Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fort Bend Tollway - Hand Held Sledge Hammer

Scoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooore!!! I saw this drilling sledge hammer lying on the inside lane of the Fort Bend Tollway about 200 yards north of the Beltway 8 exit toll booths and one half mile south of the Main Street flyover. The rubber covering on the hammer handle is split, but it has no impact on the the hammer's usefulness. This hammer appears to be one of the inexpensive type fiberglass handle hammers that can be purchased at almost any discount tool store for under $10.00

This was one of the tools on my list of tools I want to find on the side of the road.  I have replaced this on my list with Hooke'n Crooke Heron Weeder. I spotted the hammer as I was driving south on my way home from work.  I exited (paying a toll), turned around, reentered the tollway, turned around again at Main Street and then drove down and picked up the hammer, paying the additional toll as I went through the toll booth a second time.  The hammer cost me approximately $2.50 in tolls. The hammer is well worth the price for the story and to own the tool.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Main Street - 4 Ounce Ball Pien Hammer

I found this ball pien hammer on Main Street.  I had seen it for several weeks, but the opportunity never presented itself to stop and pick it up.  The one thing that can always be counted on when it comes to main street is bad traffic,  Eventually the back up hits everyone. On August 19th., the inevitable happened and I was able to stop and pick up the hammer without stopping traffic or getting myself killed.

The ball pien hammer was located on the inside shoulder of the north bound side of Main street about 2 miles from the 610/Main Street intersection.  Without the traffic back up I would have never even considered trying to obtain this tool.

Although not obvious from the photo the hammer is small.  The head is 3 or 4 ounces and the handle is roughly 8 inches long.  There are no obvious markings on the hammer so I conclude it is a generic mass produced hammer. The hammer head is in great shape.  There are no real nicks or cuts.  The handle, as is obvious from the photo, is broken.  I will eventually replace the handle, but I am in no hurry since I have little need for a ball pien hammer at this time.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tools Galore!

Last Tuesday, my wife and I heard a loud crash in front of the house. Thinking someone had hit the light pole in front of my neighbor's house I walked outside to see the damage.

(The light pole is a popular target. The pole has been replaced at least once a year and usually twice a year for the past 10 years. In addition, the couple living in the house with the light pole in their yard have had the tree in their yard hit by a car and last year their house was hit by a car that somehow missed the light pole and the tree.)

As I walked outside I noticed a truck had stopped down the street. I also noted the light pole was intact, but there appeared to be debris underneath it. A closer inspection noted a toolbox and dozens of tools lying in the street. The owner of the truck down the street had not put his tool box away and when he hit the curve centrifugal force dumped the tool box in the street. It probably took him 30 minutes to pick up the tools. I went back inside (the temperature was still over 95 degrees) and left him to work in peace.

This is another cautionary tale. Always tie down your tools and other belongings when they are in the back of an open truck bed.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beltway 8 - Needle Nose Pliers Sighting

I spotted this tool on the way back from a visit to my opthamologist.  I've had recurrent episodes of iritis.  It was midafternoon around 4:00 CST.  The needle nose pliers were lying on the inside shoulder next to the lane divider about two miles west of the Fort Bend Tollway exit on eastbound side of the road.

The pliers had blue plastic handle covers and appeared to be in good shape from my 60 MPH drive by observation. There was no opportunity to pick these up and since I have numerous pairs already there was no need to consider the option of stopping.

59 South- Lug Wrench Sighting

I spotted this lug wrench or tire iron on 59 South on my way to work after a morning doctor appointment.  The tire iron was lying on the inside shoulder on the north bound side of the road underneath the overpass at the intersection of Beltway 8 and Hwy 59 south.  It was lying under trash so all I saw was the top half of the tool, but it was easily recognizable.

The lug wrench was the usual black color.  Two days later when I went back through it was gone.  Lug wrenches are always useful.  I have several besides the wrenches in the car. I also found while researching this article that lug wrenches are the weapon of choice for many road rage incidents due to the proximity of the tool during auto related incidents.  I've found one so there was no need to pick up this one.

59 South On Ramp - Screwdriver Sighting

I spotted a 8 inch flat head (it appeared) screwdriver on my way to lunch with my coworker Jeff. The screwdriver was lying at the end of the on ramp to 59 south just south of Greenbriar.

The screwdriver appeared to be relatively new with a red and blue handle reminiscent of Craftsman screwdrivers. Jeff swears I have radar for such things. I believe its easy to see these things when you aren't driving.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Main Street - Combination Wrench Sighting

I spotted a small combination wrench on the north bound sidewalk on Main Street on the north side of the Holcombe underpass on my way to work.

The wrench was approximately 5 to 7 millimeter wrench with the high gloss look. Not disimilar to the 7mm ratcheting wrench I picked up after Ike visited last year, this wrench lay there for several months before someone finally picked it up. Touche'

Friday, June 5, 2009

Main Street South - Hammer Head Sighting

I spotted a hammer head lying on the inside shoulder of Main Street in the southwest bound lane (out of Houston)just north of the Holmes Road on ramp. The hammer head appears to be a regular claw hammer. In addition, there is a smaller hammer head lying approximately 100 feet from this hammer head on the same side of the road. This is a bonus for anyone seeking a twofer. Handles for hammers are inexpensive in comparison to a good hammer.

I spotted both of these hammer heads on my way home from work. My intuition tells me these hammer heads are probably inexpensive. Traffic is a nightmare when I come home, so stopping to pick these up is not an option. I may go rescue these early one morning on a weekend if a flight of fancy strikes me. I seriously doubt anyone will rescue them before the street cleaners come by and sweep them into oblivion.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Main Street South Cordless Drill Sighting

I spotted a cordless drill as I was driving in to work. It was part of a twofer day. I had just spotted a kitchen knife when I saw this tool.

