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Tool Abuse #60452
01/03/06 01:50 AM
01/03/06 01:50 AM
Elviscat  Offline OP
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 214
Seattle Washington USA
I noticed that another recent thread was getting somewhat off topic so I decided to start a new thread dealing with that alternate topic, namely tool abuse.

personally I got taught very early to respect tools. Screwdrivers are screwdrivers, they are not designed or engineered to be chisels, dykes, generally, are meant to cut copper and other softer materials, they were not designed to cut or grab steel, doing so will damage the tool, even more expensive tools will wear out quicker if they are mistreated and used for things they're not intended for.

sometimes you will find that certain tools are usefull for other tasks that don't damage the tool. If the tool is worn out from normal use then I see no problem with using it for other things, if someone grabbed an old, bashed up, not useful for driving screws anymore screwdriver from my toolbox and used it as a chisel I would not have an issue with it (well, if they asked first and told me what they would be doing with it) if someone grabs my brand-new ten-in-one and starts hammering on something with it I'm not going to be very pleased.

I don't buy my own tools, my boss does, so I don't have a say in how he and others use them, but if my boss sees me cutting a bolt or screw with his new dykes or strippers he's not going to be happy, and I may find that tool coming out of my pay. I hate seeing my boss cutting a piece of MC with a pair of wire strippers because I know after a while I'm going to try and cut a piece of stranded with those strippers and those last couple strands *just*won't*cut* all the way.

now that I'm done ranting, what's your opinion on the whole matter ever have employees/coworkers/others beat your tools up? Anyone ever get yelled at for improperly using tools? Just make you mad when you see that guy cutting a piece of steel wire/nails/staples with their brand new Journeyman's and then wondering why they knick/get dull in only a few months?

P.S. if you ARE chiseling with an old screwdriver, you still MUST follow the same safety precautions as you would with a proper tool, ESPECIALLY EYE PROTECTION, I'll admit that I've done it and had chips of cement and rock and c*** fly in my eyes, it was STUPID and I'm lucky I never scratched hurt my eyes even a small scratch on the eyeball is not fun, is the one minute it takes to put on safety glasses worth wearing an eye patch for a couple weeks? or for the rest of your life?

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: Tool Abuse #60453
01/03/06 02:28 AM
01/03/06 02:28 AM
techie  Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 247
palo alto, ca usa
Myfeeling is: tools are designed for specific tasks, and while a screwdriver may work as a chisel for a short time, it's not designed for that use, and is prone to sudden failure when subjected to that kind of abuse.
It's one thing to use a screwdriver to pry out a staple, or to dig out a bent nail until you can grab it with a pair of pliers, it's another thing to use it in place of a proper pry bar.

Ditto for dikes..
There are many types of dikes, designed for cutting different materials.. In general, the thinner the cutting edge, the cleaner the cut, and the softer the material.

The 5" pair of semi-flush cutting dikes that I use on the bench are a far cry from the 6" or 8" dikes, or the 7" end-cutting pliers in the toolbag.. I wouldn't dream of cutting 12 THHN with the 5" dikes.. nor would I use the 8" dikes to cut 24awg hokup wire..

I do use a screwdriver handle as a lightweight mallet, when I just need to induce some vibration, but I don't use it as a hammer, and I've been known to use a crescent wrench handle as a lever..

Re: Tool Abuse #60454
01/03/06 08:09 AM
01/03/06 08:09 AM
iwire  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
North Attleboro, MA USA
We are all so different it is interesting.

I will pretty much use whatever tool I have that works for the job.

I pull staples with Dyke's, pound nails with my linesman's and have chiseled with screwdrivers.

As for the safety of that, all 'chiseling' should be done with safety glasses regardless of the tool you use.

That said if I ruin my tools from misuse I do not blame the tool when it is clearly operator error.

I consider most hand tools to be more or less disposable. I do not get 'attached' to hand tools.

Expensive tools and / or tools that belong to others are another matter, they are treated like one of the family.


Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Re: Tool Abuse #60455
01/03/06 08:27 AM
01/03/06 08:27 AM
Electricmanscott  Offline
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,457
Holden, MA USA
Ditto Bob's reply.

Re: Tool Abuse #60456
01/03/06 11:50 AM
01/03/06 11:50 AM
macmikeman  Offline
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 717
Honolulu, Hawaii
I have used my sidecutter pliers as a hammer to the point where they will no longer open no matter how hard I try to pry the handles apart. This qualifies me I believe to join the abuse club. Do I have to do any 12 step stuff as part of the recovery process?

Re: Tool Abuse #60457
01/03/06 02:04 PM
01/03/06 02:04 PM
Speedy Petey  Offline
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 173
Upstate, NY
I think the topic of this thread is common sense. If someone cuts a snake with a brand new set of linemans that is their problem. I would not chisel brick with a NEW Witte screwdriver, but one that's a year old and dull is gonna get some abuse.
ANYONE who cuts triplex with a ratchet cable cutter is either a green helper or a moron.

Speedy Petey

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." -Albert Einstein
Re: Tool Abuse #60458
01/03/06 02:51 PM
01/03/06 02:51 PM
Bill39  Offline
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 75
Indianapolis, IN, USA
Good topic.

Is there a proper tool for tighting locknuts? Who doesn't use their screw driver and Kleins to tighten them? Channelocks won't always fit---locknuts are too big or area is cramped.

Re: Tool Abuse #60459
01/03/06 03:37 PM
01/03/06 03:37 PM
chipmunk  Offline
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 145
Southampton, UK
I tend to keep a set of old tools for general 'not quite what the manufacturer recommended' usage. (Screwdrivers as scrapers and/or wood chisels, I even have some sharpened for the job)

I fully agree with the comment about sudden failure of screwdrivers when used as a chisel, the transparent handled ones can shatter into very sharp pieces if hit with a mallet or hammer. I tend to use them in 'hand mode', just pushing. If it requires a mallet, it probably requires a chisel too. I'm not perfect though and thus tend to sometimes not have a chisel and mallet on me.

On the subject of using lineman's for a hammer, yes I've done that, but I have noticed even with high quality ones these days, the center rivet can knock out, leaving way too much play.

With ref to the locknuts, I wondered that while in the US too. In the UK you can get 'bush king' wrenches for tightening conduit bushes, and the lockrings tend to be rounded
as seen here , seemingly designed for channel locks.

Re: Tool Abuse #60460
01/03/06 07:29 PM
01/03/06 07:29 PM
Speedy Petey  Offline
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 173
Upstate, NY
Check out this page for Klein's conduit locknut tool:

Speedy Petey

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." -Albert Einstein
Re: Tool Abuse #60461
01/03/06 07:53 PM
01/03/06 07:53 PM
JoeTestingEngr  Offline
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 800
Chicago, Il.
Guilty, I would often use the regular screwdriver to get the knockout to the point where I could grab it with the pliers and always to drive the locknut.

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