me.) Don't leave home without it.


Daphne said...

That was always my dad's philosophy, buy the best tools. He loved to give me tools. When I needed a drill, he gave me a really expensive Makita rechargeable. It seems sad to me since I rarely do anything anymore. The poor battery must be dying. Though I did use it recently to put up my plant lights.

My circuit tester plugs into the socket and has different colored lights to tell you if it is wired correctly (which not all of my outlets were when we moved in). This has been a godsend to me. I used to be a fixit yourself kind of person (the way my dad brought me up, really he made everything, he even had a lathe, mill and a tig welder), but I've been married to my husband too long. When the electrician told me it was going to take a week to replace our two prong plugs with a three prong, I just did it myself. The kids had just gotten computers and we couldn't plug them in. I wouldn't have been able to stand the looks on their faces if they had to wait a week, and it was a good lesson for them too. Luckily the outlets were already grounded so they were pretty easy to do.

Alan said...

Where we live, waiting for a "professional" (usually the halfwit from down the road) to show up and do the job is unbearable. It isn't even a money thing, even though they charge an outrageous amount. If they were available when you needed them I'd hire them. So, I live in a do it your self or die world. Good tools are key! Teaching your kids basic skills from that world is also important. Mine think they don't need to learn because Dad can fix anything. Dad's tools don't travel. When they get older Christmas will get a lot more utilitarian. It will take them years to appreciate the "gifts".

nancybond said...

That's a very wise selection of tools, Alan. My hubby wears a Leatherman all the time and it's the only "tool" he uses on the job (computer service tech).

henbogle said...

My dad owned a hardware store, so I really value good tools and all the knowledge I gained from years of living with my dad, working on our handyman special houses, and working in the store. I still know more about hardware than most Lowes/HD employees. All those skills have come in really handy at Henbogle!

That said, tell me more about the rolling scaffolding, please! What is the allowed weight load, what kind it it, where did you find it, etc. Thanks!

Rosengeranium said...

Hm, since I haven't got the chance to do much heavy carpenting nowadays I only carry around a Swiss Army Knife size Biggest. So do my hubby - we are always prepared for anything from sawing metall tubing to looking up chinese in a dictionary (the magnifier is just the right size for my pocket dictionary).

These knifes are not mere pocket knives or tools, they are part of our personalities. And that's why we both absentmindedly tried to walk through security with them in our pockets. At an international airport... *Blush*

Alan said...

Ali, the scaffolding is a Werner and is rated at 500 lbs with both planks in place. I love it. Got it at Lowe's for a bit under $100. It's so much nicer than a ladder for most home things.

Rosengeranium, I've stopped going to airports. I always get randomly selected for extra attention by security, even when I'm not packing illegal weapons. I like the Swiss Army Knife too, but for a farm utility tool I'll keep my Gerber.

Barbee' said...

This is a good post, Alan. Good idea for a subject. Enjoyed it.


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