The drill was lying on the inside shoulder of the north bound lane of Main Street South near the on ramp from Holmes Road. The drill appeared to be a Black and Decker brand drill. I determined this due to the drill's distinctive orange and black coloring. The cordless part was also easy to determine since it appeared to be missing a battery. There was no time to slow down and pick up this tool. I was on it and past it before I had a chance to react. In addition, I have several cordless drills so I don't really need a tool without a battery.

Main Street South Knife Sighting

I had a really great trip to work today. I spotted a knife and I also spotted a cordless drill. The knife is lying in the median between the north and south bound lanes of Main Street on the north side of the South Post Oak overpass.

The knife appears to to be a kitchen style knife with a wooden handle and is approximately 8 inches long. I have no idea why a knife would be lying in the median, but as a tool I felt it should be documented.

Main Street South Hammer Sighting

On the way home from work yesterday I spotted a hammer lying on the side of the road. I saw it in a side mirror glance backward as I passed it. The claw hammer was lying on the inside shoulder of south bound Main Street (such as it is all 6 inches) approximately 3/4 of a mile south of the intersection of Main Street and Loop 610. The claw hammer appears to have a fiberglass handle. It is probably an off brand tool, but there is probably no way to know since it will be almost impossible to obtain this tool.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

HWY 288 Hammer Sighting

I spotted this hammer on the way to work. The hammer is lying on the inside shoulder of 288 just south of the Wheeler Avenue overpass.

The hammer appears to be covered in cement. The hammer was all grey, indicating it was used in rockwork or to build and disassemble cement frames. Not a very valuable tool and defintely not worth stopping for since I have a dozen hammers at home.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hwy 288 Slotted Screwdriver Sighting

I saw this screwdriver on my way home from work today. The screwdriver was lying in the on ramp median where Yellowstone enters onto Hwy 288 southbound. The handle appears to be beat up. The handle is clear with a blue strip near the top of the handle near the metal shaft.

This screwdriver is lying about 100 feet north of the black handled screwdriver I posted recently. I also saw it again today. Anyone stopping for one should go ahead and pick up both.

I-45 North On Ramp Utility Knife Sighting

On my way to work today I spotted a utility knife. The utility knife was lying on the inside shoulder of the on north bound on ramp from Hwy 288/59 to I-45 North. Traffic in the mornings is always rather slow between 6 and 8:30 each morning at this spot.

The knife appears to be the same sliding/hidden blade type utility knife I found about a month ago. It is a dark grey and appears to have been bounced to the shoulder. I don't believe it has been run over. This is a really busy on ramp. The chances of obtaining this knife is slim and none.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Highway 280 - Screwdriver Sighting

I spotted this black plastic handled screwdriver on the right shoulder of Southbound 288 at the end of the on ramp from Yellowstone.

The screwdriver appears to be a Phillips head screwdriver. the shaft of the screwdriver is slightly bent and it also appears to be rusted. I have no real need for this screwdriver although it would be easy to obtain. The rules say no, plus I just don't need it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fort Bend Tollway - Diagonal Wire Cutters Sighting

I spotted this tool on my way home from work. The Fort Bend Tollway is lightly used compared to most of the roads around Houston. I am always grateful for the lack of traffic, but this also means very few tools. The wire cutters are lying on the inside shoulder of the southbound lane (all 12 inches of it) on the Beltway 8 overpass about 50 feet north of the Fort Bend county line sign.

The cutter has blue rubber handles and appears to be in fine shape. The lack of traffic may give me an opportunity to pick these up in the future if I'm not in too big a hurry to get home.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hwy 288 South - Lever Load Binder

I found this Lever Load Binder on the side of Hwy 288 South southbound just north of the Wheeler Avenue overpass. The load binder was lying about three feet off of the road on the inside shoulder. Traffic was flowing along at a swift 15 mph. I spotted the binder, pulled over quickly, threw my emergency lights on, jumped out of my truck, grabbed the binder, jumped back in my truck and upon turning my emergency lights off I found an open spot in traffic and continued on my trip home. The entire episode lasted less than 2 minutes.

The load binder was manufactured by Lebus. This is a simple lever load binder. There are more complex ratcheting binders. The binder weighs over 10 pounds and has an overall length of over 24 inches. To view the size scale of this tool I've included a second photo with a 16 inches by 24 inches metal square for reference. I also located some specifics about Lebus load binders. Overall the binder is in good operating condition, but like most well used binders it is covered in surface rust.

I've always wanted to stop and pick up a load binder, but the opportunity has never presented itself. Something has always prevented me from picking up the load binders I've seen in the past. Bad traffic, broken binders, binders in the middle of the road, late for work, this is just a few of the reasons I've passed up load binders I've seen in the past. Today the planets aligned and I picked up a load binder. Obviously, the binder dropped off of a tractor trailer or maybe even a wrecker. Binders of this type are relatively inexpensive costing around $30 +/-.

This tool epitomizes my odd penchant for spotting and picking up tools on the side of the road. I can say without any hesitation that I will probably never have a need for this tool. I do have a chain I found that I can use with this load binder, but I can't conceive of a time or task that will present the opportunity to use this tool. I will probably clean the binder to stop the rusting and then paint it red with Rust-oleum and hang it on the wall.

I found your lost "teaching" tool - Glenn Lakes Lane - Dry Erase Board

I found this Dry Erase Board on Glenn Lakes Lane about 75 feet north of the intersection of Glenn Lakes Lane and Crow Valley.

The board was lying in the street on the left side of the north bound lane. It was early Sunday morning on our way back from the 7:30 Mass at St. Lawrence in Sugarland around 2002. I stopped and shoved the board in the back of my truck and continued home.

