This report covers:
- No rebuilds
- Dental picks
- Gunsmith’s screwdrivers
- Measuring tools
- Drop cloth
- Cutting board and razor knife
- Electric drill
Here we go into Part 2 of the tools that an airgunner needs in his or her kit. Before we continue, I need to explain something.
I haven’t been talking about rebuilding spring-piston airguns. Reader RidgeRunner asked why I hadn’t put a spring compressor on my list. You won’t find it on today’s list, either. It’s not that I am against airgunners going inside their spring guns, but I don’t think that it’s fair to assume everyone wants to. If you want to then, yes, a mainspring compressor is an essential tool. Either that or just buy a TX200 Mark III and you won’t need one.
My list is those general tools that I think all airgunners will eventually need. Sure, I go inside springers and I have a lot of tools that I will not show you in this series because they are very specific to one or two jobs. But I’m writing about the basic tools I think everyone should own if they own an airgun. Let’s get started.
When I wrote Part One there were tools I didn’t write about, but I knew they would be in Part Two. Then I read all your comments, to see how much agreement there was. And also how many departures there were from my basic list(s). Let’s begin there.
Reader Yogi suggested a torque wrench. I haven’t used one of those since I worked for AirForce Airguns in 2003-2005. It’s not on my list and I don’t think it needs to be.
Yogi also recommended zip ties and while I have bags of them to tie the actions of airguns I take to shows (so they can’t be cocked and fired), I don’t consider them to be an essential tool for airguns. Maybe Yogi could elaborate.
However Yogi was the first to recommend a tool that wasn’t on my list but should have been — dental picks.
I used to hoard dental picks because they are so handy for doing so many jobs like removing breech seals and o-rings. Then I found them for sale in an electronics store. In frustration I went online and bought a small assortment of picks that are now in my go-to airgun repair box. Good one, Yogi!
Dental picks are essential if you want to work on airguns.
Another one that wasn’t even on my list but should have been was gunsmith’s screwdrivers. Reader Derrick mentioned hollow-ground screwdrivers and I have a set of them that are so used that I forgot about them entirely. But reader JerryC brought up a whole story about Vessel Phillips screwdrivers from Japan. He got both me and reader sawdust, who is my neighbor, Denny, so excited that I went online and bought a small set for each of us. Sawdust said I should buy some so he could borrow them, but I just eliminated the middle man by buying him a set. They are not that expensive and if there is one screw type I have difficulty with it is the Phillips.
On the other hand, there are Vessel brand screwdrivers with wood handles that are quite expensive. But the Vessel tools that use bits seem to be the most popular today. I sure hope they are as good as JerryC said.
Vessel screwdriver set.
These screwdrivers are for pocket watches and some clocks. I don’t use them for airguns often but when I need them nothing else will work. That thingamabob on the bottom is for taking hands off watches and clocks. I threw it in the picture just for fun.
A proper set of Gunsmith’s screwdrivers.
Reader Michael mentioned using lights in his guitar work, which, by the way, we all learned is many times more intricate than working on airguns. Well I second that. Lights were on my list for today.
In fact I own lots of lights. Many are for photography but some are for just seeing in wee teeny places where strong room light can’t reach — such as inside the spring tube. The power of LEDs makes battery life last a long time, even with great brilliance.
There are a few of the lights I use when working on airguns.
I use measuring tools lot, but mostly in my role of writing this blog. That’s for things like measuring group sizes. However, If I want to know how long a collapsed mainspring is, to see if it will fit inside a spring gun, I have to measure the wire size with a caliper and then multiply by the number of coils. When I want to report the length of a barrel, stock pull or overall length I use a tape measure. To give you the weight of guns, parts and so on I use a kitchen scale and for pellets I use an electronic reloading scale.
I use a kitchen scale for things that weigh up to 8 or 9 pounds and a reloading scale for small things. Both scales read in grams and the big one also reads in pounds and ounces while the small one also reads in grains.
I use the digital caliper most of the time, but the dial caliper opens to 8 inches and the micrometer is handy for some things like bullets.
You need a place to work and even when I was on the kitchen table I had a drop cloth. Leapers gave me a great one that I have used for many years. It rolls up tight when not in use and it protects the gun and work surface from scratches and dents. It’s really more of a pad than a cloth. You have seen mine for years in my pictures while working on airguns.
A UTG drop cloth, which is more of a pad, protects the surface I’m working on.
Cutting board and razor knife
I use a razor knife for small work like trimming leather seals. To preserve the surface I work on, I use a cutting board.
When I use a razor knife to trim things I always protect the surface I’m working on with a cutting board.
I can’t say enough about my electric drill. It’s always ready to chuck up a drill bit or a part for some work. I mentioned the Dremel tool in Part One but I use the electric drill just as often. And with that, of course, are the drill bits. I will say this — that good quality drill bits are hard to find. I always seem to get the other kind.
My electric drill comes in very handy many times and not just for drilling.
Reader hihihi mentioned lubricants and solvents. That’s probably a whole report of its own. Are they tools? Not really. But they are essential to the airgun repair person. Maybe they will be Part Three.
In today’s report I have completed the essential tools I believe an airgunner needs to do minor maintenance on his or her airguns. These things take years to acquire unless you’re prepared to spend a bundle. I advise going slow and buying what you need as you need it, if you can.