Match These Tools to the Task!

By: Jacqueline Samaroo

The claw hammer, also called a carpenter’s hammer, is one of the most common type of hammers. Its flat side is used for driving nails into wood, while the forked or “claw” side is used to lift and pull nails out. One type of claw hammer is the heavy and oversized framing hammer.

The “spirit” inside the tube of the level is usually colored alcohol, and the bubble that indicates whether or not a surface is level is simply the space left over, since the tube is not filled to capacity. A carpenter’s level usually has 3 tubes to indicate horizontal, vertical and 45 degrees.

The C-clamp or G-clamp can be used for lifting and carrying, but it is most often used to hold an item that is being worked on in place. It can also be used to hold two pieces together while adhesive sets between them. At all times, care should be taken to protect the workpiece from damage caused by the squeezing force of the clamp.

The keyhole saw can be described as a thinner and smaller type of compass saw. Apart from cutting out small holes, it can be used for cutting delicate curves and intricate designs. The shape of the keyhole saw’s blade accounts for it sometimes being referred to as an alligator saw.

Cold chisels, like hot chisels, were first used in the blacksmithing trade. Cold chisels are used when working with unheated metal, which requires much greater force to make cuts in the metal. Hot chisels, on the other hand, are used on metal that has been softened by heating.

An adjustable wrench is a very handy tool to have, since it eliminates the need to own a set of wrenches of different sizes. It does present an increased risk, however, of slipping and of damaging the fastener it is used on.

The plunger, or plumber’s friend, is a vital piece of plumbing equipment. It is a simple tool that can clear most blocked drains and save the time, expense and effort of having to dig up drain pipe to locate the blockage. Plungers come in two basic types: the sink plunger and the toilet plunger.

There are many ways to classify files, and one of those ways is by the “cut.” A single-cut file has rows of parallel teeth along its surface. A double-cut file or cross-cut file has a second row of teeth running at an angle to the first, creating a kind of crisscross pattern. Less common cuts include the curve cut, shear cut and undercut.

There are three parts to the curved metal head of a pickaxe. The pointed end is the pick, which is used to break and split rocks or hard ground. The flat end is the chisel, which helps to pry cracked rocks apart. Between them is the eye of the pickaxe, which fits over the long wooden or fiberglass handle.

Ratchet extenders make it possible to reach fasteners that are too far away for the ratchet wrench to get to on its own. The extender is connected between the ratchet and the socket. It is also possible to connect extenders together to give the ratchet even greater reach.

Wire strippers are used to remove (or strip away) the insulation from around electrical wires. This is often done so that a connection can be made between two wires or so that a damaged part of wire can be removed. Combination wire strippers also incorporate cable-cutting blades and a crimping tool into their design.

Sandpaper is coated with an abrasive, which historically was sand, crushed shells or crushed glass. Nowadays, the most common abrasive used is aluminum oxide. The backing of sandpaper can either be paper (as the name suggests), cloth or rubber.

The scissor jack is a type of mechanical jack and the one that many car owners end up using when they have to change a flat tire. It is a type of lever, allowing a single person to lift a car or larger vehicle in a way that would be virtually impossible for the average person to do with their bare hands.

Wood chisels come in a variety of sizes and shapes, each for a particular purpose. They can pare away large amounts of material in one go or remove small amounts of material for more detailed work. Some chisels are best for working in corners, while others are best for neatening edges that have been cut by a saw.

The sledgehammer can be used to deliver a large force over a wide area thanks to its long handle and the shape and weight of its head. It is quite often called on for demolition jobs where entire walls have to be taken down.

Some bolts and screws are made with hexagonal-shaped recesses (or sockets) in their heads and must be loosened or tightened with wrenches called Allen keys. Torx keys are somewhat similar to Allen keys, but they are shaped like a six-pointed star. Both of these types of wrenches are typically sold in sets of various sizes.

The brace and bit is a type of hand drill that is made up of two separate tools. The crank-shaped part is the brace, and it is used to grip and turn the bit, which is the cutting tool.

Awls can be used to pierce holes in a material (stitching awl), make an indentation on the surface of material (bradawl), or mark a guide line for a saw to follow (scratch awl). Regardless of their exact function, awls are typically small, sharp and pointed.

The stubby screwdriver is very convenient when a screw is located in a confined space where a long-handled screwdriver would not have sufficient room to turn. It falls short, however, in that it cannot deliver as large a turning force (or torque) as a screwdriver with a longer handle would be able to do.

The pocket hole jig is used as a guide when drilling angled holes in a workpiece. Pockets holes are typically used when joining two pieces of an item together, with a pocket hole screw used as the fastener. A pocket hole joint is quite strong, but glue is sometimes added for extra strength.

This type of pliers is often used by jewelers. Its jaws are usually flat and smooth on the inside and curved on the outside. This helps the chain nose pliers to efficiently bend and shape thin wire to the desired curvature.

