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View Full Version : Irrigation Tools - Starting Out


PurpHaze
04-16-2007, 09:41 AM
The thread on supplies got me to thinking... Anyone starting out in irrigation should get themselves some good quality tools. Everything from shovels, wrenches, screwdrivers, saws (and extra blades), snap cutters (and extra blades), nut drivers, wire strippers, etc. We've debated many times as to brand names and our personal preferences but the key is quality. Personally I'd think that one would be best to have tools of good quality rather than cheap ones from China or Taiwan since they are your day in, day out bread and butter of accomplishing quality installations and repairs. Cheap tools often fail and then sometimes you're stuck, or worse yet, injured.

One thing we do with multiple trucks is to paint each set with a different color on the handles. That way we make sure that the proper tools go back into the correct trucks. Nothing worse than being out on a solo call and then realizing that a critical tool has been mistakenly put onto your partner's truck.

gusbuster
04-16-2007, 02:12 PM
Purp,
You get no argument from me about quality tools, so with that said, sometimes, just because it is some no name brand, depending on the source, you can get good tools.

Case in point, the adjustable wrench, crescent probably make the best, but there are many knockoffs that you can get for half the cost.

Wet_Boots
04-16-2007, 03:10 PM
I thought Knipex was the best. An aspiring sprinkler guy used to start his toolkit with the various wrenches made for dismantling popup impact heads. ~ shows you how times change.

Bigred350
04-16-2007, 09:15 PM
As far as habd tools we try and buy all craftsman, because if it breaks you can take it back. We even use Craftsman shovels and rakes cause they take those back to. For everything else we try and buy good quality tools buy maybe not the most exspensive, just as long as it gets the job done.

bicmudpuppy
04-16-2007, 11:13 PM
I don't know if it makes me lazy or cheap, but rather than brand shop or try to take that busted wrench back, I tend to shop the tool bins of pawn shops. If I find I 'need' something, esp when out and about, I will stop in at a pawn shop. I tend to mark in my mind where they are and if I am running ahead of schedule to an appointment, I will stop in and browse. I play in the mud for a living, I don't treat my tools with the respect they deserve, so I go as best I can with the least amount spent. If the price was "right", I don't think I have ever left a 1/2" or 9/16" wrench in the tool bin if it was in decent shape.

btw, and I then only one who "forgets" to count and put away hand tools before the sloppy, muddy, mushy fill is halfway back into the hole?

Remote Pigtails
04-16-2007, 11:28 PM
Nooo I've buried a few fine tools as well as dug a few up. Once I left a leatherman multi tool by a controller in a messy garage. Two something odd years later they called me on another problem and you guessed it it was still sitting there. If you buy craftsman at the pawn shop and they are broken you can exchange them and get new ones. I've never done that cuz I have a huge conscious but some of my worthless buddies do.

PurpHaze
04-16-2007, 11:28 PM
btw, and I then only one who "forgets" to count and put away hand tools before the sloppy, muddy, mushy fill is halfway back into the hole?

Hmmm... Having to read between the lines on your garbled keyboarding... but I think it happens to all of us from time to time. I usually put my tools on a grassy, exposed area near the hole or on top of a valve box lid or piece of plywood for this very reason. On critical tools such as Channel Locks or wire strippers I always make sure we have two of them at all times on our trucks. Hard to find pawn shops around here. :laugh:

Remote Pigtails
04-16-2007, 11:34 PM
Speaking of channel locks. I think they have upgraded them recently. We go through 2-3 of what we call the medium large a year. They start getting cockeyed and slip which of course pinches a finger or that fatty part right under your thumb. The last set we got was a thicker metal.

jerryrwm
04-17-2007, 05:50 AM
btw, and I then only one who "forgets" to count and put away hand tools before the sloppy, muddy, mushy fill is halfway back into the hole?I thought I'd lost my truck keys and my helper and I dug up a 3'x3'x2' mudhole that we had just covered. Sifted through all the mud trying to find those damn things. Nothing in the mud. Found them under the flip down arm rest between the seats. Still don't know how they got there. That's when I started using a spring-clip on the keys and attached them to a belt loop and in the back pocket.