The board is in great shape except for a loose marker tray and bent or missing hangers on the back side of the board. It is the standard 8 feet by 4 feet that you find in many school rooms. The board has remained in my garage for the past 6 years. I will probably sell it on craig's list this year unless someone I know wants it.

Daytona Beach - Shovel


I found this flat shovel in the Atlantic Ocean. The shovel was located in 4.5 feet of water about 20 feet off shore on Daytona Beach Shores, Florida. When I first spotted the shovel I thought it was a shark or a sting ray, but it didn't move so I kept watching it and noticed that not only was it stationary but it appeared to be more regularly shaped than most fish. After about 3 minutes I worked up the courage to stick out my hand and grab the narrow end of the submerged image. Any other time it would be something crazy to do. This time I wound up with a shovel instead of missing a hand. I pulled the shovel to shore and my Dad packed it in the car and we brought it back to Gadsden, Alabama 4 days later.

I found this shovel in July of 1980. This was the summer after I graduated from high school. My parents decided to celebrate this achievement by taking the family to Daytona Beach and Disney World. I drove over half way to Daytona Beach. I had never driven for over 8 hours. I can remember being extremely tired. The experience was one of the most exhausting times I can remember. Driving home was similar. I drove over 6 to 8 hours that day also.

The day after I came home I had to go back to work. This was almost the differentiation of my life from high school to college and adulthood (If you believe I've actually made it to adulthood.).

Hwy 280 - Push Broom

I found this push broom on the side of the Mountain as I traveled south on Hwy 280 from Birmingham to Alexander City. I was on my way back from an appointment to see my doctor (routine). The push broom was lying on the left shoulder. I went to the next median opening turned around and went back and picked up the broom.

The rubber handle was slightly rough from the sanding it received upon dropping from whatever vehicle lost it. Otherwise the push broom is in great shape. I've used this broom many times since I found it in 1997.

Hwy 280 - Plastic Rake

I found this rake on the north bound side of Hwy 280 about a mile north of the Wal-Mart on Hwy. 280 in Alexander City, Alabama. The rake was almost new when I found it in 1996.

I've used this rake many times for leaves and other loose detritus. Over the years I've broken many of the teeth out of this rake. I've relegated it to pooper scooper duty. The rake with all of these broken teeth really isn't much good for anything else.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pierce Elevated - Bow Saw Sighting

I spotted a small bow saw on the way home from work. The saw is located on the right shoulder of Interstate 45 south bound in the downtown area of Houston. This strech of interstate is known as the Pierce Elevated because it follows Pierce through that part of houston and it's elevated about 30 to 40 feet off the ground.

The saw is about 20 inches long, has a yellow handle and appears to be slightly bent, probably from being smashed by a car. As stated previously, this is one of the busiest sections of interstate in Houston and probably in the United States. I don't stop for anything on the Pierce Elevated.

Stanley 99E Box Cutter

I found this Stanley 99E utility knife in the middle of the street in front of my house. I was working in my yard pulling weeds. I kept hearing a metallic sound from the street every time a car passed by the house. I walked out to the street and found the box cutter lying between the stripes in the center of the street.

The box cutter is in rough shape. The blade extender is broken and the pressure put on the frame by the cars running over the cutter has pressed it out of shape, but the cutter still tightly holds single blades in an open position making it useful.

The Stanley 99E Utility Knife is the classic retractable utility knife from the classic tool maker. I have several other utility knives, and they are all designed like the original Stanley 99. The ability of the tool to remain somewhat functional even after being repeatedly smashed is a testament to the Stanley design and manufacturing process. I wish I had found it before it was smashed, but I will get a lot of good use from this tool as a fixed blade utility knife.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Main Street - Another Screwdriver Sighting

I spotted this screwdriver the same morning I found the NAPA combination wrench. The extremely slow traffic gave me more than ample opportunity to view the sights.

The screwdriver is located about 300 yards north of the Holmes Road off ramp on the northbound lane of South Main Street on the left median. The wrench is slightly covered in mud and has been washed by rain storm under the edge of the median barrier. It appears to be a slotted screwdriver with a red and black stripped handle similar to the screw drivers you find at most dollar stores. I doubt this screwdriver will ever be repatriated to any one's home unless a storm washes it back into the median. That scenario is unlikely at best.

Main Street - 13mm NAPA Professional Wrench

I found this 13 millimeter NAPA Professional combination wrench on Main street when I was stuck in traffic for over 2 hours due to the traffic signal being out a Main Street and Loop 610 South on Tuesday.
The weather the night before and early that morning had been extreme in some parts of Houston. The area between I-10 and 290 received up to 11 inches of rain in some areas. Flooding was rampant in areas north of Main Street and especially in areas north of I-59. The light was out due to the weather, although the weather had not been as extreme on the south side of town.
I suspect a lot of the trash on the inside median had been washed away. With traffic backed up for over 5 miles I had plenty of time to scope out the median. This wrench was lying on the left median next to the retaining wall about one mile north of the Holmes road off ramp. The wrench is one of the high polish versions. There is a little surface rust on the wrench, but otherwise the wrench is in excellent shape.
The tools is marked NDRM53. This appears to be a tool sold by NAPA to student mechanics. Nice idea. Unfortunately now a student is without his 13 mm combination wrench. I suppose he will borrow one or she will buy a new wrench, but probably a different brand. Brand doesn't matter if you are working, but a matched set of wrenches is more professional looking.

