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Posts Tagged ‘tools’

How Simple Are Crayons?


Over Christmas break, Becka and our grandson Drew watched an online video from Mister Rogers Neighborhood on PBS's site about how crayons are made. It's amazing to see how many steps are involved in the process. If you'd rather see a newer, shorter video on the process, you can view it on the How Stuff Works site. You need to scroll down halfway and, for whatever reason, you have to manually unmute the video. The videos reminded me of pictures in my files. After a bit of web researching, I came up with a lot of neat info.

This month the Chinese New Year begins on January 23. The Chinese have a twelve-year rotation, based on the Chinese zodiac. We will be entering the year of the Dragon. Below is a chart telling which animal corresponds to which year for quite a few years back (if you want to see what year you were born in) and more years yet to come.

Below is a picture of crayons carved by Diem Chau — one crayon for each of the twelve animals.
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The Household Handyman’s Guide


picture of handyman

With temperatures dropping, people start doing more things inside than outside. That results in more indoor projects, including home repairs. Everyone knows that we guys thrive on "honey-do lists" and the like. Today I'm posting a list of ten helpful hints for the household handymen out there. For some jobs, wouldn't you love to have as many arms and hands as the cartoon figure on the right?! 🙂

The Household Handyman's Guide

1. If you can't find a screwdriver, use a knife. If you break off the tip, it's an improved screwdriver.

2. Try to work alone. An audience is rarely of any help.

3. Above all, if what you've done is stupid, but it works, then it isn't stupid.
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Rules for Father’s Day Gifts


picture of ratchet set

With Father's Day less than two weeks away, I thought I'd help out those who need gift ideas for the men in their lives. Buying gifts for men is not nearly as complicated as women would think. The helpful insights provided below will show you that it's actually easier than it is for us guys to shop for women. If you follow these rules, you should have no problems.

Rule #1:
When in doubt, buy him a cordless drill. It does not matter if he already has one. One man owns 17 and he has yet to complain. As a man, you can never have too many cordless drills. For that matter any power tool is a good choice. He may not need it or know what it does, but it will look good hanging on the peg board in the garage. No one knows why.

Rule #2:
If you cannot afford a cordless drill, buy him anything with the word "ratchet" or "socket" in it. Men love saying those two words. "Hey George, can I borrow your ratchet?" "OK. By the way, are you done with my 3/8-inch socket yet?" Again, no one knows why.

Rule #3:
If you are really, really broke, buy him anything for his car. A 99-cent ice scraper, a small bottle of de-icer, or something to hang from his rear view mirror would be just perfect. Men love gifts for their cars.

Rule #4:
Do not buy men socks. Do not buy men ties. And never buy men bathrobes. It has been said that if God had wanted men to wear bathrobes, He wouldn't have allowed someone to invent Jockey shorts.

Rule #5:
You can buy men new remote controls to replace the ones they have worn out. If you have a lot of money buy him a big-screen TV with the little picture in the corner. Watch him go wild as he flips, and flips, and flips. Forget the program — your entertainment will be watching him have fun!

Rule #6:
Buy men label makers. Almost as good as cordless drills. Within a couple of weeks there will be labels absolutely everywhere. Socks. Shorts. Cups. Saucers. Door. Lock. Sink. You get the idea. Again, no one knows why.

Rule #7:
Do not buy any man industrial-sized canisters of aftershave or deodorant. Men do not stink — they are earthy.

Rule #8:
Never buy a man anything whose packaging contains the phrases "some assembly required" or "read the enclosed instructions". It will ruin his special day, and he will always have parts left over.

Rule #9:
Good places to shop for men include Northwest Iron Works, Parr Lumber, Home Depot, John Deere, Valley RV Center, and Les Schwab Tire. NAPA Auto Parts and Sear's Clearance Centers are also excellent men's stores. It doesn't matter that he doesn't know what the gift is. "From NAPA Auto, eh? Must be something I need. Hey! Isn't this a starter for a '68 Ford Fairlane? Wow! Thanks!"

