2097: Thor Tools

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Thor Tools
CORRECTION: After careful evaluation, we have determined that the axis label on this chart was printed backward.
Title text: CORRECTION: After careful evaluation, we have determined that the axis label on this chart was printed backward.

Explanation[edit]

In Norse mythology, Thor is the name of a god of thunder and lightning. His signature weapon is a magic hammer called Mjölnir. In popular culture Thor might be best known for his role in Marvel comics and films, which his appearance here seems to be referencing. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, Avengers: Infinity War, Thor also wields an axe named Stormbreaker.

Although this hammer was historically a weapon, this comic interprets it as it would more commonly be interpeted today -- as a tool. The comic is listing various hand tools in order of utility and viability as Thor's weapon, besides his actual, enchanted hammer. Hammers are heavy, blunt, and can do large amounts of damage to an opponent, whereas a hand plane is sharp, but only in one place, and will only inflict surface wounds.

Some of these tools require power, which would generally require Thor to stay near an outlet or keep a battery charging, such as the circular saw, or Dremel. However, being the god of lightning may allow him to circumvent this, by producing electricity for the direct current (D.C.) tools, although he would need an inverter to convert the lightning (D.C.) to alternating current (A.C.) for the tools requiring it. Thor would also need compressed air for the nail gun or jackhammer, only allowing Thor so many shots before reloading the air tank at an outlet, or via a concentrated wind storm.

The nail gun and staple gun would also require nails or staples respectively to function as a weapon. Although Mjölnir is believed to return to Thor if thrown, it's not clear how a similar system could work with nails and staples.

The usefulness of the nail gun as a weapon might depend on whether it was an older one that can be bump-fired or a newer one that requires a separate trigger pull for each nail.

In the title text, Randall writes that the order of the axis label should be reversed, making the plane the best tool and Mjölnir the worst. Considering that the title of the comic is "Thor Tools" ("tools", instead of "weapons"), the argument seems to be that a hammer is less useful than the rest, by seeing them as tools and not as weapons.

A few other interpretations of this could be:

  • Randall proposes that Thor armed with a plane or digital calipers would be much more fearsome than with a hammer.
  • The "value" of the more strange-seeming items would be much higher than his traditional hammer, perhaps more gory or more humorous.
  • Thor tends to cause collateral damage, and would cause less with a plane or calipers.
  • "Best" and "worst" are to be interpreted for Thor's enemies rather than Thor himself.
  • Randall might just find the idea of Thor wielding a Plane as a weapon to be really funny.

The title may be a reference to Gary Larson's The Far Side comic, Cow Tools.

List of tools[edit]

All shown tools are explained below:

