Tools and their common uses explained.
Circular saw: A portable cutting tool used to make boards too short.
Belt sander: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.
Wire wheel: Cleans paint off bolts and then suddenly throws them somewhere totally hidden and inaccessible under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about half the time it takes you to say, ‘Oh, man, that hurts.”
Drill press: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands, repeatedly smacking you in the chest while flinging your beer across the room, simultaneously denting the freshly painted project you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could possibly get to it.
Channel lock pliers: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood blisters.
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.
n Vise grips: Generally used after pliers to completely 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.
Oxygen-acetylene torch: Used almost exclusively for igniting various flammable objects in the workshop and creating an unquenchable fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hubs or other places impossible to reach with an extinguishing agent.
Table saw: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity. It’s also very effective for digit removal.
Hydraulic floor jack: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper. Other popular uses are the destruction of expensive mufflers, catalytic converters and exhaust pipes caused by the improper placement of the jack.
Band saw: A large stationary power saw primarily used to cut large pieces into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.
Two-ton engine hoist: A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of all the crap you forgot to disconnect.
Phillips screwdriver: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids or for opening old-style oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt. It also can be used, as the name implies, to strip out heads of Phillips head screws.
n Straight-edge screwdriver: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into nonremovable screws and butchering your palms.
n Pry bar: A tool used to crumple and render useless the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50-cent part.
PVC pipe cutter: A tool used to make plastic pipe too short.
Hammer: Originally employed as a weapon of war, it is now more commonly used as a kind of divining rod to locate and mangle the most expensive parts adjacent to the object you are trying to hit.
Utility knife: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door, usually by UPS or FedEx. Works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.
Dang-it tool: Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while screaming “Dang it” at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.
Joe: What does your father do for a living?
John: He’s a magician. He performs tricks, like sawing people in half.
Joe: Do you have any siblings?
John: Yep, four half-sisters and two half-brothers.
On a related note
After putting 3-year-old Brian in bed, his parents heard sobs coming from his room one night. Rushing back in, they found the child crying hysterically. He told his parents that he had accidentally swallowed a penny and was sure that he would die now.
The father, in an attempt to sober him down, took out a penny from his pocket and pretended to pull it out from Brian’s ear. The child was enthralled and stopped crying at once. In a flash, he snatched the penny from his dad’s hand, swallowed it, and then cheerfully demanded, “Do it again, Dad!”
Laugh Lines is compiled from various sources, including reader submissions and websites. Origins are included when known.
Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or email@example.com.