Pierce Elevated - Screwdriver Sighting

I spotted black handled screwdriver on the Pierce Elevated/I-45 Southbound on my way home from work. The screwdriver is lying on the right shoulder of the road about 3 feet from the road. The rules and the sheer insanity of the decision to stop prevented me from even thinking about stopping to pick up the screwdriver. The screwdriver appeared to be a little rough like it might have been run over a time or two. I suspect it will lie on the side of the road for long time unless someone is forced to stop at this point in the road and decides to pick it up. The curb sweepers will probably get it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Main Street Pocket Knife Sighting

Things happen. I've seen a pocket knife lying on the inside shoulder of Main Street just south of the fire station for about 3 weeks. The knife appeared to be a muskrat style pocket knife (two long blades one at each end). It appeared the handles were broken, but I did not have a chance for close inspection. Brand identification was completely impossible. I almost had an opportunity to pick it up yesterday, but the line of cars in front of me started moving so I let it go. The rules keep me safe so I try to use them whenever possible.

Today the knife is gone, and so is all the debris on the inside shoulder as well as the hammer handle in front of the fire station. Houston city curb cleaners do it again! Every so often the curb cleaners remove everything and we start over again. There is no rhyme or reason or even a schedule. The curbs in front of Reliant have not been cleaned in months. Rodeo came and went and the curbs remained uncleaned from before Ike, but now the section of Main Street on the south side of 610 is clean. I'm not sure I understand the scheduling or the logic behind it, but I accept it as a part of life.

The good thing about curb cleaning is that it removes the detritus blocking our view of other material goods. After a good curb cleaning the "find" opportunities increase. Every cloud has a silver lining or a clean curb.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Holmes Road/Main Street Onramp - Screwdriver Sighting

Today was an exceptionally busy day at work. I barely had time to eat. My wife called to discuss my lunch options for the next few days. The call was pressure buster and really made my day. The only other bright spot was the trip home. I spotted a hammer not far from work and I spotted this screwdriver not far from home.

The screwdriver was lying in the left lane of the on Holmes Road on ramp to Main Street South just south of the intersection with Hiram Clark Road. The screwdriver appears to be a 8 inch slotted screwdriver with a white handle trimmed in red and blue. It may be a Craftsman tool, but the color scheme wasn't quite right.

Traffic was heavy and the rules prohibit stopping for screwdrivers, but I may slow down tomorrow to get a better view.

Pierce Elevated - Steel Shafted Claw Hammer Sighting

On my way home from work today I spotted a steel shafted claw hammer on the Pierce Elevated section of I-45 South. The hammer is lying on the outside shoulder next to a road construction sign about 500 feet from the off ramp to 59 South.

The hammer is unusable unless you can figure out how to replace the handle. The hammer is bent like a slice of watermelon. Picking up the hammer is also problematic. This is one of the busiest sections of interstate in Houston. Thousands of vehicles pass by this spot every day. I have a special spot in my heart for hammers, but this one is off limits unless something unusual happens.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Highway 280 - Crescent Locking Pliers

I found these Crescent locking pliers on Highway 280 in June of 1998. The locking pliers were lying in the turn lane just south of the traffic signal in Harpersville, Alabama.

I spotted the pliers as I entered the highway after having stopped at the Jack's fast food restaurant for a soft drink. I slowed down, stopped beside the pliers, opened my door and leaned out and picked up the pliers. The pliers appeared to have battery acid on them at the time and have rusted slightly since that day. The pliers are otherwise in excellent shape. This is the small (seven inch) version of these pliers. I don't have many opportunities to use this tool, but it is nice to know I have them handy.

Glenn Lakes Drive Corona Grass Shears

I found these Corona Grass Shears on Glenn Lakes Lane in July 2001.

I was returning home from a a trip to Home Depot. The shears were lying in the middle of the street. I turned around,went back and picked up the shears.

The grass shears are still sharp. There is a little rust on the blades, but there is a lot of plant sap. I have not used these shears because I usually use a string trimmer. I will probably begin using these because they are well made and would be helpful around some of my more delicate plants. The current version of these shears cost around $30. I imagine a landscape or yard cutting crew lost this tool.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Main Street Adjustable Wrench Sighting

Traffic on the way to work today was horrendous. The back up on Main street was all the way back to South Post Oak. In addition, I was stuck behind a woman putting on make-up all the way through the Medical Center. She was slow to react to traffic starting or stopping. Heavy traffic prevented me from being able to pass. She finally turned off at Rice University.

During my trip I spotted an adjustable wrench on the interior shoulder of Main Street just north of the Holmes Road intersection. The wrench appeared to be an 8 inch adjustable wrench. It was very shiny and appeared to be new.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hwy 288 Machete

I found this machete on the interior shoulder of Hwy. 288 northbound underneath the 610 south overpass. I passed by this tool for over 2 weeks before stopping to pick it up in July of 2002. This is an inexpensive plastic handled machete. There was surface rust on the blade. I did not bother to stop the rust since it was pretty severe. I use this tool to cut banana plants and to dig up deep rooted plants like passion flower water sprouts.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Main Street Logging Chain

I found this transport or logging chain at Mecom Fountain in the Circle at the intersection of Main Street and Montrose on my way to work in May of 2004. After passing by the chain I stopped on Montrose at the curb near the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and walked back to pick up the chain. The chain was slightly rusty which drove me to wash my hands immediately upon arriving on my floor at work.

The chain is 10 feet long and the hooks are made of forged steel in the U.S.A. according to the printing on the hooks. Ten feet of chain with hooks is handy for pulling vehicles, small stumps or holding to a tree trunk when using a come along. This chain was probably lost from a trailer truck or a wrecker.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hwy 280 Wire Cutter

I found this wire cutter sometime between 1994 and 1998 on Hwy. 280 in Alexander City, Alabama. Otherwise I really don't remember much about this paticular find.

