mr piccolo cherry hill

Basic Hand Tools

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channellocks-screwdriver-flashlightTools Of The Trade are chosen without thinking.  Not the fix-it tools, but the “check it out” tools.  Not knowing what is broken, I grab a few of the most common hand tools an amateur or professional can use when poking about the mechanical systems of a house or restaurant.

A 4-in-1 screwdriver.  I’ve managed not to lose my Craftsman 6-in-1 for over a decade.  Although well qualified for free replacement, with a shaft collar which pops out of the handle, I’ve refrained from enjoying Craftsman’s Lifetime Warranty.  With occasional replacement of the reversible bits, the screwdriver has gotten me into problems and out of trouble countless times.

Channellock 430 pliers are perfectly sized for tightening compression nuts on a 1 ½” trap under most sinks.  It doubles as a hammer.  Punches holes through drywall with ease.  A digging tool?  You bet!  Anything that needs squeezing, Channellocks will make quick work of it.

Lastly, a good flashlight.  Some years ago this super-bright Surefire was gifted to me.  Surefire has since developed brighter LED handlights, but the Executive E2E has proven both indestructible and handy.  Small enough to conceal in a pocket, bright enough to expose the issue at hand, in the darkest of crawl spaces.

As the chain-smoking plumber taught me decades ago, I do know need to know what we are doing.  “Plumbing” was often the only answer I’d receive.  Whenever reprieve was given to hauling his 80 pound toolbox, it was in response to my question, “What do I need to bring?”

* Channellocks * Screwdriver * Flashlight *

Craftsman Tools

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NEXT DOOR TO MY CHILDHOOD HOME lived Mr Piccolo.  He had an interesting garage.  Packed within its vast space were dusty bins, shelves, and boxes, inmates in his dark laboratory of experiments.  Mr. Piccolo was a machinist.  When not at work or helping his loving wife, he’d be in his garage.  Making, fixing, or improving something.  

craftsman screwdriver made in usa jsergWhen still among my single digits, he gave me sage advice: “Buy Craftsman tools. Know why? If they ever break, Sears will give you a new one for free”.

Even the magic word FREE was of little significance to a seven-year old.  Tools were something other people used.  Not me.  I was more the Legos® and wooden blocks type.  It took over a decade as tradesperson before I began buying Craftsman.  Mostly their screwdrivers or tape measures.

Sears is different now, victim to a hedge fund.  Little remains of a Sears I knew even ten years ago.  But the Craftsman name survives.  

My go-to poker for delicate work is their ⅛” x 2″ slotted screwdriver.  Great for digging out threads from busted gas pipe.  Or opening up a crack on Pete’s bouzouki top for better glue insertion.  Hammered straight and filed sharp many times over its past two decades, she finally screamed, “ENOUGH”.

Fisher’s Ace Hardware was the solution.  The local Sears Craftsman Store had closed, but Fisher’s had a full selection, and honored the Craftsman Replacement Warranty. A fast, simple transaction later, I had a new screwdriver.  Plus a roll of painter’s tape for Pete’s bouzouki refurbishment.  Back in business, we are!

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