Thursday, November 19, 2009

Secret weapons - mini bolt cutters

It has been estimated that there are 42,192 different tools which could conceivably be used in a domestic setting. So those setting out on Life's Great Adventure have some decisions to make. Unless they are blessed with unusually deep pockets, storage space and time to learn.

I started off with drill, hammer, screwdriver and Mole wrench. You can do most jobs, after a fashion, with these. But I have spent many painful tortured hours bodging jobs which could have been done quickly, painlessly and well with a few proper tools. If only I'd read this blog then.

The tough, independent inhabitants of New Zealand have a saying that any problem can be fixed with a bit of number 8 wire. (Hat tip to the splendid bignosedugly guy and his brave, inspiring account of his emigration.) My personal preference is 2mm (number 12) or a wire coathanger (a ubiquitous public nuisance in my youth, now sadly vanishing). Great for going places that a strategic finger can't go, as well as fencing and general bodging. And then there's chicken wire.

Now, you can use bypass cutters on pliers or general purpose fencing tools (right. Oops: wrong fencing!). And I did, for many years. But it is awkward wrestling the tool into position and if you need to make a number of cuts (for chicken wire, for example) it is a slow, painful crawl.

Or you can acquire a pair of mini bolt cutters. Every snip is a tactile delight: a slight squish as the wire is squeezed and then a click as it gives way. And every snip is a tiny remembrance of just how painful this job was and how easy it is now.

So try it with pliers first: then you'll know what you're missing.