THE TEN BEST TOOLS OF ALL TIME
(from an email from 2001 - said to have been found on the net)
There are only ten things in this world you need to fix any motorcycle, any place, any time. Forget the Snap-On Tools truck; it's never there when you need it. Besides, there are only ten things in this world you need to fix anything, any place, any time.
1. Duct Tape: Not just a tool, a veritable Swiss Army knife in stickum and plastic. It's safety wire, body material, radiator hose, upholstery, insulation, tow rope, and more in one easy-to-carry package. Sure, there's a prejudice surrounding duct tape in concourse competitions, but in the real world everything from Le Mans - winning Porsches to Atlas rockets uses it by the yard. The only thing that can get you out of more scrapes is a quarter and a phone booth.
2. Vice-Grips: Equally adept as a wrench, hammer, pliers, baling wire twister, round off bolt heads, breaker-off of frozen bolts, and wiggle-it-till-it-falls off tool. The heavy artillery of your toolbox, Vice-Grips are the only tool designed expressly to fix things screwed up beyond repair. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.
3. Spray Lubricants: A considerably cheaper alternative to new doors, alternators, and other squeaky items. Repeated soakings of WD-40 will allow the main hull bolts of the Andrea Dora to be removed by hand. Strangely enough, an integral part of these sprays is the infamous little red tube that flies out of the nozzle if you look at it cross-eyed, one of the ten worst tools of all time.
4. Margarine Tubs With Clear Lids: If you spend all your time under the bike looking for a frendle pin that caromed off the peedle valve when you knocked both off the seat, it's because you eat butter. Real mechanics consume pounds of tasteless vegetable oil replicas, just so they can use the empty tubs for parts containers afterward. (Some, of course, chuck the butter-colored goo altogether or use it to repack wheel bearings.) Unlike air cleaners and radiator lips, margarine tubs aren't connected by a time/space wormhole to the Parallel Universe of Lost Frendle Pins.
5. Big Rock At The Side Of The Road: Block up a tire. Smack corroded battery terminals. Pound out a dent. Bop nosy know-it-all types on the noodle.
Scientists have yet to develop a hammer that packs the raw banging power of granite or limestone. This is the only tool with which a "made in India"
emblem is not synonymous with the user's maiming.
6. Plastic Zip Ties: After twenty years of lashing down stray hoses and wired with old bread ties, some genius brought a slightly slicked up version to the auto parts market. Fifteen zip ties can transform a hulking mass of amateur-quality rewiring from a working model of the Brazilian rain forest into something remotely resembling a wiring harness. Of course, it works both ways. When buying used bikes, subtract $100.00 for each zip tie under the tank.
7. Ridiculously Large Standard Screwdriver With Lifetime Guarantee: Let's admit it. There's nothing better for prying, chiseling, lifting, breaking, splitting, or mutilating than a huge flat-bladed screwdriver, particularly when wielded with gusto and a big hammer. This is also the tool of choice for oil filters so insanely located they can only be removed by driving a stake in one side and out the other. If you break the screwdriver - and you will, just like Dad or your shop teacher said - who cares? It's guaranteed.
8. Baling Wire: Commonly known as BSA muffler brackets, baling wire holds anything that's too hot for tape or ties. Like duct tape, it's not recommended for concourse contenders since it works so well you'll never replace it with the right thing again. Baling wire is a sentimental favorite in some circles, particularly with BSA, Triumph, and other single and vertical twins set.
9. Bonking Stick: - This monstrous tuning fork with devilishly pointy ends is technically known as a tie-rod-end separator, but how often do you separate tie-rod-ends? Once every decade, if you're lucky. Other than medieval combat, its real use is the all purpose application of undue force, not unlike that of the huge flat-bladed screwdriver. Nature doesn't know the bent metal panel or frozen exhaust pipe that can stand up to a good bonking stick. (Can also be used to separate tie-rod ends in a pinch, of course, but does a lousy job of it).
10.A Quarter and a Phone Booth: See #1 above.
Other Important Tools And Their 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 we are trying to hit.
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 seats and motorcycle jackets.
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 mounting holes in fenders just above the brake line that goes to the rear wheel.
PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads.
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.
OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your garage on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside a brakedrum 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 and flings your
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 callouses 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 2X4: Used for levering a motorcycle upward off a hydraulic jack.
TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters.
PHONE: 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 motorcycles 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.
PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: 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.
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.
HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to cut hoses 1/2 inch too short.