Useless Tools

jim garnett
24th June 2011, 05:23
On my first trip as a second engineer,back in 1953 I conscientiously inspected our engine room stores and equipment.There was an excellent supply of both and something I hadn't seen before a lovely set of carpenters tools,planes,claw hammers,saws etc.Nestled among them looking as new,a spirit level.What use it was on a ship I could not imagine.I didn't like to see it so lonely so I brought up to my cabin and took it home with me so it would not feel it was unwanted.I still have it and have made great use of it and it is much loved,I have bequeathed it to my son in my will.Some might say I stole it but surely it has had a very happy life in sunny Australia.I hope no one writes in and tells me there is a use for a spirit level on a ship it will make feel so guilty.
Jim Garnett.

tsell
24th June 2011, 05:36
Jim, in my day they were used for checking the level of rum in the barrel!!

Taff

billyboy
24th June 2011, 05:53
Got to be a few amongst us on here with useless tools. I know I've got one...LOL

LaFlamme
24th June 2011, 05:54
Come on, there is a funny repartee in there somewhere. I remember some pieces of wood on my ships, but can't remember what we used the spirit level for. Humm, let me think.... first mate was building furniture?

hughesy
24th June 2011, 06:44
HI all
Just been fixing an elevator on a ferry. Could'nt use a level or a plumb bob. Had to measure everything to find levels and plumbness

all the best
hughesy.
Did loads of trips on that ferry, does that count as seatime??

JoK
24th June 2011, 09:37
My Dad has a level for apparently working on ships. All of the bubble glasses were in a rotating housing. The level was suspended and the housing rotated to the correct position for the trim, list.
It was quite old.
How true? I have no idea.

billyboy
24th June 2011, 10:13
I think they only used it when they installed the snooker table

Duncan112
24th June 2011, 11:28
(Thumb)There was a spirit level supplied with Sulzers for installing the SIPWA sensors - the vial was graduated and the level placed on the liner top or cylinder cover and its orientation fore and aft noted. The level was then transferred to two pins screwed into the sensor (in the scavenge space) and the sensor rotated slightly until it was parallel to the liner top. All best done whilst no cargo was being worked.

I will refrain from commenting on the usefulness of the system, save that it was slightly better than the chocolate teapot of a device that determined if the top ring had stuck in its groove!!

Give me a B&W anyday

ART6
24th June 2011, 11:32
Not a useless tool, but a mythical one:

When I was sitting my orals for my second's ticket the Examiner of Engineers (for all you deck officers, these are fearsome beasts!) asked "You are on ship with scotch boilers. On one the bottom cock of the gauge glass is blocked. How do you clear it?"
"I use a gauge glass clearing tool Sir."
"Describe."
"It's a length of threaded rod with a long needle on the end of it. You shut off the gauge glass, remove the bottom plug, screw in the tool, open the bottom cock and screw the tool in the rest of the way."
"Correct. Have you ever seen one?"
"Um... No Sir."
"Neither have I. Next question."

surfaceblow
24th June 2011, 13:24
I was on a ship when the Xerox Technician was setting up the ship's very first copy machine. The Technician spent hours with a spirit level tiring to level the copier while we were working cargo. When I asked how critical was the copier's need to be level he gave me a long winded explanation of paper jams, toners levels and such. Has soon has the Technician left the room we turned the copier on its side removed the rubber feet, made a template drilled holes in the table top and installed longer screws that went though the table top and the rubber feet back into the base of the copier. Just when we were done the Captain, Port Engineer and the Xerox Tech came back to test run the copier and show us how to operate and change the cartridges. The Tech kept mumbling that the copier would not work unless it was level. He did leave a spirit level with us for keeping the copier level. It was still in the draw with the instructions when I left the ship.

