AMY KIRK: Being a 'hammer mechanic' not for the timidMechanics go by various titles such as repairman, Mr. Fixit or technician, but few are hammer mechanics.
By: Amy Kirk, The Daily Republic
Mechanics go by various titles such as repairman, Mr. Fixit or technician, but few are hammer mechanics.
The most important tool in a hammer mechanic’s toolbox is his or her temper. When a fiery temper is prevalent, progress, among other things like bent metal, really takes shape — hopefully back to their former shape and not a new one.
This type of repairing is not well-known because most hammer mechanics prefer to work alone. It’s a mechanical repairing art form unseen by most since watching hammer mechanics at work can be disturbing and dangerous to some bystanders — especially spectators who habitually stare at people who get mad over mechanical dilemmas.
There’s too much room for misinterpretation of a hammer mechanic’s intentions, temper, or monologues with equipment.
It’s not an easy mechanic-ing style to master. Results can vary widely, depending on a mechanic’s temper and skill level. The challenge lies in restoring machinery close to its original state without creating further damage, whereas traditional repairing practices rely on replacement parts, appropriate tools and money.
To learn this kind of mechanical style, brute strength and a temper are imperative. Such character traits provide the kind of motivation that gets results in the most one-of-a-kind ways.
Also needed is a good, solid, hard metal object (with or without a handle) to aid in the manipulation process whether the goal is to bend metal back into its semi-original shape and intended position or beat mechanical components into submission in order to get the machine running again.
Next — and most importantly — an accurate aim is necessary to make substantial progress in a timely manner.
The key is in having a good aim, solid swing and follow-through using the right amount of forcefulness of the metal object used for manipulation.
I speak from experience when I say it should be noted important equipment should not be worked on by novice hammer mechanics and this type of mechanical work is not recommended on materials that cannot withstand intense repeated pressure.
Mis-aim of heavy blunt objects may further distort the shape of softer metal parts, such as aluminum running boards on new horse trailers by the inexperienced, and novices can break non-metal substances. I’ve had better success applying hammer mechanic techniques to other situations like loosening a gooseneck trailer’s immobile, semi-rusted ball hitch collar and its spring-loaded pin.
Hammer mechanical repairing techniques are not suited to just anyone either. It’s especially designed for people who are impatient by nature. It takes an impatient person, lots of practice at aiming, and direct hits in order to avoid making a problem worse or creating new ones.
Hammer mechanical repairing is not recommended for the meek or mild-mannered, weaklings, and people who are calm or docile. It’s more suited for people whose personalities are aggressive, enthusiastic, and blunt. Good hammer mechanics are assertive, self-motivated, strong, and deaf; or at least hard of hearing.
The sign of a professional hammer mechanic at work is someone whose work echoes loudly through closed shop doors from across the yard.
A good hammer mechanic can work efficiently with fast turnaround time so production isn’t shut down for long. Additional benefits are that there’s no waiting on someone else to work on much needed equipment.
Regardless of what the mechanical problem is, one way or another hammer mechanics get things straightened out.
Amy Kirk and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.