Monday, November 9, 2015

Abby Lab's Guide to Tools

Abby the Lab here - with a hundred year old house we have a lot of updates and also some things that just need fixing  - more than a new house.

I don't have opposable thumbs but I've learned a LOT about how tools are used by watching Mom work away on renovations upstairs (Dad's projects tend to keep him in the basement where I don't hang out). Mom and Dad have a LOT of tools.

How do you know YOU have the proper amount of tools?

When your end table looks like this.

And this is the "no seriously, honey I have a headache" from Mom's last house, which had a remodel.

So, for tonight I'm going to do an educational piece to let you know all I have learned about tools.

What I've learned most is - LIVE SIMPLE. START SIMPLE. 

 I'll start with the basic concept of tools picked up from all the days I laid on the rug and watched my Mom work away.

A SHOP VAC perhaps. And yes, it WILL suck up a dead mouse, that diamond earring Mom was looking for AND an entire Hostess Snowball. But you don't want to, trust me.

To accompany that, you can add some COMMON FASTENERS which come pre-stripped for easy over torquing.


WIRE WHEEL - Cleans paint off of bolts and other things quick as a wink so when they drop to the floor they are even harder to see. Can also be used on those college era cookie sheets that you really need to throw away.

SKILL SAW - "Skill" saw can by an oxymoron. A portable cutting tool used to make things 1/4 inch too short.

ADJUSTABLE WRENCH - Phase one of the detailed process of completely stripping a bolt head. Not to be mistaken for an Adjustable Wench which was popular during Medieval Home Remodeling.  Can also be used as a hammer but make sure the jaws are closed.  Nothing says Amateur like flailing away at your target with the jaws of your wrench wide open.
You used the bandsaw again, didn't you Mom?

BANDSAW - Can be confused with a  musical saw.  But only once.

PLIERS - Used to attempt to remove said bolt heads. Can also be used to attempt to pull corkscrew from wine bottle after mangling Roberta X's wine opener. (I told you Tam, we needed C4 on that thing.)
BELT SANDER - When hand sanding is not enough, this handy little electric job can turn the most minor touch up jobs into a complete home finishing project as quick as you can say, a la' George Jetson, "Jane - STOP this crazy thing".

SAW - The Congress of tools, it starts with a good idea and a straight course, then turns every which way due to lack of direction and a tendency to lean to the Left, ending up with something that doesn't even begin to look like the original plan.

VISE-GRIPS - When heated up during any welding project, they make handy branding tools.

LATHE - a large testosterone laden machine that will perform amazing tasks.  If demonstrating its many uses down in the basement during a dinner party, wear a clip on tie.

OXYACETYLENE TORCH - (The DIY Microwave!) When you thought that setting fire to your kitchen towel was going out of style, get one of these! Useful for lighting any flammable object in your shop in only seconds.

SWISS ARMY KNIFE - A multi purpose tool that comes complete with scissors, screwdrivers, corkscrew and bottle opener. The bottle opener is the most essential.

TABLE SAW - A large stationary power tool commonly used as a shop trebuchet, to fling hard objects into that wall you just dry walled and repainted.

FLOOR LAMPS - When the low/med/high button shorts out to only the 747 landing light position, it can be used to find the wire brushed bolts OR interrogate prisoners.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER - Useful for poking a hole in the top of the brownies to see if they are done. There's a rumor they can be used remove screws but it's only a rumor.

SCRATCH AWL - Rumored to be good for making a pilot hole for drilling. However, true to its name, when you put it in your tool belt, it scratches ALL, including the wearer.

STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER - A tool for opening large paint cans that you will need after using the belt sander.

WIRE CUTTERS - Common divining rod to determine if electric current is in your vicinity.

HOSE CUTTER - A tool used to make hoses too short .

FLASHLIGHT - Handy storage unit for dead batteries. See also HAMMER

HAMMER - It is well known that the hammer is commonly used in other states to destroy the areas immediately surrounding where you are trying to hit.

UTILITY KNIFE - Handy for use in cutting open packages from the UPS guy. Works equally as well on refund checks, plastic bottles or small plastic reloading supplies that you really needed. Best left out of the hands of those prone to "packaging rage".

TWEEZERS - Forget those stray eyebrow hairs, this thing can actually remove wood splinters!

PHONE - Tool for calling Dad for help.  Do NOT lose this item.

SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER - Mom's brother restored old cars, so I found this in the toolbox. I'm not sure WHAT it is for, but it will get rid of the doggie yard landmines from the bottom of your shoe after you made that trek out to the garage.

E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR - Viagra couldn't make this tool any harder. Harder than any drill bit ever made, it will snap off into bolt holes faster than you can say "hey, what are you doing tonight?"

PRYBAR - useful for that cookie that just does NOT want to let loose from the pan after baking.

TROUBLE LIGHT - What Dad probably calls the headlights of Mom's truck as they hit the driveway. Sometimes known as a "drop light", from the tendency to drop it on a hard surface and break it one day past its warranty, it's a good source of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin which will help with S.A.D. as well as that urge to take the pry bar and . . . .

Its main purpose however it to consume expensive 40 watt light bulbs at a rate equal or greater than all the .30-06 cartridges used in WW II.

PLIERS - The tool used most often by women.  In addition to creating nifty blood blisters it can also pull the little metal shells of the  *#(@ tea candles out of their 1/16 inch too small holder after your "Calgon Take me Away" bubble bath.

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL - A device used to spin pop rivets in their holes until the kids move out of the house and get a job.

AIR COMPRESSOR - The Fifth Law of Thermodynamics: Things Get Worse Under Pressure.  .A machine that converts energy into compressed air that travels to power an impact wrench that can then efficiently round off the heads of any over tightened bolt

DUST MASK - useful for drywall and cleaning Mom's best friend's cats litter box. Or blind dates. 


If you're going to solder in shorts, shave your legs.

Never get between electricity and where it wants to go.

Before you arc weld, take off your ring.

Most metal fabricating tools can mangle a manicure in ways you could never imagine. Red polish will match the blood though.


When you "cut corners", the energy you saved will all be used in coming up with a really good excuse.

An automatic garage door does not have the power to lift even a small 2.5l inline 6 engine.  Trust me on this one.

I hope this makes your holiday projects around the house go a little easier.

Abby Lab


  1. Omg. My mom does ALL this shit. She has a tile machine and tiled their whole house. She's always working on something.
    Me? Nooooooo thank you!!! Hahahaha

  2. Hari OM
    Abby, you may have found a new vocation - DIY Dogtor!!! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  3. Yes, yes, and yes, to all.

    And if you must weld while wearing cutoff shorts, you will find out that the lower end of the cut offs is also the most perfect tinder in all the universes.

    And while under the welding helmet, any stray thoughts of "that's an odd smell" should be investigated immediately.

  4. Oh my pug we did not even nose this stuff uses a knife and fork for all our remodeling around this old house, and a sponge. That way we never have to call an ambulance for fire truck again.
    stella rose

  5. Oh it seems we have the same tools, probably because my crib was built in 1905 :o) that floor lamps are great... you can see efurrything and they work like a heater... specially when dad's place their jackets on that hot lamps :o)


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