The name driftpin is not one that is normally associated with this area of interest. It comes from a business I used to have, writing technical documentation and creating online help systems. My background is in commercial diving and so my first clients were in the offshore oil business, where a driftpin is common and well-known tool, serving very specific uses. For a diver (or anyone working in the oil field), a driftpin, or spudwrench, is essential in helping to align two pipe flanges. The driftpin is pushed through a bolt-hole in one flange and then ‘stabbed’ into a bolt-hole in the other, allowing a real bolt to be put into another hole and threaded enough to keep the flanges close to each other. While this whole operation sounds trivial, and on the surface it usually is, when you are 150′ underwater, with nothing but a crane, some winches, your common sense, and two end of pipe that are moving around due to sea surge – where getting your hand in between at the wrong moment means you proffer a finger or two to the cause – you come to see the value of a simple tool that helps you line things up.
Without drawing too much symbolism from disparate things, so I hesitate to construct a link between what I used a driftpin to do – line up flanges – with what I am doing with this blog. Runs the risk of being too cute. In any case, I just like the word.