Hammer
A hammer is a tool consisting of a weighted "head" fixed to a long handle that is swung to deliver an impact to a small area of an object. Thor was a hammer-wielding god and produced the lighting by using this tool. A war hammer was an actual blunt weapon used for combat in medieval times, and is the original Thor's attribute. There exists a variety of craftsman's hammers designed for specific purposes which can be used as weapons of opportunity to various degrees, depending on the tool's size, weight and material.
Axe
An axe or just ax is another old human tool used to split and cut wood, but it also was used as a dangerous weapon in the medieval times. The battle-axes of old were of considerably different design than the woodworking ones, being lighter and having thinner and wider blades. A woodworking axe, though not designed for combat, could be a formidable weapon of opportunity. Notably, this tool is placed as worse than the hammer, possibly indicating Randall's thoughts on Thor's axe, 'Stormbreaker' which features in the Marvel films. (Note: In Norse mythology Thor is depicted exclusively with a hammer rather than an axe).
Claw hammer
A claw hammer is a hammer tool primarily used for driving nails into other objects, but also for pulling nails from them. This item seems a bit redundant in the presence of a general hammer on the axis, but could be seen as more scary because it has a pointed, curved and split back head (used for pulling nails). In fact, the usefulness of its back head for combat is debatable at least. On the other hand, it is smaller and lighter than some other craftman's hammers, and less scary than a true war hammer, so its place on the axis may be justified.
Circular saw
A circular saw is using a, mostly electric powered, fast-revolving toothed disc to cut materials. A stationary version is called a table saw but the figure of Thor drawn above presents him using a lighter hand-held version making a buzzing sound. Since the power of the saw is far beyond the human power it is quite a dangerous tool and could be fatal to the user himself. However, it would be rather unwieldy in combat, as it is quite heavy and bulky. Also, electric circular saw would be limited by its cord length, however cordless (battery-operated) saws exist today. This item could be a mock reference to a common trope in horror movies or computer games, when a chainsaw (not a circular saw) is used a weapon.
Shovel
A shovel is also a historic tool. It can be used to dig into the ground, move snow or dirt, harvest, and much more. Because it has a relatively thin, sharp metal blade at the end of a pole, it can be used as a weapon of opportunity. Indeed, a small (sometimes foldable), sturdy spade was and still is a standard issue item for an infantryman in some countries, intended mainly for entrenching work, but also usable as a weapon – and the soldiers are trained to use it as such, sometimes to a high skill, specifically among special forces. It is rumored that Russian Spetznaz operators are specifically trained to use their spades as throwing weapons. It is therefore more useful in combat than a circular saw – but may be seen as less scary.
Jackhammer
A jackhammer is a power tool used to drill and crush hard but brittle materials like stone, concrete etc. It has heavy body with a protruding shaft that makes hard and rapid back-and-forth (and optionally also rotary) movements that drive an implement (a drill, a chisel etc.) into the worked material. Like the circular saw jackhammer is a tool that is powered far beyond single human capabilities. Most jackhammers are very heavy and can be reasonably used only in a facing-down position to work on floors, pavements and other near-horizontal surfaces, nullifying combat application. However, since Thor is purportedly very strong, he may be able to hold it horizontally for some combat...
Socket wrench
A handle attached to a socket wrench is mostly used to tighten bolts or nuts. But since it is quite heavy and resembles a hammer it could also be used in a similar fashion. It may be a self-reference to comic 538.
Bolt cutters
Bolt cutters are cutters with very long handles, typically 2 or 3 feet long, and comparatively tiny jaws. The length of the handles provides the user enough mechanical advantage to sheer through things like bolts, chain links, and lock shackles. Although this tool can cut some fairly tough objects, its usefulness in combat is limited – as far as the cutting action goes at least. On the other hand they are quite heavy and can be used as a blunt weapon.
Hacksaw
A hacksaw is a type of hand saw with very small teeth. Hacksaws are well suited to cutting materials like metal and plastic, where the larger teeth of a wood saw would tend to bind or damage the material around the cut. Hacksaw blades are fairly unlikely to seriously injure people, though a hacksaw may be useful against metal baddies like Ultron.
Nail gun
A nail gun is a tool for driving nails or other fasteners into various materials ranging from soft wood to hard concrete by a single powerful "shot" to the nail being driven. There are models powered by compressed air, electricity (several types of mechanisms) or explosive charges similar to firearm ammunition (most often compatible with .22 Short blank cartridges). They are normally used by slightly pushing the "nozzle" against an object, disengaging a safety nose contact mechanism, and pulling the trigger. These are quite dangerous tools and can be potentially modified – by removing safety mechanisms – to act similarly to a handgun, shooting nails as high-speed projectiles. Its place in the middle of the axis seems not right compared to the work hazard level of other tools placed left of it. If safety mechanisms are left intact, a nail gun would need to be used in close combat by pressing it against an opponent which would make it difficult to apply, but if applied successfully it would inflict grievous wounds.