Over the years I've found several wire cutters and I've inherited several other sets from past jobs. With the exception of screwdrivers and ratchets this is one of the most popular lost tools in my collection. This is an unbranded instrument. There is a slight amount of surface rust on this tool, but the cutting edges are in pristine condition. The insulated handles are intact. Considering the length of time I've had this tool it is in remarkable condition.

Clubview Drive True Temper Anvil Pruner

I found these True Temper anvil hand pruner while walking with my spouse on Clubview Drive in Alexander City, Alabama in 1996. The pruners were lying in the middle of the street. Fortunately, this is a little traveled street in one of the nicer neighborhoods in Alex City.

When I found the pruners they were in excellent shape if not brand new. Over the years I've abused these pruners and yet they still cut well. The pruners were probably lost by the gardener for the Russell family member that lived in the house on the west side of the street. I have other pruners I use more often now, but I still use these for tough jobs. It appears Ames does not make this type of pruner any more. Better models are available. This past weekend I used the pruners to cut bamboo. The pruners cut the bamboo like a knife slicing through hot butter. Not bad for a really abused tool.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Hwy 288 Phillips Head Screwdriver Sighting

My Monday commute home was actually more fruitful than just picking up a boxend offset wrench. I also spotted a Phillips head screwdriver. The screwdriver is lying on the inside median of the 288 southbound lane about 500 feet north of the Binz/Calumet overpass. Traveling at 10 MPH I could have easily stopped and picked up the screwdriver, but I don't need another screwdriver since I have many screwdrivers and bit sets. The rules strictly prohibit stopping for tools I already own.

The screwdriver appears to be about 6 inches long with a clear plastic handle capped by a medium blue base.

Hwy 288 Offset Boxend Wrench Revisited

Rainy weather in Houston, Texas has a direct correlation to bad traffic. On my way home I stopped to pick up this wrench I spotted two weeks ago. Traffic was "flowing" along at 10 miles per hour. The possibility of accidents at 10 MPH is almost negligible. The shoulder while not overly wide when considering stopping at 60+ MPH was more than wide enough at 10 MPH. I don't have any offset box end wrenches so the rules also allowed me to pick up this wrench.

This is an S-K Hand Tool wrench. The size is 13/16 on one end and 7/8 on the other. The tool code is B2628 I had guessed the wrench was 13/16 or 3/4. I was 50% correct. Not bad for passing by at 40 to 60+ miles per hour. Purchased directly from SK Tools this wrench would cost you around $30. The tool has light surface rust, but is otherwise in good shape.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hwy 6 Open End Metric Wrench

Some tools I don't remember well. This is one of those tools. I believe I found this open end metric wrench on Hwy 6 in Sugar Land, but the truth is it could have been somewhere else.

This is an inexpensive "off brand" tool. The tool does state "Made in the U.S.A". I found this tool about three years ago. This tool was probably made as a freebie placed in a parts kit with a shelving unit or something similar. The tool is 10 mm on one end and 11 mm on the other end. There is no rust on this tool, but it has been beat up pretty well from cars and trucks hitting it repeatedly. This will be a great tool for removing batteries since I don't have to worry about harming the tool with battery acid.

Main Street Craftsman Wrench

I found this Craftsman 1 1/4 Combination Wrench on Main Street on the southwest bound interior shoulder near the Holmes Road on ramp on my way home from work. This wrench and another one like it lay there for several weeks. The location made it difficult to determine how I might pick up the wrench safely.

After three or four weeks I noticed one of the tools was no longer "lost". I determined at that time to "find" the other wrench. I parked at the base of the hill behind some traffic barrels. I then walked approximately 300 feet on the opposite side of the road because there was almost no traffic. I then slowly crawled over the traffic barrier and picked up the tool. Recrossing the barrier I walked back to my truck and went home.

This is a huge wrench, over 16 inches long. It weighs over 1 pound. Unfortunately I will probably have very few opportunities to use this wrench. The replacement cost for this wrench is almost $25; however, at one time you could purchase this tool in a set for a greatly reduced per tool price.

When viewing the map link you may notice there is no shoulder or traffic barrels in the photo. Main Street is now open with 3 full lanes. The interior shoulder is completely gone. When I obtained this wrench in 2005 Main Street was still a work in progress. The completion of the Main Street widening project has vastly changed traffic from the Missouri City area. In particular it shortened my trip home by 15 minutes.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

45South/59/288South Off Ramp Needle Nose Pliers Sighting

The trip home has been quicker since I began going home using 45 South to off ramp 59/288 South to 610. Today I spotted needle nose pliers lying on the inside lane stripe of the 59/288 South off ramp. In my honest opinion, no one in their right mind will attempt to obtain these pliers during daylight hours. The Pierce Elevated section of I 45 is one of the busiest sections of interstate in Houston. Hundreds of thousands of vehicles pass through this intersection daily. The only chance of ever retrieving this tool would be early in the morning or during stop and go traffic which happens occasionally on this stretch of urban interstate. If anyone of my readers retrieves this tool, I will post an article with your picture and the story of your exploits on this blog or if you are unsuccessful your obituary.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hwy 288 Offset Boxend Wrench Sighting

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is in town. I believe this is the last weekend. Due to the increased traffic on Main Street I decided to use a different route to go home. The new route takes me down part of Hwy 288. This time of year the blue bells are growing in the median. The sight is inspiring to see. Here are wild flowers growing in the middle of one of the largest cities in the U.S. It makes me believe that Earth is a resilient place.

Friday, on my way home, I spotted what appears to be an offset box end wrench. The wrench is located on 288 south of downtown near the Cleburne Street overpass on the southbound inside median.

