I’ve got this old ratchet wrench.

It’s a nickeled chrome, eight inch, 3/8 inch drive, Snap-On Ratchet. 

Someone reading this knows exactly what I’m talking about. 

My little ratchet is dirty.  It’s got some rust.  It’s got dirt, oil and grease on it I can’t clean. 

I had it for ten, fifteen, maybe twenty years.  It was used when I bought it. 

Let me tell you, old wrenches never really get old.  They get better.   They were made in the good old USA.  Not Taiwan,  not Japan and certainly not China.  After a few years, they feel better in your hands.  They work better that this new junk you find at the big box stores.

My Dad always had a box of tools in the trunk of his car.  He worked in the oilfield.  He never had cheap tools.  The men on the rigs used industrial grade wrenches.  They were real.

They had the big wrenches like 18s, 24s and 36s.   And, he had a little green box of small wrenches. Tough wrenches, something that would not break. Some of the handles bent when the roughnecks used a cheater pipe to screw up a piece of pipe.

Somewhere, I learned a lesson about buying good wrenches.  I hope my sons know that.

The nickel chrome on my ratchet is worn along the edges and around the handle.  That little wrench did lot of work at one time, years ago.   It has scars.  It’s been abused.  The sides are dinged up.  Someone used it as a hammer a time or two.  Somewhere, at sometime, it stopped working. 

At my age, I know exactly how that happens. 

Saturday, I pick it up, look at it.  I question what I should do with it. 

Here’s the beauty of old wrenches like the one in my hand:  They are guaranteed for life.  The Snap-on People will repair or replace it, no charge. 

Nothing like owning something you can’t wear out.

I picked up a can of oil.  I sat at my bench. I take it apart.  I cleaned it, then worked some oil into the ratchet’s cog and  gear.  A few minutes later, something inside the wrench moved.  Then it moved some more. 

The wrench is working again.  I worked it one way, flipped the switch and worked it the other way.  It was just old dirt and old grease.  My wrench just needed some TLC and a good cleaning.

I wiped it down.  It’s clean again.

That’s when I noticed his name.  “Buster”   Faintly engraved on the side, one word. “Buster”.  I flipped it over, on the other side, again, “Buster.”

Buster had to work hard to make a living.  He invested hard-earned money in his tools.  He didn’t want to lose his wrenches.  He put his mark, his name on every wrench he had.  He knew they’d last him a lifetime.  He could not afford to lose a wrench.  He engraved “Buster” to claim his wrench forever.

Buster’s wrench outlasted him and I’m sure it’s going to outlast me. 

Thank you Buster.

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