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, 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
OXYACETELENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable
objects in your garage on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside
a brake drum you're trying to get the bearing race out of.
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
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 buildup.
TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST: A handy tool for testing the tensile
strength of ground straps and brake lines you may have forgotten to
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 thought.
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
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
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.
When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a