Is This a Plumbing Tool or an Automotive Restoration Tool?

By: Jacqueline Samaroo

A clogged sink drain be quite annoying but it is usually a very easy problem to fix – if you have a sink plunger. Compared to a toilet plunger, the sink plunger has a shallower dome and a flat rim.

Fasteners which hold both interior and exterior trim in place are not normally easy to see. Once they are located, it is important to use the proper tool to remove them in order to avoid any gouging or marring of the material around them.

Butt welding clamps are used to hold two pieces of sheet metal together during the welding process. They work very well at ensuring the two sheets are aligned perfectly end-to-end and surface-to-surface.

The pipe bending spring is an easy way to bend copper pipes. The internal pipe bending spring is placed inside the pipe which is to be bent. With an external pipe bending spring, however, the pipe to be bent is placed inside it.

A faucet handle sometimes becomes so corroded that it is extremely difficult to remove in order to replace it. The simplest way to deal with a stuck faucet handle is to remove it cleanly with the corkscrew action of a faucet handle puller.

Trowels come in a variety of shapes, including triangular, rounded, rectangular, flat and scooped out. A trowel comes in very handy when a plumber has to uncover pipes and connections buried just below the ground.

Some suction cup dent pullers work best with small dents while others are meant to be used on dents which cover a large area. Apart from the suction cup dent puller, there are also glue kits which can be used to pull out dents.

The telescopic basin wrench is used to get at nuts in recessed areas underneath a basin or bath. It would be difficult, or nearly impossible, for an ordinary basin wrench to get into these areas to loosen or tighten the fastener.

The engine crane goes by several other names, including engine lifter and engine hoist. The boom (or arm) on some engine cranes is adjustable, making it possible for the crane to lift a wider range of load limits.

The toilet plunger may be extremely simple in design (a suction cup with a handle), but it is an indispensable tool for a plumber to have. So much so, in fact, that the toilet plunger is often called the “plumber’s friend.”

The floor jack typically has four wheels or casters, so it can easily be moved into the exact position where it is needed. It is designed with a low profile and there are some models which are even lower than normal for use on low-riding vehicles.

Sink plugs come in two basic types. The first is a rubber stopper which fits in the drain and is normally attached to a chain. The other is the pop-up sink plug which is usually made of metal and is operated by a lever mechanism fitted under the sink.

Technically, thread seal tape is known as polytetrafluoroethylene film tape and is sometimes referred to by the letters (PTFE). Thread seal tape is usually color coded as an indication of the type of pipe it can be used on.

The drain-cleaning bladder, or blow bag, is one option a plumber can try when faced with a blocked drain. It is normally attached to a garden hose, then placed inside the drain. When the water is turned on, the bladder will fill up with water to a certain pressure and release it with great force which may be sufficient to dislodge clogs.

An air-powered needle scaler is often the ideal tool for removing rust, dirt and grime from auto parts. The needles, or tentacles, on the scaler remove the unwanted layers without damaging the metal they are stuck to.

Jack stands hold a vehicle safely off the ground while mechanical work is being done on it. It is very important that the weight capacity of each jack stand is rated as sufficient for the size of the vehicle it is helping to hold up.

The heating element in a hot water cylinder can become corroded and damaged over time. The immersion heater wrench is used to remove the element and replace it with a new one. Immersion heater wrenches can be made flat; with an offset handle (called cranked); or in a box ring design.

The chain on a soil pipe cutter can provide sufficient pressure to cut through round or irregularly shaped pipes made of cast iron, concrete or clay. The tool is particularly useful when the pipe to be cut is located in a confined space.

The metal shrinker stretcher is used to create inward or outward curves in metal. A shinker and a stretcher are sometimes sold in a set as separate tools but there are some brands which combine the shinker and stretcher into one tool with interchangeable parts.

Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding was first developed during the Second World War. It is a high-temperature electrical welding technique which is easier to master than most other forms of welding and which is good for forming joints which are strong and durable.

A worn valve seat will no longer make a tight seal and can result in a leaky faucet. The faucet valve seat wrench can be used to remove the worn seat and then tighten the new seat in place.

Bottle jacks may not be as maneuverable as floor jacks, but they do have some advantages. These include having a smaller footprint and having a generally larger lifting capacity.

The valve or tap which cuts off mains water supply to a house can be easily turned on or off with a water meter key. The tool is sold with either a square head or a U-shaped crutch head but there are also combination water meter keys which incorporate both.

