The most useful tools your parents did not have.

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  • Before I emigrated, I talked my parents into buying a wooden mallet in order not damage the handles of their chisels. When I saw my Mum last, she said that the mallet had been very useful over the years. I pointed out that she would have found an engineer's vice even more useful.Growing up they never had an angle grinder or a mole-wrench. Why go through life making things difficult for yourself?

  • I have found the cordless drill/driver perhaps the handiest and most used modern bit of kit. (But still bloody useless for making holes through walls, when the big corded SDS drill comes out). Neither of which my parents ever had, of course.


    But the pace of life was slower then. If you lived in the country, and had no telly, what was the rush? If you didn't get that new kitchen table finished one weekend, there was always the next to look forward to....:)

  • The blower is one modern invention that makes me laugh. I often see guys using them on windy days; very much like pissing in the wind.....!

    (We used a big leaf rake, back in the day. Dry windless days they were fine, like blowers in the same conditions. But if you had a windy period you just waited until the leaves were wet, then they raked up easy. (But they don't blow up easy when wet, they stick to the ground!).

  • The tool that I would have liked my parents to have is the ability to communicate without passive aggression, harumphing, bitching behind the other's back and drunken rows.

    In terms of practical tools, my Dad was quite handy and had a huge shed full of tools and spare parts. My Mum had some neat kitchen tools, such as a hand-driven clamped mincer for beef and an electric beater for mixing cakes.

    However as the modern age drew on, one modern tool became annoyingly absent in the house, which was a cordless phone. Despite their being cheap as chips and available everywhere, my parents always insisted on keeping the wired one.

  • The blower is one modern invention that makes me laugh. I often see guys using them on windy days; very much like pissing in the wind.....!

    (We used a big leaf rake, back in the day. Dry windless days they were fine, like blowers in the same conditions. But if you had a windy period you just waited until the leaves were wet, then they raked up easy. (But they don't blow up easy when wet, they stick to the ground!).

    I live in LA and these things are everywhere. They are really fucking annoying. The operators look like wannabe ghostbusters (very silly), they blow dust in your face when you cycle past them, the leaves are swept up into the landfill rather than used as mulch or compost, and the obsession with having an unnatural looking concrete-covered garden means that the blower people come round every week to do it all over again.


    On my street there are old trees that are dropping their lives right now. The rest of the street is grey and concrete and devoid of leaves, but outside my house - which I keep as a blower-free zone - there is a circle of fallen leaves over the tarmac and pavement. :D

  • Yeah you reminded me, a telephone. My folks had no telephone in the house when i grew up....not many in my village did. It was a 2 mile walk to the phone box and 2 mile back. Only urgent phone calls got made needless to say.

    Since leaving home at 18 my life has pretty much revolved around electronic comms.

    Seems to have gotten full circle now as i rarely use a phone - maybe once a month if that.

  • Where do I start having worked along side my dad in the building game, we used quite a lot of power tools, but him being a stick in the mud didn't like buying new tools, but he used mainly an angle grinder, chainsaw for firewood, and an old battery drill. but to me things have come and gone it was all nail guns 10 20 years ago, but whats really been useful had been new li on batteries on tools like impact screw guns, drills. and he would never buy a new breaker but those things make life a lot better he always used a hammer and long chisel or believed labourers should be on for days doing stuff buy hand, like digging by hand, and thumping holes and walls out, and mini diggers as well have helped.

  • Used many techy gadgets in the plant hire game over the years, breakers,crusher buckets, v buckets etc but also done lots of nob ache jobs with just an old 2 wheel drive jcb too. Progress can be a great thing. Now machine cabs are all soundproofed & heated, if they had been 35 yrs ago maybe I wouldn't be sitting here listening to my fuckin ears whistling 24/7 now...😕

  • Ahh ear defenders, dad should have worn them more, hes deff as a post, i have ringy ears had them for years, but i always tried to wear ear muffs despite dad and his work mates saying get those things off what do you need those for etc.


    Major thing that has revolutionised manual labour is plant hire, you can hire anything and you dont have to mend it or store it, dumpers diggers, mini wheelbarrows, forklifts, pecker diggers, just anything, it revolutionised construction, a phone call away makes an easier day. (hey what a caption ill have to set my own plant hire firm up with that lol.

  • I agree with health and safety having worked on some really dodgy jobs during my working life.I remember one job that took health and safety to the extremes.