Staple gun
A staple gun is a tool used to drive staples (C-shaped pieces of hard wire) into relatively soft materials such as wood, plastics and light masonry in order to fix something to them. There exist spring-loaded hand-operated staple guns as well as power ones utilizing either electricity or compressed air. The power discharged during staple action is a lot less than that of a nail gun and would inflict minor skin wounds at most. If one manages to eject a staple into the air (not against an object) it won't travel very far. A figure of Thor is drawn above the axis showing him using a staple gun this way, with staples falling short onto the ground. The gun held by Thor makes kachunk sounds characteristic for a spring-loaded version of the tool.
Coping saw
A coping saw is a hand saw with a thin replaceable blade and is used to cut curves and shapes in wood or other relatively soft materials. While it could produce a surface wound and draw blood, a person would generally not stand still long enough to be seriously hurt by being sawed at by a coping saw, plus they could bend or break the blade relatively easily.
Screwdriver (flat)
A (flat) screwdriver is a metal rod with a handle, flattened and ground at the other end to form a fairly sharp but short edge perpendicular to the rod. It is normally used to drive screws into a material, by putting the edge into a groove on the screw's head and turning it while pressing firmly. It is not very dangerous normally, but many people have cut their fingers while driving screws in, or sometimes whilst using it incorrectly to unscrew a bolt. It could potentially be used as a stabbing weapon similarly to a dagger, but much less effectively, or alternatively the heavy handle may be used as a bludgeon, though the smooth rod would be difficult to grip. Some nations seem to regard it so much dangerous as to ban its possession in public along knives.
Ball-peen hammer
Like a regular hammer, a ball-peen hammer has a flat head designed to hammer things like nail. However instead of the "claw" a regular carpenter's hammer has to pull out nails, it has a second head that is shaped like a ball and which is used to bang surfaces such as sheet metal directly. A ball-peen hammer is probably the smallest of traditional hammers, and usually used for more delicate work. Thor's Hammer has two flat surfaces for pounding (no claw), so a ball peen might be like a smaller Thor's Hammer and could be pretty deadly in his hands. The ball part would probably not be any more or less effective than the flat part, except it might bounce or deflect off some surfaces where a flat one might not.
Screwdriver (Phillips)
Similar to a flat screwdriver, but with a cross-shaped tip, designed to drive screws with matching cross-shaped heads. While a Phillips screwdriver could potentially be used as an improvised weapon to stab or strike like a flat screwdriver, the blunter, cross shape is less likely to inflict cutting injury, likely leading to its lower position on the list.
Awl
An awl is a hand tool, basically a rather short, thin, sharp (sometimes curved) spike with a handle. It is used for punching holes through soft material (leather, fabrics) or to mark points or lines on wood or metal to assist further work such as cutting or drilling. In a pinch, it could be used as a stabbing weapon like a dagger, but a screwdriver is more sturdy for such purpose.
Digital Caliper
Digital calipers are an instrument for precisely measuring the dimensions of small objects. Typically, digital calipers can measure inner diameters, outer diameters, and depth. The reason they are considered more formidable than Dremels and planes is likely how surprisingly sharp the calipers are. They need to be sharp to make accurate measurements, but it is not uncommon for people to cut themselves while using a digital caliper.
Dremel
Dremel is a brand name (often used in a generic sense) of small rotary power tools that can be used in precise work involving small objects such as engraving, milling, drilling, grinding, cutting, polishing etc. It consists of a relatively small and lightweight body housing a high-speed electric motor driving a shaft equipped with a chuck. Various implements can be fixed to the chuck – drills, milling cutters of various shapes, small cutting disks, grinding stones, brushes, soft polishing disks etc. Typically the tool is used handheld against an object held in a vice. It can also be mounted in a stand with a flexible shaft attached, at the other end of which an implement is fixed in a chuck, allowing for still more precise work. A Dremel would be rather useless in combat, effecting in superficial wounds only. It could be seen as a baby circular saw, therefore much less scary and placed much more to the right of the scale. However, it is still a heavy object with a firm grip, and could plausibly be wielded as a bludgeon, making it slightly more effective than a plane.
Plane
A hand plane is a tool for shaping wood using muscle power to force the cutting blade over the wood surface. It is designed to scrape layers of wood off the surface. While a plane does have a sharp edge and can cause painful injuries if misused, its awkward shape and the small size of the cutting edge would make it impractical to wield and nearly useless as a combat weapon, even for bludgeoning. A hand plane could plausibly be used as a particularly brutal torture device on a restrained victim, but as Thor is typically depicted as an honorable and heroic character it is unlikely that he would use one in this manner.