Rule #10:
Men enjoy danger. That's why they will barbecue. Get a man a monster barbecue with a 100-pound propane tank. Tell him the gas line leaks. "Oh, the thrill! The challenge! Anyone want a hamburger?"

Rule #11:
Tickets to a professional sporting event (any team within 300 miles) are a smart gift. However, he will not appreciate tickets to "A Retrospective on 19th Century Porcelain Dolls."

Rule #12:
It's hard to beat a really good wheelbarrow or an aluminum extension ladder. Don't settle for just a step ladder — what he really wants is an extension ladder.

Rule #13:
Men love chain saws. Never, ever, buy a man you love a chain saw. If you don't know why, please refer to Rule #6. (Remember what happens when he gets a label maker?)

Rule #14:
Rope. Men love rope. It takes us back to our cowboy origins, or at least the Boy Scouts. Nothing says love like a hundred feet of 3/8-inch manilla rope.

Rule #15:
Buy your man duct tape. This is a man's most universal repair tool. All men know, if you can't fix it, duct tape it!

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I don't know who wrote those rules originally. Some of them are spot-on, and others I don't agree with. I tweaked them, but I didn't alter them enough to obscure the original thoughts.

A reader sent me something the other day that I thought would be the perfect way to end this post. I'm posting it just as it came in the e-mail.

picture of Dewalt Nail Gun

If you can find one of those (other than in Photoshop, maybe), wouldn't it make a great gift?! Added on June 9: A commenter sent a link that shows that this is not a product of Photoshop — http://www.likecool.com/DeWalt-16_Nail_Gun--Tools--Gear.html

That nail gun would have been of no help in a home improvement project we did this past Saturday. Ever since we moved to this house five years ago, Becka has been wanting a free-standing gas stove in the kitchen instead of the little drop-in electric range that came with the house. Fortunately for me, we have a young friend still in college who has been working with his dad all through his teen years doing home renovations. They have every tool known to mankind (although he hadn't seen the one above.) But in addition to having the right tools, he knows how to do everything necessary for the project we did. The job was completed in five hours and looks great! You can read more about it and see pictures on my wife's blog. The post is called Now I'm cooking with gas!

Do any of you have any ideas for great gifts for Father's Day?

quotation...

"Temptation always lies to us. It promises sweetness, but it turns bitter in our mouths." - Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

"A father is a guy who has snapshots in his wallet where his money used to be." unknown


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Men, Tools, and Gadgets


picture of inner workings

I think it's safe to make the generalization that we men are naturally drawn to tools and gadgets. We just find them hard to resist. It's something about our "nuts and bolts" kind of mind that has to know how things work and our desire to fix things that don't work or that don't work right.

With that in mind, my wife and I recently gave our son Mark and our son-in-law Jim the same gift for their birthdays (Mark January 17 and Jim January 19) - a Black & Decker Auto Adjusting Wrench (pictured below). It's a really cool tool because with the touch of a button you can adjust the opening. This would be great in some of those tight spots where it's hard to do manually.

picture of wrench

I received several great gifts at Christmas that tap into my male attraction to tools and gadgets. My daughter Nora gave me a gift card for tool purchases at Home Depot. I keep going through the store, trying to decide what to buy.

picture of gift card

And my daughter Megan and son-in-law Jim gave me an electric Sudoku game that has brought me literal hours of enjoyment. I kind of wondered if I would like it since I was so used to being able to jot things down on the paper version. But since I got this game, I have not done one single puzzle in my book! This just may be the great gift idea for that male Valentine of yours! 😀

picture of Sudoku

This past week I decided that a store I have gone to frequently has officially become one of my favorite stores in Greenville – Battery Specialists on Furman Hall Rd. near Cherrydale. Below is a picture of the store since their website lacks a picture.

picture of Battery Specialists

I have a digital watch that I bought at a large chain store whose name begins with a W. The battery was starting to go bad, so I went to W****** this past Saturday to get a new battery. I learned that they are not allowed to change batteries in digital watches any more. When I whined that I had bought the watch there and that they had always changed the battery before, the clerk told me the name of a shop I could go to and get the battery changed for $5.00. I went there, and it looked closed and many of the cases inside were empty. Hmm.... Then I thought of Battery Specialists and went there. The young man changed my battery and charged me a total of $2.64. I am happy to give this store a much-deserved plug. They carry about every battery made – it's amazing! Since many gadgets around our house run on batteries, I will give this shop lots of business!

