Spats, Saws, Sounds and Slips

Tommy Bar Brawl

One of our answer team used the term “Tommy bar” to describe a handle extension, and others wrote in to ask what that meant. Now we are up to round two, with people insisting both that the term does and does not exist. Frankly, we remain thoroughly confused, but read on and decide for yourself. — Editor

“I have been a mechanic for almost 60 years and I have never heard of a Tommy bar. A bar is solid and cannot slipped over anything, let alone a wrench, whereas a tube or pipe can, but it is called a cheater. This is not a regional term. I spent over 20 years in the Air Force and have been in all but five states, and a cheater is a universal term.” — Leland Sanders

Language is a slippery thing. We still remember when the term “cheaters” was slang for eyeglasses. But we digress. Let’s head back to the issue at hand: the meaning of Tommy bar. — Editor 

“Just a note to let you know that Tommy bars are alive and well this side of the pond. We refer to the bar which turns a tube spanner as a Tommy bar. It seems to have been in use for at least my dad’s younger days.” — Bernard J. Greatrix (UK)

“In the UK and Australia, a Tommy Bar is a round metal bar used in conjunction with a box wrench. I strongly suspect the term originated in the UK  and is certainly not confined to a local region of the U.S.A. Encarta, a U.S. web encyclopedia, defines a Tommy Bar as ‘rod used to provide leverage in turning a box wrench,’ which is the same as the UK definition, and one DIY website shows a variety of them for sale, all called Tommy bars” — Jim Spence

Sears Saws

Never let it be said that our readers are anything but helpful. After one complained about problems setting up a contractor saw, this kind gent meticulously described a clever and simple fix. — Editor

“I’ve read of several folks who had the same problem with their table saw adjustments that I did. I have a 12-year-old Sears Contractor saw. The blade was not parallel to the miter groove, and every time I loosened up the arbor, reset it, and tightened it, it moved! The problem turned out to be unstable lock washers. I removed all the arbor nuts, removed the factory lock washers, replaced them with fat flat washer and tightened all of the bolts. A final check showed the arbor to be true, so I removed one arbor nut and washer at a time, replaced the factory lock washer, and torqued it up. I checked the alignment at each step, and there was no movement. When I was done, the arbor was right where I wanted it with lock washers in place to prevent drift.” — Ken Patrick

Wood Sounds

“When I read the article ‘Paul Fritts: Pulling Out All the Stops,’ I just had to say something. I love organ music and woodworking, and it’s rare when one can find two polar opposite subjects that have something in common.” — Thomas S. Ankrum, III

Our Slip is Showing

“In your tool review you typed ‘for fast material removal  and an electronic ‘ leaving a double space after ‘removal.’ Also, I do not think it is safety conscious to ware a necktie while wood working.”— Robert Hazelwood

Rest easy. We only ‘ware’ neckties when we leave the shop to visit the ‘hardwear’ store, but thanks for helping us find that renegade space. We spent all morning on hands and knees searching the office for it. — Editor 

Typo Corner

As you saw above, we are often first in line creating typing errors, but we’re in good company. This reader, for instance, either shares our typing weakness or has a driving need to tattle on his workspace equipment. — Editor

“I have a five-foot bench with two vices.”

Would they be smoking and drinking, or perhaps gambling and philandering? — Editor

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