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  • Unique Favorite Tools of ours

    I've been buying tools since I was ten years old. I grew up in a house with a basement, where my dad had his work shop, and my brother and I were eventually given shop space, our own work bench, and a basic set of wood working tools. My hands were smaller than my brothers, and were able to fit between the underside of Dad's work bench and the drawer that was always locked, but also had a hook accessible which had the key that opened the steamer trunk that was the motherlode of tools. We just had to be bloody sure he wasn't home, and that whatever we fetched, it got put back where it was in the same condition.

    I've always taken shop classes thru school, well into the late 90's where that gave access to a wonderful cabinet building wood shop at El Camino College in Torrance, CA. Los Angeles has been one of those places where Swap Meets have specialty forms, such as Old Tools Swap Meets four times a year, which covered wood working and machining tools of all sorts and vintages. The TRW Radio Amateur Technical Swap Meet that happened the last Saturday of the month in Redondo Beach, along with the General Dynamic Swap Meet out in Pomona on the 2nd Saturday of the month were wonderful places to find specialty tools for Electronics, along with fabulous assortments of Test Gear....the good stuff....HP, Tektronix, Fluke, Marconi, General Radio, etc; Test Leads & adapters, parts, you name it. Saturdays were, for years, an adventure in searching out stuff to add to your shop, when you had money to spend. Eventually Ebay appeared, and not long afterwards, the swap meets no longer had the premium sellers, as they had all moved their activities to ebay and the internet. The Old Tools swap meets still happen, though I haven't been to one in years now.

    Not much else is needed these days, though every so often, I come upon another great tool and somehow come up with the funds for it if it's something I really want/can't live without.

    Here's some of the unique tools I've come across over the decades of acquiring tools:

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    The Plierench I inherited from my great uncle...came in a canvas pouch with additional jaws that I have someplace. The Clauss Flipper is a unique scissors tool, great for use with lacing tape and other such tasks. The Erem 71AE 45 Degree Flush cutting pliers get used for many non-lead-cutting operations. They work great for prying open the covers of pots for cleaning, breaking the solder bond between freshly-unsoldered & folded leads onto solder pads of a PCB, then allowing the lead to be pried up without damaging the pad, or gripping a component lead while unsoldering it, when you have to cut off an IC, leaving their leads still soldered in to the IC solder pads. The Optima 504 IC Puller was a 16-pin IC puller, which I cut down to 8-pin Dip size, and works great for folding the tabs back into place on pots whose covers I had removed to clean them. The Utica 1300-8 are gas pliers, which besides the serrated jaws for side entry, have similar serrated jaws on the tip of the tool. They get used for lots of tasks. The Erem 508 is an IC lead straightener tool that always comes in handy. And, that tiny machinist vise....one of the best tools I ever bought at the Old Tools swap meets. It does need a good cleaning again.
    Logic is an organized way of going wrong with confidence

  • #2
    There was a tool I should have picked up just for its macabre purpose. It was in a jumble store in Metropolis Illinois just a hop & a skip from Paducah Kentucky. It had a scissor like mechanism, with a spoon on one side, and sort of a miniature hatchet that fit lengthwise into the spoon as you closed the scissor handles.

    What the **** was it ????

    A chicken killer, said the proprietor. Comes "harvest" day, get chicken's head on the spoon & squeeze the handle.

    Not much use in the electronics workshop.
    Enjoy. Every. Sandwich.

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    • #3
      Got this a few years ago. When I need extra pressure.

      https://music-electronics-forum.com/...1&d=1582324960
      Attached Files

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      • #4
        This one isn't so much unique as indispensable to me as I have not been able to find another:

        The old Utilux "NO. 14". It does uninsulated terminals like a pro. There must be something out there like it...

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        • #5
          I can't even pick one, though I've tried. Being an auto mechanic-turned-race engine machinist, I have a lot of very specialized this-only-does-one-thing tools.

