Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Workshop Tools

To the uninitiated the boatyard  workshop can be an intimidating place. A place that is full of tools you may not know what to do with. To help, here's a helpful explanation of some common workshop tools and their everyday uses. This is a short inventory of equipment that every well stocked boatyard workshop should have.

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 mug of tea across the room. Denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.

Abrasive Wire Wheel:
Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench at the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers. All done in about the time it takes you to say, "Oh,Merde."

Skill Saw:
Contrary to its name, this is a portable cutting tool often used to make all kinds of engineering studs too short.

Hand Pliers:
Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters. This is an often bloodstained hand tool, used to begin the process of rounding off bolt heads. (see Mole Grips)

Belt Sander:
An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

Hack Saw:
One of a large family of hand 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 direction, the more dismal your project becomes.

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. (See Hand Pliers)

Oxyacetylene Cutting Torch:
Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your workshop which are not already on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the tiller hub out of which you want to remove a bearing race.

Table Saw:
A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood or metal projectiles for testing wall integrity.

Hydraulic Floor Jack:
Used for lowering a boat to the ground after you have installed your new tiller. Whilst at the same time trapping the jack handle firmly under the base plate.

Second Hydraulic Floor Jack:
Used for lifting a boat off the ground to free the trapped jack handle from under the base plate.

Band Saw:
A large stationary power saw primarily used in most workshops to cut good steel stock. Usually into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge. 

Two-Ton Engine Hoist:
A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect prior to beginning lifting operations.

Phillips Cross Cut Screwdriver:
Normally used to stab through vacuum seals and prising under paint tin lids. Also used for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt. Can also be used as the name implies, to strip out Phillips Screw heads. 

Straight Flat Bladed Screwdriver:
A tool often used for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and at the same time butchering your palms. 

Pry Bar:
A tool used to crumple and scratch any painted metal surrounding. Usually when removing a stubborn jubilee clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace the rusty cheap item with another non rusty cheap item. 

Hose and Piper Cutter:
A tool generally used to make flexible hoses or fixed pipes too short for the available gap. 

Ball Pein Hammer or Dudley Screwdriver:
Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts, located adjacent the object we are trying to hit.

Stanley 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, rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, into workshop cleaning rage.  Usually achieved while the clothes are still in use.

The Electric Hand Drill:
This machine is used to spin pop rivets in a hole until the earth comes to an end. It will also spin out of whatever hole and make a crazy pattern on whatever you don't want marred faster than you can blink your eyes.

A B*stard Tool:
Any handy tool such as a metal file that you grab and throw across the workshop whilst at the same time yelling "B*stard” at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need to continue with the job at hand. Also known as balm or mechanic's lube. Usually applied verbally in hindsight, which somehow eases those pains and indignities following our every deficiency in foresight.

Workshop 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 boats. Health benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that the apprentice can exchange them. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading.

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 Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty bolts which were last over tightened 50 years ago by someone at Liverpool Boats that neatly rounds off their heads.

A Socket Set:
A precision engineered set of tools still supplied in Metric and Imperial sizes guaranteed not to fit any nut or bolt that requires urgent rotation. Whitworth Sockets were once used for working in older British workshops. They are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or 1/2 socket you've been searching for the last hour.

Sump Plug Wrench:
A specialist and much sought after tool for enabling you to direct hot and dirty engine oil down your sleeve.

Hand Spanner:
Sometimes used as a colloquial term of derision. The hand spanner pretends to fit then will slip under maximum torque ensuring maximum damage to bolt heads rendering them knackered to the point that no other device will grip them. Also extremely good for damaging knuckles, often resulting in maximum blood loss and infection when mixed with grease and oil. (see Sump Plug Wrench) Damage = Torque squared i.e. (d) = (t)2 N.B. It is normally safe to fling spanners across the engine room. Only the curved ones will return according to Sod's law of the boomerang effect. (See Socket Set)

Circlip Pliers:
A specialist service tool for releasing captive circlips back into the wild.

First Aid Box:
Where the tea and coffee are usually kept.

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