We all clamor for more space. While it would be nice to have that heated (or air-conditioned) four-car workshop behind the house, for most of us, our Mustang restoration and repair environment encompasses a small corner of the family two-car garage. On the weekends, when you should be enjoying your Mustang hobby, you end up shifting around other household jobs, bicycles, lawn equipment, and more just to get some room to rebuild those brakes, or recover a seat. Part of this problem is tool storage and workbench size. We all want more countertop space for our work areas, but those large counters get in the way when we are finished with them. The same goes for tool storage. Those huge toolboxes look impressive, but storing tools in other ways will help alleviate your space problems.
What we intend to do with this article is get you to think about your working environment, and what you can do to make your little bit of heaven more useful. We also will be showing you the newest tools and workbench systems, as well as offering up a refresher course on tool and shop safety. So on with the show.
First things first: Tool and Equipment SafetyTool and equipment safety and proper usage go hand in hand. Choosing the proper tool is just as important as correctly using it. Buying inferior tools or using a tool for other than its intended purpose is just asking for problems. If you follow these basic guidelines, you won't have any problems. Protect yourself by thinking-that's right, think first.
When breaking a bolt free, use an open hand and push away from you (if possible). This accomplishes two things. First, if the wrench or ratchet slips, then your open palm can much more easily take a blow against a hard object than your knuckles. Second, pushing away from you will prevent you from flying back away from the workbench or car.
When it comes to prying or scraping, use the correct tool. A screwdriver is just that, a tool that drives a screw in or out. Don't use a screwdriver to pry two items apart or to scrape a gasket surface.
When using chisels, make sure the proper-type chisel is used, and don't let the end mushroom too much. Dress the end of the chisel on a grinder to remove the excess mushroomed metal.
When using a grinder, always have the wheel guards in place and a suitable work light shining on your part. Having a sliver of metal in your eyes is no picnic, as it has happened to me.
When grinding small items, make sure they are secured by locking pliers. The pliers will prevent the bolt, bracket, or clip from becoming airborne and possibly being embedded in your forehead.
This might sound like common sense, but don't use broken tools. We all have that ratchet that doesn't lock or the chrome socket with worn points or a small split down the side. Replace those tools now. A $12 socket is less expensive than an emergency room visit.
People have a tendency to use a test light by holding the wire in their hands or over their fingertips, and then probing with the sharp test light tip. This usually leads to the sight of blood and excruciating pain in the aforementioned fingers or hands. Instead, use a small piece of wood or plastic (something that won't conduct electricity) to place behind the wire you are inspecting.
Some modern advancements in tool design have created some new tools that are easy to hold, more efficient, and make your repair work easier. Here is a quick sampling of new tools from our favorite tool retailer, the Sears Craftsman line.
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Never, and we mean never, work under a car without the safety of a jackstand. Editor Ford