Author Topic: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'  (Read 1826 times)

Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« on: 12 June, 2021, 01:49:50 pm »
I'll start this, let's see where it goes.

In mine:

A plastic mirror 60mm x 170mm about the same size as the rear-view mirror from an  1972 Austin Allegro, no frame, no backing, nothing - very useful for looking into places where you cannot otherwise see. I also have a dentist's magnifying mirror on the end of a stick - but that is less useful as it distorts.
One thing I did when I was at The Science Museum building stuff, was that any cabinets that were built to house AV/IT/ Other tech which had sockets at the back, the back wall of said cabinets would be lined with plastic mirror. It made connecting/disconnecting stuff a whole lot easier, when you aren't driving blind.

1m of clear silicone tubing with an I.D. of ~4mm. Very useful (utilising lung suction power) for retrieving dropped small components from places where the flexi-claw-grab cannot be operated. It tends to rely on the component having a reasonably flat surface for it to seal against - although the flexibility/capacity-to-conform-to-shape of the silicone helps. It'll happily retrieve an M8 washer.

Bits of old credit cards, bent into a 'U' shape, for inserting between brake shoes and rim when applying or adjusting the toe-in of the shoes.

Waiter's friend corkscrew. For those moments when things have gone really badly awry. But, I suppose, that's a proper tool. Like the one which caused it to be deployed.

robgul

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Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #1 on: 12 June, 2021, 03:05:41 pm »
A thick elastic band resides on a hook on my toolboard for the same purpose as your credit card - hook the elastic band on the rear end of one shoe, through the wheel and hook onto the other shoe.  [That was a tip from the Cytech course]

I mentioned in another thread a length of brake cable outer with the plastic stripped off one end and the exposed wound metal stretched to form a fishing hook for internal cables and other tasks.

About half of an old spoke bent to form a Vee with loops at each end - used to hold the two ends of a chain together when fitting a magic link (or removing said link to stop the chain flying across the workshop) - there is a pukka tool for this so not sure mine complies as "not a tool"

A length of wood (longer than a stretched out chain) and about 10cm wide with two nails in the face at one end - hook the old chain on one nail, new chain on the other and you can see the length to cut it to (the board I have has a couple of mouldings along each long edge to improve use - I must get round to painting it Park Tool blue  :thumbsup: )

Old-style toe-clip strap to hold a tyre in position when refitting a tight one - acts as a 3rd hand and makes sure the "other side" doesn't run away. [Cable tie serves the same purpose but less environmentally friendly with single use]

Various home-made tools, but I guess as they are really alternatives to actual tools they don't comply with the spirit of this thread.

Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #2 on: 12 June, 2021, 03:10:20 pm »
I can live with home-made tools.
It gives us another opportunity to have yet another look at Rogerzilla's chain whip.

Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #3 on: 12 June, 2021, 03:51:55 pm »
My first real holiday job as a teenager was in an engineering works (they converted cars). I hit an issue with a drill chuck that had been done up seriously tightly. Someone there picked up an end of small sawn-off tubing from who-knows-what that was lying around, and told me to slip it over the chuck bar for a bit more leverage. Which worked, obviously. The bar is still in my drill box, 45 years later.

TheLurker

  • Goes well with magnolia.
Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #4 on: 12 June, 2021, 04:25:01 pm »
A small number of bits of brass tube in various diameters with sharpened edges, holes in balsa, cutting of, for the use of.
Τα πιο όμορφα ταξίδια γίνονται με τις δικές μας δυνάμεις - Φίλοι του Ποδήλατου

Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #5 on: 12 June, 2021, 05:05:32 pm »
I suppose everything you use could called a tool, even if they're user made.

Bent spoke for lifting the chain when removing and refitting the rear wheel.

At work, we use baby bottle warmers for heating hide glue.

Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #6 on: 12 June, 2021, 05:11:03 pm »
A magnetic dish, great for not losing small bolts and nuts

robgul

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Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #7 on: 12 June, 2021, 05:31:55 pm »
I suppose everything you use could called a tool, even if they're user made.

Bent spoke for lifting the chain when removing the rear wheel.

At work, we use baby bottle warmers for heating hide glue.

Ah - forgot that one - I have one in the bag on each bike too.

Again not sure if it's a tool or not but I have an old jockey wheel and piece of tubing as a spacer on a rear skewer to act as chain support/retainer when the wheel is out of the frame.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #8 on: 12 June, 2021, 06:20:55 pm »
A plastic mirror 60mm x 170mm about the same size as the rear-view mirror from an Austin 1100, no frame, no backing, nothing - very useful for looking into places where you cannot otherwise see. I also have a dentist's magnifying mirror on the end of a stick - but that is less useful as it distorts.

I once had a little make-up mirror that was handy for that sort of thing, with a protective flap that could usefully be used as a stand.


Quote
One thing I did when I was at The Science Museum building stuff, was that any cabinets that were built to house AV/IT/ Other tech which had sockets at the back, the back wall of said cabinets would be lined with plastic mirror. It made connecting/disconnecting stuff a whole lot easier, when you aren't driving blind.

I learned this one from the TV repair shop - each bench had a mirror at the back, so you could see what was happening on the screen while jibbling the innards or see what you were plugging while jibbling the front.

I reckon A/V equipment in particular would benefit from Braille dots to identify connectors.  You don't need much in the way of Braille skills to tell 'L' from 'R' on 'IN' from 'OUT'.  Also, USB/HDMI/Displayport are all far too similar to identify properly by touch.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #9 on: 12 June, 2021, 06:22:32 pm »
MTB brake inner for tying tampons to for cleaning chain tubes.

Little hairdressers' hook thing for pulling tufts of hair through a wossname when applying highlights, for re-bending the pins of connectors that have become bent out of shape.

