Random Tool Thoughts

Recently, in an attempt to consolidate and organize, I got a big huge toolbox. It’s one of the gonzo things with 6 inch casters on the bottom, and is 40 inches wide and close to 6 feet tall. My old system of 2 metal hand toolboxes, a bucket organizer, 2 soft sided bags and a plastic wheeled tote was just getting unwieldy. Besides, I was never sure of which container had which tool. I have been spending spare moments trying to organize all of my tools into the new box in some coherent fashion. This has led to some unexpected discoveries, and some questions about my past tool-buying behavior. I understand some things, but not others.

For instance, why do I have three 1/2 inch drive socket wrenches and only one 3/8 inch drive? This seems especially odd when you consider that at some point, I must have bought two sets containing 3/8 inch drive socket wrenches and sockets, since I have four of almost every size of 3/8 inch drive socket in the toolbox (two 6 point and two 12 point). The ones I don’t have 4 of? I have 5 or in one case, 6. This strikes me as a bit strange.

Similarly, I only have one complete set of combination wrenches. Except for 8mm, because I have 3 of those. I also have one each of a variety of pliers. How many of each kind of pliers do you need? Apparently, I must have needed multiple channel-locks, since I have 3.

I realize part of my problem is the manner in which Sears sells tools. (I buy most of my hand tools from Sears, because I like using screwdrivers as prybars.) Anyone who has ever bought tools from Sears knows how this works. One tool costs $8.99. A set of 3 in various sizes costs $19.99. This pattern is repeated across all types of tools. If you buy the sets, everything is cheaper on a per-unit basis. Since you’re going to need the other pieces in the set someday, why not buy the whole set? It’s not like tools go bad or anything, right? So guys like me end up with overlapping sets of things and a certain amount of redundancy. That’s not the part I wonder about. It’s the strange redundancies that get me. 3 8mm wrenches? What the hell is that about? I have no other metric duplicates. Why were 8 mm wrenches so necessary at one point?

Of course, it’s also interesting what you find in the toolboxes besides tools. I have been hauling around some of my old toolboxes since I was in the Army. This explains why I found the instructions for a Claymore in one of them. Not particularly useful, but an interesting souvenir. Remember, front towards enemy.


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