Benchwork is performed by means of hand tools and may include grinding, cutting, hammering, sawing, filing, chiselling, scraping and reaming.
Tools should be kept in good condition. If they are damaged or worn, they should be repaired, and if they are blunt, they should be sharpened. Here is a description of some useful hand tools.
A vice is a useful holding tool. By means of a vice the workpiece is held steady allowing the mechanic to perform his work. They are made of cast iron or forged steel. However, the jaw is made of tool steel.
Every tool box must contain hammers. Hammerheads are made of carbon steel. The hammer ends are strengthened and hardened, but the main body is soft and strong. There are different types of hammers. A ball-peen hammer, which has a round head, is used for working metal and riveting. A claw hammer is used for driving or extracting nails.
A spanner (wrench (Am.)) may be single or double-ended. The size of an adjustable spanner refers to its length and the capacity refers to the maximum opening width of the jaws. A spanner is used for tightening or loosening nuts.
A screwdriver is used for tightening and loosening screws. There are cross-headed (Phillips) and flat-bladed types of screwdrivers. Another type often used today is a Torx screwdriver which has a head like a 6-pointed star.
Pliers are used to grip pieces of metal. There are many different types of pliers. Combination pliers can be used for gripping, pulling, turning and also for cutting thin wire.
Pincers are used for pinching, pulling or gripping an object. They are often used to grip metal which is too hot to touch.
Scissors and Shears
Scissors and shears are used for cutting sheet metal. A shearing machine may cut sheet metal up to 3 mm thick.
Files have to a great extent been replaced by advanced machines. Still, it seems that files cannot be fully replaced. Files are made from carbon steel. The size of the file is given in millimetres or inches and refers to the blade length. A file is used for smoothing rough edges on metal.
Chisels are cutting tools. They are made from tool steel. There are four main types of cold chisel. They are known as cold chisels because they are used for cutting cold metal. The flat chisel is the most common. It is used for cutting sheet and plate metal and chipping. There are also other types of chisels, such as wood chisels and stone chisels.
A saw is a tool with a serrated blade which is mostly used for cutting wood. There are several types of saws for cutting different types of wood. A hand saw will give a more accurate cut than a power saw. A hacksaw is a saw with a fine-toothed blade which is used for cutting metal and harder materials.
Allen Keys (Hex keys)
An Allen key is hexagonal shaped and is used for tightening and loosening bolts and screws which have a hexagonal socket in the head.
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