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Hagerty Employee

Wrenchin' Wednesday: Recycling and repurposing broken tools

It doesn't matter if your tools fell off the Snap-On truck or were purchased with a Harbor Freight coupon: They all eventually succumb to the forces of evil and torque. Over time,  your tool box, and hopefully not the trash can, will fill with detritus: loose ratchets that slip every time, extensions that twisted into two, and a slew of other broken bits—all of which can be utilized for other purposes. Let me offer an example.


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You must have peeked at my toolbox! I don't throw anything away either, and there are a lot of repurposed tools in my collection. Broken tip on a screwdriver? Sharpen it and it's now an awl. Got a socket that's been used to the point where it is not grippy any more (I'm looking at you, 5/8 twelve-point!) and now it's a great hole punch for making gaskets. A little creative thinking goes a long way!

Intermediate Driver

From a previous life I have a very large punch made from a jackhammer side rod with the broken threads ground flat. Fortunately I seldom need to use this, unlike my brass drift set which is great for bashing things without damaging them. Broken bicycle spokes are also a classic tool found in every bike shop.

Intermediate Driver

i too have a box of trashed tools. any time i need a special wrench or tool i go digging in it. you dont have any trashed tools. go to a garage sale or auction. lots of homeowners buy crap tools, and they can be a good source as well. i have a small collection of one-off special made weirdly shaped wrenches, repurposed screwdrivers, special driver for that special fastener that retains the headlight switch in the dashboard, etc. too bad there is no way to post the odd photo by commentators. could be interesting to see some of what has been made.