PurpHaze
04-17-2007, 09:15 AM
Speaking of channel locks. I think they have upgraded them recently. We go through 2-3 of what we call the medium large a year. They start getting cockeyed and slip which of course pinches a finger or that fatty part right under your thumb. The last set we got was a thicker metal.

We use four different sizes of Channel Lock slip-joint pliers (from very small for old solenoids to very large for field rotors) and I've never seen them slip like you indicate. I've seen many a knock-off types do this though. Only time I've had them slip (and this by the teeth slipping off of what I'm grabbing) is when I'm too lazy to open up a large enough hole on old Toro 640s that are on galvanized risers. With the angle the teeth can slip off the sprinkler body and do some pinching of the fingers. We've gone to using good quality plumber's basin wrenches coupled with small pipe wrenches for these hard-to-remove sprinklers. Replace them with a swing joint and new Hunter I-40 and we're back in business with all fingers intact.

PurpHaze
04-17-2007, 09:19 AM
I thought I'd lost my truck keys... That's when I started using a spring-clip on the keys and attached them to a belt loop and in the back pocket.

Just for this situation I carry an extra set of both work and personal truck keys on my work keys that are attached to my belt with a clip.

Mike Leary
04-17-2007, 04:25 PM
I thought Knipex was the best. An aspiring sprinkler guy used to start his toolkit with the various wrenches made for dismantling popup impact heads. ~ shows you how times change.

I started out with a set of wrenches to unscrew Rain-Bird & Weather-Matic
pop-up spray heads, The heads had a cut-out on either side & the wrench
fit into it. Oh, by the way, the wrenches were brass. I used Kenyon tools all
my career...you can back a service truck over 'em. We've done it!

irrig8r
04-21-2007, 12:56 PM
I've used Kenyon shovels for a while now. Midwest Rake bought them and they seemd to have changed the wood they use for handles...not sure If I like it or not... haven't weathered or stressed them enough to know...yet.

I like Ridgid Robo-Grip slip joint pliers... Craftsman for all my sockets and drivers..mostly Ridgid for my pipe wrenches...

Victor pipe cutters, though I think I still have a 3/4 MCC that has had a lot of use and the blades hold up better...

Ever used the Socket Saver bits that I think Christy just discotinued? Got me out of some tight jams...as well as a heat gun.... and the cable saw.

And don't forget the Rain Bird pull-up tools...works well for holding pistons up if you're cleaning/ changing many spray nozzles at once... sometimes I use three at a time (separate heads of course) to speed things along...someone ought to come up with one for rotors...

Dirty Water
04-21-2007, 01:54 PM
someone ought to come up with one for rotors...

On the stiffer spring Hunter heads (I-20 and up) They ship with a clip that holds the riser up for nozzling.

irrig8r
04-21-2007, 05:07 PM
Come to think of it... I think I have a white nylon-looking clip like that and I can't remember which rotor it came from.... maybe I got it as a freebie at a trade show...since I've always just used PGPs and not I20s.. or do they fit PGPs too... heck I'll see if I can go dig it up and try it out...

Keith
04-21-2007, 08:19 PM
It works on a PGP as well.

irrig8r
04-21-2007, 08:28 PM
It works on a PGP as well.

Yep. I figured as much. Just never got around to putting it in with my tools, so never used it...

So, how about one for PGJs?

Keith
04-21-2007, 08:38 PM
Haven't seen one for them.

I did find out if you use the one for a I-20/PGP on a ProPlus, to be very careful :cry: It can be quite painful.

PurpHaze
04-21-2007, 09:15 PM
So, how about one for PGJs?

Try your Rainbird riser pullup tool. Sometimes they'll hold if you clamp at a slight angle.