Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Continuing Our Discussion on Hand Tools

           There is nothing quite like having the best hand tool for the job. It never ceases to amaze me how much easier a task is, with the correct tool, and also how much faster such a task goes.  When we hired our builder to build outbuildings on the farm in the last couple of years, we noticed many things .  Often, when we were taking care of animals, we were noticing many of the things the builders were doing.  One of the things we learned, is that they never used substandard tools.  I might use an inexpensive hammer which I bought on sale at a Lowes, but the builder would use something he called a "California Framing Hammer" which was larger, and exquisitely balanced.   Of course, my hammer cost five dollars and his cost a hundred and fifteen. However, his hammer was made of titanium and could achieve much more in an hour than mine could. He let me use it for a short time, and I had to concede that this was one amazing hammer.  I have one of my own now, which I gathered for half price at a hardware store going out of business, but I had the luxury of waiting for one to go on sale.

This is a California Framing Hammer, also known in some circles as a "Mexican framing hammer". I later discovered that it has these features:
  • Computer-designed for optimum balance
  • Lightweight titanium body provides greater velocity and reduces arm and shoulder fatigue
  • Ergonomic design diminishes stress
  • High density anti-vibration handle
  • Extra large crowned striking face for accurate power blows
  • Unique free floating pin moves on impact to minimize sting
  • Exclusive anti-vibration pad provides maximum shock absorption
  • Replaceable high carbon, heat-treated steel caps in plain face and milled face
Made in USA

                 In my family growing up, it was always important to my parents that we knew how to do everything.  Men needed to learn to cook and women ought to be able to check their vehicle's oil, add it, and for that matter, change it.  I complained bitterly while my father taught me to paint a house, work on my car, and be able to calculate how much life insurance women need, as well as men.  We continued this tradition with our own kids.  My daughter can sheetrock with rare proficiency and can build amazing picture frames, as well as do all the things we think of as traditional female tasks.  My sons enjoy all the traditional male tasks, the shooting, gun cleaning, and building things, but they can patch and alter clothing if they need to, and a couple of them are probably better natural cooks than I am.  I think it's very valuable to accept that each person will gravitate to some of the tasks which we think of as being more representative of their sex, but I also think that when your daughter wishes to work on a car with her Dad, or when your son wants to bake cupcakes that we need to understand that a well rounded healthy person is capable of doing many things.  It is within keeping with this way of thinking that we have always encouraged all of our children to begin to collect their own personal set of hand tools. My eldest son has collected power tools as well, and uses them, but everyone has a tool set they add to gradually.  This is one of the items my father always had, and this has found a place in our kits as well.

This is a handdrill.  Different size drill bits can be used in order to complete a variety of tasks. Many women find this easier and more comfortable to begin to use than a power drill, especially in the beginning.

This is a plane.  This is a wonderful tool to have when doors in homes and cabinets stick and you may benefit from shaving just a bit off the bottom of the door. These are quite sharp, but can be very useful.

These are more expensive than most people assembling a tool kit can afford, but these are exquisite.

Wiha Z 99000206 ESD Tool Kit -

  • Diagonal cutting pliers: 160 mm (1 pc.)
  • Needle nose pliers: 200 mm (1 pc.)
  • Wiha SoftFinish® screwdrivers (3 pcs.)     We had a chance to see this set in an electrical supply house here in Virginia, and these German made tools are amazing. 

This is a source of not only hand tools but power tools as well.  They can be purchased from using the internet and have good prices and specials for some of their tools.

You may also talk to their experts in order to discuss what the best tool for your task might be, at:

 1.800.876.2325  M-F 8-5 US MST

From time to time I will mention new hand tools, and perhaps a few power tools we have bought and that we like.

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