Caulk (or sealant) can be easily applied from a squeeze tube when just a small amount is required. Lager applications, however, are faster with the use of a caulking gun. Squeezing the caulking gun’s trigger causes a piston to force the sealant out of the narrow tip of a disposable canister fitted to the gun.

A voltage detector is a noncontact tool because it is able to detect the magnetic field around a live wire without any actual contact being made with the wire. For safety’s sake, a voltage detector should always be checked on a known live wire before use.

Most miter saws are power tools used for cutting boards at a preset angle. This includes cutting the ends of two pieces of wood at an angle of 45 degrees each so that they can come together at a 90-degree angle, forming a miter joint.

Pike poles are usually anywhere from 4 to 12 feet long, with the standard length being around 6 feet. They are often associated with firefighters, who use them to pull down walls and roofs to prevent the spread of a fire.

The body of a hand plane can be made of either hardwood or metal. Those with wooden bodies tend to be lighter, but the metal ones are usually easier to adjust. Most planes will cut on the push or forward stroke, but traditional Japanese-style planes cut on the pull stroke.

Apart from measuring angles of 90 and 45 degrees, a combination square can also be used as a ruler, as a scriber and to find the center of a circular workpiece. It also functions as a depth gauge and a level.

The bristles of a wire brush act as a heavy-duty abrasive to remove rust, paint and grimy build-up from the surface of metal workpieces. Wire brushes can be handheld tools that look very similar to a hairbrush, or they can be made as disks to be fitted to a power tool, such as an angle grinder.

A vehicle whose ignition is controlled by a distributor can have its spark plugs tuned up by use of a timing light. A timing light is sold either as a standalone instrument or incorporated as one of the functions of a combination engine tuning tool.

One important consideration when purchasing a winch is the maximum load it is designed to bear. A good tip is to select a winch with a weight capacity which is about 25% greater than the heaviest load you will be using the winch for. If it is a vehicle winch, then it is important to factor in the weight of items you will likely carry in the vehicle.

Loppers are specialized scissors used to cut thick stems and branches (up to 2 inches in diameter). Their handles are normally between one and three feet long. This gives them greater reach and superior leverage or cutting ability.

Masons or bricklayers use a variety of specially shaped and sized trowels. These include the small pointing trowel, the angled corner trowel and the wide tile setter trowel.

The plumber’s snake is a type of auger (a drilling tool that works like a corkscrew). There are several other names used for the plumber’s snake, including drain snake, closet auger and toilet jack.

There are times when a nut and bolt are stuck fast together and no amount of muscle power can pry them apart. In these cases, a nut splitter can be used to crack the nut and remove it from the bolt without affecting the bolt in any way.

Needle-nose pliers are also called long-nose and pinch-nose pliers. Their long tapering jaws make needle-nose pliers good at reaching into tight spots. They are also good at performing delicate jobs such as picking up small items and placing them into position.

The dibber is a simple but very handy tool used by gardeners to quickly make evenly sized holes in soft soil. Dibbers can make holes of varying depths for planting seeds and for transplanting seedlings and bulbs.

A crowbar gets its name because one of its ends is usually claw-shaped – resembling a crow’s claws. Just as with a claw hammer, this end is useful for removing nails. The other end of the crowbar is often chisel-shaped or pointed.

The punch and flange tool can be an indispensable device for people who are involved in vehicle restoration. It is used on panels that are rusted or damaged but cannot be replaced and must be patched instead.

There are several varieties of calipers, including the digital, dial and vernier calipers. The micrometer screw gauge is also a type of caliper that is used to take extremely small measurements.

Heated metal can develop a flaky coating called mill scale. Removing this unwanted layer is easier with a needle scaler. The individual thin metal rods of the needle scaler act like small chisels and can chip away mill scale, paint and rust from the surface of the metal.

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About This Quiz

Are you up for a challenge? This quiz about tools has loads of built-in fun — just start hammering away at it!

Professionals know that there is an element of safety involved when it comes to knowing what each tool's specific purpose is and using it to do just that. Improper use of a tool can lead to it or the item you are working on becoming damaged. More importantly, it can lead to unnecessary injuries — something having the right tool might have prevented.

There is no denying that some tools just seem to lend themselves to certain tasks, even if that is not what they were made to do. For instance, there are some people who go about using the screwdriver handle as a hammer and its shaft as a pry bar, but that's not what the screwdriver is meant to do — right? (Hint: the answer is right there in its name!) While reaching for the first tool we come across is convenient, in most cases, there is a correct tool that would be much more efficient at getting the job done. So next time, put down the screwdriver and grab that hammer or pry bar instead!

Professionals and master tradesmen will definitely know what these tools are for, and you could probably join their ranks if you ace this quiz. Are you ready to impress the masses with your knowledge of what each of these tools was really designed to do? Come prove you are the sharpest tool in the shed — take the quiz!

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