Flexibility in an inflexible tool.

All tools were produced for a specific purpose. If there hadn’t been a need for such an implement, there wouldn’t be such an implement. The screw driver, the camp stove, the mitre saw, even the salad spinner; these tools all have a use for the betterment of human life. Ok, maybe not so much with the salad spinner. Some tools, though, are duty specific, yet able enough in their abilities to allow for non-traditional uses by out of the box thinkers.

The waffle iron, for example, is a tool for creating delightful battered breakfasts. It’s also a tool that can be credited for helping to create the athletic footwear giant Nike. In the early days of Nike, when the company also went by the moniker Blue Ribbon Sports, co-founder and designer Bill Bowerman put an un-shaped rubber sole inside a waffle iron to create a grid-like pattern on the bottom. This grid, not unlike a waffle, allowed for traction with a low weight rubber sole. Anybody who remembers seeing the effects of that early 70’s technology can remember the very distinctive shoe print left by runners and Nike wearers of the day. Subsequently, the shoes were called ‘waffle trainers‘ and their light weight and relative durability made them a runners favorite.
Now a waffle iron might be considered a kitchen tool, but for now, MANVIL’s flashcard series doesn’t carry kitchen implements. The tool displayed above is a pair of vise grips, or locking pliers. Normally a vise grip is set into action in order to squeeze things tightly in to manipulate the squeezed item one way or another. They do a great job at squeezing, and if you ask a person who has ever done home, or auto repair with vise grips they’ll admit, off record, that you can also use this vise grips to pry metal, twist old, seized bolts into well rounded, useless nubs or to beat the snot out of anything that looks like a hindrance to success. They’re tough tools, and built with a stout solidity befitting their job. 
When the ham fists at the yard misplaced the oil filter wrench (another card for another day) and I needed to change the oil on the cab-over (again, an eventual card) I turned to what there was at hand to pry the oil filter off. Enter vise grips, climbing rope, and a little pressure. I clamped the vise grips tightly on the ends of a 10 inch strip of rope, twisted the grip-locked-rope counter-clockwise until it was wicked tight around the filter and pushed… counter-clockwise. Now I’m certainly no Click and Clack, but the vise grip/rope thing worked, and I didn’t have to pound a screw driver through the filter to coax  it off. 

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