Introduction: The Greatest Electronics Tip I Know -- the Spudger
I've tried to write this article a dozen times already and it always comes out sounding ridiculous. I mean when I say a spudger is basically a sharpened stick but it is an essential high tech electronics tool, there I just said it. Is anyone still with me? Or are you all off laughing? But I'm serious a spudger is a professional all around top 10 kind of a tool. If you only have 10 tools for doing electronics make sure a spudger is one of them. These things are on the short list of equipment you should have.
But how many folks are really familiar with spudgers? I know before I was introduced to one I wasn't. I had a lot more than 10 tools for doing electronics by that time too. So I'd like to just expose anyone here to the idea of spudgers if they don't already know about them.
Get one, use one, imagine all the things you can do with a spudger. This is definitely one of the tools that should be on your workbench, or in your tool bag. Oh, and it isn't out of the realm of reason at all for you to just make a spudger. These things are essentially just sharpened sticks after all. Try to pick a dense, hard, dry, relatively resin free wood if you decide to make your own. If yours chars, or gets gummed up with resin sanding it or whittling on it are accepted practices. As that is often done even with the commercial instruments, in order to fit them to specific jobs, or just shape them back up again, after some use. Yes, you can carve on your sharpened stick, it's OK!
(cue the apes raucously grunting)
So release your inner cave man when doing high tech electronics and embrace the spudger in your projects. Oh, and rate, and vote for me in the electronics tips & tricks contest because I could really use a clean tee shirt over here. Thanks!
P.S. Several people asked what you do with a spudger in the comments section (which I am not being notified of via email lately) I rewrote this article so many times I overlooked putting it into this version. The primary task spudgers are put to with electronics is to hold, position, and pry at components while soldering, because your fingers burn like candles when subjected to high heats. Plus you probably shouldn't grind, abrade, sand, or whittle your fingers to quite as thin a cross section as spudgers are.
You may see in my lead photo for this article I've several soldering aid kits in my tool pallet along with my spudgers. Spudgers are better. Though those soldering aid kit tools have their uses too. Just not for soldering. Why? Spudgers grip components better, they don't suck heat out of the joint, they're more comfortable to use too. Professionals use wooden spudgers, you should too. Your great 1,500 generations ago grandparents were right all along, sharpened sticks are where it's at!