Wednesday, August 30, 2006

great tools

LifeHack is a running a series on the greatest tools. Here's a few of my fav's from the list:

9. big ole rock.
As a former geoloist you knew this would be on my list.
What is more useful than a nice hefty rock? You can almost always find one the perfect size (which is just a little bigger than your fist). Yes it’s primitive but it sure makes an “I’m all business” statement.

Look down this list and tell me you haven’t used a big ole rock for at least a few of these tasks.
  • Body Work. Banging a dent out from inside your fender well.
  • Door Scotch. Holding open a door.
  • Helper. Pounding on the end of that oversized screwdriver.
  • Persuader. Convincing the neighborhood junk yard dog to find his sport elsewhere.
  • Secretary. Holding down diagrams on the hood of your truck.
  • Coaching Tool. Using it to mark the defensive team players in flag football plays.
  • Physical Science tests. Seeing how far you can skip a flat one across the lake.
  • Emergency Access. Hiding an extra key in the bushes in case you lock yourself out. You thought I was going to say break a window, didn’t you?
  • Fire Starter. Smack two of the flinty ones together and you can make a spark.
  • Whetting Tool. Nothing manmade is better for putting an edge on a cutting tool.

8. bailing wire.
Do people even know what bailing wire is anymore? Or it's close cousin, binder twine?
Number 8 on the greatest tools of all times list that most versatile of all binders, Bailing Wire. Here are a few of its most common uses.
  • Key retriever. Combine a length of bailing wire with a sticky piece of chewing gum to retrieve the key that fell through the sewer grating.
  • Chum Tie. Grind up your bait fish in a gallon milk jug with the top cut off and freeze it with a length of bailing wire sticking through it. Then hang it off the back of your boat.
  • Wrench Holder. Sting all your box end wrenches together and hook the wire ends together.
  • Socket holder. Use the same technique as above.
  • Fish Stringer. Inside the gill out the mouth.
  • Wire Fisher. Hook it on your coax cable and you can fish it through most any place.
  • Marshmallow Rotisserie. Poke it on and find a fire.
  • Music. Combine a length with an empty bucket and a broom handle.
  • Fastener. It will hold nearly anything too hot for duct tape.
  • Lid Saver. Attach your trash can lid to one side of the can and the wind won’t blow it away.

2. vise grip.
Not the greatest tool... but it gets used a lot
Here are a few of its many wonderful uses.
  • It will open the most stubborn of beer bottles (I disavow any first hand knowledge of this).
  • It will easily clamp on to the little nub left after the tine breaks off your zipper and pull that sucker right up to your belt buckle.
  • It is the only tool I know that is specifically designed to unscrew any bolt or nut you have already ruined by stripping it.
  • Excellent for clamping on to and rocking-back-and-forth-until-they-break bolts that are too stupid to come off correctly.
  • If you turn it around it makes a pretty good hammer for banging on stubborn parts.
  • Good for clamping things steady on your work bench.
  • Great for crimping closed a leaking radiator tube (at least until you can get to the service station).
  • A short term fastener to hold together two pieces of most anything from which the bolt has been lost.
  • A right impressive noggin knocker in a rough and tumble.
  • It will also clamp open the repair manual to the right page while your replacing your alternator or dynamo.

1. duct tape
Of course, this is #1. Especially if you are Canadian.
I believe the merits of duct tape should be shouted from the mountaintops. The longer I live the more uses I find for this invaluable resource.

Here is a list of my favorite few.
  • Securing computer cables.
  • It is great for splicing wires because it is wider and more sturdy than black electrical tape.
  • Emergency luggage patch.
  • Repairing and marking your guitar case.
  • Hide a key under your fender.
  • Emergency hose repair.
  • Holding the batteries in your remote control.
  • Tape an extra desk key under your desk.
  • Remove those long ear hairs the come with middle age (ouch!).

Extra bonus. Add a few years to that favorite book by re-enforcing the ragged binding.

1 comment:

michael lewis said...

I am sorry, but duct tape is dead to me.

I once used a soup can cut down the side with top and bottom removed to cover / patch a small (massive) rust spot (hole / non-existant section) in the exhaust of my '85 Jetta.

To hold the soup can in place, I used duct tape.

I would also like to add the following:
#1 - the soup can was from your wife's blue box
#2 - the duct tape was from your "tool" box
#3 - good thing you rented that house because my car leaked all sorts of fluids and lost parts and didn't your tap water taste like antifreeze and rust? How was I to know that dumping used oil and other auto fuids into the storm drain was not a good thing?

The finale:

The duct tape couldn't even take a little heat from the exhaust pipe / soup can and melted away in less than 13 km, which is the distance from Aylmer to Barnabas.