    I was doing a bit of toshing for London Transport a few years after the Kings Cross fire so H&S was the number 1 priority.

    Before I could wield a paintbrush I was issued with 1 hard hat,a pair of goggles,ear defenders,face mask,pair of gloves and I had to wear safety boots which made it extremely difficult climbing scaffold platforms and cutting in paintwork,if you were caught not properly dressed you were off the job.

  • H&S is great when applied sensibly. Nobody minds wearing safety boots in toe crush risk jobs but when taken to extremes, as it invariably is nowadays it can actually be a hindrance & even a hazard. Hard hats are fine on sites where your head is at risk from falling objects or bumps, but why I would be required to wear one when sat inside a machine cab which the manufacturer has spent millions designing to be the safest place on site to be is beyond me. Inc looked into becoming a hse inspector & was told "you have no chance unless you have a university degree"

    Apparently 30 odd yrs on site experience does not make you a competent safety assessor....

  • remember when h and s came in. My friend's family had run a garden centre for 80 yrs with no lampshades in their bulb store. Of course hs said it wasn't safe and they had to fit those, 'Chinese hat' , lampshades. Day one afterwards his dad was up a ladder checking stocks and forgot the lampshades, smacked his head on one and ended up at a and e with 6 stitches just above his eye!

  • Worst thing I think I have grown up with has been dust, I started in the mid early 90s, no dust masks or very crap ones supplied, we were made to ware goggles and toe caps no one was to bothered about ear muffs, the thought was if it was intermittent it didn't do any harm, ffs, cement, lime and skim in 50 kg sacks. and gloves were crap, I still dont really where gloves I find it difficult to work with them or I spend my life loosing them esp getting a tape or knife out of my pocket,


    but yeah good ppe would have been an advantage, even proper dust extraction, a thing that's just getting going now, I mean utter madess you use grinders saws chop saws drills etc plumes of dust and fumes everywhere and no one batted an eyelid, you would never expect to go to a gym on a tredmill running doing exersize in a dusty room with a mediocre mask on but it was the norm 10 , 20 years ago.


    I saw dust extraction early from our friends from germany in 2008 09 a group of kitchen fitters came to a job from germany everything was festool, and I was stunned they were clean and they cutted fitted drilled jigsawed a kitchen in not a spec of dust, unbelievable every tool was connected to a dust extractor on site, they looked at all of us in disbelief,

  • I sometimes wonder if MDF and similar dust, with it's high resin content, is the new asbestos.

    We don't allow any machine-cutting of MDF etc in our Shed workplace, and any hand-cutting has to be done outside, with a fine particle mask worn. Yet I see it being cut on building sites with power tools, and sometimes no masks worn....

  • I sometimes wonder if MDF and similar dust, with it's high resin content, is the new asbestos.

    We don't allow any machine-cutting of MDF etc in our Shed workplace, and any hand-cutting has to be done outside, with a fine particle mask worn. Yet I see it being cut on building sites with power tools, and sometimes no masks worn....

    MDF contains formaldehyde and resin so not recommended for burning as its environmentally toxic. safe to occupants with a burner as fumes go up flue.

    Not advised to breath sawn mdf because the resin and formaldehyde is heated and fumes off during the sawing process.

    We always had h&s on attending incidents involving a while rsnge of building materials,mdf being one of them.

  • Mikita 9404 belt sander. I’ve always wanted one similar (wolf) since sanding floorboards in our farmhouse 1981. Last summer I bought one off the local carboot. It was well worn. The drive drum/roller is originally covered in some resin skin to drive and aline the belt, but I noticed it was broken in places and cracked. I paid £1. 79p for the sander, all the loose change left in my pocket). Later I googled the replacement part £70. Sod that, so I rolled good quality wide gaffa tape around the drum to replace the crumbled resin. It works a treat. £20 spent on a selection of new sanding belts. Now I own a monster tool that will last me out. I did three hours sanding 9inch x 12’ boards over two days. fked my back up holding the machine back. But wouldn’t ever want to be without it again.

  • Mikita 9404 belt sander. I’ve always wanted one similar (wolf) since sanding floorboards in our farmhouse 1981.

    These are the dogs bollocks I was using one this summer helping an off grid barn /house build all made from brought in trees, sanding down the cut planks with the Mikita ,more power than an electric car lol