Since this post is about tools and gadgets, here's a list of definitions for some common and some not-so-common tools.

Tool Definitions

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate expensive parts not far from the object you are trying to hit. Used for smashing one's thumbs, hands, thighs, knees, ankles, and even heads so the man using it can say, "I'm tough!"

NAIL GUN: Used for attaching one's own finger to ceiling joist while perched on top of a step ladder. This embarrassing event allows "the contractor" to take a LONG walk in the woods ALONE (and in pain).

NAIL PULLER: The opposite end of a short Pry Bar, used to extricate oneself from embarrassing situations such as mentioned above, even though it creates more pain.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part. Also pries into the character of people who have ego battles with hard-to-get-apart things.

MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes containing items easily cut by knives - clothing, upholstery, inflatable objects, etc.

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning steel Pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age, but it also works great for drilling roll bar mounting holes in the floor of a sports car, just above the brake line that goes to the rear wheel. Also useful for breaking the heads off the last five screws needed to finish the last board on the new deck at 8:59 on a Saturday evening.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand. Also used for breaking wife's wrists and fingers as she holds on to whatever he wants held stable.

PLIERS: Another tool used to round off bolt heads.

OXY-ACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for setting various flammable objects in your garage on fire. Used for setting brand new master bedroom closet on fire because the back of the brand new AC unit is in its corner and July is around the corner. Also handy for igniting the grease inside a brake drum you're trying to get the bearing race out of.

WHITWORTH SOCKETS: Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or 1/2 socket you've been searching for the last 15 minutes.

DRILL PRESS: A tall, upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest or flings your beverage across the room, splattering it against that freshly painted part you were drying.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar calluses in about the time it takes you to say, "Ouch...."

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering a motorcycle to the ground after you have installed your new front disk brake setup, trapping the jack handle firmly under the front fender.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2 X 4: Used for levering a motorcycle upward off a hydraulic jack.

TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters.

CELLPHONE: Tool for calling your neighbor to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack.

SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog-doo off your boot.

E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool that snaps off in bolt holes and is ten times harder than any known drill bit.

TIMING LIGHT: A stroboscopic instrument for illuminating grease buildup.

TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST: A handy tool for testing the tensile strength of ground straps and brake lines you may have forgotten to disconnect.

CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 16-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large motor mount prying tool that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end without the handle.

BATTERY ELECTROLYTE TESTER: A handy tool for transferring sulfuric acid from a car battery to the inside of your toolbox after determining that your battery is dead as a doornail, just as you thought.

AVIATION METAL SNIPS: See hacksaw.

TROUBLE LIGHT: The mechanic's own tanning booth. Sometimes called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin," which is not otherwise found under cars at night. Health benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume 40 watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105 mm howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading. Often used to indicate to women of the house that it is time to find something else to do (maybe in another county). Oh yes, don't forget to take young children in the rush out the door!

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Is ALWAYS the OTHER kind. Normally used to stab the lids of old-style, paper and tin oil cans and splash oil on your shirt; can also be used, as the name implies, to round off Phillips screw heads.

AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty bolts last tightened 60 years ago by someone in Springfield, and rounds them off.

HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to cut hoses 1/2 inch too short.

FIST: Used by overtired, thus easily frustrated man to make hole in drywall before installing.

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How about your household – do you have any favorite tools or gadgets?

By the way, I'm highly recommending an Internet tool that some of you need to try out - the Firefox web browser. There's a link in my sidebar for downloading it. (36% of my readers are already using it.) I've been a little frustrated that Internet Explorer reformats some of my blog posts, putting things where they aren't supposed to be. Firefox keeps everything just as I post it, every time.

Also, the very next comment made to my blog will be comment number 1,500! Who will it be?

quotation...

"Your plans cannot thwart God's plans." - Dr. Chris Barney

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Don't force it! Get a larger hammer!


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