The Odd Side of Construction: Tools and Jobs You Didn't Know Existed

We’ve all seen our fair share of construction sites, but just because you’ve seen one does not mean you’ve seen them all. In fact, there is an odd side that few know about and, if you dig deep enough, you just might find a collection of bizarre construction tools and jobs that you didn’t know existed…

ODD CONSTRUCTION TOOLS YOU DIDN’T KNOW EXISTED

1. The Drill Mortiser
What do you get when you cross a drill press with a chainsaw? You get this odd looking contraption known as a drill mortiser. Although it looks like a Frankenstein-ish collection of parts from other machines, it’s highly effective when used for cutting mortise slots into large posts, logs and beams. Of course, the function behind this beast is pretty basic, but once it starts cranking, the power in which it cuts is anything but ordinary.

IMG SOURCE: http://toolmonger.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/Makita1.jpg

2. The Nail Kicker
­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Making the job of the nail straighteners (keep reading to find out about them) an even easier task to take on is this very odd nail gun from the Bizarro World. Yes, rather than inject nails into the wood, like a normal nail gun, this “nail kicker” power tool is actually designed to extract nails instead.

IMG SOURCE: http://www.whatsnewbuilder.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/v20-nail-kicker-w-drivers-5-grey-bkgd-copy.jpg

3. Giant Swiss Army Knife
Everyone is familiar with your standard boy scout issued Swiss Army knife, however, have you seen the monstrous, more power anniversary model? No joke; consisting of 87 instruments, including 14 blades, a saw and several screwdrivers that can perform 141 functions, this is truly one of the more bizarre tools you might find on a construction site – one that sells in actual stores for $1,400 but seems too bizarre to be real.

IMG SOURCE: http://swiss-army-discounts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/wenger-giant-knife.jpg

4. The Thumb Saver
No, it’s not a memory saving thumb drive for your computer! For any novice on the construction site that’s concerned about the well-being of their thumbs, here’s a really handy “thumb saver” device. The pros are that it holds the nails in place via magnets so that you can avoid smashing your fingers with the swinging hammer, however, the cons; you lose all construction site “street cred” by using it.

IMG SOURCE: http://www.sportys.com/source/images/jQzoom/8334.jpg

5. The Halligan Bar
Serving the exact opposite effect as the thumb saver above, the more you’re seen wielding this halligan bar, the more your man card is valued. Used by firemen, rescue workers and construction workers for a variety of tasks, this multi-tool may look like a murder weapon but, we assure you, the 30-inches of alloy steel or titanium is all kinds of useful on the construction site.

IMG SOURCE: http://gearpatrol.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/halligan-bar-gear-patrol.jpg

ODD CONSTRUCTION JOBS YOU DIDN’T KNOW EXISTED

1. Dogman
Acquiring the skill and accreditation to operate heavy machinery takes time and effort, however, in the job description of the Dogman, you don’t really need to know that kind of technical stuff. In short, the Dogman is the guy who stands on the ground and tells the trained crane driver what's happening both on the ground and with his load (via hand signals or transistor radio). In the end, this profession is much like guiding someone into a parking space.

IMG SOURCE: http://www.cfmeu.asn.au/sites/default/files/imagecache/gallery_main/images/galleries/jobs-covered-by-cfmeu-construction-general/doggers/d1athedogger1567.jpg

2. Porta-John Maintenance Attendant
When you have hundreds of men working on a job site, it’s inevitable that a good portion of them will need to “relieve” themselves at some point during the work day. With that, there needs to be a full-time maintenance attendant for the temporary toilets and/or outhouses on site – cleaning, stocking toilet paper, etc. Although this individual might not get the same sense of fulfillment as the workers constructing the buildings, they can rest well knowing that they have job security – after all, men will always need a place to “go”.


IMG SOURCE: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b1/Porta_Potty_by_David_Shankbone.jpg

3. Nail Straightener
For the construction sites on an ultra tight budget, some superintendents have been known to assign a nail straightener. Yes, believe it or not, in order to save money on supplies, a worker is sometimes given the assignment to round up and pull all of the nails that have been bent or discarded and to re-straighten them for future use. The problem is that these weakened nails bend immediately, as soon as they’re hit again.


IMG SOURCE: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1154/752240824_642a722ec6.jpg

4. Animal Security Detail
For the more rural construction sites, there is often a need for security – not to protect against meddling teenagers necessarily but against the wildlife. Be it snake holes that need to be dealt with, pesky rodents that get in the way of efficiency or ducks in a pond that is being serviced, some constructions sites have been known to appoint an animal security detail – a worker with a gun (loaded with blanks) that is simply in charge of scaring off any animal distractions.

IMG SOURCE: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-321Zx0y3WKM/TpyKC18gBCI/AAAAAAAAABI/zg79niuX0ek/s1600/Picture%2B001.jpg

5. Site Monitors (AKA Tattletale)
This position goes by many different titles but most construction sites have a person standing on the sidelines, simply watching the workers and their techniques, just waiting for a mistake that can be reported or reprimanded. Admittedly, the job is in place for overall safety and quality control but if you ask any blue-collar construction worker what they think of their site monitor, they’ll tell you it’s a cushy job.

IMG SOURCE: http://pmtips.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/construction-pm.jpg

We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of odd construction tools and jobs that you didn’t know existed. Above all, we hope it showed you that there is an odd side to the construction industry that you can’t see by simply driving by any ‘ol construction site.

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