BENCH VICE

Passage Maker - - Rest - BY BRIAN K. LIND

Our new Deputy Man­ag­ing Ed­i­tor, Brian K. Lind, writes a new col­umn with a spe­cial fo­cus on use­ful tools and tips and tricks at the work­bench.

Sail­ing, sail­ing in­struc­tion, and boat re­pair are hob­bies I de­vel­oped while work­ing at a sum­mer camp on Up­state New York’s Lake Ge­orge dur­ing high school and col­lege. When I re­lo­cated to Seat­tle just over a decade ago, that hobby turned into a ca­reer a short time af­ter I started work­ing for a sail­boat char­ter com­pany. The job re­quired learn­ing about—and then be­ing able to fix—a wide va­ri­ety of sail­boats and their di­verse sys­tems. I un­clogged heads, re­placed bilge pumps, re­paired en­gines, and per­formed elec­tri­cal re­pairs. From there I moved on to work at a va­ri­ety of out­fit­ting com­pa­nies and spent a brief time do­ing es­ti­mates for a boat­yard.

As boat­ing be­came more of a ca­reer and less of a hobby, I started to as­sem­ble what is now my cher­ished tool chest. Though I don’t work on boats much any­more, that doesn’t keep an old client or a friend from call­ing me for help or ad­vice on a project, which, more often than not, finds me el­bow-deep in a project, usu­ally paid with a warm six pack of beer.

Through the past decade I’ve gone through many tools, I’ve broken a few, and have sent plenty to sleep with the fishes. I have pur­chased both cheap and top-of-the-line tools. In

some cases, the ex­pen­sive ones are great, and in other cases, a com­plete waste of money when the cheaper op­tion will do. Over the years, though, I’ve de­vel­oped a bond with a trio of tools that go ev­ery­where with me. If these aren’t on your boat or in your shop, they should be. Here are my sug­gested re­quired tools of the trade:

ME­GAPRO 13-IN-1 RATCH­ET­ING SCREW­DRIVER

All screw­drivers are not cre­ated equally. And while I usu­ally ar­gue that mul­ti­pur­pose tools fail at do­ing one thing well at the cost of do­ing many things marginally, that is not the case with this screw­driver. With four sizes of Phillips heads, four Torx heads, two square heads, two flat heads, and a ¼-inch hex shaft, there is rarely a fas­tener I can’t re­move on a boat. The ratch­et­ing han­dle is a god­send for un­do­ing long fas­ten­ers or un­do­ing a fas­tener in a hard-to-reach place. From re­mov­ing pan­els to tight­en­ing a hose clamp in a jam, this screw­driver is my go-to for any job.

$40 Me­gaPro; www.me­gapro.net

OLFA HEAVY DUTY SNAP-OFF KNIFE

I carry this util­ity knife ev­ery­where, and I use it more than my pocket knife for boat projects. With its snap-off blade you can al­ways have a fresh, sharp point and blade for cut­ting away old caulk­ing, strip­ping the end of a wire, or cut­ting hose. Since the blades are dif­fi­cult enough to break, you can ex­tend more of the blade to use as a scraper, and I’ve also used it with scalpel-like pre­ci­sion at times. You can also get sin­gle long blades, as well as wood-cut­ting saw blades, mak­ing it the per­fect knife for ev­ery­thing from fine wood­work­ing re­pairs to cut­ting waste hose.

$10 Olfa; www.olfa.com

CRESCENT FLUSH CUT­TERS

This tool only has one use for me on a boat, and that is re­mov­ing zip ties and cut­ting zip ties FLUSH. In my mind, hav­ing a tool sim­ply for zip ties is a ne­ces­sity, be­cause they or­ga­nize ev­ery­thing on a boat, from wiring to plumb­ing. Us­ing a large set of wire cut­ters or a knife risks dam­ag­ing or sev­er­ing ex­ist­ing wiring. These small flush cut­ters are the per­fect so­lu­tion for un­do­ing wiring bun­dles to in­ves­ti­gate prob­lems. I’m also a be­liever in al­ways cut­ting zip ties flush to their lock so that when you reach into a wiring nest or small cabi­net you don’t pull your arm out cut to rib­bons, The only tool that does that job ac­cu­rately is a pair of flush cut­ters.

$14; www.home­de­pot.com

Go-To Tools: Crescent Flush Cut­ters, Me­gaPro 13-in-1 Ratch­et­ing Screw­driver, and Olfa Heavy Duty Snap-Off Knife.

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