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Tool Abuse

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  • Tool Abuse

    I was chatting on the Amateur Radio [Ham Radio] the other day and the topic of tool abuse came into the conversation.

    So it's time to admit how you abuse and torture your tools..safely or unsafely!

    I have used a straight blade screwdriver as a chisel, pry bar, and awl!
    I have used a phillips screwdriver as a center punch and small hole punch.

    I have used my Ridgid [notice how I sneaked in the Ridgid name brand] impact driver as a drill.
    Now for drilling into soft wood up to 1/4" hex based drill bits like the "snappy" brand works great,
    Just do not allow the impact driver to impact!
    I also have used the impact driver with a small hole this use safe? not recommended but it works!

    Pliers have always been a choice tool for abuse..from opening the pickle jar to using the side as a hammer.

    I used my 5 in 1 paint scraper as a furniture scraper ..sharpened with the burr and as a chisel and as a pry bar.

    The infamous toilet plunger is great to "burp" the hot tub when you have an air lock.....

    Until I purchased the Ridgid 18v SDS rotary hammer I used my 1/2" hammer drill to sink 8 foot ground rods.....
    The practice was awful! With the SDS rotary hammer and the ground rod bit I can sink an 8 foot ground rod
    in less than 2 minutes!

    I use my tape measure to magnetically pick up dropped screws and nuts....since I have a bad back and
    bending a lot hurts!

    OK, you get the how do you abuse your tools????

    Cactus Man

  • #2
    I sometimes loan my tools out. No clue what always causes the damage but the tools don't always work the same when they return home.


    • #3
      I don't! Well, maybe there were a few times when I used a screwdriver to open a paint can, but really one of those can-openers you pick up in the paint store just does a so much better job. It seems that between my Dad and my 1960's shop teacher "use the proper tool" has sort of been driven into me and I have a tool for most everything that I would normally do. Of course there was that afternoon a few years ago that I need to extract couple of steel fence post and didn't have the right tool... the car jack did the trick, but is that "abuse" or just using your head to save your back? (I now have a high-lift jack, which works even better.)

      Loaning tools? Now that's abuse, or so that has been my experience, and I don't do that very often unless I know the person knows how to use them. I once loaned my first shop vac to a "friend?". After a few months I had to ask for it back; well actually, I asked a couple of times and then went to his house to get it. I got it all right, filled with a watery muck and the inside of the lid was totally rusted. Then there was my best friend who was repainting his woodwork and wanted to know if he could borrow my belt sander. I hadn't used it for several months (it was almost brand new) and I thought, "what the hay", and so I lent him the sander with a half dozen belts. Once again, it was weeks before I had to ask for it, and his wife drops it off at the house. Clogged with plaster dust! Even the body vents were clogged, and no replacement belts. "Oh, I just thought those were some old belts I could have!" I had to take the sander completely apart to clean everything. When I did, I found the belt rollers pocked and looking corroded... apparently it was left on the floor in his damp basement.

      Abuse my tools, NO I don't... that's what friends are for. To say the least, I don't loan tools anymore... I loan myself and the tools go with me and come back with me.



      • #4
        Occasionally we have to cut out pipe under a foundation. When this happens its usually in a confined space with no room to get a saw in. A small grinder with a 7" cut off wheel works great but you have to hold on tight. This method can be used on pipe sizes over 4" in diameter.

        A portable bandsaw works great for cutting up branches, bamboo as well pipe and conduit. A portable circular saw works well also. Down side is tree sap.

        A cup style wire wheel on a grinder is great for smoothing a cast iron pan prior to seasoning. Sanders work very well also.

        i think I've done most of what you've described, even professionals on job sites do all the no nos from time to time. Using pliers to whack something is contantly going on. You sort of take the path of least resistance based on safety, productivity or mood.


        • #5
          i agree absolutely never loan your tools out. I lent my stihl concrete saw to a friend from work (He knew how to use and care for them) but his kid didn't
          the boy ran it out of fuel and used straight gasoline in it!
          didnt run very long before locking up.
          anyhow my friend bought me a new saw
          shooting the s*** is a lot more fun when you use hollow points (much more splatter)

          coffee hell gimme booze!!!


          • #6
            I don't mind loaning tools to those who are responible. Some of my tools might go months or years in between use so if I spare a friend from going out a buying a seldom used tool its very gratifying to be able to help.

            Years ago I had a economy model string trimmer that a friend borrowed and while he was using it a few fasteners shook loose and were lost in the lawn he was trimming. When he returned it he explained what happened and gave it back with new parts and cleaned up.

