Wally's rules: No matter what needs fixing, I won't have the right tool

News-DemocratOctober 31, 2013 

I'm not known for my handyman skills. Quite the reverse, in fact.

But I don't think industry is particularly trying to help me, either. In fact, I am sure there is a giant conspiracy out there thinking up new ways to force me to spend a lot of money to make simple repairs.

A few months ago I attempted to repair something inside the passenger side door of my wife's pickup truck. I figured it was a matter of finding the fasteners that held the inside door cover on and loosening them.

Silly me.

I could find them, but loosen them? I think not.

The fasteners were screws, but not anything I had dealt with before. Instead of the two X-shaped slots of a Phillips screw, these had six points.

I had dealt with auto industry fasteners that had five points and cursed them as one of many things the big car companies came up with to keep the ordinary person from working on a car.

But six points?

Turns out they are called Torx screws and were invented clear back in 1967, according to Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia which is not always an accurate source but certainly is an easily accessible one.

Anyway, they are supposed to resist head damage better than Phillips screws. Phillips screws apparently are designed so you can't overtighten them. You mess up the X-slots if you keep turning after they are tight.

Torx also are called star bits or 6points. Their designation in the International Organization for Standardization is ISO 10664 or 6lobe.

Obviously you need a special screwdriver to work with these things. So I went to buy one.

Again, silly me. They come in many different sizes, from T-1 to T-10, then in increments of five from T-15 to T-60, except for T-35 which doesn't exist. Instead there is a T-27. After T-60 the increments come in 10s up to T-100. Go figure.

Since I had no idea what size I needed, I bought a couple of likely looking sizes for a total of about $10.

Unfortunately, while I was wrestling with the door earlier, I had managed to break the panel. So I didn't need any screwdrivers at all.

But I figured the new Torx screwdrivers would come in handy sometime in the future.

Sure enough, just the other day the dishwasher fizzled out and there was one place I could check that might be an easy fix. It was held in place by three screws. They were Torx.

One more time, silly me. I got out my brand new unused screwdrivers to find that they were too big.

So I went back to the hardware store and bought a couple of more sizes, again guessing at the size and again paying $10.

This time one of them actually worked. But naturally, the part that could have been easily fixed wasn't the problem.

But now I have four sizes of Torx screwdrivers just in case I should ever need them.

But if there is one thing I have learned from my many futile not-such-a-handyman struggles, it's that no matter what needs fixing, I won't have the right tool.

I'm telling you. It's a conspiracy.

Have a column idea? Call Wally at 239-2506 or 800-642-3878; or email: wspiers@bnd.com

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service