Trick Tools #4: Mechanic's Helpers
This grouping of tools consists of an assortment of little odds and ends that a technician comes to rely on very much in the course of his work.
In the front row are of course the standard punches and chisels. Though simple, these must be quality items, not cheap ones that will need to be sharpened regularly or that will cave in when needed most. Note the range of chisels and the tiny pin punches.
In the back row, the first five items left to right are all punches, better known as drifts. The first is a general purpose knock-about job, the second is a tapered alignment drift, the third and fifth are soft drifts, aluminun and brass respectively. The soft drifts are handy for tapping on valve lifters while doing a leakdown test to verify valve condition. The fourth drift is a robust center punch.
The orange-handled item in the sixth position is a hemostat, very handy for shutting off fuel lines, for reinstalling c-clips, and holding small work.
The next item (seventh position in the back row) is a grease pencil. Shows good on parts, yet rubs off easily when needed. Mark wheels for tire rotation, indicate parts assembly orientation, etc.
Next (eighth position) is an automatic center punch, this one is by Snap-On. Automatic center punches allow one-handed marking of connecting rods and pistons, and more importantly, happen to be the best way to remove stubborn carburetor float pins without breaking the carb casting.
In the ninth position is a pair of tweezers, large size.
Next to that (tenth) is a tiny brass hammer, handy for carburetor work and other delicate tasks.
Next to the hammer is a very small pin punch, usually used with the small hammer to remove float pins, gas cap latches, and the like. This punch was homemade from a cylinder stud. Though handmade, it is quite useful.
The two plastic handles are attached to special taps sourced from tool specialty houses. They have unusually fine pitch metric threads suitable for carburetor rebuild work.
The final five items in the back row are the easily-identified dental pick (useful for removing and installing o-rings), a deburring tool (works great for smoothing sawn aluminun sheet), a broad nose chisel (often called a coping chisel, the best for stripped screw removal), an Exacto knife (the thing for removing the super glue from mixture screws and circlips from parts), and finally the tungsten metal scribe.
© 1996-2015 Mike Nixon