Heamostat forceps, for all sorts of thing, but particularly holding medium-sized objects when soldering.

Blutac, obviously.

Mr Larrington

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Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #10 on: 12 June, 2021, 06:28:26 pm »
My first real holiday job as a teenager was in an engineering works (they converted cars). I hit an issue with a drill chuck that had been done up seriously tightly. Someone there picked up an end of small sawn-off tubing from who-knows-what that was lying around, and told me to slip it over the chuck bar for a bit more leverage. Which worked, obviously. The bar is still in my drill box, 45 years later.

I have a whang bar, a length of tube artfully flattened at one end to slip over the end of a hefty adjustable spanner for removing recalcitrant screw-on freewheels.  In a previous life it was the seat tube from an original Bickerton.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #11 on: 12 June, 2021, 06:36:33 pm »
MTB brake inner for tying tampons to for cleaning chain tubes.

Little hairdressers' hook thing for pulling tufts of hair through a wossname when applying highlights, for re-bending the pins of connectors that have become bent out of shape.

Heamostat forceps, for all sorts of thing, but particularly holding medium-sized objects when soldering.

Blutac, obviously.
All of the above + Blutac scores bigly.
ETA - I've used a tampon before for removing moisture, but I honestly cannot remember where or why.

Memory revamp:
It was to replace the absorbent material in a Ronson petril ciggy lighter for the absorbtion of lighter fuel.

Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #12 on: 12 June, 2021, 06:45:10 pm »
A small number of bits of brass tube in various diameters with sharpened edges, holes in balsa, cutting of, for the use of.
I've a number of these in various diameters for putting holes in Plastazote.

Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #13 on: 12 June, 2021, 06:46:45 pm »
A lighter, just because.
Marker pen.
Rust never sleeps

Tim Hall

  • Victoria is my queen
Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #14 on: 12 June, 2021, 07:34:09 pm »
An offcut of scaffold pole,torque applying for the use of.

My kitchen drawer has a spoke bent into a useful hook shape laying within. I use it to pull the plinth under a particular cupboard straight again after it gets knocked by Exuberant Mopping.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Cudzoziemiec

  • Моя планета голубая, я люблю тебя и обнимаю
Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #15 on: 13 June, 2021, 01:01:38 pm »
A plastic mirror 60mm x 170mm about the same size as the rear-view mirror from an  1972 Austin Allegro, no frame, no backing, nothing - very useful for looking into places where you cannot otherwise see.
If something useful has come from an Austin Allegro, this is living proof that every cloud has a silver lining, it's an ill wind etc.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Моя планета голубая, я люблю тебя и обнимаю
Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #16 on: 13 June, 2021, 01:02:44 pm »
It doesn't live in a toolbox, but an offcut of mudguard stay for clearing matted hair and gunk from the drain holes of bath and basin.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #17 on: 13 June, 2021, 09:06:21 pm »
A couple of inches of thread cut from a Raleigh fork, to positively test if that mystery headset nut is 26tpi.

A brass toilet inlet adaptor (1/2" UK to 3/8" continental, I think) which is just right as a spacer for bolting a FAG BB removal tool in place.
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

archy

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Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #18 on: 13 June, 2021, 09:27:10 pm »
An old rasp/file with the tang heated, bent into a hook and sharpened.  This was not a weapon, it was a device to remove the caulking from the seams, deck or hull, of leaky wooden boats before they could be recaulked. 

We did an entire boat once, and it spent a year on dry land after while other work was done.  When it was craned back into the sea, despite our lovely caulking, it leaked like a sieve.  The planking had dried out during the summer.  So I spent the night aboard pumping the thing out by hand and hoping the larch timbers would swell enough to stop the leaking. Thankfully, around about dawn the water stopped coming in and eventually the hull was beautifully tight.

What we should have done was put soap in all the seams before launching, this would have kept out the water and then been squeezed out as the wood took up.

Another boat I did the deck seams on had one seam that was wider than the rest and was very hard to get tight.  She was used to ferry troops off the beaches at Dunkirk and had been near a mine that exploded.  It's said the blast blew her clean out of the water so daylight could be seen below.  The sheer of the hull was fine on the port side but had a hump near the stern on the starboard side. In the 1990s she was rebuilt and they fixed both the deck seam and the sheerline.   

what man calls civilization
always results in deserts

Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #19 on: 13 June, 2021, 09:35:48 pm »
I love that soap trick. Inspired.
Rust never sleeps

Pingu

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Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #20 on: 13 June, 2021, 11:23:11 pm »
A lump of wood as the interface between hammer and component.

T42

  • Hat needs a wash
Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #21 on: 14 June, 2021, 07:44:11 am »
Curiously-bent wire coat-hanger for suspending chains in the wax bath.  Not in my toolbox, though: the only box I have for tools is in my office, for computer fettling.  Or in my sundry-stationery drawer: paperclips.

But they never got to Carcassonne.

robgul

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Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #22 on: 14 June, 2021, 07:49:23 am »
A metal mesh tea-strainer for very small parts that are cleaned in the ultrasonic cleaning bath (its basket has a 1.5cm hence the tea strainer)

Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #23 on: 14 June, 2021, 08:59:36 am »
It doesn't live in a toolbox, but an offcut of mudguard stay for clearing matted hair and gunk from the drain holes of bath and basin.

I use an unmodified spoke for that. the end that goes through the hub flange with its right angle bend and flared tip is perfect for grabbing hair to be pulled back out.


Re: Useful things in your toolbox that aren't actual 'tools'
« Reply #24 on: 14 June, 2021, 10:21:49 am »
Offcut of mains power cable.  Curved back on itself at each end.

Holds the two ends of a chain lovely while I can use the chain tool to put the pin back in to mend the chain.  This fits in the multi-tool pouch on the bike.