Measuring tools are the unsung heroes of most toolboxes, despite any jokes you’ve heard about how “real mechanics don’t use those.” However, the fact is that precision matters when doing things the right way and building something that will last. Whether fabricating from raw materials or making adjustments to an already assembled engine, here are six tools just about every home DIY enthusiast should have in their toolbox drawers.
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During my earliest years in the skilled trades, the general rule was, "first time you need something new, borrow it and get the job done. Second time you need it, borrow it again, get verbally abused, then buy one ☺ Once you got your journeyman's card and a little overtime, when you need a new tool, borrow it if on the jobsite, then buy it on the way home. (that was when there were still actual stores)
I had the same problem with my digital calipers being dead when I left them unused for a while. I cut a round hole in the foam surrounding the tool as it sits in the protective case the size of the battery. I remove the battery and leave it in the foam. When I need the calipers I just install the battery. Shelf life of a coin cell is significant when not in the device. Works for me.
Here is a one-up on the thermometer. I have a FLIR display tool that works great at diagnosing mis-firing cylinders and other heat related problems. A little expensive, but cheaper than my car, and maybe not for everybody but nice to have.