Joe

chadburn
24th June 2011, 17:06
When I joined the "Har Addir" she was still on No2 Berth, two young Apprentice's from the Yard were given the task of levelling off both Anchor Windlass's ready for chocking, as an exercise. At the same time both myself, and the Chief, along with the Engineering Foreman were on board doing some inspection's when one of the Apprentice's approached the Foreman and asked him to have a look at the task they had just completed. We all trooped up to have a look, one of the App had placed a spirit level on the Starb Windlass and the bubble was spot on For and Aft, at which point the Foreman told them both to look back toward's the Stern and then poured some water on the Deck and asked the lad's why the water was flowing down toward's the Stern at which point one of them answered "because the vessel is on an incline Sir". "Exactly" he said. They eventually grasped what he was getting at.

Burntisland Ship Yard
24th June 2011, 19:00
Not a useless tool, but a mythical one:

When I was sitting my orals for my second's ticket the Examiner of Engineers (for all you deck officers, these are fearsome beasts!) asked "You are on ship with scotch boilers. On one the bottom cock of the gauge glass is blocked. How do you clear it?"
"I use a gauge glass clearing tool Sir."
"Describe."
"It's a length of threaded rod with a long needle on the end of it. You shut off the gauge glass, remove the bottom plug, screw in the tool, open the bottom cock and screw the tool in the rest of the way."
"Correct. Have you ever seen one?"
"Um... No Sir."
"Neither have I. Next question."

Whilst not really anything to do with this thread, when I did my 2nd's "Steam Orals" I was asked "Ever sailed with Scotch Boiliers" well I did at the ripe old age of 16! Anyway, needless to say I got the Spanish Inquisition on Scotch Boiler defects, after the grilling "You Will Do"!!

MWD
24th June 2011, 19:53
As a new tanker second, the Chief kept talking about us organising Deck Hocky. Needed mallets & pucks, so the storekeeper dug out a brand new timber capstain bar, all nicely shaped with a square section on one end, ideal for turning up everything.

I later discovered the company used a printed booklet for the stores ordering list and it contained an entry for ordering timber capstain bars! Neither the Engine or Deck departments had any specific us for them, but apparently they were regularly ordered for the timber.

MWD.

Reef Knot
24th June 2011, 20:34
Got to be a few amongst us on here with useless tools. I know I've got one...LOLNo! It's just disobedient! Isn't it? (Sad)

eldersuk
25th June 2011, 00:37
In drydock in Cardiff the mate cast doubt on the accuracy of the midships draft marks. The drydock manager went (I think) straight to Cardiff cemetery and dug up a couple of old boys who could make, and use, sighting boards to align draft marks from the datum of the dock bottom.
It was a wondrous process, but when explained was entirely logical.
Whatever happened to lasers?

Derek

ccurtis1
27th June 2011, 14:38
On modern motor ships, what was the point of lamp trimming scissors?

ART6
27th June 2011, 15:59
On modern motor ships, what was the point of lamp trimming scissors?

Yes, we had them on the steam turbine ships too. Trouble was, we didn't have any lamps! Knowing the way these are I would guess that there was some obscure BoT regulation that said that a ship couldn't sail with less than two pairs of lamp trimming scissors, but didn't require them to actually carry any lamps or lamp oil.

Ron Stringer
27th June 2011, 17:02
In the Radio Installation regulations, amongst the list of tools required to be provided, was a smooth file. Never did understand its purpose and never did see one - all the files that I ever handled had serrated surfaces.

There was also a requirement to provide petroleum jelly. Now that was much more useful. [=P]

chadburn
27th June 2011, 17:03
On today's vessel's don't the Deck have any oil lamp's at all?

billyboy
28th June 2011, 00:54
In the Radio Installation regulations, amongst the list of tools required to be provided, was a smooth file. Never did understand its purpose and never did see one - all the files that I ever handled had serrated surfaces.

There was also a requirement to provide petroleum jelly. Now that was much more useful. [=P]

Smeared on the outside "Knob" of your cabin door made it difficult for unwelcome visitors to open......LOL

zebedee
2nd July 2011, 15:14
On modern motor ships, what was the point of lamp trimming scissors?

