Tools and Materials Page 2

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Updated 3rd December 2005

Tweezers come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes, but these three are my favourites. The bottom set has curved pointed jaws so can be used in confined spaces. This shape also allows you to see more clearly just where you are placing the part being handled. The middle tweezers have broad jaws without serrations so are very useful for handling tiny bits of rod or strip plastic. You can grip quite firmly, but the smooth jaws will not damage a delicate material. The top tweezers are closed at rest, and need to be squeezed to release the item held. This is very useful if you have to thread the tweezers through a structure before finally locating the part.

The clothes peg is a toy item, only about 50 mm long. I bought several sets of these in my local IKEA store, in the kids department. Being wood they are good for holding brass parts together while they are soldered, and they can be carved to make smaller clamps if required. and at £0.50 a set of 12, they are very good value. Full size pegs are just as useful, of course!

Larger items in my tool box include this leather punch, which has a turret with 6 individual punches. Very useful for cutting discs of plastic sheet, and other materials. This tool can handle much thicker stock than the Reheat Models punch and die set.  The miniature trigger clamp is very useful for holding larger assemblies while glue dries. These are handy because they can be applied or released with one hand.

Steel spatulas, scrapers and hooks are very useful tools. Made for the medical, dental and art fields, surplus stock often appears at model exhibitions and are well worth buying. You might also ask your dentist for any old tools he is about to throw away! Proops Brothers also supply by mail order. The bottom tool in this picture is a Games Workshop product and has a small blade at one end and a  sculpting tool at the other. All of these tools are handy for getting glue into awkward spots, smoothing filler into joints, scraping and so on.

A fantastically useful tool, this is ‘The Chopper’. It is a miniature guillotine and uses single-edged razor blades to do the cutting. The angled strips can be clamped into place so that repeated cuts can be made accurately. It will handle plastic card and strip easily. but you must take heed of the warning sticker. The blade is unguarded so use a stick or tweezers to remove the cut parts and other waste material. I understand an improved version is now available from its manufacturers, North West Short Line, based in Seattle.