Most Useful Tool Ever—But Which?



I know December 1965 is a long time ago. But this mystery propounded in that month's issue of Popular Science remains unsolved.

Which item is the best? The Poprivet Gun, or the Dual Heat Soldering Gun?

Please state your reasoning with your vote.

Original ad here. (Scroll down several pages for second one.)
     Posted By: Paul - Thu Oct 18, 2012
     Category: Contests, Races and Other Competitions | Tools | 1960s

Pop rivet gun by far. Battery operated drill and the riveter, you can attach anything to anything. Haven't had a need for corded, heavy duty soldering tools for a very long time.
Posted by Brad on 10/18/12 at 08:59 AM
The soldering gun, of course! While the pop-rivet gun is fun to use it lacks the versatility of Weller's little invention. You can't write your name on a piece of wood in pop-rivets. You can't pop-rivet a bug to see if it will explode. You can't pop-rivet off that slut's girl's name from your forearm. And, let's not even waste time on what can be done with the weird neighbor lady's cat! :zip:

Do they even sell pop-rivets on Mariahilfer Straße?
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 10/18/12 at 09:27 AM
Expat, last time I was there, I must allow I didn't notice any pop rivets. Now, around the Brandenburger Tor is a different matter.
Posted by TheCannyScot in Atlanta, GA on 10/18/12 at 09:41 AM
Funny Expat, your first line is exactly what I was thinking but for a different reason altogether. My dad had one of those soldering guns and a couple of pencil ones he used a lot in his TV shop. If daddy used it it must be very useful.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 10/18/12 at 10:43 AM
I use both, but neither is best. I always carry a pocket knife. Second would be my multi-tool in it's kevlar holster. This is the tool that flips open to be pliers or a knife etc.
Posted by BMN on 10/18/12 at 11:59 AM
Those Weller soldering guns were/are junk, the tip always splits apart and renders the whole unit useless. A soldering iron is the way to go. The pop riveter on the other hand uses no electricity and will last for decades.
Posted by wekjo on 10/18/12 at 12:06 PM
They're both right.

The Pop-Rivet gun is the most useful "tool," but it makes a lousy gift because the kit is cheap and refill packs cost a small fortune (or they did, I haven't bought any in decades).

The soldering iron is the most useful "gift" because most people don't need one often enough to justify buying one themselves, but they'll remember you gave it to them every time they use it.
Posted by Phideaux on 10/18/12 at 01:53 PM
It depends on your audience. Personally, I think "Kit, in gay Christmas package" sells itself. 😊
Posted by Graboid on 10/18/12 at 02:54 PM
How about a gun that shoots hot pop rivets? Terrorize all the little miscreants and animals in the neighborhood.
Posted by KDP on 10/18/12 at 04:43 PM
I grew up using my dad's Weller soldering gun and that thing was great. Used it way more than the pop rivets. My vote is for the soldering iron.

Every time I use my crappy little wand style soldering iron I think fondly of that Weller.
Posted by Miles on 10/18/12 at 10:31 PM
I still have my Weller from about 1967. I soon found that you can use ordinary copper wire for a tip. For fast and delicate heating I grind the tip of a piece of 14 gauge down.
Posted by BMN on 10/19/12 at 12:53 AM
I wish I still had dad's. It went with the rest of the equipment, oscilloscope, tube tester, ect when mom sold the business after he died. There was so much I could have learned from him, 10 more years and I'd have been able to run the business when he passed. He'd have taught me everything and I'd have joyfully learned, I was by his side constantly anyway. Ah, lost opportunities...sigh. :down:
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 10/19/12 at 03:49 AM
Yea, I can't even count the number of times I've said to myself, "Damn but I wish I had a pop rivetter right now."

Weller gun, by a mile.
Posted by noodles on 10/19/12 at 08:34 AM
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