Transcript[edit]

[A wide image is shown in a single frame.]
Hand tools Thor could have ended up with
[Below is a small centered horizontal line with arrows at both ends, labeled "Best" to the left and "Worst" on the right.]
[The rest of the image shows an other horizontal line in the middle, also with arrows at both ends, covering the full width. Items are marked by a dot with a text above or below, and sometimes a figure wearing a winged helmet, above the line, uses a tool mentioned below:]
Hammer
Axe
Claw hammer
Circular saw
[Above, the winged helmet guy uses a circular saw:]
Bzzzz zzzz
Shovel
Jackhammer
Socket wrench
[Above, the winged helmet guy spins the socket of a socket wrench with a tiny sound.]
Bolt cutters
Hacksaw
Nail gun
Staple gun
[Above, the winged helmet guy fires staples into the ground in front of him:]
Kachunk kachunk
Coping saw
Screwdriver (flat)
Ball-peen hammer
Screwdriver (Phillips)
Awl
Digital Caliper
Dremel
[Above, the winged helmet guy shows a running Dremel to the left:]
Bzzzzz
Plane


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Discussion

I think the comment about the axis direction is based on how you interpret the terms Best and Worst - either for Thor or those who encounter him. Ianrbibtitlht (talk) 17:15, 11 January 2019 (UTC)

I agree. That interpretation should be in the explanation instead of the present one.--Pere prlpz (talk) 19:58, 11 January 2019 (UTC)
Nah. It's definitely "Best" as "Funniest". -- Hkmaly (talk) 23:07, 11 January 2019 (UTC)
Could "axis" be a play on words? The plural of "axis" is "axes." Seezee (talk) 18:38, 14 January 2019 (UTC)
It's also a play on Tools vs Weapons. The chart title is "Tools" of Thor. Thor's hammer and axe are useful weapons, but not useful for building something.172.68.65.228 14:08, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
Whoops, it's already mentioned in the article. This is not the comment you are looking for. Nothing to see here, move along.172.69.62.220 14:12, 15 February 2019 (UTC)

Many nail-guns use cartridges filled with a combustible material (gunpowder or similar) rather than a supply of compressed air. A blank load of a .22 rimfire pistol cartridge is typical. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powder-actuated_tool 50.202.80.200 18:35, 11 January 2019 (UTC)

Is there a possibility that the reversed axis suggests an (aero)plane as the worst weapon? Bad taste rules it out I suppose. 108.162.212.179 18:46, 11 January 2019 (UTC) Nic

I think a lightning staple/nail gun would be pretty dope...Linker (talk) 18:52, 11 January 2019 (UTC)

I've been hit or otherwise injured by most of these, but I do not know of anyone who has been planed, that's how dangerous planes are, everyone knows to be careful. SDSpivey (talk) 19:17, 11 January 2019 (UTC)

I'm not sure if you're being humorous or if you have experience with powered board planers. Are they dangerous? 162.158.78.178 20:37, 11 January 2019 (UTC)
It's like that World War II story about warplanes returning to base with an especially large amount of bullet holes away from the engine compartment: the reason being that shots to the engine were often fatal to the vehicle. Similarly, there are few people who are left to tell the horrors of plane tool injuries, as they are almost universally fatal. (I'm interpreting OP's post as a joke, for the record)172.69.62.10 02:53, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
I have a neighbor who is missing the tips of several fingers on both hands. When asked what happened he explained that he pushed a board through a power planer without using a push-stick and slipped and the plane took off his fingertips. When asked about his left hand he explained that he used his left hand to push boards through the planer while his right hand was healing. (Yes, the tool most likely was a joiner not a planer, let’s not go down that particular rabbit hole)173.245.54.25 04:55, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
No, quite serious, planes are deceptively dangerous.SDSpivey (talk) 17:57, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
It's notable that Randall specifies _hand_ tools. He likely meant a hand plane. Having tried to produce the curve in a bow by kneeling over it and scraping toward myself using the leverage of my legs and back, I can see these as potentially being dangerous, too. But most don't appear very dangerous as they have guards preventing deep cutting. 162.158.78.232 15:39, 14 January 2019 (UTC)

It's a pity he didn't add "Screwdriver (sonic)" to the chart. JamesCurran (talk) 19:48, 11 January 2019 (UTC)

There are some nailguns that don't use compressed air tanks or combustible materials - they have air compressors in them, powered by drill batteries or wall outlets. 162.158.167.120 20:12, 11 January 2019 (UTC)

Also, unless that's an electric staple gun, the transcript should say nail gun. Look at how it's being held - as if there's a trigger, not as if there's a big handle on the back. 162.158.167.120 20:17, 11 January 2019 (UTC)

It looks like a staplegun to me, which is the most common of the options. I figure the lever is pressed. But that's a good point, his hand is up towards the top, not down towards the bottom for leverage. (edited from previous comment when I realized I was wrong and wanted to talk nicer) 162.158.78.178 20:37, 11 January 2019 (UTC)

Interpretations of items (feel free to change if desired): 162.158.78.178 20:37, 11 January 2019 (UTC)

  • Thor holds an adversary who refuses to free hostages, swiping the plane closer and closer to their. Soon chunks of hair are flying. "OH MY GOD DON'T PLANE ME!"
  • Thor throws his flying dremel towards the control board of a distant nuclear bomb on a timer, where it _CUTS THE RED WIRE THE TIMER READS 0:00_
  • An evil corporation is marketing a new treatment for depression. Thor marches into a demonstration being broadcast worldwide. Brandishing Mjolnir, his digital calipers, he measures the subject's left eyeball. THE TREATMENT HAS GROWN IT BY TWO THOUSANDTHS OF AN INCH.