            Years later I borrowed a nailer from this same friend and it came to greif after several sticks of nails. I had already bought a plastic case for the nailer for my friend letting me borrow it unbeknownst to him but now I had to send it in for repairs. The repair shop replaced all the seals in addition to a new piston. I explained to my friend what had happened, he sort of shrugged his shoulders.

            Bring it back on time, as good as it was when you borrowed it and if it breaks you fix it.
            Last edited by Mightyservant; 12-14-2018, 05:48 PM.


            • #7
              "Bring it back on time, as good as it was when you borrowed it [and don't forget to clean it] and if it breaks you fix [or replace] it."

              I pretty much live by the same philosophy. Like you I have many tools that I do not use every day any more and they are collecting dust most of the time. So it makes it seem worthwhile (to allow them to take up space in the shop) when you can loan out one of those tools to a friend or family member who needs it for a one off job and save them some cash. But family or not those that don't take care of my tools won't get a second chance to borrow any tool from me.
              Last edited by Bob D.; 12-15-2018, 05:26 AM.
              "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006




              • Mightyservant
                Mightyservant commented
                Editing a comment
                I stand corrected

              • Bob D.
                Bob D. commented
                Editing a comment
                I was not criticizing. There was nothing wrong with what you posted. I added the words that I have used when saying and doing as you have done.

            • #8
              I have a coworker that loves to borrow tools and forget to return them. Last week, he borrowed 2 tools from me and 3 days later, I had to go in to his truck to retrieve them. Whenever there are shop tools missing, he's usually the one that has taken them and conveniently forgotten to return them. I just don't get it.


              • Mightyservant
                Mightyservant commented
                Editing a comment
                Out here we call that being a loser. When we occasionally hire an employee like that a concerted effort is made to remove them from our midst at the earliest conveiniance.

            • #9
              The owner of our company has always shown great generosity and there are numerous industrial tools of all sorts, vehicles, dumpsters access to company discounts. Many a home has been renovated, fences built, new lawns, repiping, demo, general cleanup to name a few things. It's saved many of us a lot of time and money having access to all the tools.

              Sometimes a pressure washer might come back a week later than expected or a wheelbarrow will have specks of concrete stuck to it but for the most part it works out fine.

              It's easier to be generous when your shown generosity.


              • BadgerDave
                BadgerDave commented
                Editing a comment
                It's also much easier to be generous when your generosity is respected by those benefiting from it. One bad apple can ruin it for...…...well you know.

            • #10
              Not really BadgerDave, while it true about bad apples, these things work themselves out. We pressure each other to fly right and it works for us.


              • #11
                I am the only one that abuses MY tools!....I have had too many bad experiences from lending tools to friends.
                If they want to borrow a specialty tool that I have I go with it and supervise....but even then the person borrowing
                the tool will abuse it as he does not own it! I end up also doing the task at hand or simply taking the tool and go home!

                Most of the time the person borrowing a specialty tool does not know how to properly use it and that adds to it's abuse.

                If a neighbor wants to borrow a hammer I tell them to go buy one. That should be in their homeowner tool box!

                I lent a neighbor my gas powered chain saw and you can't even imagine the damage he did to it, then claimed I
                gave it to him broken!....I also worry about liability if someone gets hurt using a tool I lent them!!!!
                Today people will sue for just about any reason!!!

                It's like renting drive the rental car like a mad man knowing you are not the owner.

                I have pissed off a number of friends since I no longer loan out my tools....
                with Harbor Freight nearby I tell them they can buy a 4 1/2" grinder for twenty bucks.
                My grinder cost $100.00 ...It's amazing how they become careful with Their twenty dollar grinder!

                thank you to all that have participated with this topic....

                Cactus Man


                • #12
                  It's not only friends, but family members too; and it's not just tools! I started out in my adult life being a person with a friendly, generous nature and when I left home and got married, I had a handful of personal stuff, not enough to fill the trunk of the VW I had at the time. Over the years, we've accumulated a tremendous amount of "stuff" including all kinds of games, books, tools, and hobby things from model railroading to ham radio to photography to cooking, etc. etc. etc. Everything we have, we've taken care of, prized and cherished, because we've worked hard to earn it.

                  Some things have worn out, some have just aged to a point where they are no longer functionable... and it's hard to let those things go. But the thing that is really frustrating to my wife and I are that anything that we've ever loaned or handed down seems to just disappear... worthless to the borrower or receiver.

                  As mentioned previously, I stopped loaning any serious tools to family or friends quite some time ago! Perhaps more infuriating is stuff we give or sometimes loan to family. Both my wife and I have "loaned" or gifted some of our most memorable books, only to find that they were given away or sold. We have a rather large library, accumulated over our fifty years of marriage and most all of those have some place in our history; to gift and then have it treated like its nothing but perhaps a few dollars of market value to the receiver is a disappointment.

