TFB Armorer’s Bench: Ten Odd Tools on My Bench

    Odd Tools

    Welcome everyone to the TFB Armorer’s Bench! As mentioned in the little blurb below, this series will focus on a lot of home armorer and gunsmith activities. In this article, I decided to have a little fun and walk around my shop and challenge myself to find some odds and ends to talk about. Let us call them strange or “specialty” tools. I have compiled a list of ten that I came across after a few minutes of gather and debating. They are by no means all the weird stuff but it is plenty to cover a broad spectrum of jobs. Let’s dive right into the ten odd tools in my shop!

    Other Armorer’s Bench Equipment Reading on TFB:

    TFB Armorer’s Bench: Ten Odd Tools on My Bench

    Here, we at TFB hope to inform, entertain, and even inspire any would-be gunsmith or armorer out there. Ideally, with the information I provide and with the help of our sponsors, you can have some useful knowledge pertaining to the conservation and improvement of firearms technology while at the same time sharing experiences and teaching each other new tips and tricks along the way in the comments. Digging deep into what it is to be an armorer or gunsmith has significance but what is important is what those people do to show they’ve earned that title. I am happy to share my experiences and knowledge and hope it is informative!

    Make your personal safety a priority:

    1. Practice proper gun safety. Always make sure before the firearm hits your bench that it is unloaded and safe to be handled.
    2. Wear the proper safety equipment. The main one would be safety glasses (decent ones) since parts are often under spring tension and you may work with high RPM tools. Other honorable mentions would be latex gloves or a respirator when working with potentially harmful solvents and oils. Also hearing protection when working with loud machinery or test-firing firearms.
    3. Modifications, alterations, and customizations will void your firearm’s warranty 9.5 times out of 10. Please take that into consideration before attempting any at-home gunsmithing.
    4. If you are unsure about proper safety practices, disassembly procedures, or warranty standards, stop, put down the tools, and consult a competent gunsmith.

    Ten Odd Tools on My Bench: Disclaimer

    These tools are listed in no particular order and vary from being used a bunch to barely at all. Some have been acquired to do odd jobs and are on hand in the event I need them again. Some are not even tools by definition. Some may have a real-world use but at the bench, it may be used for something altogether. This article is meant to be a playful show and tell sort of thing. Make sure to let me know if you folks have any odds and ends that make it to your bench!

    Ten Odd Tools on My Bench: One – Choke Wrenches

    Kicking it off with a normal tool but a weird variety. You never know what choke wrench you will need and if I have the chance whether it is in the used market or packed along with one of my personal guns I snag a choke tube wrench that I don’t have. They are handy to have on hand because they can break or bend and you may need another one to do a job.

    Odd Tools

    Most jobs are obviously removing choke tubes but more commonly than not you will see literal stuck choke tubes. Choke tubes or at least the end of a shotgun barrel are often some of the most neglected parts of a shotgun that has changeable choke tubes. The threads become clogged with fouling of every kind and can even rust into place. Choke tube wrenches with socket slots (I am sure its called something else, please tell me) are extremely useful because a socket wrench or an impact drill can fit into the female socket slot in order to apply the right amount of torque to break the rust and fouling loose from the threads. There are many multitool style wrenches out there and in my experience, they perform so/so. They either have vague universal sizes or poor quality materials/construction. I do not mind them. I have a few but I tend to stick with the original manufacturer’s wrenches.

    Ten Odd Tools on My Bench: Two – Chamber Casting Alloy

    Chamber casting metal is commonly referred to as Cerrosafe which is actually a brand name. Think of it as if you were calling tissues kleenexes instead of just tissues. Cerrosafe is a low melting point alloy that is metal-containing multiple metals consisting of 42.5% bismuth, 37.7% lead, 11.3% tin, and 8.5% cadmium. Cerrosafe melts between 158 °F (70 °C) and 190 °F (88 °C). There are companies out there that make Cerrosafe and call it something else or have bought the name. I have heard it be called Bolton 160-190 for example.

    Odd Tools

    This casting alloy is intended to be used for casting chambers. Once a chamber is cast, punched out, and measured, the user can be able to determine the intended cartridge if it is not already noted or is in doubt. I have covered this process in a previous Armorer’s Bench article and that can be found at the link here.

