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A slight rant on the care of tools

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  • A slight rant on the care of tools

    Just looked at a photo on Craigslist of a toolbox full of tools that re-ignited my thoughts about how some folks just thrash tools. How many times have you followed up on an ad, or seen something at a garage sale, or even bought something off Ebay, only to find that it has been beaten to death, left to rust in the rain, caked with grime, or otherwise abused? Why?

    I can understand that, in a commercial shop, some tools might be considered expendable. If I’m making a 5 figure profit on a run of parts, a piece of $200 tooling is a small consequence and could be considered sacrificial. (And in my experience, tooling seems to be among the worst of the victims of abuse. I’ve become very leery about buying used tooling.)

    But what about the personal tools you’d think the individual would keep clean and orderly in his or her toolbox? Some time ago, I bought out someone in a package deal in order to get some lathe tooling I wanted. The lathe itself looked like it had been strapped to the undercarriage of an off-road vehicle used to clean up crude oil spills on the beach. Among the boxes of detritus that came in the deal were heaps of rusty, grimy, gunk-coated bits of this and that, among which I found a nice 4-6 inch interchangeable anvil micrometer, some vintage Starrett spring calipers, and an inside micrometer set. All were just tossed in with the junk and gunked up with crud as though they had been kicking around in the grease sump in the floor of a diesel rebuild shop. Another time I encountered what was once an expensive Brown & Sharpe 12-inch vernier caliper that must have been used as a toy for the pet chimpanzee. It was filled with dings and dents and the fixed jaw was bent.

    I could go on, but you don’t need more examples. You have probably seen worse.

    There is a difference between use and abuse, and a difference between a tool that is worn out and one that has been beaten. It is a simple issue of taking reasonable care of what can be a major investment. Unfortunately, I don’t think tool abuse is a rare phenomenon. I see all too much of it. Why is it that so many folks treat these things like so much roadkill?

  • #2
    If you own it you can treat it however you want, whether its a screwdriver or a HAAS VF6.

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    • #3
      I was just going to say that.

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      • #4
        I once worked at a Childrens Museum fab shop and the guy who ran the shop was a very talented fellow. I believe he could make anything, even things you could not think of. The museum was a non-profit organization and money was provided by donors.
        This guy had this thing about tools. He would always go to the drill press and put a bit in there and begin drilling the steel. No lube, no babying it through, but rather just brute force coming down on the steel. The bit turned blue, then golden blue, and the smoke was everywhere. He'd finish the hole and walk away. The next person who needed that bit was out of luck.
        They had to first search where the bit was, and finally find it in the drill press cremated. He treated the table saws and the welding equipment likewise.
        I got into a lot of arguments with this fellow over his abuse of the tools. Never made a bit of difference. After 18 months I just walked in one morning and quit. I told him he was a butcher who did not deserve to have tools to use/abuse. It felt good to say that and I walked off the job smiling.
        Why do some people have such a disregard for tools? The use of tools is the only thing that separates us from the apes. I truly believe the reason is because these people are just ignorant of the benefit of caring for tools and have not been taught to take care of things when they were younger....pg

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        • #5
          Quickest way to get me ticked off is to start abusing my tools.

          I agree with the earlier posts, if it's yours, treat it as you will, but if it's mine treat it as I say or go home and get yours.

          I've still got some of the tools I bought as a kid and they're still useable.

          One job I was on, I had to drill and tap fifty holes into I beam for fixtures to mount, the super brought in 20 drill bits and a dozen taps, and was realy surprised when I brought back 16 bits and 10 taps, I was thinking I was doing pretty bad with it.

          Ken.

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          • #6
            All tools are disposable, including milling machines and lathes.

            I take care of mine, but lately since I have worked on several other projects here, I noticed my 4 jaw chuck is red, my tooling is showing rust. NEED more oil to spray on everything I guess.

            I get the last nickel out of it, then the junkman gets it.
            Excuse me, I farted.

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            • #7
              Many of the people selling tools are not the ones who owned them or used them. A shop closes down and the scavengers come in to liquidate the equipment. They don't know the first thing about the proper use or care. A Starrett mike is treated the same way as drops from under the saw. Heck, the scavengers may have found the mike under the saw after the guy who lost his job left it on the saw and it fell off.

              Or a shop has little extra room and has to make room for the new machine for the jobs that make big dollars. So the old equipment goes out in the rain and no one has time to take care of it or even sell it for months or even years. Only when the city complains or the owner needs a parking place do they finally look at disposing of the rusted hulk. The company I work for routinely puts surplus equipment in the back of the warehouse and forgets about it till it has lost 90 percent of it's resale value. Go figure.

              Then there's the Orange County Choppers crowd. To them a caliper is just a fancy looking pry bar and a mike is a strange hammer. All their tools are really just props for the show.

              But I suspect that most tool damage is caused by people who do NOT own them. And who probably haven't had a raise in years.
              Paul A.

              Make it fit.
              You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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              • #8
                My Dad taught me how to take of HIS tools. Lord have mercy you didn't wanna go there .......

                SP

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                • #9
                  A thought

                  This is all very well and good.

                  OK - you look after your tools now.

