Hand Me That Tool!


Richard Karn & Tim Allen"Home Improvement"

Richard Karn & Tim Allen
“Home Improvement”

I like tools, particularly exotic tools.

Take a stapler – pretty ordinary; but a pneumatic stapler – now that’s something. You’ve got an air compressor, complete with its rhythmic vibrations, 10 to 20 feet of hose and a gun that can drive staples through the thickest folded upholstery securely into the wood on the bottom of the chair. Instead of hours per chair, 15 minutes tops; in a couple of hours you’ve revitalized those kitchen chairs that have each absorbed a gallon and a half of spilled milk as well as things you don’t even want to imagine.

I like the self-adjusting wrenches or the ones that have a built in ratchet for tight spots. However, the name is all wrong. Wrench is what you do to your shoulder when using a bad tool. A high tech answer to tightening nuts and bolts ought to have a better name – like “Threaded Fastener Adjuster.” Better yet, “Precision Threaded Fastener Adjuster.”

Of course you need a set of Threaded Fastener Adjusters for the complete range for both English and metric of sizes. However, that’s nothing compared to the other tool for the OTHER threaded fasteners. That calls for the screwdriver.

It used to be that a screw had a slot in the top into which you placed the tool and tightened it. Then that clown, “Philip” (named for St. Philip, the patron saint of hardware store owners) invented his screw pattern. Eventually we got used to that, so the Allen wrench was born (named for St. Allen, the patron saint of hardware wholesalers) with his hex shaped fasteners. Then came star shaped fittings, Torx, Tri-wing, Torq-set, Triple Square and Polydrive. (Really, those are all actual types of screw heads.)

If I ever invent a screwdriver pattern, I’m going to name it “Kripez ®” as in “Cripes! Now I need to run to the hardware store and buy more tools!”

By the way, it shouldn’t be called a screwdriver unless it’s electric. The manual version requires the human to do all the driving, so at best it should be called a “screwstick.”

Then there’s everyone’s favorite tool – the hammer.

We used to call it GM’s law – “Don’t force it, get a bigger hammer.” Great advice. However, the name could use a little tweaking.

I suggest changing it to “Whammer.” This name is far more descriptive and much more relevant for the whammer’s wide range of uses.

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