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I Like Wrenching - 4xForward

Posted in Features on June 17, 2013
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Photographers: Rick Péwé

I enjoy lots of different activities, especially four-wheeling. Luckily one aspect of four-wheeling is the actual building of a vehicle and the fab work to make it how you want it. It’s a fact of the sport that there is some wrenching required—and I enjoy wrenching! Whether it’s as simple as bolting on a bumper or as complicated as swapping in a new engine, the sense of accomplishment is still the same. I’ve made a living as a mechanic in the past, and learned from the ground up by tearing apart my first jeep. Of course my parents didn’t think much of that at the time, considering the Jeep was running in the morning and stripped bare like a rabbit under a vulture by the evening. But I learned what made it tick, and I never stopped turning a wrench since then.

Melting metal is cool

Along the way I figured out that customizing was cool too, so the idea of fabricating metal to meet my needs came along, and cast-off toasters and TVs from the trash heap became my raw material for center consoles, light brackets, and even dash switches. My first welder was a big investment at the time, a $100 red Lincoln buzz box from a bargain basement outlet store. That and a helmet and pack of rods started me fusing metal together that hasn’t stopped to this day. Melting metal is cool.

I also learned that special tools worked best doing what they were designed for. Instead of pounding parts together with a ratchet or screwdriver I found that a ball-peen hammer worked far better. I also learned that throwing tools when frustrated was counterproductive to just about anything in the shop, despite what “reality” shows would have you think!

Tools are cool too, and I love to use them. And don’t forget that everything you use can be considered a tool, from the computer to a three-way lug wrench and everything in between. Take care of them and they will take care of you, so you can take care of them. Happy wrenching!

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