Tool tales

Techs share stories from the field
September 1, 2007

The editors at AutoGlass magazine recently asked readers to share stories about their favorite auto glass tools. Not all of the stories made the cut, such as the guy who used an auto glass removal tool to take up a linoleum floor. It did the job, but didn’t quite fit into this article. If you have a story to share, please e-mail or call Jenni Chase at, 720/283-8202. Note, technicians should always follow tool manufacturers’ instructions for proper use.

The power cheese cutter
My favorite tool is the Equalizer Express Air tool. When I first got it, people scratched their heads trying to figure out what it was. My favorite moment was when my brother saw it for the first time. He came in during lunch hour and saw the tool. He didn’t say much, just that he would be back in time for break and was going to try out that new tool. I didn’t even get a chance to tell him what it was. He showed up at 3 p.m. with a bag. He took the bag out to the shop and grabbed the tool. He pulled out some crackers, plugged the tool into the air [source] and pulled out a block of cheese! He said, “Finally, someone invented a power cheese cutter!”
I’ve had the Equalizer Express Air tool for more than two years, and if anyone asks my brother what it is, he still tells them: “That’s a power cheese cutter. Don’t you have one?”
     Jason Baker | Owner/installer, Baker’s Auto Glass LLC | Pierre, S.D.

Breaking the ice
My favorite tool is an 18-volt cordless Extractor. Every time I pull it out, customers freak and ask with a horrified look on their face, “What’s that for?” I tell them jokingly, “This is used to chop up your dash, destroy the A-pillar molding and gouge the roof beyond repair. Stick around and you’ll see!” I always get the same reaction: “You’re joking right?” I explain myself and they usually calm down and we have a laugh. In the end,  they realize that…I like to play around to make them more comfortable, but I still take my job seriously, as I should. I put customers’ lives in my hands every day, and their safety is my main priority. Quality is my second, and customer satisfaction is third.
    Mike Burson | Branch manager, Tri-State Windshield & Glass | Bullhead City, Ariz.

A colorful idea
My favorite auto glass removal tool would have to be the neoprene cold-knife covers that Equalizer sells. The idea for them came when BMW introduced a multiple paint process for its vehicles, making the paint very costly to repair if damaged. If you weren’t careful, you could easily scratch the paint with your cold-knife cable as you pulled around the upper corners of the windshield. At the time, most technicians used electrical tape to cover the cable of their cold knives to avoid scratching the vehicle. I decided to visit a local home-improvement store to see if there was something better that I could use. I looked at a can of liquid rubber-like coating for tools and thought the same thing could be used for the cold knifes in technicians’ tool boxes. I also thought it would be useful to color-coordinate the covers so you could tell which length of blade was in the cold knife just by looking at the color of the cover. I submitted my idea to Ray Asbery, CEO of Equalizer, and he replied back with the three-piece neoprene covers for the cold knife and shrink tubing for the cables. At that time, the Equalizer covers were red. Now, they are color-coordinated.
     James Bell | Technician manager, Safelite Glass Corp. | Virginia Beach, Va.

My right hand
I have been installing auto glass since February of 1987. In 1989, I bought a PipeKnife urethane sealant cutout knife and tried it on a few vehicles where I couldn’t cut all the way through the urethane with a cold knife. I used the PipeKnife to cut from the inside [to finish the job]. Now, I use it on every [urethane-bonded] job, if not for cutting through the urethane, then for scraping. This tool is like my right hand. I even use it to cut out windshields. If I ever lost my cold knife or my [power tool], I would still feel safe with my PipeKnife.
The new PipeKnife QC is very useful. I use it on deep areas where the windshield goes way below the dash. It also works great on areas that are tight and won’t let normal cutting tools in. I would have thought this tool would be outdated by now and no longer useful, but it is one of the most valuable tools I carry in my box. By the way, I’m on my sixth PipeKnife since 1989. The new version with the pin where the blade goes is great! I can’t seem to wear this thing out!
     David Whisenhunt | Technician, Auto Glass Pro’s | Wichita, Kan.


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