    Ten Odd Tools on My Bench: Three – Jeweler’s Block

    My metal bench block is something I have mentioned before. Most notably in an article that details repairing flathead screws (link here). It is traditionally called a jewelers block and it is intended to be used much like an anvil but on a smaller scale. Metal parts are placed on or in the block and shaped as needed. I mainly utilize it for repairing screw heads or making springs.

    Odd Tools

    Ten Odd Tools on My Bench: Four – Tea Infuser

    I think that is what this is called right? I do not know, man. I typically drink coffee. Regardless, this one actually comes in handy. It is useful in multiple ways. I usually use it to hold small parts (springs, screws, pins, etc) while putting them through a conversion process, bluing process, or while in an ultrasonic cleaner. In a conversion process (the process of converting red rust into more manageable and removable rust) the parts would be in a vessel of boiling water. I do not like the idea of them cooking on the bottom so the infuser does the job. It serves the same or similar role to the other processes.

    Odd Tools

    Ten Odd Tools on My Bench: Five – M1 Carbine Bolt Tool

    I have had this tool for around five years now and have only used it once and for the first time recently (stay tuned for that article). A good friend of mine from my time at FN had given it to me because he did not want or need it anymore. In essence, it is more similar to a jig than an actual tool but I will call it a tool since its size is pocketable. It is a tool that makes the complete disassembly of an M1 Carbine bolt very simple and easier than if you had done it by hand.

    Odd Tools

    Ten Odd Tools on My Bench: Six – Hockey Pucks

    Okay, so hear me out. Living in the tundra that is Minnesota (it is not that bad) we obviously have winter sports. That being said, hockey pucks are a common thing to find on the lake shore or on the street after the snow and ice have melted away. A “pro tip” (I do not consider myself a pro) is that hockey pucks make excellent bench blocks. They are cheap and easy to drill holes into if need be. Whenever I find one laying around, I keep it because I know I will use it if it is within reach and I need a bench block.

    Odd Tools

    Ten Odd Tools on My Bench: Seven – Forend Wrench

    This goofy-looking tool is a shotgun forend wrench. If I need to inspect the tube portion of the slide on a pump action shotgun or repair or replace the wood/synthetic forend. This specific tool is meant for a Remington 870 but if memory serves it would also work on a Mossberg. It specifically is meant to remove the forend nut that is recessed down in the forend.

    Odd Tools

    Ten Odd Tools on My Bench: Eight – Carding Wheel

    This is an essential tool when it comes to repairing the finish on or refinishing firearms. It may look like a standard wire wheel which it is but the wires are so thin and soft that you could stick your hand in while it is spinning and it would hardly do a thing to you. It is meant to take fresh and softened rust off of metal parts. It is often used after a conversion process or in the middle of a rust bluing process. Degreased steel wool works as well but the carding wheel is king!

    Ten Odd Tools on My Bench: Nine – M14/M1A Gas Cylinder Wrench

    The name is pretty self-explanatory and this one is pretty pigeonholed since it is only meant for the M14/M1A platform. This wrench is meant to prevent damage to the gas apparatus on an M14/M1A while working with it. That could be complete removal or just general maintenance.

    Odd Tools

    Ten Odd Tools on My Bench: Ten – M&P15-22 Specialty Tools

    I sort of cheated with this one since I lumped all three of these together but it was all a part of customizing an M&P15-22 pistol. These tools are from a website called Below is pictured a Barrel Nut Wrench intended to get at the barrel nut for the M&P15-22 which is recceed down into the handguard. The long tube on the left is a Breech Block Wrench which is supposed to work in tandem with the Barrel Nut Wrench but from the inside of the receiver. Lastly is a set of soft aluminum vise jaws meant to hold onto a barrel.

    Odd Tools

    Final Thoughts: Ten Odd Tools on My Bench

    Like I said at the beginning, this was more of a just-for-fun show-and-tell article. As you do this more and more, you begin to get tools for odd jobs and you find yourself equipped better for future ones. It never seems to end and it becomes this grand scattered collection. Maybe I will do this again with some more. Until then, do any of you folks have some odds and ends on your bench?

    Odd Tools

    As always, thank you for reading TFB! Be safe out there, have fun while shooting, and we will see you next time for the TFB Armorer’s Bench! Also, let us know what you think in the comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.


    Writer | TheFirearmBlog
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    Instagram | sfsgunsmith

    Old soul, certified gunsmith, published author, avid firearm history learner, and appreciator of old and unique guns.