Friday, March 18, 2016

Coffee Brake: Forgotten Heroes of the Tool Box

Coffee Brake & Blue Glove Tool Review: If you are anything like the typical Daily Turista (cheap used car collector keeper) you probably spend a fair amount of your time in the garage...okay, more than a fair amount of time, you probably know your tools better than your kids.  But, like your kids, you have favorites -- tools that get regular attention, cleaning, and show up on your Christmas cards. However, there are always a few tools that don't get regular attention, but perform flawlessly when you require and don't need a bunch of attention.  These are -- the Forgotten Heroes of the Tool Box!  Today's hero is a collection of little bastards that...no really, I'm not hurling pejoratives, they really are little dirty bastards.  The hero is a simple 3-piece file set that contains a mill bastard, round bastard, and half-round bastard.



Any mechanic, craftsman, or hack who works around metal/wood/plastic will instantly recognize the utility of the simple metal file.  They don't/shouldn't cost a bunch of money and you don't need a huge set with a fancy pearl inlaid box.  They do, however, need to have large & comfortable handles and be heavy enough that you can get your elbow into whatever you need to file.  The ones pictured here is a 3-piece set of Craftsman 8-inch files that you can buy for $21.99 on Craftsman.com, but you could also pickup a 6-piece set of Woodstock metal files (includes some square and triangular pieces that can be handy for) for $20.63 via amazon.com and DT makes a few pennies if you buy those via our amazon affiliate program.  


So, what do you use these little bastards for?  Well, any time you need to remove a small amount of metal, wood, plastic, papier-mâché, or whatever from anything -- you can just whip out the file and hack away -- no special tools, training or safety measures needed...well...you should probably wear eye protection (and gloves if you are dealing with metal) but there are all kinds of videos on youtube showing you how to use your file if you can't figure it out.

What about you -- what is the forgotten hero of your toolbox?

17 comments:

  1. Chisels. Air chisels, cold chisels, wood chisels (chisel tip permanent markers). You don't hear a lot of love for them, like you might a BFH or a breaker bar, but when you need to remove an exhaust bolt that has rusted into a flange, and grinding off the head and shank doesn't help free it, an air chisel is about your only respite.

    Soft face hammers are underrated, too. I bring my well used and abused rubber hammer with me almost everywhere I go. Perfect for (un)torquing old rusty bolts with a BMW trunk-toolkit- wrench. Said hammer came to me in the trunk of an 86 BMW 635csi. The car is long gone, but the hammer still comes to every track day or road trip long enough to justify bringing a toolbox.

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    1. Hunter -- amen on those chisels. Back when I was a green turbo engineer for a large turbocharger OEM, there was this assembly tech in the development shop and she (Linda) once introduced me to the technique of using a sledge and chisel to loosen a turbine flange bolt on a marine turbocharger that had been running with salt water cooling for the past 35 years (probably around the time she started working in the dev shop). Lemme tell ya...that lady had technique -- first, some SiliKroil, then heat, more SiliKroil, then a huge breaker bar until the bolt head started to round, and then out with the sledge/chisels...and damned if those bolts don't start to turn...eventually.

      -Vince

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    2. Right on Vince to Kroil. Best damn penetrating oil ever made!

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    3. My new favorite penetrating oil is... well im not sure the name, they have it at napa and it has a refrigerant to "freeze" the bolt. Same idea as heating it up. Ive found that hiting the bolt with that then immediately applying heat to the surrounding metal works really well.

      But i don't know Kroil, i may have to look into that

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    4. My new favorite penetrating oil is... well im not sure the name, they have it at napa and it has a refrigerant to "freeze" the bolt. Same idea as heating it up. Ive found that hiting the bolt with that then immediately applying heat to the surrounding metal works really well.

      But i don't know Kroil, i may have to look into that

      Delete
  2. I can fully support both the files and chisels. Always a star when you bring them out and need to use them to fix something.

    My contribution is going to be a manual impact driver. I know what you're thinking. Those things are pieces of junk you use once and throw away because they break while you're using it. That's what I thought too for a long time as I bought multiples from Harbor Freight. That of course is until I inherited a Craftsman model from my father. (http://www.craftsman.com/craftsman-impact-driver/p-00947641000P) At over 30+ years old, all it took was a quick disassembly and re-oiling of the guts brought it back to full function. And boy howdy does it ever work. It just takes a beating (literally) and keeps on working.

    I'm also sure some of you are thinking why use a manual impact driver instead of an impact gun? Size and convenience are the primary reasons. But I've taken off plenty of nuts that the big old impact gun didn't even budge with the manual impact driver driver and just a couple swings of a 2lb baby sledge (which btw would be my second nomination).

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  3. What are those files doing on my oak desk?

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    Replies
    1. This made me laugh. Well-said.

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  4. The Irwin Quick Grip clamp is the best for squeezing the piston back into the caliper when you are changing brake pads.

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  5. Railroad spike, no joke. They make excellent close-quarters pry bars

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  6. Copper sledge on a 18" hardwood handle my dad made. It's like an old friend. Audi knuckle pinch bolts, ball joints, seized control arm bolts, it eventually gets them all.

    SK breaker bar with the 1/2" drive socket in the handle. I can stick a 3' extension in the end and get crank bolts/axle bolts off nicely. They take up less space and weight than a big pipe.

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  7. Dental pics and all custom made tools created by sacrificing 'standard' tools that were too long, too short, too wide, too weak, too straight..... one just needs a special place to store special tools to be easily found for that DB plug wrench or....Greg

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  8. Dental pics and all custom made tools created by sacrificing 'standard' tools that were too long, too short, too wide, too weak, too straight..... one just needs a special place to store special tools to be easily found for that DB plug wrench or....Greg

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  9. I would like to give a nod to: a short-handled 4 lb sledge (will motivate separation of so many things) and a monster-sized pair of slip-joint pliers (aka water pump pliers), which provide both grip-range and leverage when required (also great for removing many oil filters without grunting).

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  10. BionicTorqueWrenchMarch 19, 2016 at 1:33 PM

    A nice long piece of steel pipe that I use as a handle extension on a breaker bar.
    As Archimedes nearly said, "Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I shall strip any thread in the world."

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  11. I've got this small black 1/4" ratchet I got for a fiver out of the fishbowl at the hardware store checkout. Used it a million times by now.

    Then there's the Peter Atwood pocket tools. Addicted to those.

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