[LMB] OT: tools (for men and women) (sherwood)

Robert Parks rparks at lvhot.org
Sat, 22 Nov 2003 22:11:08 -0800


Marna Nightingale wrote:
> On a bright note, Sian gave me a Leatherman Juice for Yule two
>  years ago, one of those brightly coloured multitools that 
> Leatherman is putting out.
> 
> They have resized them for women, and changed a couple of the
>  brute-force openers to fingernail openers. It's about 2 cm 
> shorter and maybe 1 cm thinner than a standard Leatherman.
> 
> It is wonderful, I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone with 
> smaller hands who needs a good multitool.

Interestingly, I just got an email from the local newspaper's
"Two Cents" column (they email out questions, the pool of
respondents choose to respond to what they will, and the editor
picks) about the tool so useful you would give one to someone as
a gift.  I just sent a revision note about the Juice...since my
pick was the Leatherman PST (pocket survival tool), a more "male"
working and appearing multitool.  I tend to stay away from the
brightly colored plastic covered tools, since they tend to stay
in places like my work backpacks bottom pouch...and the plastic
gets dirty and scratched. (Currently in the pouch: bus mechanic's
5/16 square key, Leatherman PST, conductors punch, small
prybar...nothing in there with much finish left)

Joanie Laurel comments about heavy equipment requiring excessive
(male) force to operate.

I think McCaffrey/Ball are a bit behind the times...the trend in
heavy equipment has been away from heavy control forces for quite
some time.  Especially for heavy equipment that requires skilled
operators.  What has been driving this is less gender equality,
and more on-the-job injuries...it is expensive in a lot of ways
when your star heavy equipment operator is out for a year with a
torn rotator cuff.

I can only speak with authority on the "heavy" equipment I
operate[1].  The very oldest equipment has a recommended minimum
body weight of 175 pounds, and substantial upper and lower body
strength.  There has been one female grip in the history of the
cable cars (and I'd prefer to have Fannie Mae on *my* side in a
fight).  In training for the cable cars, it is unusual for more
than 20% of operators with no cable car experience to pass training.

The old buses have (sortof) no power steering, a heavy spring on
the brake pedal, and reseting the retrievers requires pulling
40-50 pounds.

The new buses have power everything, even a full brake
application is probably less than 20 pounds of force.

The new streetcars go even further, with all hand controls, max
force is under 10 pounds to pull it into emergency brake.

[1] The new buses are 22 tons light, the old ones are 11.5 tons,
the cable cars are 12 tons, the old streetcars are 20 something,
the new ones are 52 tons (and usually one operator controls a two
car train).

Laura Gallagher:
> Just the other day I was in the Container Store, and saw a
> toolset that was very clearly designed for a woman, down to
> the name of the product, which I've forgotten.  Full set,
> designed for a woman, with directions.

There are a fair number of items like this out there, even some 
into the pro level tools.  However, they are substantially more 
expensive than "men's" tools...like dry cleaning I guess.

Ziviyz comments on the unwieldiness of power tools for smaller hands.

Hmmm.  Just went and checked some of my power tools. 
Interesting.  The oldest and cheapest are the largest...the new 
one is smaller, although not petite...and considering that it has 
an impressive batterypack, is definitely very heavy...but when I 
am sawing and drilling/driving out at the hot springs, the 
battery longevity is very welcome.

I think everyone should have a few basic tools of their 
own...that they chose...that suit their bodies and the way they 
work.  Because using someone else's tools is (sometimes 
literally) a pain.  Certainly, I would have problems using a 
power tool designed for a 14 yo girl.

Regarding favorite tool brands and pro level tools:

Pro tools have scary price tags.  Heck, a new battery for my 
Panasonic set is nearly $100.  Yeep!  On the other hand, they are 
joys to work with.  And good tools make it possible to get good 
results even when one doesn't actually have true crafts(wo)man 
skills.

Robert