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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Default Your Most Cherished Hand Tool

    I've been thinking (a sometimes dangerous habit I have!) and with all the myriad hand tools I have, most could be easily replaced with something similar at no great loss to me. Still there are some things which 'grow' on you to the point that losing them would be a disaster to you. To keep this simple lets go with only hand tools, no power tools. Perhaps it's your Dad's favorite chisel, or maybe a top-quality handsaw that just feels right. I know that for me over many years and having tried many styles I am in love with my Vaughn fiberglass handled 16oz hammers. I've tried them all but this is the one that just feels right for me and nothing else could replace it. So let's start with that-

    What is your most cherished hand tool and why?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Your Most Cherished Hand Tool

    I've got a 16oz. Fiberglass handled hammer that is my favorite. Maybe a little light for framing a house, but it's the one I generally use.
    The one tool I cherish more than any other is my Yankee screwdriver. For many jobs it's the perfect tool. It doesn't take up much room in the tool bag, weigh too much or ever need charging or an extension cord. It's basically there whenever I need it.
    Both of the above tools made by Stanley.
    Ps. Thinking too much gets me in trouble too

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    7,093

    Default Re: Your Most Cherished Hand Tool

    I don't really have a favorite, all of the tools I use regularly are my favorite because I am used to them, comfortable with them, and it's hard to find "love" for replacements when a cherished tool breaks or grows legs. A silly "favorite" is a really crappy 1" Stanley chisel I bought at the start of my construction career when I didn't have money for tools. The blade is too soft to hold an edge, let alone ever be sharp enough for chiseling anything of import, but that is not what I use it for, it's more of an all purpose tool, used mostly for scra-ping, prying, knocking chunks off of something. Works great for peeling old wax toilet rings. Periodically, I'll dress the tip on the bench grinder (or angle grinder ) and it's good for another 100,000 miles, so to speak.

    Because I specialized in remodel and repair, I chose Estwing hammers, not the greatest balance for framing needs, but unbeatable when it comes to any kind of demolition that I had at any given time.

    The one tool that I could really call a favorite was a Snap-On phillips screw driver, because it gripped screws well, and had a hex shank at the handle that a wrench could be put on for extra leverage. Some @****** stole it back in college.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    1,004

    Default Re: Your Most Cherished Hand Tool

    i have two most commonly used tools that i feel i should mention. one being my Klein 10 tip screwdriver which i always yell at someone about when it's not in my bag where it belongs. the other is my Klein long-handled wire cutters. i rarely use it to cut wire, it's a mini hammer, nail remover, nail cutter, strapping cutter, staple puller, wire stripper, and has some other uses, i've even used to to get a screw i dropped into a disposal. i'm always reaching for it no matter what i'm doing.

    my most cherished tool is a small cold chisel my brother made for me. it's been in my bag for 10 years and i've never once used it. i don't have the heart to ding it up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    SoCal
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    6,606

    Default Re: Your Most Cherished Hand Tool

    My ATF hand tools:
    1. Ratchet screwdriver with multiple tips (from Ridgid).
    2. Vaughn Framing hammer (if it could only talk...it would tell you where it's been and what it has done...)

    I get a kick out of "lifetime" tools, which don't last a lifetime due to theft...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    2,128

    Default Re: Your Most Cherished Hand Tool

    The mention of pliers reminded me that I have another 'cherished' hand tool- both for utility and memories. My small hands like 8" Klein pliers better than the usual 9" ones. Back when I was doing formwork and tying rebar, I bought this used but like new, bare handles which are best for the work I did. One day my foreman asked to see them, he was going to put a small bend for pulling tie-wire tight on the end of the handle, a common modification for rodbusting. In a few minutes he hands them back, the end shaped perfectly, as he says "See Phil? I remembered that you're left-handed". He looked befuddled at my displeasure when I had to tell him I only write left handed, everything else is right-handed, which he should have known by now He offered to make them right but I declined and got used to twisting my hand backwards to cut the tie-wire off close. 20+ years later they've cut nails, wires, pulled on everything they can wrap around, and driven more nails that I can count, and they will still almost cut a business card cleanly. And when making pliers cuts of any kind now, my hand automatically flips backwards with the palm toward me instead of facing the work Quality and memories- a tough combination to beat!