                  I still have the small hunting knife my father gave me when I was 14... it was his when he was a boy. I can't tell you the number of times I've carried that into the field with me and today I keep it clean and the leather sheaf oiled and it's here in my desk drawer. I only have one tool from my father, as my younger brother apparently sold off everything he could when my Dad was sick. Disgusting, but I also think of those tools and other things that I have accumulated, used, taken care of, and held pride in the fact that I learned how to use, built, and created something with. In another few months, I'm going to be 75... and neither my son or grandson's have any interest whatsoever in any of this stuff.

                  I figure I've got maybe another 15 or so years left, hopefully most of that will still allow some creativity and work... but what happens to this legacy of stuff? The tools, the vast library of books, my camera equipment? I told my wife the other day... they'll just probably put a dumpster in the driveway and hire some guys to clean the house out. My ancestors all lived into their 90's (except the one's who smoked and drank too much)... so maybe when I hit 85, I'll start giving stuff away!

                  I may have started out being friendly and generous, now just too cantankerous,



                  • Bob D.
                    Bob D. commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You can direct in your will what you want to happen to it. Have it auctioned off and the money donated to your favorite charity or into a grandchild's college fund maybe. Make contact with a antique tool collector now and arrange something.

                • #13
                  Wow, the last 2 responses have hit home in a big way. Without going into details, I have a few of my Dad's tools. My sister has his toolbox and I need to get it from her. I'm proud to have my Dad's tools. Unfortunately, I don't really have anyone to leave his or mine to when I'm gone. I've tried to teach my wife to do her research and get what the tools are worth, just don't give them away.

                  Now, as a foolow up to me previous post about a coworker, they made him a salesman. At least he won't need tools every day.


                  • Mightyservant
                    Mightyservant commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Sometimes we've got to find a place for journyman thats better at talking than working, they end up as salesmen as well

                • #14
                  I don't look at stuff as if there was some monetary value to it. Maybe I should, and I'm probably just something of a weird in that I see "value" as not a monetary thing, but something deeper, something of responsibility and perhaps heritage. I don't even have to have a link to the person, like I said, just "weird" in my feeling toward the object. For example, just before I started my career and my marriage, I was going to night school to become a tool designer. My Mom had mentioned it to a friend of hers and from there it somehow got the ear of someone several miles away, in another part of the county. A much older lady who had lost her husband and she had a bunch of his books and related stuff. He had been a mechanical engineering/designer, a guy by the name of Lester G. Searle. He had gone to the Scranton School of Engineering in the early 1900's.

                  I went up to visit her and she showed me a box of books, and an old German-made set of drawing instruments. Not much there beyond a couple of books that I really found a use for in my world, as most of it was 'over my head' at the time. So I told her I would gladly buy the two books I could use, but I was sorry that the other stuff was just beyond my skills and usefulness; but, I'd be happy to mention it to my instructors and fellow students. "Nope, I just want YOU to have it all, it's not for sale!" So, refusing to take anything in exchange, I "inherited" this guy's books. Over my forty-plus years as a technical illustrator, writer, and industrial photographer, I've gifted a few of the engineers that I've worked with and highly respected, and I gave the drawing instruments to a dear friend who greatly appreciated them. I still have a few of those books as I just can't throw them out. In my mind, that would be grossly disrespectful. I still have the 1927 Automotive Engineering Guide, a Kent's Mechanical Engineers' Handbook, copyright 1915, and a few others. I still have a 1924 Machinery's Handbook, as well as an old oil can and hand plane from my wife's Grandfather too!

                  Not sure if that makes me a pack rat or just eccentric (like nuts, maybe)? Just doesn't seem right to send them off to the landfill.

                  The point, I guess, is that some things are just worth something different. To keep with the first thought of this thread, maybe some things are more than just a tool that can be abused and thrown away. But I confess I don't know where to draw the line on tools, some things are just tools and some tools are, well, something to be respected.

                  Last edited by CWSmith; 12-17-2018, 07:24 PM.


                  • Mightyservant
                    Mightyservant commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I really appreciate your way of thinking, you can't find those drafting tools or reference materials both of which are like fine art.

                    All one needs to do is open a old reference book on mechanical design and you can't help but admire the craft and simple genius that went into it.

                • #15
                  If you want tool abuse, just loan it to my SIL, and then wait for two years to get it returned, usually in a non usable condition,
                  Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                  "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                  attributed to Samuel Johnson
                  PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.


                  • Mightyservant
                    Mightyservant commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Sounds like what what happens to my tools when I go out of town and my old lady gets a hold of some. I come back with the garage in disarray and nothing where I've stored it.

                    She must have a guardian angel becuase I don't know how she managed not to get hurt or burn the house down.