The sponsor of Tool Time wasBinford Tools. The show was said to be played on Channel 112. Tool Time was said to be the 4th most popular cable-based tool show in all of Michigan.
An episode of the third season of Home Improvement, entitled "Fifth Anniversary" which aired on ABC in the United States in 1994 celebrated Tool Time's fifth anniversary, thus revealing that Tool Time debuted in 1989.
The "Tool Time girls"
Part of the show's attraction was its token "Tool Time Girl", whose primary role was to look good, roll out various props, and help introduce the two hosts. In the first two seasons, Pamela Anderson played Tool Time Girl Lisa. After Anderson left the show to star in a new role on a TV show called Baywatch , Debbe Dunning stepped in as her replacement, Heidi, who stayed until the show's end in 1999.
A fictional flashback to the first episode shows an elderly Mrs. Binford playing the part of the Tool Time girl.
Most episodes start with the following dialogue:
- Lisa/Heidi: "Does everybody know what time it is?"
- Audience: "TOOL TIME!"
- Heidi: "That's right! Binford Tools is proud to present Tim 'The Tool Man' Taylor!"
- Lisa: "Binford Tools is proud to present 'Tool Time'!"
During Tool Time, the hosts combine home repair and renovations with major disasters. However, Tim was more inclined to joke around, especially about Al's overweight mother and his affinity for wearing flannel shirts. Al would attempt to continue the show in a proper manner.
Invariably, whenever Al was about to demonstrate the use of a particular machine, Tim would bring out his own version of the same machine that had been rewired for more power. The new machine would then backfire and cause the accidents for which Tim became famous. Sometimes, the accidents were not caused by overpowered machines but by Tim's negligence for safety precautions, though occasionally, the producers would surprise the viewers by Tim's overpowered machine actually working or Al being the one who makes the mistake.
Often Tim would unveil a project that had somehow been set-up to make Al look stupid, and Al would either fall victim to Tim in the case of a "soundproof" booth, or discover the prank and turn it back on Tim himself in the situation of Tim electrifying Al's toolbelt, and Al switching belts with Tim before the show.
Tim's off-screen problems mentioned
Tim often mentioned his current off-screen problems during the show. If he had an argument with his wife Jill (played by Patricia Richardson), he would find an excuse to bring up the subject of the argument on Tool Time even if it had nothing to do with home improvement. A memorable episode involved Tim bringing up Al's claw hammer fetish on-air, much to the chagrin of Mr. Borland. In many episodes of the show he also used this time to apologize to Jill in a subtle way.
Tim would at times say something offensive to a certain group on the show most likely women to which Al would respond by reciting and showing on a cue card the show's mailing address:
- Tim Taylor
- c/o Tool Time
- P.O. Box 32733
- Detroit, MI 48252
Also, Al would sometimes hold up a cue card with the phone number of Tim: (810) 555-TOOL. This had been the real-world area code for the show's setting of north suburban Detroit during most of the show's broadcast, though Oakland County is now in the 248 and 947 area codes, and Macomb County in area code 586 (810 now only serves the Flint, Brighton, Port Huron and the Michigan Thumb areas).
The mailing address first appeared in Season 1's "Reach Out And Teach Someone". The mailing address was dropped in later seasons, but seen in the Season 7 episode Believe It Or Not. On rare occasions Tim destroys Al's cue cards; on one occasion he cut the cue card in half with a chainsaw.
The audience for Tool Time was the actual live studio audience for Home Improvement. Before Tool Time starts, Al and Tim's humorous conversation is pre-recorded.
Guests on Tool Time included a group of construction workers who started a band featuring music played on tools the "boys from K&B Construction", Beach Boys, race car drivers Mario Andretti and Michael Andretti, Rodney Dangerfield, Robby Gordon, George Foreman, Evander Holyfield, Grant Hill, Al Unser Sr., Al Unser Jr., and Al Unser III, the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Drew Carey as a Road Kill Remover, Jim Breuer, Dave Chappelle, and real-life home improvement host Bob Vila.
Vila was typically portrayed as Tim's rival and Al's idol, and Tim refused to acknowledge Vila for his contributions to home improvement. Tim once even hit Vila in the head with a 4-by-8 albeit by accident. Tim and Bob Vila raced in a Lawn Mower and a Hot Rod Race. Tim would have won the Hot Rod race but didn't want to ruin his engine by going over the red line.
In a 1992 Christmas special, Tim invited the vocal group Manhattan Transfer. They sang two songs while Tim joked around in the background and tried to help Al, who got stuck in a fireplace. Also Alan Jackson appeared on the show and sang Mercury Blues while Tim was in a Mercury messing around.