Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Granddad's and Dad's Tools

nail puller
I was going through some of my dad's tools and found some neat ones I needed an explanation on. He got two from my grandfather. First a nailpuller. They're still making copies of this in China, but the metal isn't long lasting like this one made in the 1930s or 40s.

The extended part slightly angled at the top is used as a hammer to drive the pincher down under the nail. The "toe" next to the pincher opens and closes the pincher. Collapsing the upper part down gives a firm prying bar. A great tool when made with good quality metal. My granddad used it as did my dad not only on their own homes/garages/projects but in carpentry jobs for house builders.

heavy duty jack
Then there is a jack that's heavy duty enough to lift up a corner of a house.

Next comes a vise which Dad himself got with two nice size drill bits at 90 degree angles and a long metal pole. My dad can't remember what he used that for, and I can't find anything like it in my online search attempts. Any of you know what it was used for and what the long metal pole is for?
vise with two drill bits

Finally a little gizmo we've heard about for decades in my dad's stories. When he was in high school, he and his friends would go to sporting events in his Model B Ford. He built this little box to hook up to his car, and it was easy to ground in his Ford. He and his buddies would start beating on a drum. When some big guy(s) from the other school came over to complain, Dad would turn it on and when a guy touched their car he would get a shock. Then they would turn it off. Naturally, they didn't get bothered much after that. He said it also worked well in touching the bumper of another car, then turning it off so that when the guy reached to get into his car the second time everything was okay. They couldn't figure out what happened. But my dad didn't do that very often. Mostly used it on aggressive guys from other schools who wanted to teach him and his friends a lesson. You can see where I get my rabble rouser streak.
vise with 2 drill bits


MAX Redline said...

Amusingly inventive, your dad!

As for the nail-puller: the problem is that while China produces a lot of steel, the quality is poor. As I noted in a post a few weeks ago, this is why they have to import the ball-tips that go into ball-point pen manufacturing; the tips that we take for granted require a thin, strong steel and precision machining - which China has thus far been unable to replicate.

Precision machining has until now been limited to military fabrication in the country, but after five years of research and development, their state-run metals producer believe that they've been able to finally produce a workable ball-tip for their pens.

A similar issue exists in regard to their nail-pullers - the metal gives out after a period of use.

The house jack is interesting as well, as it is non-hydraulic and would require at least two men to make it work. The handle allows for easy placement, but then rods have to be inserted into the upper holes and moved in order to raise the structure.

I'm not sure about the vise, but it looks as though it might have been used in woodworking: the larger upper bit would produce a hole of perhaps 1/2 inch diameter, while the lower bit would produce a smaller hole suitable for joinery. Just a guess.

OregonGuy said...

Used to bore locks into doors.

T. D. said...

You guys are great!

Max, interesting that good steel is so hard to make and precision machining so hard to do even for a superpower. There's a lot money can't buy.

And, yes, the jack was labor intensive, but for the era what a normal person could afford in doing work on his house. I'm thinking my grandfather got it from his father who built an office building in Calgary, Canada, still being used as well as a house in the 1920's here in Portland still being used.

OG, exactly right! And the long bar is to hang it from the door so the door knobs will be the same height on the doors. My dad remembered after I told him what you said. We have 14 doors in the family home dad built, so it was useful. Also, my uncle built two houses, one for himself and one for my grandparents, so it probably got a lot of use there too.

Thanks to you both!

MAX Redline said...

"Used to bore locks into doors." That makes sense, OG; my first thought was tables. Wouldn't work on my doors, though - they're solid steel.

TD, the steel and precision machining required to make a ball-point pen is something that has eluded China for decades. They're now thinking that they might have resolved the issue, but that remains to be seen. Their state-owned company hopes to "roll" some out next month.

I recognized the jack immediately, as I had one for a number of years before I got an hydraulic unit. You use the handle on the thing to place it, spin the top hand-tight, then get some friends over to help actually lift. Free beer helps.

T. D. said...

I'm impressed that you actually used one of those jacks, Max. Hydraulic is certainly much nicer. And pretty inexpensive too. I wonder what these hand jacks cost in the day.

T. D. said...

Solid steel doors, huh? You're prepared, Mr. Max.

MAX Redline said...

I don't know what the going price on the jack was at the time, TD - I got mine second hand because I needed to add some floor joists in the old house. It did the job, but it wasn't easy. I got an hydraulic jack for working on the vehicles - much nicer!

Steel doors seemed like a good move, and the deadbolts anchor into the 4x support beams. Those doors, when locked, aren't going anywhere unless heavy equipment is involved. I also installed SimpliSafe monitored alarm system units - motion sensors that I tuned down so Dog doesn't set them off, but people will. Wireless, and tagged into my cell phone.

In Portland, if you're 62, you get a lifetime alarm permit from PPD for free.

T. D. said...

I bet less than 1 in 100 Americans living today have used that jack.

Also, bet less than 1 in 100 Americans have steel doors on their homes.

You're amazing, Max!