Unique Tools of the Trade by Lt. Pete Lund

I remember every phone call from Pete that started off with “You will not believe what JAF made this week”. JAF was better known as Jack-Ass Fabrications out of the shop at Rescue 2 in Brooklyn. His crew of fabricators were always coming up with the next best tool to end all tools. We at Kentland were always fortunate to be recipients of these tools as Pete would bring them down to try while he was riding the bar on Tower 33. As we would be sitting back in the office talking about the production of these tools the story would always go to the fireman that created the tool or the firemen that help develop it. These stories in his typical New York fashion had me always laughing out loud and usually in tears from laughing so hard. I wanted to share these tools with our readers and also give you a glimpse of the founder of Traditions Training Lt. Pete Lund, our friend and mentor and of course a great story teller. These descriptions were written by Pete for each of these tools…

Pete grinding on the Lund Bar

Pete grinding on the Lund Bar

 

The Lund Bar

The Lund Bar has an interesting history. Due to union agreements in the FDNY, the officers are permitted to carry a small tool for personal use only. I felt that I wanted a tool with a little heft to it so I approached the charter members of “JAF” and asked them to shrink a Halligan tool down for me so as not to cause union problems on the fire floor.

We simply took the middle 6″ or 8″ out of the center of the tool, prepared it for welding by bringing the two pieces to a point (to insure better welds)and then rejoined the two pieces with welds. After having one made for me, and seeing the success of the tool, other officers asked the men of “JAF” to make one for them.

After the welds had been ground down and made smooth, we put the finishing touches on the tool by first putting a line of wrapped medical tape under a layer of thick, rubber electrical tape to make the tool easier to grip. In the past couple of years, the tools have been made by Jimmy Jaget, Sam Melisi and Vinnie Tavella for me – I have tried not to burden any one of our expert welders too much!!!

Interestingly enough, I have noticed that Firemark Tools is now marketing a 20″ Halligan Bar in their catalog but it was Jackass Fabrications that was in the forefront several years ago with this tool!!!

The Lincoln Bar

So what is “the Lincoln Bar” that is carried on Tower 33 and where did it come from? Well, the birth of the Lincoln Bar actually took place back in the early 1980s in the FDNY’s Rescue Company 2 in Brooklyn, better know as “The Boro of Fire.” The originator was actually Glenn Harris of Rescue 2 and his idea was simple – he took two Halligan bars, cut off the fork end of one, the adz end of the other and welded the two pieces together. When combined, essentially what you ended up with is a 54″ Halligan bar. The uses were endless BUT you had to be a weightlifter to use the tool because when Glenn had the two pieces welded together, he had a sleeve added to cover the weld and it added a considerable amount of weight to the tool. But it was great for pulling ceilings, especially tin ceilings; it gave a huge amount of leverage IF you had the room to force a tough door in the “PJs” (the Brooklyn project buildings like the Albany Houses on Bergen Street right down the block from the new quarters of Rescue 2). In fact, some guys liked to carry the Harris Tool instead of the 6′ wooden hook when they carried the can if Rescue 2 was “first due” in the projects – the thinking being “what am I going to do with a 6′ hook in the projects – no ceilings to pull!!! The Harris Tool was also good on the roof when prying roof boards after a roof had been cut or when prying up a tough scuttle cover. Well, that’s the background on the tool – now where does Lincoln Quappe come into the picture. Well, many years ago (back in the “War Years” of the late 1960s and early 1970s), the FDNY was loaded with what I termed a lot of “colorful characters”. Over the years, the FDNY lost a lot of these color characters through attrition and it was something that I always missed. Well, Lincoln Quappe was a “throwback” to those years – he was our modern day answer to the colorful characters that our job so sorely missed

Lincoln came to Rescue 2 after fine tuning his skills at Ladder 123, right in our own backyard; and one thing became evident about Lincoln right away – he loved to “putter” and “tinker” around the firehouse. He loved to take things apart and see what made them tick. He loved to test new tools to ensure that they were actually “fireman proof.” But one of his greatest loves was to weld. In fact, the workshop at Rescue 2 became known as “Jackass Fabrications” (better known as “JAF”) because of all of the things that Lincoln fashioned out of scraps. No one that worked with Lincoln will ever forget his rendition or should I say “collection” of Barnyard Animals….these creations were some of the best works of JAF.

Anyway, I asked Lincoln to fashion one of the Harris Tools for me for Tower 33 in his spare time and he obliged. But being the master creator that he was, he managed to make the weld strong enough so that the sleeve and consequently, the additional weight were eliminated. He made a great grip out of rubber Con Edison tape and Tower 33 was the proud owner of a second generation Harris Tool – minus the additional weight and they coined it “The Lincoln Bar.”

And then, on 9-11, Lincoln was unceremoniously ripped away from us at Rescue 2 along with six of his other Rescue 2 brothers, the victims of the bombing and collapse of the WTC. We took a big hit that day but losing Lincoln was one of the toughest losses of all.

He was true “character” in very sense of the word – he had an incredible sense of humor, he was always involved in some sort of kitchen prank. He was a terrific firefighter – he was probably one of the most tenacious firefighters that I ever had the pleasure of working with at Rescue 2.

FF Lincoln Quappe Rescue 2

FF Lincoln Quappe Rescue 2

Lincoln Bar carried on Tower 33

Lincoln Bar carried on Tower 33

These are two of the tools that JAF created, I will add the other two contributions that JAF made to our equipment inventories in the near future. As we at Traditions Training travel around doing classes you will always catch us going through your compartments. We are looking for what you and your department have in the way of tools, and any new or modified tools that you might have that work for your department and your response district. I hope you enjoyed Pete’s stories on how the tools were developed and named. Please share with us tools that you or your department have developed, we all would like to see what else is out there….

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2 Responses

  1. Chief Riley;

    Excellent post, quite honestly when you mentioned it I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. The modern fire service often gets caught up in gadgets & fads. Today it seems many “firemen” want to BUY their way into a skill or purchase the “latest” tool. One of the best things I learned from Pete and the concept of “JAF” was that of PERSONAL INNOVATION.

    As you know, many of the designs that resulted from that shop in Rescue 2 were the solutions to problems…. The guys ran a fire and had an issue or saw a potential problem while checking out the first due. THEN THEY WENT BACK AND BUILT A SOLUTION. Union contract says no tools for officers? Lund bar. High-security locks & gates need more leverage? Lincoln bar.

    Normally I love to see a good innovation spread – and these tools HAVE spread, you see them in many manufacturers catalogs now. We have the Vulcan Hook & a Lincoln Bar on Truck 6 in DC. The unfortunate thing is NO ONE KNOWS THEIR REAL HISTORY. The mass producers of these wonderful innovations fail to give credit where its due. That most of the creators have passed away makes this lack of recognition even more tragic.

    So next time you take advantage of the capabilities of these once “unconventional” modifications – remember the REAL MEN who created them. I know I always refer to these tools by their PROPER name, even if no one else seems to know who the hell I’m talking about. Then I get a chance to tell them.

    -Nick

  2. Fireman Riley, I am not surprised that you posted this writting as I know your love for the urban firefighters and their methods of operation and innovation. As I am sure you know, I share these passions and have been a fan for a long time, but most importantly a student. Thus my other post about welding, nailing, stapling two things together to create a better widgit. The next great tool is just a notion away, so I encourge all to keep thinking ‘outside the box’ of ways to force entry into the damn box.

    Fireman Lange

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