Make tools that are easily made and save your money for those things you can’t make.
by Dick Maheu
One of the many pleasures I have enjoyed over the five decades I have been working guns is the opportunity to be inventive in making or modifying parts and tools needed to complete the work at hand. Starting in 1967, I have always collected scrap tool steel and similar odds and ends that I thought would come in handy in the future. I also learned early on that many commercial tools can be modified to provide exactly what’s needed for the job at hand.
One of my favorite pastimes browsing Brownells catalogs for the latest tools. While sometimes being just what the doctor “ordered”, my pockets are just not deep enough to procure most of them. I’m sure many of you can identify with that scenario. However, I have garnered many good ideas from those catalogs in making my own tools; sometimes similar, other times very different but usable for the intended tasks. Over the years, I have made dozens of special tools and jigs for my work, often right in the middle of a job I needed them for. Having materials on hand for this is indispensable. All of these tools were made many years ago and have seen much use on my bench.
Read more in the December 2016 issue.