Tiny tool man turns trash into treasure


When Les Aretz was a mechanic at Wright Hennepin and Electric and he didn’t have a tool he needed for some project or another, he just made it.
Five years ago he decided it would be neat to have a two-inch long shovel, and a tiny rake to go with it. Soon after, the 82 year old Maple Lake man was making monkey wrenches not much bigger than a coin, miniature pliers and pocket knives that were so small a Barbie doll could fit them into her plastic purse.
Why does he make them?
Because he can.
Despite battling carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis, Aretz’s deft fingers have shaped more than 100 tiny tools using nothing but scrap metal and bits and pieces he finds laying around.
“When I retired I thought I would try to make some of my tools smaller, so I wouldn’t have to carry my big ones around anymore,” he joked. “Then I tried to see how small I could make them.”
Actually, Aretz was surfing the internet when he came across a man with similar talents and he thought it would be a good hobby to get into. Once he made one and his family saw it, they all wanted their own tiny tools.
Since then he has made more tools than any mechanic’s shop could ever want and the majority are no longer than the length of his finger.
Among his collection are crowbars, post hole diggers, vice grips, scythes, hammers and even a tiny anvil. His tool bag is now a coin purse and in it he carries a miniature pliers, knife and vice grip which he uses practically on a daily basis.