                  How are they going to be looked after when you've "gone to that big HSM shop in the sky - or where-ever"?

                  Are you sure?

                  Are you aware that the job of the Executor of your Will or estate is a requirement to distribute your estate as you direct in your Will or if not to liquidate (ie sell it for what-ever he can get - often at "Fire Sale" - or less prices) and to "distribute the proceeds" as soon as he can to all of your "beneficiaries" and who knows who else?

                  An Executors auction rarely has a reserve price on anything.

                  How can you be sure that who ever you leave it to will take care of it as you want - or even keep it? And if they sell will they care who gets it if "the price is right"?

                  Would you do any different if you were in their place/"shoes"?

                  Ever wonder where some of those "bargains" you got from eBay or local sales or auctions came from? or how they got there?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by oldtiffie
                    This is all very well and good.

                    OK - you look after your tools now.

                    How are they going to be looked after when you've "gone to that big HSM shop in the sky - or where-ever"?
                    Are you sure?
                    Are you aware that the job of the Executor of your Will or estate is a requirement to distribute your estate as you direct in your Will or if not to liquidate (ie sell it for what-ever he can get - often at "Fire Sale" - or less prices) and to "distribute the proceeds" as soon as he can to all of your "beneficiaries" and who knows who else? An Executors auction rarely has a reserve price on anything.
                    How can you be sure that who ever you leave it to will take care of it as you want - or even keep it? And if they sell will they care who gets it if "the price is right"?
                    Would you do any different if you were in their place/"shoes"?
                    Ever wonder where some of those "bargains" you got from eBay or local sales or auctions came from? or how they got there?



                    Is it going to make any difference and will you be able to care what happens?

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                    • #11
                      On a related subject, I don't abuse the tools in my shops, but I'm sorry to say I'm a slob. So my shops are usually a mess. The school shop is much more picked up than my home shop mainly because I tell students that I'm a big enough slob on my own , I don't need their help.

                      One of the things related to abuse that I try to instill in my students is that everyone breaks things, so don't be afraid to tell me when you break a drill, tap, tool... I will get PO'd if I go to find that 8-32 tap and it is broken off in someone's part and the tap wrench. But, if you tell me you accidently broke it and I can replace it for the next student to use, there are no consequences for that student other than a "thanks for telling me" I also let them know that breaking something on purpose will also set me off. The students seem to know and respect this, so I get very little breakage. It also becomes a point of ridicule and pear pressure when someone breaks a tool bit.

                      Matt

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                      • #12
                        Nope

                        Originally posted by piniongear

                        Is it going to make any difference and will you be able to care what happens?

                        Thanks PG.

                        Good response.

                        My response to your post?

                        Nope.

                        A friend of mine has an excellent work-shop and a model train set-up that you would not believe!!. He's a long way from being short of a dollar as well.

                        Anyway, one day he had his sons around visiting.

                        He was out in his back yard and heard his sons near the shed/shop where his model trains are and he thought he'd perhaps join the discussion.

                        What he heard before he got there and before they knew he was there made his blood run cold - ice cold - then hot - red hot.

                        (He is a retired Police Officer).

                        They were discussing how they and their respective families were going to "divvy-up" his estate and what else could be sold for what to markets/buyers that they had already "set up". It actually involved all of his property.

                        Both were his Joint Executors!! and they had just about talked him into giving them "Power of Attorney" over him and his assets!.

                        They were going to abandon his wife (their step-mother) or have her committed or in their "Care". They were her Executors and about to become her "Attorneys" as well.

                        They had done a complete audit and stock-take of he and his wifes assets.

                        I don't have to tell you that he was not too pleased.

                        They were ordered off and out of his property for good - right there and then!

                        I don't have to tell you that he and his wife changed their Wills etc. and dis-owned and dis-inherited those sons and their families.

                        But it knocked him around badly and nearly killed him as he'd dedicated his life to those sons and their families.

                        Ever notice how in some families just how suddenly attentive and loving some of those long-lost "friends" and "rellies" become when the "end" is coming for some-one.

                        Or how some of those tools that were borrowed and were going to be returned "shortly" all of a sudden never are? Or how many more need to be "borrowed" "before its too late"?

                        Or as you asked: "Is it going to make any difference and will you be able to care what happens?".

                        Again - nope.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by oldtiffie
                          Thanks PG.
                          Do you type out your post on some other program and copy/paste them here with that format, or do you just like to separate all the sentences with spaces. Just being curious

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mochinist
                            Do you type out your post on some other program and copy/paste them here with that format, or do you just like to separate all the sentences with spaces. Just being curious
                            Easier on the eyes and not as OBNOXIOUS as pg's blue fonts,when I look thru the threads here or the PM forum and come to pg's post's I skip 'em.

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                            • #15
                              Sentenced

                              Originally posted by mochinist
                              Do you type out your post on some other program and copy/paste them here with that format, or do you just like to separate all the sentences with spaces. Just being curious
                              Thanks mochinist.


                              Do you type out your post on some other program
                              Nope.


                              .............. or do you just like to separate all the sentences with spaces.
                              Not really - just works out that way.


                              ....and copy/paste them here with that format, ...
                              Nope.


                              ................. Just being curious.
                              Sure.

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