The wrench appears to be one of the larger sizes. Probably a 3/4 or possible a 13/16. If the wrench is there Monday I may stop to get it depending upon the rules.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cedar Bend Road Crescent Adjustable Wrench

This is one of the first tools I found. The year was around 1978. I found this Crescent adjustable wrench on Cedar Bend Road in front of the Routon Dairy. I was driving a 1968 Pontiac Catalina. I was on my way to school or work, probably school. I spotted the wrench and stopped to pick it up. I spotted a 12 inch heavy duty screwdriver down the road another 50 feet and picked it up also. I believe the screwdriver was lost in the fire that destroyed my father's garage. The wrench needs to be cleaned. I don't use it often because I have the Armstong adjustable wrench that is much heavier.

This wrench reminds me of how my hometown has changed. The dairy no longer exists. The Routon family lost the dairy and the property was sold. Houses now dot much of the property and eventually the silos that mark the dairy will be destroyed. The Catalina was sold a year or two later and I started driving my first car, a yellow 1973 Chevy Nova with a 307 8-cylinder engine.

I believe we always look back at life as being simpler than it is now. In this case it probably was simpler, but I don't miss it. Complication makes life more interesting. Bring on life!

There are Rules

In past posts I have mentioned that there were rules I followed when picking up tools. The "rules" have evolved over the past 20 years and as with most rule, experience shaped most of these rules. To describe their evolution we need to start back toward the beginning. When I was young and did not have a lot of discretionary money I would stop and pick up almost every tool I spotted. The number of tools wasn't that great, but when I saw a tool I saw the monetary value of the tool lying by the road and I couldn't leave that money lying there unclaimed. When my future wife and I started dating she considered this a quirkly amusing habit. Over the years since we've been married my wife has become less enamoured with this "habit".

On several occasions during those early days I would stop to pick up a tool while on my way to an important meeting or get together. This often led to a discussion of my "habit". My wife was never very angry, but she was concerned for my safety. After on particular instance where I rapidly braked and backed over a bent, hidden road marker she decided that there needed to be some rules to this game. One the plus side of the incident, the car was unharmed. On the negative side of the incident, the "tool" I spotted was a large 12 inch nut and bolt. Useful perhaps, but not really worth the hard braking and traffic dash. During our subsequent discussions she asked me why I picked up screwdrivers when I had so many. I didn't have a good answer. Thus rule 1 came into being.

No stopping for tools you already own..

This is the most important and overriding rule.

When we moved to Houston, things were different. Traffic in Houston is much different from the small town Alabama life we had previously known. Traffic is also much more dangerous. Stopping to pick up a tool on a Houston freeway can be akin to committing suicide (and yet I've done it). One particularly scary episode, after dark with very little shoulder area to park caused me to create rule 2.

No stopping after dark or without a safe shoulder area.

I stopped to pick up an item I thought was a tool (a hand held sledge hammer) and was disappointed to find out I had stopped for a piston assembly. Traffic was screaming by me and my little truck at well over 70 mph. At dark with little time to brake or swerve I was an accident waiting to happen. Fortunately I did not have an accident, but I was appropriately scared by the reality of my own potential mortality.

There is one more rule, it's more of a caveat to rule one.

In stop and go traffic it is permissible to pick up a tool only when stopped right beside the tool.

Since this usually involves no issues of safety, Rule 1 is suspended if the tool is anything except a screwdriver. As a matter of practicality and because I do not need any additional screwdrivers I rarely stop for them, but I will report their presence on this blog.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I found your lost "kitchen" tool.

The title to this post was suggested by my friend and coworker Jeff. He is always amused by my "finds". I was stopped at the traffic signal waiting to cross and go home from a trip to Home Depot when I found this Pappadeaux branded waiter's tool on the west side of the intersection of Highway 6 and Glenn Lakes Lane. It was lying near the median. The tool appears to have been run over several times, but is still in functioning order. The knife blade is still sharp and has no rust. I suspect someone picked it up from their table as a souvenir and their spouse had an objection to the theft so they threw it away on their way home.

I've been carrying this in my truck for over six months. I found this instrument in June of 2008. I rediscoverd this tool when I was looking for a pen in my truck. I needed a pen to complete the address label on my taxes. Always remember to take a pen to the post office. The government can not afford to stock the post office with pens. Once you are at the window with the post office lady looking at you with an expression of great pain because you did not prefill your address label it's too late for help. I guess I need to find a Monteblanc pen.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Main Street Sighting

Today I spotted a wooden hammer handle almost in front of the fire station approximately 1/2 mile from the intersection of South Main Street and Loop 610 South. The handle is lying against the median barrier of the northeast bound lane. There is no head on the hammer. It's even possible that this is not a hammer handle at all, but I looked at it pretty closely as I slowly rolled by in stop and go traffic and I so I am confident in my identification.

I was hoping to see the hammer head lying nearby. The handle is large enough be a hand held sledge hammer. I do not possess a hand held sledge hammer. I spotted one several years ago on the side of 59 south on the north bound lane, but circumstances and the rules kept me from picking it up. One week later it was gone. I don't need a handle of this type at this time so unless I stop beside this object it will remain unclaimed until someone else picks it up.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Main Street Diagonal Wire Cutters

I found this diagonal wire cutter on the inside median of Main Street about 1.5 miles southwest of the Main Street/610 South intersection. I picked it up on my way to work in December of 2008. I spotted the wire cutter several weeks earlier, but the location prevented me from even thinking about stopping. The only way to even have a chance to pick it up was to have traffic stop me right beside the cutter. Luck was with me in early December. Traffic was heavy and backed up over 2 miles. Stop and go traffic held me up over twenty minutes and during that time I stopped by the wire cutter and decided to pick it up.

