More on (Moron) Tools

A well engineered and built tool is appreciated by the craftsmen that use it.  A tool that breaks while in use is discouraging, as well as dangerous.  You can seriously injure yourself.  Really, to do good work, you need good tools.

When you work with a poorly designed and built tool it is easy to recognize that the designer had no experience in the trade for which the tool was built.  However, I have seen some farm implements designed and built by a farmer, later manufactured and sold by a large equipment manufacturing company.

This can happen with hand tools also.  One tool that I built for myself to make my work life easier was later copied by a tool manufacturer.

One shop I worked for had a crew doing high voltage line work.  Whenever the high voltage line crew used a tool belonging to the low voltage crew, the tool would invariably come back broken, bent, or in pieces.  As well as with pieces lost.  That is one reason I am very reluctant to loan out tools.  Also, when you’re working in a large crew, it is not unheard of for a tool to get damaged, broken, or grow legs and walk off the job.

In one instance, I had purchased a new ½” EMT pipe bender.  I was careful to keep it near me at all times, laying it by my side as I worked.  Soon a large, heavy workman came by and stepped on it.  A piece was broken off that made the tool absolutely useless.  The portion that was broken was made of pot metal, making it irreparable.  It wasn’t so much that I had to purchase a new bender, but it was such a waste.

There was a scene played out in front of me on one job that had to do with tool usage.  One day a carpenter showed up on our job with a brand new 6’ level.  He was so proud of that thing.  I think he went around checking the level of everything just for the opportunity to use it.

He was standing on a ladder with the level leaning against the wall next to him.  A Native American fellow came in from doing cement work out back.  The Native American stopped and gazed longingly at the new level.

The conversation went like this:

“Hey Tim, can I borrow your level?”

Tim looked down and said; “What do you want to use it for?”

“I need to screed off some cement out back.”

There was a slight pause, and then Tim said: “If you use my level to screed off cement you will wish Custer had won!”

The Native American went outside chuckling to himself.