Sure you may not know the difference between a reciprocating saw and a miter box, but as the holidays quickly approach it's time to check out your tool inventory.
Through the years, readers have e-mailed me with what they thought were the important tools to own, and what they did own.
Run through this list and make sure your tool collection is complete. If you are missing any, remember it's not too late to shoot Santa a letter…
- 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 beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.
- Wire wheel. Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, "Yeow!”
- Skill saw. A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.
- Pliers. Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.
- Belt sander. An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.
- Hack saw. One of a family of 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 course, the more dismal your future becomes.
- Vise-grips. 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.
- Oxyacetylene torch. Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub out of which you want to remove a bearing.
- Table saw. A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.
- Hydraulic floor jack. Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.
- Band saw. A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut good aluminum sheet 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.
- Phillips screwdriver. Normally used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.
- Straight screwdriver. A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms.
- Hammer. Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent the object we are trying to hit.
- Utility 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, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.
- @(%&# Tool. Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling "@(%&#" at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.
Did I miss any? Be sure to e-mail me with your favorites!