Whether it’s for a holiday or birthday, this Tools Under 30 Dollars Gift Guide Series shows you important, yet somewhat uncommon, tools that any gearhead would want.

Today, let’s talk about Hooks and Picks.

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Hooks and picks come in several flavors, from large, stout tools to smaller options akin to what you’d find in a dentist’s arsenal. There are even all-plastic ones, tailor made for working around electronics. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

A gearhead’s workload includes a range of jobs, from breaking loose massive axle bolts to installing tiny carburetor jets.

It’s those latter tasks that we’re focusing on today—and exactly why a good mechanic needs a small, precise set of hook and pick tools.

A flat hook style tool can be a big help when carefully removing carburetor jets. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

While carburetor repair immediately springs to mind when talking about these small, precise instruments, hooks and picks come in handy for a ton of other jobs—particularly electronics, where you’ll often find yourself working in very tight spots.

Here, we’re using a small pick to bend a tiny electrical connector pin back into place after it was damaged in the removal process. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Outside of automotive work, a hook and pick set can be beneficial for plenty of around-the-house repairs too, like removing O-rings on a plumbing fixture or bending clasps on jewelry.

They’re really useful for soldering jobs in particular, since you don’t want your hand near your red-hot solder.

A large hook came in handy for pulling back wires to repair the speaker solder joints on our shop’s stereo. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Interestingly, a lot of gearheads don’t have a good set of pick tools, often relying on a single tool to cover the entire gamut of jobs that a pick would be used for. Or they might make-do with homemade solutions, bent coat-hangers, or the wrong tool entirely.

Truth is though, having an assortment of sizes is critical to ensure you’re doing the job right, without damaging the parts you’re working with.

And if you need to carefully remove a rubber diaphragm or O-ring, a delicate pick can help avoid damaging both the rubber and the surface you’re working on. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

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All told, hooks, awls, scribes, and picks are the perfect example of simple, basic tools that are an invaluable asset to anyone’s toolbox. Best of all, they’re surprisingly affordable, so you’ll have no trouble finding a good hook and pick set for under 30 bucks.

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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or watching a 1972 Corvette overheat. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.