Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tool And Die

I've had these glazing tongs for 35 years now. They aren't made anymore. The ones that look like them, aren't them.

They fit my hand and they work for Dar's smaller hand as well. And every other pair of glazing tongs we've bought to try to replace these tongs didn't work.

It seems funny to think that a tool as rudimentary as this awesome antique pair of dipping tongs could be that important
to the process of glazing.

But they are.

The screw and lock nut arrangement upon which the two arms hinge had loosened to the point of not being able to safely grip a pot without either dropping it....or because of the uncertainty and panic of it potentially falling, gripping tight enough to break through the pot wall.

Being 35 years old, the screw and nut were rusted together. I tried to get them apart. I tried all kinds of stuff to get them apart. Of course, I first tried simply putting a screwdriver in the screwdriver slot, and a wrench on the nut. I am, after all, an optimist.

ha ha ha ha.

Next I tried WD-40 as the situation apparently fell safely within the "Sticks or Squeaks" requirement to call for the stuff.

Nutting doing. (<------I kill me.)

I tried to see if flush cutters would fit under either end -- the screw's head or the nut -- so I could simply cut the old fasteners off and replace them with new.

Still no.

Finally, in desperation I turned, embarrassed, to the tool of shame. First I made sure nobody was looking. Then I reached for them.

The vise grips.

No respectable tool-user resorts to vise grips.

If you ever go to one of "Those Guys" workshops -- you know the ones? ... with the pristine shop with not just the tools hanging neatly in their proper places on pegboard, but outlines (like, if you were to take all the tools off of the pegboard at once, it would look like CSI had just marked up "The Great Tool Massacre") so's you know exactly where each tool is supposed to go when not in use....

....If you went to a shop like that, you'd NEVER see an outline of vise grips. You'd likely find the vise grips hidden away in some distant drawer.

"Those? ...hmmmm. How'd those get in there?". That's what a real tool guy would say if you found vise grips in his workshop.

But there I was with the vice grips on the screw end....clamped as tightly as I could possibly manage....and a wrench fitted nicely on the nut..... I........grunted....umph..
.....arg..........omph (again, this time with an "o" instead of a "u", in case you're keeping score).....turning red-faced....

Still nothing.

I finally had to break down, biff my manhood, and go ask for help.

John White's Tool, Die & Machine Shop is my neighbor. I walked over there and caught John on his way out the door. I shoved the tongs his way and explained the situation.

We went into the machine shop where John proceeded to lock vise grips on the screw end and a wrench on the lock nut. He gave a few turns and, voila, the screw became nutless.

Honestly, what kind of machine shop uses vise grips?