Hi, Curtis1, There were two uses for lamp trimming scissors that I recall from the 1960s. One was as a brilliant "snips" for shaping shim brasses. The second use was for cutting smallish holes in jointing. regards Zebedee.(Thumb)

Gareth Jones
2nd July 2011, 15:21
In the Radio Installation regulations, amongst the list of tools required to be provided, was a smooth file. Never did understand its purpose and never did see one - all the files that I ever handled had serrated surfaces.

There was also a requirement to provide petroleum jelly. Now that was much more useful. [=P]

Could it be the little tool for burnishing the contacts on the morse key ?

chadburn
2nd July 2011, 16:00
Took the Wife's car in for it's Service, when it came back I lifted the bonnet to see what had been done and check the oil level, I noticed the battery terminal's had been sprayed with some "black stuff" which I immediately covered in good old petroleum jelly, still use it an joint's and electrical connection's that are prone to the weather/water. Spot on about the scissor's zebedee ideal for shim work, jointing and the beard.

Ron Stringer
2nd July 2011, 20:15
Could it be the little tool for burnishing the contacts on the morse key ?

No, no. The contact burnisher was also on the list but that was at least useful for its intended purpose. Quite what useful thing you could do with a smooth file, though, I never was able to imagine.

TonyAllen
2nd July 2011, 22:36
I would have thought that a smooth file was to be used after a rough file simples Tony

Ron Stringer
3rd July 2011, 08:57
Mmmm.. But wouldn't a smooth file just be any old bit of flat metal bar? Smooth is the opposite of rough; all the files that I have used have been to some degreerough in order to better abrade material from the item being filed. Rubbing a smooth piece of metal across the item would not be too productive.

Surely the terms coarse and fine would be more appropriate - as in combs, filters and threads!

That an official document should demand that ship radio rooms should have a toolkit containing a 6" smooth file just seemed an oddity. One of many that occurred in Government documents (and elsewhere aboard ship).

Cisco
3rd July 2011, 09:22
I have a pair of lamp trimmers scissors in the shed... fell off the back of some ship or other... used to use them on the wick of the kero fridge I once had....

I have heard it said that the most useless things you can have on a yacht are an admiral and either a wheelbarrow or an umbrella...

TonyAllen
3rd July 2011, 09:42
You must have heard of a smoothing plane in carpentery, there is a set of files that you can buy in a small wallet that go from rought to smooth, coarse one to abrade, smooth one to polish I have just a set in my tool box Tony

Cisco
3rd July 2011, 10:18
It would probably be a bit of a ba.stard if you had no smooth file...

bobw
3rd July 2011, 13:01
Use a coarse or ba.stard file on a piece of steel to take a lot of metal off then a smooth file to fine up the rough surface. Finish off with a sheet of emery paper to get a polish.
One use of a smooth file for Sparks is to clean burns off the surface of contacts.
If all else fails call the Lecky.(Jester)

billyboy
3rd July 2011, 13:13
I have a pair of lamp trimmers scissors in the shed... fell off the back of some ship or other... used to use them on the wick of the kero fridge I once had....

I have heard it said that the most useless things you can have on a yacht are an admiral and either a wheelbarrow or an umbrella...


Oh I dont know mate. A decent golfing brolly lashed up forard should be good for an extra two knots (Jester)

Cisco
3rd July 2011, 13:16
and a wheelbarrow for bringing home the cook after a run ashore....

but the admiral?

Pat Kennedy
3rd July 2011, 19:23
Mmmm.. But wouldn't a smooth file just be any old bit of flat metal bar? Smooth is the opposite of rough; all the files that I have used have been to some degreerough in order to better abrade material from the item being filed. Rubbing a smooth piece of metal across the item would not be too productive.

Surely the terms coarse and fine would be more appropriate - as in combs, filters and threads!

That an official document should demand that ship radio rooms should have a toolkit containing a 6" smooth file just seemed an oddity. One of many that occurred in Government documents (and elsewhere aboard ship).

