There are hundreds of different kinds of tools. A survey in 1976 revealed that the gas industry then purchased 739 different tools from 95 different suppliers. A service engineer may use up to 140 different items which can be classified as tools. Many tools are the subject of British Standard Specifications. Some tools can only be used for one specialised job whilst others,
like pliers, may be used for a variety of tasks. Some jobs call for a specialised tool, other jobs can be carried out equally well by a number of different tools. An example of the last case is screwing a pipe into a fitting which can be done with a footprint wrench, stillsons or chain tongs (and by a few more less orthodox methods!). Because of this, the choice of tools for a service engineer’s tool kit
is largely a matter of opinion, and a subject on which opinions are divided. Each tool has its own particular advantages and disadvantages and everyone has their own preferences and prejudices. There is a limit to a number of tools which a man can reasonably carry, so a choice has to be made. Engineers are responsible for their tools and in return, are totally
dependent on those tools for their livelihood. They should:
• select, from their kit, the appropriate tool for the job • ensure that it is in good working order • use it correctly • transport it safely.