The handle covers are in bad shape but the tool has only a little surface rust. The cutting blades are in excellent shape. I should be able to eventually repair the handle covers if needed. I have several differnt types of wire cutters so there is no hurry to repair this one. I liberally sprayed the wire cutter with lubricating oil and placed it with my other tools in the garage.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Quail View Drive Maglite

I found this Maglite flashlight at the intersection of Quail View Drive and Quail Park Drive. The flashlight is the large 4 D cell lamps. When tested the flashlight worked although the rubber on button is missing, but I later learned I could order the part from the manufacturer. I used this flashlight during Hurricane Ike and completed the process of killing the batteries.

I found this flashlight early one morning on my trip to pick up my carpool buddy Elias sometime in June of 2008. This is his subdivision and neighborhood. We began carpooling right before Hurricane Rita. We've continued because we enjoy each other's company. Elias is currently deployed to Kuwait. He should be back around September this year.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cherokee Road Pipe Cutter

I found this PVC pipe cutter in the parking lot of the CVS drug store on Cherokee Road in Alexander City, Alabama. The year was 1997. The drug store closed the next year. The pipe cutter has a few nicks in the blade, but still works great. I've used it to build several projects including three pieces of a dog obstacle course. I enjoyed living in Alabama, but not specifically in Alexander City. I owned my first house in Alexander City. My life changed with an 800 mile move to Texas in August of 1998. Seeing this tool reminds me of where I've been and how far I've come.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Orange Handle Plumb Hammer

I found this Plumb hammer under the overpass at the intersection of Highway 6 and 59 around April 2003. It was early Sunday morning and my better half and I were returning from early Mass at St. Theresa's Catholic Church. I spotted the hammer lying next to the construction pylons in the left center lane. I u-turned (almost impossible now at that intersection due to the traffic cameras) and picked up the hammer. My better half admonished me for u-turning, but once she saw the hammer she understood why I went back to get it. This a great hammer. I use it and my other Plumb hammer on all of my woodworking projects.

Montrose/West Dallas Screwdriver Revisited

I was greatly amused by Jeff's screwdriver sighting. So amused in fact that since the screwdriver was on my way home I stopped and retreived it late Friday afternoon. My better half also found the entire situation quite amusing. She spotted the screwdriver in my truck and knowing I don't usually pick up screwdrivers she asked about it and I told her the story of the sighting. To complete the story I presented the screwdriver to Jeff this morning as his first official "found" tool. I took the picture with my camera so please excuse the fuzzy image. The screwdriver was a phillips head with magnetic tip. It appears to be an Auto Zone brand screwdriver. The magnetic tip works well. Even beat up as it was the screwdriver is still functional.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Montrose/West Dallas Stubby Screwdriver Sighting

Today when returning to work from an enjoyable lunch with coworkers at The Black Labrador, Jeff spotted a stubby screwdriver. We were sitting in Robin's car waiting at the traffic signal in the north bound turn lane at the intersection of Montrose and West Dallas. The ergonomically handled screwdriver was approximately 2 feet from the stopping line of the turn lane.

Jeff was amazed at having spotted a tool. He is constantly amused by what is possibly the only truly unique talent I possess. He made sure he pointed it out to me to ensure I would have to create a blog entry. If he had spotted it in a more timely manner he would have grabbed it so I would be forced to take a picture to add to this blog. Traffic prevented him from being able to retrieve the screwdriver.

On another note. Lunch today was to say goodbye to a coworker that is being laid off from his job. I'm quite positive we will see him around from time to time. To keep track of him on an interim basis I have listed a link to his Tech blog Arogan. I encourage you to take a look.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Armstrong 28-412 Adjustable Wrench

I found this Armstrong 28-412 Adjustable wrench sometime in August of 2005. The wrench was on the side of McHard Road 1 mile east of Turtle Creek Drive. I saw a glint of metal as I was driving home. I glanced over and saw the tool. I turned around and then u-turned to pull up beside the tool. I got out of the truck and picked up the tool then continued home. This is a really heavy industrial style 12 inch adjustable wrench. Another loss for someone and a gain for me.

W did Something Good

I found this multitool while taking down a George W. Bush sign in March of 2000 on McHard Road in Houston. The sign was off the road about 100 feet in a field. The person putting up the sign obviously lost this really nice tool while putting up the sign during the election in 1999. There is very little rust on this tool considering the length of time it was in the field (six months or longer). Just for the record, I recycled the sign and the metal fence posts the sign was mounted upon. Thanks W! This is the only good thing you ever did for me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Glenn Lakes Lane Screwdriver Sighting

This morning I spotted a screwdriver on my way to the doctor's office with my better half. The screwdriver had an orange handle and was beside the curb on the outbound side of the road about 200 feet from the traffic signal at Highway 6. When I went out later this evening the screwdriver was gone. I rarely pick up screwdrivers anymore so I wasn't disappointed. It also goes to show that I am not the only person around with this pecular habit

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sweetwater Screwdriver Sighting

Earlier today I spotted a screwdriver at the intersection of HWY 59 and Sweetwater BLVD in Sugarland. The screw driver had a black handle and appeared to be a stanley type screwdriver. The screwdriver was lying in the middle of the street on the north side of the intersection. Hopefully someone will pick up this tool.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Condition is Genetic.

When I mention finding a tool to someone I usually receive an odd look and a carefully structured comment. Some people find it amazing, others annoying. Most people don't bother stopping to pick up anything on the side of the road or in the middle of the road for that matter. I am under the impression that people often don't see anything on their way to and from work or anywhere else.

