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.