A Tools Dictionary....

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 deftly slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seat covers, gaskets, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts.

BELT SANDER : An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

TABLE SAW : A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.

BAND SAW : A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut good aluminum sheet into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.

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 holes just above wiring harnesses and fuel lines.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.

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.

VISE-GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

OXYACETELENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting those stale garage cigarettes you keep hidden in the back of the drawer where you keep all those cheap hand tools that no longer work (what wife would think to look in there?) because you can never remember to buy lighter fluid for the Zippo lighter you got from the PX at Fort Campbell.

ZIPPO LIGHTER: See oxyacetelene torch.

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 beer across the room, splattering it against the Rolling Stones poster over the bench grinder.

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, "Eric Clapton".

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering a Mustang to the ground after you have installed a set of Ford Motorsports lowered road springs, trappng the jack handle firmly under the front air dam.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2X4: Used for levering a car 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 on crankshaft pulleys.

TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST: A handy tool for testing the tensile strength of ground straps and hydraulic clutch lines you 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 the 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 cars 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 40 years ago by someone in Detroit, and rounds them off.

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 hour. Referred to as 'Worthless Sockets' until this time.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 part.

HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to cut hoses too short.

DAMMIT TOOL: Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling " DAMMIT " at the top of your lungs. It is also the next tool that you will need. Sundays are found to be the most prevalent day for the appearance of these tools, contrary to religious beliefs.

EXPLETIVE: A balm, usually applied verbally in hindsight, which somehow eases those pains and indignities following our every deficiency in foresight. Again, Sundays are not necessarily exempt.