My condition is different. I am genetically programmed to see opportunity anywhere and everywhere. My grandparents were in their twenties and thirties during the Great Depression. My parents were born during WWII. Everyone learned to do more with less. If you found something that could not be returned or was not claimed you considered it your good fortune. And unless there were extenuating circumstances you didn't pass up any opportunities.

When I was growing up my father always used a rubber gripped, steel shafted hammer. When Dad said "I need my hammer." no one in the family had to guess which hammer. One of Dad's favorite stories is how he obtained the hammer. While on his honeymoon Dad spotted this hammer in the road. He stopped traffic and grabbed the hammer. The hammer lasted over 30 years before the handle finally separated from the head. If Dad still has the hammer I'll get a picture next time I'm home. (My family also has a bit of the pack rat gene.) Through the years Dad has stopped to pick up tools and lost pairs of leather gloves. Sometimes as kids we were present and had to run back down the road to pick up the tool.

History often repeats itself. On my honeymoon I found a hammer (more later). My wife didn't want me to stop, but the pull of nostalgia, history or genes caused me to turn around and go back for the hammer. That hammer is a reminder of my past and future.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Med Center Find

I obtained this 7 millimeter Husky ratcheting wrench in December 2008 next to the inside curb on Mainstreet just north east of the overpass in the Med Center. I drove by this wrench every day for almost 6 months. One day traffic stopped me right beside the wrench. I got out of my truck, grabbed the wrench and continued my journey to work.

By all accounts, the wrench shouldn't have been there for 6 months. Usually the city cleans the curbs so items do not stay on medians or curbs more than two or three months. In addition, people walked by this wrench every day. With all of the construction in the area, hundreds of construction workers passed by this wrench daily and yet for some unknown reason they did not see or chose not to see this great find.

Considering the regular rain and Hurricane Ike having pelted this wrench it works well. It should have been rusted and unmoving. Although not a heavy duty tool it was in great shape and the ratcheting worked in both directions. I'm impressed with this tool. I went to Home Depot to locate these tools and check on a price. It appears that Home Depot no longer carries this open end ratcheting wrench.

Since I have two sets of ratcheting wrenches I gave this wrench to my friend and coworker Jeff. He let me take this picture of it for this record.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Craftsman 16mm Wrench

I found this Craftsman 16 millimeter wrench December 30 about 50 feet north of the intersection of Lake Olympia Parkway and Highway 6 in Missouri City. There is slight surface rust on the wrench and it was probably run over by a car at least once or twice. The wrench was lying in the turn lane. I got out of the truck and quickly grabbed it since it was easily accessible. There was some traffic, but none in the turn lane. As usually I have several of these wrenches already, but one more doesn't hurt. I quick spray and wipe down with a lubricant and the rust was arrested.

Main Street Screwdriver Sighting

This morning's commute was slower than usual due to a light early morning rain. Although the rain had been gone for several hours traffic as usual was slow to react and reacted by slowing. I spotted a screwdriver on the median of South Main about two miles south west of the South Main/ 610 junction. For those of you counting this is two tools currently lying on the median within 1 mile of each other. The flashlight I spotted last week is still lying there, although I can only assume the rain didn't do it any good.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Birthday Present - 10mm Craftsman Wrench

I found this 10 millimeter Craftsman wrench on the street in front of my house on my birthday a few weeks back. This is the size wrench used to loosen the connection bolts on batteries. The wrench probably dropped out of someone's engine compartment because they forgot to put the wrench away when changing out their battery. As I was getting out of my truck I heard a metallic pinging noise as a car drove by. When I looked toward the street I saw a glint of sun on metal in the street. I went to investigate and found this wrench. I have several wrenches this size in sets I have been given over the years but now I can use this one to change batteries on my metric truck without having to get battery acid on my good wrenches.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Lineman's Pliers

I found these lineman's pliers today. I found the pliers about 75 feet north east of the intersection of Kirby and South Main St. My wife was with me. I saw the pliers lying in the right lane. I turned around in the Kroger parking lot. My wife asked me at that point if I was going back for the pliers. I said yes. She said okay as long as I was careful and didn't get myself killed in the process. I pulled back out into the street and stopped to pick up the pliers. There was no traffic at all. No inconvenience to anyone. I handed the pliers to my wife, put the truck in gear and we headed home. The pliers are heavy duty lineman's pliers 8 and 5/8's inches long weighing almost 1 pound. My wife was impressed with my find. These pliers cost around $10 to $20.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Why this Blog Exists

I find tools. Friends and acquaintances find this interesting and even a bit strange. My family less so (more later). Most often I find tools on the side of the road or in the middle of the street.

Most of the tools are usable. Many are in great shape. I usually don't bother stopping for broken tools. I don't even pick up all the tools that I see. With traffic in the Houston, Texas area being quite hectic I usually will not take my life in my hands to stop for a tool unless it is safe to do so.

My commute to work every day takes 45 minutes one way. This gives me lots of time during the 18 mile one way trip to check out the scenery while driving to work. Road construction, other drivers, new buildings and businesses, Rice students, Med Center workers and strangely enough tools on the side of the road.

Because this is a mundane and totally benign hobby I have decided to bore the world with my findings. Blogs will include photos and stories of tools I have found in the past, commentary on tools I see and don't pick up and other probably uninteresting, but tangentially connected blathering. Feel free to comment, monitor this blog to find tools or to report tools you have seen.

Main Street Flashlight Sighting

This morning I saw a jungle colored plastic flashlight lying on the median next to the wall on the Northeast bound (in town) lane on Main Street. The flash light was about 1 mile southwest of the 610 junction. It appeared to be a 2 C Cell size flash light. Traffic was moving so there was no opportunity to stop and retrieve the flash light. In addition, I have numerous other flashlights so there is no need to retrieve it unless the opportunity presents itself.