Actually Mjolnir was supposed to be in original myth a weapon, not a tool. Hammer used as weapon is different from hammer used as a tool; this is even more pronounced for axes: the fighting axe is quite different (less weight, much thinner and sharper blade) than e.g. woodcutter axe. --JakubNarebski (talk) 22:07, 11 January 2019 (UTC)

Soo... I'm guessing that chainsaw was left off because it would require a log axis? 173.245.48.63 22:36, 11 January 2019 (UTC)

Does anyone else fell like the first items are an Infinity War reference?

Depending on which type of digital caliper is wielded, it can be a nasty weapon or more like a rock. The kind that looks like a C-clamp not so fierce. But the Vernier digital caliper can be used like a double sided pick. Imagine Thor driving the inside caliper tines into the side of your head and then spinning the wheel to crack open your skull. Wait... don't imagine that. Fungible (talk) 00:47, 12 January 2019 (UTC)

Would the caliper still function as a measurement tool after this use? 162.158.78.106 15:59, 12 January 2019 (UTC)

It appears to me that a lot of the punchline of the comic is the "dremel", whatever that is, as it is near the right side of the comic and is allegedly what Thor is wielding in the last image. I think it definitely needs further explanation! Maybe I am the only person that has never heard of "dremel" before today, but I doubt it? Even looking it up just tells me that the Dremel company makes "hand held rotary tools", but that doesn't tell me what those are used for, and makes me think of phones... and Wikipedia says they also make other products such as 3D printers... Mathmannix (talk) 12:50, 12 January 2019 (UTC)

The article is seriously missing a list of tools with photos. Could somebody familiar with markup at least make a skeleton table for the rest of us to slowly fill in? I think a dremel is a small powered object like a thick pencil, with a small bit at the end that spins at high speeds. I think you can place the spinning bit against stuff to cut, grind, clean, or polish it, depending on the attachment, not sure, never used one myself. 162.158.78.106 15:59, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
A Dremel tool is a small motor-powered tool with a locking chuck into which you can insert the shaft of various attachments. Typical attachments include small carbide cutting/grinding heads, thin abrasive cutoff disks, small saw blades, cylindrical abrasive drums, drill bits, soft polishing disks, etc. There are probably hundreds of different attachments available for just about any type of small work requirements. They do indeed run at high speeds, although some of the tools have variable speed control. Their advantage is the ability to control their application on small craft items with extreme precision. Ianrbibtitlht (talk) 04:20, 13 January 2019 (UTC)
It's more properly called a die grinder or rotary tool. Dremel is simply a brand name that has fallen into regular usage as a generic trademark (much like kleenex, velcro, teflon, etc). That said, most people I talk to have no idea what I mean by "rotary tool" so I've sort of given up on using the tool's actual name. It's important to note that the tool relies on speed rather than torque for performing most functions. A dentist's drill is a good example of the possible application of this tool. 103.22.200.144 13:18, 13 January 2019 (UTC)
Thor meets Inspector Gadget: Archaeology 172.68.65.228 16:15, 13 January 2019 (UTC)
I don't know if it was on Randall's mind, but this old TV commercial for a Dremel multi-tool is quite apt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgKLhzArQTI . In the commercial, a narrator enthusiastically rattles off all of the various DIY tasks that can be accomplished by a Dremel... but the punchline is a hammer banging a nail into a piece of wood, the one thing that Dremel can't do (although it can cut the nail). Hawthorn (talk) 13:42, 14 January 2019 (UTC)

There exist electric jackhammers and pyrotechnic nailguns, so compressed air supply is not essential for Thor. -- 198.41.242.46 17:16, 13 January 2019 (UTC)

I'm not sure if Randall was watching Infinity War closely enough. The axe is far, FAR more powerful than the hammer.

Don't show this comic to the Brits - they'd ban all the tools listed, and more. -- 162.158.88.128 15:16, 14 January 2019 (UTC)

Where's the Lathe of Asgard on this scale? -- 172.69.69.190 16:01, 14 January 2019 (UTC)

Gary Larson

How about "thor's hammer, screwdriver and crescent wrench " (https://www.pinterest.de/pin/482025966347236010/) 162.158.114.76 09:21, 14 January 2019 (UTC)