Ron,
You can get an 8'' Smooth File for $9.99 at this link;
http://www.doitbest.com/Files+and+rasps-Cooper+Tools-model-08560-doitbest-sku-305057.dib
Go on, get one, you wont regret it!
regards,
Pat(Hippy)

Baulkham Hills
4th July 2011, 03:34
Non-spark screwdrivers and tools that were used on tankers years ago, soft as butter and it's hard to imagine the situation where a spark would be so dangerous that you would have to use these tools but was safe for you to be there in the same environment.

billyboy
4th July 2011, 03:45
and a wheelbarrow for bringing home the cook after a run ashore....

but the admiral?


Perehaps the Admiral could be used as a fender Cisco...(Jester)

jim garnett
4th July 2011, 03:59
I thought you used a bastard file after a rough file.
Just as when a bastard arrived sometimes after a rough night ashore.
Jim Garnett

Vital Sparks
4th July 2011, 17:03
I think the smooth file was intended for cleaning pitted relay contacts. Paper was used to burnish the morse key contacts.

Ron Stringer
4th July 2011, 17:13
I think the smooth file was intended for cleaning pitted relay contacts.

No, the list also required you to carry a contact burnisher for that purpose.

Gareth Jones
4th July 2011, 18:32
According to Wikipedial metalworking files are graded thus :-

Rough

Middle

Bastard

Second Cut

Smooth

Dead Smooth.

exhausted
17th July 2011, 11:19
There was, in the fifties, an Admiralty Fleet Order (AFO) that caused some amusement at the time it was issued to the fleet electrical and engineering departments. It told us that when dismantling eqipment, the most difficult bolt or nut was to be released first. Their Lordship's must have had a good lunch when they signed that one off.

Nick Balls
17th July 2011, 12:15
http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mcga07-home/shipsandcargoes/mcga-shipsregsandguidance/marinenotices/mcga-mnotice.htm?textobjid=1725C96D74910CD4

Always a good one to bring up!

chadburn
17th July 2011, 14:16
There was, in the fifties, an Admiralty Fleet Order (AFO) that caused some amusement at the time it was issued to the fleet electrical and engineering departments. It told us that when dismantling eqipment, the most difficult bolt or nut was to be released first. Their Lordship's must have had a good lunch when they signed that one off.

As any Engineer know's, no matter which way you tackle a job it's alway's the last.(Ouch)

Ron Dean
17th July 2011, 17:47
Mmmm.. But wouldn't a smooth file just be any old bit of flat metal bar? Smooth is the opposite of rough; all the files that I have used have been to some degreerough in order to better abrade material from the item being filed. Rubbing a smooth piece of metal across the item would not be too productive.

Surely the terms coarse and fine would be more appropriate - as in combs, filters and threads!

That an official document should demand that ship radio rooms should have a toolkit containing a 6" smooth file just seemed an oddity. One of many that occurred in Government documents (and elsewhere aboard ship).
Ron, not even a "Dead Smooth" file is completely devoid of serrations.
I've still got a set issued to me as an apprentice 60 years ago.
6 of them in a set - from memory they are:- Rough, Middle, Bastard, Second Cut, Smooth & Dead Smooth. For a really smooth finish after filing, it's down to the various grades of Emery cloth.

Ron.

Ron Stringer
17th July 2011, 22:49
Thank you Ron, I believe you but it still seems to me to be a grammatical nonsense. But I was a R/O not an engineer, so what would I know about it?

chadburn
18th July 2011, 13:43
Never seen an R/O use a Block File(Jester)

spongebob
19th July 2011, 06:11
Yes a dead smooth file can cut a fine finish especially if drawn.
I am currently living in a rented furnished home while house hunting and with my tools of trade still in the shipping container .

I recently had to buy a cheap axe to split a load of fire wood. Of Chinese manufacture it was as blunt as the back of my hand and a good quality file was going to cost nearly as much as the axe until I went past a flea market a few days ago to find an almost unused 10 inch dead smooth file that I bought for 2 dollars, about a pound.
The axe now shaves the hairs off my arm and I am ready to chop.

billyboy
19th July 2011, 06:39
We heard you were a bit sharp with your chopper Bob

spongebob
19th July 2011, 06:55
A chip off the old block Billy

billyboy
19th July 2011, 07:01
I got no Axe to grind ....we use a Bolo here...LOl