I Have No Passion for Tools

I like to start these pieces by defining the term/terms that we are about to discuss. Generally, I Google a word and up comes Wikipedia, Merriam Webster, or the Free Dictionary and off we go. But with tools something different happens; you get places to buy tools. Places to buy hand tools and places to buy power tools. The assumption, of course, at least as far as a do-it-yourself job is concerned, is we all know what we mean when we speak of a tool; hand or power.

Passion for Tools is a Funny Thing

As a former general contractor I was never fascinated by tools beyond the ease they lent to the task. Probably my favorite task-made-easy tool is the nail gun. As much as I could swing a hammer all day long, there is no doubt the nail gun made that laborious task a thing of the past.

I wasn’t into the latest and greatest tool and believe me, with tools, there is always the latest and greatest. One needs only to turn on the television--there is bound to be an infomercial about the newest and best tool ever made.

I am not sure that these commercials are appealing to making a job easier; I think they appeal to the person who has to have every tool ever made. It is sort of an identity thing. Most professional construction people that I have known pretty much share my attitude about tools. That is not to say that there are not exceptions, but it is pretty much the way it is in the professional world.

The Jobsite

If you have ever been to a jobsite you often see that tools, hand tools in particular, are abused and tossed around and are often left lying around, almost indiscriminately. Funny thing is that if you ever pick up another worker’s tool and put in your tool belt, they will spot it a mile away. This brings me to another quirky tool quip.

The Tool Belt

Most workers on a job wear tool belts. It puts the tools needed to perform the job close at hand. But construction workers are a funny breed. Young workers like to put every tool imaginable in their belt; they can walk around with 20 or 30 pounds or more of tools on their hips as if it were a badge of courage. As the years go by, they learn, and rarely ever work on a site wearing a belt with more than the tools needed for the task. Putting tools in a belt helps to systematize the task—it forces you to think about the task and then put the necessary tools in your belt.

The Moral of the Story

This brings me to the moral of the story. The right tool is the tool that makes the job easiest for you. There is a reasonable expectation that the serious do-it-yourselfer will have a nice collection of tools and will see the need for wearing a tool belt. But he or she should remember, for the most part, nobody is watching. By the way, always buy high quality tools, the best you can afford. Good tools will last a lifetime.