Let Us Hear Your Ugly Tool Love Stories

So ugly it's cute. Got an ugly tool you just can't leave behind? Let us hear about it.

Ugly Tools

Go on. ‘Fess up. We all, any of us who use tools on a regular basis, have a dirty little secret known only to a few trusted confidantes. Any time we talk about it, we carefully glance around first to make sure nobody’s listening. Then, with a gleam in our eye, we start spinning out stories of a love and devotion that will never die.

I’m talking about our shared love affair with an “ugly tool.” If my guess is right, you just smiled and mentally pictured the object of your own affection. Every tradesman and serious DIYer has one. You know the one, that ancient, out of date, heavy, misused and abused, gnarly tool that we simply won’t part with. As quickly as power tool technology and innovations are advancing, the attachment defies logic. But there’s simply no denying the emotional hold these tools have on us.

Years ago when I was doing some work with SENCO, I heard a story about one of their original DuraSpin collated-feed screw guns. It was a test unit that had been given to a panelized housing plant. After it had driven approximately 1 million screws, the crew sent it in for a trigger repair. Now, to say that this tool was ugly would be an understatement. A survivor of untold numbers of scrapes with concrete floors, industrial solvents and general misuse, the tool looked more like a remnant of 1950s atomic bomb tests than a power tool. SENCO’s service department took one look and offered to just send a new tool free-of-charge. Panicked, the plant manager on the other end of the telephone line quickly declined. “You don’t understand. We love that tool. Just replace the trigger switch and send it back, and quickly, if you can.”

So it goes, this love affair we have with our “ugly tools.” They’ve bailed us out of some serious situations and shown up for work every day ready to go. They’ve stuck by our side and shared our sense of pride and accomplishment as our skills and experience have grown. And when the workday is done, it is the “ugly tool,” not the uber-expensive unobtainium saw or drill, that gets the special spot in the toolbox.

I could tell you a hundred stories from my own memory banks – the chrome plated Craftsman drill my grandfather bought new in the 1960s and that my father still uses, the DeWalt palm sander I picked up the day after I bought my first house 15 years ago, the countless scraggly compound miter saws, rotary hammers and angle grinders I’ve seen on jobsites all over the nation. But I’ll refrain. Tool Box Buzz readers really don’t care about what’s in my toolbox. They want to know about what’s in yours.

Tell us your own “ugly tool” love stories and send us a few good digital photos. Over the next few weeks, we’ll look over the stories and periodically post some of the best ones. Feeling ambitious? Post a digital video file on YouTube and send us the link.

So let’s hear ’em, gang. Send your stories, photos and links to bryan@toolboxbuzz.com by January 20 to be considered.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

Todd Fratzel is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz, and the President of Front Steps Media, LLC, a web based media company focused on the Home Improvement and Construction Industry.He is also the Principal Engineer for United Construction Corp., located in Newport, NH. In his capacity at United he oversees the Residential and Commercial Building Division along with all Design-Build projects.He is also the editor of Home Construction & Improvement.

@tfratzelTodd Fratzel

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