Sunday, 15 September 2013

Tools of the trade.

When I first  started work (many years ago) as an apprentice instrument mechanic I was always taught to look after my tools and equipment how not to abuse them and to buy the best quality you could afford.

Good quality tools have always been expensive items, there is a lot of truth in the saying "You only get what you pay for"
Buying cheap usually means poor quality and if you take your hobbies seriously then it's always worth spending the extra few bob for a quality tool that will actually do the job it's designed for.

When my father passed away several years ago some of his tools and equipment came my way,
My dad was an engineering fitter by trade so most of his tools were spanners, wrenches, hammers and general heavy engineering tools. The spanners were mostly "King Dick" a name no longer seen, replaced by "Made in India" or "Made in China" I still have a raft of spanners and other tools but they are not much use for railway modelling!

However some stuff from his shed found their way onto my workbench not least of which is this set of dividers by Moore & Wright of Sheffield.

Made in 1939 they are still in reasonable condition and do all I want them for on my modelling bench.

Some tools however are expensive for what they are, a set of 00 gauge back 2 back gauges can set you back several pounds when all it is is, a piece  of steel machined to 14.5mm wide. However working in industry for 45 years had its advantages. Enter your local "Friendly Fitter"! My shift colleague  in the fitting shop made me this....

It's a Back 2 back gauge made by my friendly fitter mate. Made from a piece of round bar and machined to 14.5mm across the faces. An old screwdriver handle and a splash of MIG weld makes a professional job.
Total cost? just a free coffee from the canteen vending machine!

I have a collection of other hand made tools and accessories other than those mentioned in this entry but I'll do another entry on those in the future.

Cheers for now


  1. I couldn't agree more about the tools. I remember buying a set of fine nosed pliers 35 years ago, a mate took the mickey of me for buying a very expensive set, which I couldn't really afford at the time. I use them almost every day and have done since I bought them, and they still work perfectly.

  2. When it comes to tools the saying 'buy cheap buy twice' springs to mind. Modelling, or any skilled manual work for that matter, is much easier if the tools used are fit for purpose. Cheap pin vices are a particular bete noire of mine...

  3. I work on the basis that a cheap tool is fine if you never use it. If you do, then buy something good as you'll enjoy using it.