          Probably if I was forced to pick one my favorite though is not that specialized at all - it's a 3/8" ratchet.
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          What's so great about it? The angled handle is very ergonomic and makes it very comfortable to apply torque. The swivel head speaks for itself. The combination of the two features makes for an extremely versatile, strong, high leverage ratchet that can do anything. This aint your dad's basic craftsman ratchet.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Greg_L View Post
            I can't even pick one, though I've tried. Being an auto mechanic-turned-race engine machinist, I have a lot of very specialized this-only-does-one-thing tools.

            Probably if I was forced to pick one my favorite though is not that specialized at all - it's a 3/8" ratchet.
            [ATTACH=CONFIG]57083[/ATTACH]



            What's so great about it? The angled handle is very ergonomic and makes it very comfortable to apply torque. The swivel head speaks for itself. The combination of the two features makes for an extremely versatile, strong, high leverage ratchet that can do anything. This aint your dad's basic craftsman ratchet.
            That curved handle looks... handy.

            Any big names using your engines? I'm a bit of a petrol-head though it's mostly F1 these days.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by minim View Post
              That curved handle looks... handy.

              Any big names using your engines? I'm a bit of a petrol-head though it's mostly F1 these days.
              Not anymore. I left that game around 2008. I was mostly doing drag racing engines and offshore powerboat stuff. And of course the usual wannabe street racer jobs.

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              • #8
                I have a similar ratchet made for changing spark plugs.
                My dad gave it to me over 50 years ago, and it is a Blackhawk brand ratchet.
                It is still in my ratchet, and sockets drawer in the tool chest.
                T
                Last edited by big_teee; 02-23-2020, 07:18 AM.


                "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
                Terry

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                • #9
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                  Extractable telescope inspection mirror.
                  - Own Opinions Only -

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                  • #10
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                    Tools to re-align preamp tube pins.
                    - Own Opinions Only -

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                    • #11
                      I once saw a tube pin aligner in an old magazine ad where you placed the pins something that looked like a ZIF socket. You squeezed the handles and every pin got straightened. The same company also made a pin cleaner that cleaned all the pins at once. I've been looking for these for a very long time - more out of curiosity than necessity.

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                      • #12
                        Tube pins can be cleaned/scraped by these (actually strippers/scrapers for enamelled wire):

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                        Last edited by Helmholtz; 02-23-2020, 07:25 PM.
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                        • #13
                          A lot of tube testers had pin straightener sockets. A machined metal socket, you shoved a tube into and it bent the pins back straight and helped unkink them.
                          Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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                          • #14
                            I was going to post two things, but Helmholtz already posted the dental mirror.

                            One I wasn't going to mention, but why not? I use a nut pick to straighten and smooth out component leads after soldering for eyelet and turret construction. Because it's pointy, curved and tapered it's the perfect tool for the job and makes my mediocre work look a little prettier. You can hook a component lead from almost any angle and run it up and back from the solder joint to the component body to make it smooth and evenly curved.

                            One of my favorite bench tools though, without a doubt, is rubber bands. I don't have a lead wire dispenser rack so I just keep a rubber band on each spool so the leads don't unwind and dangle all over. My favorite use for rubber bands is to wrap one around a plier handle for a little clamping pressure without having to hold it. I can often use that rig as a third hand when I need one. I have one of those weighted, three arm alligator clip jimmy doo's with the magnifying glass on it, but most of the time a pair of the right pliers with a rubber band on the handle is more convenient. It's also gentler than even the first click on a pair of hemostats and the pliers have more anchoring weight than hemostats which is often useful.
                            "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

                            "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

                            "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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                            • #15
                              Another kind of "tool":

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                              Rohde & Schwarz analog real power wattmeter (max. 500W) and true RMS voltmeter (30Hz..10kHz). Principle: electrodynamic cross field dynamometer.
                              Last edited by Helmholtz; 02-23-2020, 10:54 PM.
                              - Own Opinions Only -

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