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Your wackiest tool

@the same mountainbike has provided some amusement by revealing that he owns a 3’ vernier caliper that he bought for $10.

This begs the question: what other strange/unusual tools do people have lying around in their shops/garages/vehicles? The stranger/more unusual, the better. Most points will be awarded for tools so obscure that no one else has ever heard of them.

Reminds me of the time in Cub Scouts at a jamboree when I was sent out to look for a left handed sky hook. It was so uncommon, I never did find one. :wink:

Excellent question.
I have to add that the vernier was worth every penny of the $10 just for the fun I’ve had here revealing ownership of it.

I’ve got some unusual ones but describing them is awkward and I’m not sure the mind’s eye can see it very well.

One of them is a homemade tool for adjusting the cam chain tensioner on older SAABs which have the front of the engine against the firewall. Those tensioner bolts are buried, and I mean deep.

It’s made from a rod out of a VW air-cooled transmission with a 13 MM combination wrench welded onto one end.
There a 90 degree bend for a handle, several more bends in the rod, and several bends in the wrench with the boxed end being the functional end.

I ruined 2 wrenches making this thing and all for a tool that is not often used. It kind of resembles one of those squiggly trails made in mud by a worm.

I have a custom made tool for removing my oil cap. It’s just an aluminum bar with two screws in one end of it.

And then there’s the T-handle gas cap wrench that I designed for my friend and made from PVC tubing.

List them both under “innovative ways to deal with arthritis”.

I’m sort of bumming here not really coming up with anything. Feeling a little deprived, I suppose having mostly quite conventional tools and nothing that compares to a 3’ caliper.

I suppose my best one is going to be the puller I made for the shower handles on my tub. They’d been on there forever and were pretty crusty. I used a hole saw on a small square block of plywood. I cut that in half, and drilled longways through each half to use some large (60D-ish/landscaping) spikes as pegs to hold it back together after it is behind the handle. I sunk another hole through the face of each half to take a straight bolt and then married that to my steering wheel puller. It worked. Of course, all it really means is that I need to invest in a couple of general purpose jaw-type pullers. But it was too late to go to the store and making something like that is sometimes half the fun - but only if it works.

That counts. Anything made that can’t be bought counts.

Hands-on people tend to innovate. I’ll bet you have countless one-offs, but, like me, just can’t think of them.

Wrench set for a Jimmy '71 series water pump. Each of three modified a different way to get to the mounting bolts. One box end bent out with the flat by 90, one bent across the flat by 90, and the third bent in two places, and part of the box end ground off to get clearance. Makes the job a lot easier. Other option includes unbolting the blower housing on some configurations of the engine line.

I guess I should do some work to describe my tool box so that my son doesn’t just throw this stuff away when I go to the great beyond. As I’ve talked about before, I have about a 10" piece of clear fuel line hose with a stiff wire inserted into it. Its about 40 years old now. I used it to put the last spark plug in my 59 Pontiac. Beacuse of the generator support, you couldn’t get in to start the last plug. So I insert the fuel line over the plug and with the wire inserted guide it into the plug hole, then turn the tube to get it started. Once started, I just pull the tube off and tighten it withe the plug wrench. I devised this after having to drive my car with a missing plug to the mechanic. I suppose swivels etc. would now work but back then in school, I had money for fuel line but not tools. Still have it but haven’t run across a need for it since.

How do you clean out 40’ of totally plugged up 4" ID drain line on a Sunday evening after everything is closed?
Cut one of your 100’ flat spring steel snakes in half. Fabricate a disc from aluminum plate slightly smaller than the ID of the pipe. Cut a notch in the center and insert a roll pin spanning the space. Curl one end (heating required to relax the steel) of the snake around the roll pin such that it can rotate between horizontal and perpendicular to the snake. Do the same to the “top” of the disc using the other half of the snake.

Now you can push forward on the top steel line to position the disc horizontal for insertion into the drain line. Push both snake lines forward to push disc through the blockage. Pull the top line to rotate the disc to perpendicular position. Pull both lines back toward you to extract a portion of the blockage. Repeat process until all of the blockage has been extracted into a bucket on your end. Close up cleanout and take long hot shower…

My father collected antique tools. I’m wishing I had kept some of them, but I have no place for them. My uncle is a retired machinist, and his shop is full of custom tools. I guess the closest thing I could name are some custom tools I bought long ago for doing brake jobs. They get used about twice a decade, but I still have them. Maybe I’ll snap some pics next time I have the toolbox out.

This may not be a tool, but my wife was looking at some expensive gadget to dry boots on the inside. It was electrcally powered and blew hot air into the boots mounted upside down over a last with perforations.

I fashioned two substitutes quickly from wire coat hangers, the round ends sticking into the boots, and mounted them over the floor warm air outlets in the house. a very quick zero cost solution. to a vexing problem of outdoors types.

Brake & gas pedal application tool.

Took an old caulking gun and cut the barrel off. Welded a hook to gun used on peg boards. Welded a rod to the ratchet rod of the gun and intalled a chair coaster on the end.

Hook the tool on the steering wheel, point it at the pedal, squeeze the handle to extend the rod to apply the brakes or on the gas pedal to get the RPM’s wanted while idling.


I use a dandelion digger to loosen up stuck hoses,

It’s better than using it to dig up dandelions. I’ve never understood the hatred of them. I like dandelions. And, while I don’t do it, the greens are apparently edible and quite nutritious.

Tester, I am going to build one of those caulk gun pedal tools.

About 20 years ago the parking brake ratchet (foot operated) on my '84 Chevy wagon broke. I got a replacement at a salvage yard (Yes!!) and installed it no problem. But then I had to pull the actuator cable forward and slip its ball-end into the slot in the lever. None of my pliers were doing the job. Then … inspiration. From a toilet repair chore, I had a left over chrome-plated brass fill tube, with the plumbing flare on one end. I took about 8 inches of the tube and bent it into a slightly “s” shape, and cut/filed a slot in one side of the cut-off end and little way down the tube. I could lay the cable in the slot, with the cable’s ball-end in front – and then I could >>push<< the cable forward, with the flare providing “grip” for my hand, and slip the ball-end in place. “Worked like it was made for it.”

I scrapped that car about 13 years ago. I discarded the tool only a few months ago, never having used it a second time.

Just to let you know it is used at the end of the hose, and it seems I get 3 dandelions in the place of one, I’m now of the philosophy when you mow it it is green, but still do get a little anal retentive every spring, spend a few hours digging them up, throwing them in the drive to get run over by cars as I am convinced they have legs and will return to the lawn unless mercilessly tormented.

Right - I think it looks like it probably works great for the hose ends. And right, those dandelions do have legs and sometimes march right back over - sometimes even after having been mercilessly tormented.

I think my attitude on the dandelions may have come from when I was a kid. It’s obviously a blast to run around and blow the seeds off once they’ve gone that far. There was more than one adult in my life who would get annoyed at us for doing that. What a way to ruin a kids fun all over some nice little flowers. So I just decided I liked them instead. And I’m also a very laissez-faire" lawn guy. If it’s not poisonous, wants to grow there, and my mower is fine with cutting it, then so be it. I save a lot of time and money that way. But I’ll never win any awards or make it onto any Scott’s ads.

I remember someone filed a lawsuit for dandelion seeds blowing on their lawn from a neighbor, not sure how it turned out.

@barkydog, since we’re on the subject of dandelions and strange tools, I gave my mom one of these for Christmas:

It’s a lot of fun to use and works great. You might want to give it a try.