Tools You Need to Know for the ASVAB Auto & Shop Information Subtest

By Rod Powers

The ASVAB folks believe in using the right tool for the job, and many of the questions on the Auto & Shop Information subtest ask you to identify the best tool for certain tasks.

Striking tools

Striking tools apply driving force to an object. These tools include hammers, sledges, and mallets. Here’s a brief explanation of the three:

  • Hammer: A hammer is generally made of metal or plastic and consists of a handle, a head, a face, a claw, and a wedge that attaches the head to the handle.

    Various tools you need to know for the ASVAB.

    Various tools you need to know for the ASVAB.
  • Mallet: A mallet is generally made of metal or plastic but may be made of wood, rubber, or rawhide. It’s used to strike another tool or to strike a surface without damaging it.

  • Sledge: A sledge is generally made of metal. People use it to drive bolts and chisels and to break rock.

Cutting tools

Cutting tools have teeth. The number of teeth per inch gives an indication of the type of work the saw can do. Because of the way points and teeth are counted, a saw always has one more point per inch than tooth per inch. A saw with fewer teeth is used for rough work. A saw with more teeth cuts more finely and is used for more delicate work.

Cutting Tool Description/Function
Bolt cutters Heavy-duty shears that produce enough force when the handles
are closed to slice through metal bolts or rods
Circle snips Used to cut curves
Crosscut saw A type of handsaw that cuts against the grain of the wood; the
shape of the teeth and the angle in which they’re set are the
main differences in this type of saw
Coping saw A type of handsaw that’s used to cut curved lines or
Hacksaw A type of handsaw that’s used to cut metal; a hacksaw has
an adjustable frame that holds thin blades of varying length in
place; a handle is set in one end
Pipe cutters and tube cutters Used to score and cut metal pipes and tubes
Ripsaw A type of handsaw that cuts with the grain of the wood; the
shape of the teeth and the angle in which they’re set are the
main differences in this type of saw
Snips and shears Snips and shears have two cutting blades that scissor together
when the handles close; the blades can be curved or straight

Finishing tools

Filing and finishing shop tools are used to sharpen the blades of other tools and to smooth the edges of cut metal objects. Files come in a range of fineness, and the blades can be cut in different patterns. Files also come in different shapes to finish different kinds of objects. Here are the different kinds of files:

  • Singlecut: Single-cut files are used for finishing work and sharpening blades.

  • Doublecut: Double-cut files are used for rough work.

  • Flat files and halfround: These files are for general purposes.

  • Square and round: These files fit square and round openings.

Planes are a type of finishing tool used to prepare wood for final finishing and to fit doors and trim. Planes consist of a handle to push with, a knob to guide with, a frame, a sole, and a mouth. Bench planes are used to smooth surfaces.

Clamping tools

A clamping tool is a device used to hold or fasten objects securely so they won’t move while you’re working on them. There are several types of clamping tools available for many different purposes:

  • Pliers: Pliers can be used to hold objects while you’re working on them.

  • Vises: Vises hold material while it’s being sawed, drilled, or glued. Here are some different types of vises:

    • Bench vise: A bench vise has large, rough jaws that keep the material from slipping.

    • Pipe vise: Pipe vises hold round trim or pipes.

    • Handscrew vise: A handscrew vise has two hard, wooden jaws connected by two long screws. The screws are tightened to bring the jaws of the handscrew vise together.

  • Clamps: Clamps are used when a vise won’t work. Vises generally attach to a workbench, while clamps generally connect only to the items being worked with. C-clamps consist of a stationary frame and a screw that moves back and forth to open and shut the clamp.

Measuring tools

Tape rules, rigid steel rules, steel tape rules, and folding rules are all used to measure material. Calipers are also used for very exact and small measurements. Calipers can be used with a rule to measure diameter; the legs of a set of calipers curve in to measure outside curves and curve out to measure inside curves. Slide calipers have the rule built in.

Depth gauges measure the depth of holes. Thickness gauges measure the thickness of small openings. Thread gauges measure the number of threads per inch in threaded fasteners. Wire gauges measure the thickness of wire.

Leveling and squaring tools

A square is used to check the trueness of an angle, but they can also be used for measuring. Squares have two arms, called the blade and the tongue, that meet at a right angle. A square can be set against any angle that is supposed to be a 90-degree angle. If a gap exists between the square and the material, the material isn’t true — that is, it’s not at the specified angle. A sliding T-bevel has an adjustable blade so different angles can be checked.

Levels show whether a surface is true. A basic level has one or more small tubes filled with a liquid and an air bubble. If the level is placed on a surface and the bubble remains exactly in the center of the tube, the surface is level.

A plumb bob is a heavy weight that’s suspended from a line. It indicates vertical trueness.