Primer on Tools for Snipes




Primer on Tools for Snipes


Compiled By Garland Davis



This is designed to familiarize members of the engineering ratings with the tools they’ll be working with.



Hammer: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate expensive items and parts not far from the object we are trying to hit. Can also be used to locate the fingers of your other hand.  Any handy wrench may also serve as a hammer.

Mechanic’s Knife: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered from Supply; works particularly well on boxes containing gasket material and textile-like materials.


Electric Hand Drill: Normally used for spinning steel Pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age. Can also be used for drilling holes in the wrong places.


Hacksaw: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

Vise-Grips: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

1/2 Inch Wrench:  This ever elusive wrench is seldom ever seen in the hole. It can usually be found in the most inaccessible part of the bilges!  Can also substitute for a hammer.

Oxyacetylene Torch: Used almost entirely for lighting those stale cigarettes you found while bilge diving because you can never remember to buy cigarettes and lighter fluid for the Zippo lighter you have neglected to lose

Zippo Lighter: See oxyacetylene torch.

Whitworth Sockets: Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, How they ended up in the A-Gang shop is anybody’s’ guess.

Table vise: A table mounted device used for cracking nuts stolen during stores on load. May also be used for crushing and ruining parts while you work on them. A very important use of the bench vise is to clamp a misbehaving strikers head in it while you kick his ass. Very effective remedial attitude adjustment tool.

Drill Press: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest or flings your coffee across the shop, splattering it all over the picture of the scantily clad LBFM someone posted over the Chief’s desk.


Wire Wheel: Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar calluses in about the time it takes you to say, “Mother Fucker.”

Hydraulic Floor Jack: Used for lowering heavy items to the deck after you have unbolted them from their supports, trapping the jack handle firmly under the front edge.

Eight-Foot Long Douglas Fir 2X4 Shoring: Used for levering said item off the hydraulic jack.

Tweezers: A tool for removing wood splinters. Can also be used for snatching out bothersome nose hairs.

Phone: Tool for calling the Shipfitter’s shop to see if they have another hydraulic floor jack.


Gasket Scrapers: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise on horsecock sandwiches; but, also used for getting dog shit and grease off your boon dockers.

E-Z Out Bolt and Stud Extractor: A tool that snaps off in bolt holes and is ten times harder than any known drill bit.

Two-Ton Hydraulic Hoist: A handy tool for testing the tensile strength of ground straps, bolts, and hydraulic lines you may have forgotten to disconnect.

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1/2 x 16-inch Screwdriver: A large prying tool that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end without the handle. Always in the way when you are searching for a Phillips screwdriver.

Battery Electrolyte Tester: A handy tool for transferring sulfuric acid from a battery to the inside of your toolbox after determining that your battery is dead as a doornail, just as you thought.

Aviation Metal Snips: See Hacksaw. Mostly used for miscutting sheet metal.

Trouble Light: The Snipes’ own tanning booth. Sometimes called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, “the sunshine vitamin”, which is not otherwise found in engineering spaces. Health benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume light bulbs at about the same rate that the five-inch gun mount might use projectiles during a ninety-day gun line tour. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading.

Phillips Screwdriver: Normally used to stab the holes in the orange juice cans stolen during the last stores onload and splash juice all over your shirt; can also be used, as the name implies, to round off Phillips screw heads.  Always in the way when you are searching for a flathead screwdriver.

Air Compressor: A machine that takes energy produced by a steam generator in the after engine room and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty bolts last tightened 40 years ago by a yardbird at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, and neatly round them off.


Grease Gun: A messy tool for checking to see if zerk fittings are still plugged with rust.


Church Key: An ancient tool once attached to the keychain of every male. Used to open steel cans when thirsty. Often used in conjunction with operating the next tool listed.


LBFM: Triple orifice stress reliever. Seldom found aboard ship, but are plentiful in the Southeast Asian port of Subic Bay. It is found they perform at an optimum level when dusted down frequently with copious amounts of Philippine currency. Can be costly! Careful, they are like puppies, cute and you can become attached to them. It is dangerous to operate multiple units unless the units are in agreement. The next tool applies in this situation.


Butterply Knipe: A tool your LBFM may try to use on you if you let her become too possessive by devoting your time and money exclusively to her and then operate another LBFM without her approval.


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