Dad Tech – Using the Right Tool for the Job

Lon T Palmer

Lon T Palmer

Today is Father’s Day 2013 and for Home Improvement Stores, the equivalent of the entire year-end Holiday Gift Giving season for Dad repeated for one Sunday in June.  I could not help but notice the endless number of advertisements for Tools available at every possible price point and combination in advance of Father’s Day.

Although I think about my father (who passed in 2008) almost every day, seeing these advertisements and a recent trip to both Home Depot and Lowes got me thinking about some words of wisdom he imparted to me.  “Using the right Tool for the task makes the job easy.”  My father had left me with a lifetime of lessons but on a more tangible level, a workshop full of Tools for almost any task.

My shop includes such tools as a ½” Hammer Drill for sinking anchors in to solid concrete, a Drywall Screwdriver, SawzAll for cutting through almost anything, a Table saw for ripping plywood, Chop Saw for doing molding, a variety of other power drills and tools of varying sizes for different materials, and dozens of screwdrivers, wrenches, sockets, chisels, torches, and hand tools in almost every conceivable size for working with wood, metal, pipe, or stone.  Yes, I could open up a catalog showroom.

My Dad was very hands-on and an excellent Teacher.  To that end, both my brother and I can absolutely swing a hammer, use a drill, hang a shelf, measure twice and cut once, fix a light switch or leaky faucet and can pretty much perform almost any carpentry, plumbing, electrical, tile, or similar “home improvement” task.

Most of the time, we always had the right Tool for the job.

That is not the end of the story but just the beginning.  See, sometimes you do not always have the right tools with you.  It is just as important to learn how to improvise when the right tools are not available.

Much to my Mother’s disapproval, the end of a Kitchen knife can double as an acceptable flat blade screwdriver.  A pointed letter opener can stand in for a Philips Head screwdriver.  A common nail can be used to as an Awl to make a starter hold for a screw.  Any reasonably solid object can be used as Hammer.  (Pliers come to mind as do screwdriver handles.)  Scissors can be used to both cut wire and strip wire.  Any rectangular object can be used as a Square (for making corners).  A glass of water or bottle of soda can be used as a level with a 2×4.  Thick rubber bands with 1×2 can make an acceptable clamp.  And the list goes on…

My point is that it is great when you have the “Right Tool for the Job” but lack of the right tool should not necessarily prevent you from succeeding.  Dad was a master of creativity in “Getting the Job done” and to that end, never let the lack of the proper tool stand in his way of completing the task.

Thanks Dad for teaching Shelly and me that you can still drive a nail without a hammer.  And that a hammer by any other name, (which was frequently the case), would still “Get the Job done.”

Happy Father’s Day


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