“The best investment is in the tools of one’s own trade.” – Benjamin Franklin. Needless to say, I agree. We all spend our careers investing in the tools we need to do the job, but, sometimes, based on the situation, the tools we choose differ and occasionally come from unexpected sources.
If you’re wondering how I got on this topic, I wrote an article in 2021 for Thanksgiving titled “The Diagnostic Turkey,” and tied the famous celebratory meal into the auto repair industry. A year later, as a challenge, I decided to see if I could come up with yet another industry tie-in and followed it up in 2022 with “Wild Turkey.”
I always enjoy Nadine’s insightful viewpoint every month in this spot, but the upcoming holidays made me remember those past articles and another tie-in came to mind, so I said, Nadine, I’ve got this one!
The kitchen is the hub of activity around the holidays, and it’s full of tools of another sort. But, if there’s one thing that’s a crossover between a kitchen and toolbox, it’s the turkey baster. There’s always a reason we need to pull fluid out of a reservoir. Be it coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, you name it, it’s a frequent thing in our world.
I know, a turkey baster isn’t exactly a professional tool, but they work just fine, at least for a little while. Their weakness is the rubber suction bulb tends to deteriorate quickly, but if you clean it after each use, it’ll last longer. But, come to think of it, the suction bulb doesn’t last forever on profes- sional versions either.
The funny part is the professional tool I’m picturing, you know the one… red bulb, black spout…the one that’s on all the trucks, is “technically” called a battery filler or filler bulb. When was the last time you used one
to fill a battery? A battery filler to me is a water can with a special spout that you press down into the battery. When the electrolyte level reaches the spout, it automatically stops adding water.
The first time I needed a suction bulb, I stole the turkey baster out of the kitchen. (I replaced it, of course.) But, when it wore out, I think I stole it again. The best part about it is nobody ever tried to steal it back for the kitchen after I used it working on a car. I’ve since bought plenty of “battery fillers,” but in a pinch I know where the turkey baster is.
What else might there be in a kitchen that we can utilize as auto technicians? The freezer is another useful tool. We’ve all had to freeze a component from time to time to facil- itate pressing them in and bearings fit great in the ice tray.
I hear that an oven works great for powder coating. I’ve never tried it, but I know people who have. But they’ve also picked up used ovens and set them up in the garage. That’s not something you want to do in the house.
Since we’ve been looting the kitchen for years, maybe we should return the favor, especially if it wasn’t our kitchen. That might be why many tool companies offer grilling utensils this time of year as part of their holiday gift selection. It’s a way to
say thanks back to the kitchen. I’ve also seen toolboxes used in place of cabinets. Wheels removed, they sit right on the floor, and I have to admit, look really nice.
The bottom line, the tools we all decide to use can differ. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. At TechShop, we’re here to help you see them all, so you can invest in what’s right for you. For the unusual, whether your definition is a tool or utensil, as long as the job gets done, that’s all that counts. Enjoy the holidays!