Pop-up or pop-out (PO) plugs in a sink, basin or tub can be easily removed with a PO plug wrench. The four-arm is design ensures that the tool can be used with different styles of plugs and drain strainers.

An engine stand is used to hold an engine which has been removed from a vehicle. One the engine is on the stand and securely bolted in place, it can be safely worked on. Many engine stands allow the engine to be easily rotated so that the mechanic can get to all the parts which need to be attended to.

The rivet dimpler creates small indentation which helps to keep the rivet out of sight once it is in place. It is much easier to further conceal the rivet if the rivet dimpler is used before setting the rivet in place.

Metal forming dollies are used when shaping sheet metal. They are placed on one side of the sheet which is then struck on the other side with an auto body hammer to work the metal into the desired shape.

Auto body hammers can be used in conjunction with metal forming dollies to shape sheet metal. They are also useful for popping dents and creases out of metal.

It is not uncommon for one end of a pipe to break off in the end of another pipe. Unless you have a pipe extractor, it can be difficult to remove the broken piece without damaging the intact pipe and its threading.

This wrench is inserted into the basket strainer from beneath the sink to hold it firmly in place while the basket strainer lock nut is being loosened or tightened. It can be used on different types of basket strainers since its two ends are not identical.

Auto body sanding blocks are vital tools to have in order to ensure that a vehicle’s new paint job look’s professionally done. The blocks are used for color sanding and buffing, as well as for shaping areas where body filler was used.

The PEX crimping tool is used to squeeze a copper crimp ring around the end of a PEX pipe where a fitting has been inserted. This helps to ensure that a watertight seal is created between the two parts. There is also a de-crimping tool for use in cases where the copper ring needs to be removed without causing any damage to the pipe.

A transmission is long, heavy, bulky and likely to be damaged by being improperly handled and stored. The transmission stand is a safe and secure place to hold a cumbersome transmission while it is being worked on and until you are ready to put it back into the vehicle.

A timing light can be used to fine tune the timing of the spark plugs in older model vehicles which use a distributor. Poor timing can lead to low gas mileage and loss of power from the engine.

The tub drain wrench is used both when removing a damaged drain and when fitting in a new one. The two ends are different sizes so that the wrench can be used on different size drains.

The basket strainer lock nut holds the basket in place and has to be removed before the strainer can be removed and replaced. A large wrench can sometimes work on this lock nut but the perfect tool for the job is the basket strainer lock nut wrench

There are times when replacing a rusted or damaged panel is not an option – perhaps because a replacement is expensive or simply not available. In those cases, a patch can be created by using a punch and flange tool. The patch can then be welded into the area where the damaged section was removed from the panel.

When a panel from a vehicle is too damaged to repair and cannot be sourced anywhere, then it becomes necessary for the automotive restorer to make it. One machine which helps to do this is the box and pan brake or finger brake. It is large, free-standing and expensive but is also an indispensable piece of equipment.

Any engine which has been rebuilt or dormant for a long time should be sufficiently primed (pre-oiled) before running again. A dry start (without priming) can cause severe damage to the engine.

The drain snake, a type of auger, is used to unclog a basin or toilet drain. It is typically able to clear clogs which cannot be handled by a plunger. There are motorized versions of the drain snake which require less physical effort from the user.

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Image: Getty Images / DigitalVision / Michael Blann

About This Quiz

Get to work! Here's an awesome lineup of tools that is sure to brighten any do-it-yourselfer's day!

Automotive restoration and plumbing are two very different professions in many ways. Plumbing has been around for millennia, with evidence of water systems being utilized in the cities of the ancient Chinese, Indian, Greek and Roman civilizations. On the other hand, mass-produced automobiles didn't come along until the Ford Model T in the early 1900s. Plus, the art of automotive restoration took a few decades after that to really get under way.

What both plumbing and automotive restoration really have in common, however, is that over the time of their existence, each has produced unique tools which are particularly suited to tasks in that profession. Some of these tools are dedicated "unitaskers" which only the true professional will ever use. Those are the ones which many people might not readily recognize. That is, unless you are truly passionate about doing your own repair work around the house and in your garage!

So, if you know how to change a basket drainer or perfectly prep for a paint job, you should have no trouble working your way through the list of gadgets in this quiz. It's time to prove that your knowledge of tools goes far beyond hammers and screwdrivers - take the quiz!

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