    Phil

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,093

    Default Re: Your Most Cherished Hand Tool

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastercarpentry View Post
    The mention of pliers reminded me that I have another 'cherished' hand tool- both for utility and memories. My small hands like 8" Klein pliers better than the usual 9" ones. Back when I was doing formwork and tying rebar, I bought this used but like new, bare handles which are best for the work I did. One day my foreman asked to see them, he was going to put a small bend for pulling tie-wire tight on the end of the handle, a common modification for rodbusting. In a few minutes he hands them back, the end shaped perfectly, as he says "See Phil? I remembered that you're left-handed". He looked befuddled at my displeasure when I had to tell him I only write left handed, everything else is right-handed, which he should have known by now He offered to make them right but I declined and got used to twisting my hand backwards to cut the tie-wire off close. 20+ years later they've cut nails, wires, pulled on everything they can wrap around, and driven more nails that I can count, and they will still almost cut a business card cleanly. And when making pliers cuts of any kind now, my hand automatically flips backwards with the palm toward me instead of facing the work Quality and memories- a tough combination to beat!

    Phil
    My first job working for a GC as a laborer, one of the carpenters had a pair of end cutting pliers that he used for pulling nails and all manner of things. I quickly bought myself a pair to use in the same manner, but found them too awkward to use and that they really didn't give the leverage to cut things well, so I got myself a pair of side cutters instead. I still have the same pair of side cutters, well over 20 years later, the insulation has worn off the tips of the handles, so they are unsafe for electrical work of any kind, but I still can't bring myself to replace them because they are flawless in every other respect. I have bought may other pairs of side cutters since, and interestingly, the manufacturer's no longer think it necessary to carry the jaws all the way down to the pivot point, there is always a small notch at the joint, which means that you lose mechanical leverage when it comes to cutting things. You wouldn't think that a mere 1/8" would make much difference, but when cutting a tough piece of wire or an old nail, it can make all the difference in the world.

    BTW, I've never let anyone modify any of my tools! Let me see the modification somewhere else first. Let me use a modified tool first, then I'll decide if the modification is something that will work for me. This is not to say that I have not modified a few things over the years, only that what works for one person, isn't necessarily a God's send for another.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Your Most Cherished Hand Tool

    My uncle was a master mason for some 50 or 60 years specializing in brick, block and stone. As his scleroderma grew worse he was forced to retire. One day when visiting him seeking advice, he gave me his level. It was an honor to receive. Passed on as a token of pride in one's work. That level was used for several years, but after being dropped one too many times it, I decided to retire it too. When he passed I thought about putting it in the casket beside him. Instead, the level hangs from my garage roof, along with all the shiny new levels, with the hope that some of his skill and craftsmanship will rub off.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    2,128

    Default Re: Your Most Cherished Hand Tool

    Spruce, I knew that man well having worked and learned under him for about 4 years on 3 different jobs. He taught me most of what I know about industrial blueprint reading and much, much more The bend he made was and is still perfect, just on the wrong handle. He could have made it right easily but I had been bothered enough by that point. I always meant to fix it, I just never did!

    Going to shut up now, hoping that we will hear from some of our DIY'ers on the subject too- hey everybody, how about you?

    Phil

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Pacific Northwet
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    Default Re: Your Most Cherished Hand Tool

    Strangely enough, I think it's a clamp. I have several clamps of different styles, but the one that I use the most is a 12" Jorgensen E-Z-Hold II. (I have two of them.)

    Both clamp faces are floating and can be placed anywhere along the bar. It has a ratcheting mechanism actuated by squeezing the handle, which is inline with the bar rather than perpendicular like all other racheting bar clamps, so it fits better in tight places. The "dead" end can be removed and put on the other end of the bar (to use as a spreader or to pass the bar through a hole in the work) without the use of tools. There are no screws or other small parts to get lost.

    Unfortunately, that product is no longer made. I can live without the other clamps, but I'd feel lost without this one.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

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