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At some point, every one of us has heard this yarn: take a torch and a block of ice, heat a dented piece of bodywork, then apply ice to the center. Supposedly it pops the dent right out, but I’ve never met anyone who claims they pulled it off. I’m contemplating filling a dented motorcycle fuel tank with water and chucking it in the snowbank, but that’s an entirely different principle, and it might be roughly as sane as trekking through the lion pen in flank-steak briefs. Can the contraction from slapping an ice pack on a hot fender straighten it out? Or is it just a way to wind up with a burnt headliner and nothing to cool your beer?

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The ancient question of a fastidiously-organized tool chest or spreading wrenches and pliers willy-nilly has been done to death, so there’s no point in starting that one up again.


The question this time is: what little tricks do you use to keep your tools in good condition? Those of us in the Rust Belt have a rough time keeping everything in good shape. Moisture creeps through even the tiniest gaps, turning carbon steel into an orange-flecked wreck. Every one of my chest’s drawers has an oil-soaked sheet beneath a foam liner, and a silica gel packet to keep moisture at bay. Each tool gets an occasional spritz of lightweight. The catch is, this doesn’t work. How do you keep rust and corrosion at bay when even those measures aren’t enough?

(Thanks to Flickr user Swanee 3 for the great photo)

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