Tuesday, May 8, 2012

16 Simple Tools Everyone Should Have (Plus Some Extras)

Comedian Tim Allen made a career and a hit TV sit-com out of the common male fascination with tools.  He succeeded because, as Sid Cesar put it, “Comedy has to be based on truth. You take the truth and you put a little curlicue at the end.”

 All joking aside, it is true that many men, and women, have great fondness and affection for the tools that enable us to get work done and we do have a tendency to go overboard sometimes. When it comes to home remodeling and maintenance, having the right tools is critical to getting the job done properly. The question is do we all need the biggest, baddest power tools in our workshops?

 The answer ... maybe. That’s for each individual to decide. But today, tool rental businesses can provide just about any tool you might need for a specific job at a reasonable rate, which means the average handyman can save on capital expenditures for tools and the cost of getting any project done.

 Still, there are certain necessities when it comes to stocking the home tool box and workbench. If you have all the tools on the list that follows, you will be prepared to tackle all those little maintenance chores around the house and have the basic tools you will need to carry out most home remodeling projects. You might call this a list of the tools every man (or woman) should have:

The Bare Essential Tools:
●      Hammer(s) — Get two, you will always be leaving one lying around and it will get moved and probably wind up buried on a closet shelf. 
●      Screwdrivers — A good hand set that includes varied sizes and bits for different types of jobs.
●      Rubber Mallet — Just for those jobs where a regular hammer is not quite right for the task.
●      Battery-Powered Driver/Drill — With full bit set and a back up battery.
●      Socket Wrench Set — This should include metric and U.S. sizes and a spark plug wrench.
●      Adjustable Wrenches — Have a good variety of sizes and make sure to get a couple designed specifically for plumbing work.
●      Vise Grips — If it needs to be squeezed harder than your hands can manage, vise grips can do it.

●      Pliers — A standard, an adjustable, and a needle nose.
●      Stand-alone Flashlight — For under the sink, under the car or any dark, tight place.
●      Hand Saws — A hack saw for metal and one for wood.
●      Tape Measure — Remember, measure twice and cut once.
●      Pry Bar — This is a true multipurpose tool.

●      Carpenter’s Square — Getting those cuts right is easy.
●      Levels — A three-footer will help - a laser level is divine for picture hanging.
●      Stud Finder — Essential for hanging anything heavier than a couple of pounds.
●      Duct Tape! — Yes, it’s useful everywhere.
Also Very Handy:
●      Sanding Block — With variety of sand papers from fine to coarse grains.
●      Paint Brushes — Again, a variety is always good to have. Rollers, too.
●      Mixing Buckets — Two or three, including a small one.
●      Trowels and Scrapers — You’ll find plenty of uses for these when patching and painting.

●      Wire Cutter/Stripper — Makes electronics work easy - some pliers have this built in.
●      Punch Set — These are always handy for poking holes, setting nails and who knows what.
●      Caulking Gun — Pop in the kind of sealer you need and go-- from bathtub, to windows, to painting prep and even mortar repair.
●      Clamps — Aids in gluing projects of all kinds.
●      Tool Box and/or Tool Belt — Once you have a number of items, or you’ve got them scattered all over your work site, you’ll wonder why you don’t have one already.

The Extras (to Buy Only as You Need Them):

●      Sledge Hammer — When you really have to knock the daylights out of something.
●      Chisels — Have two or three sizes on hand.

●      Power Sander — Very helpful when you get into larger projects that need a lot of surface prep for painting or refinishing.
●      Heavy Duty Staple Gun — Ideal for outdoor decorations, holding wires in place.

●      Circular Saw — With standard blades. You can always get speciality blades as you need them.

●      Reciprocating Saw — A very handy tool for cutting holes in drywall, cutting off nail heads, etc.

●      Shop Vac — All this work you’re doing makes a mess. Time to clean it up!
●      Peg Board, Hooks and Furring Strips — Once you accumulate some tools, it’s best to keep them handy with a simple wall-mounted organizer. Since you already have some tools, installing it is a piece of cake!

 If you have all these tools on hand, you can tackle just about any home repair or improvement project from hanging pictures to patching holes in walls to building a deck. You will find that over time, you will add to the collection or upgrade your tools.

 The point is that if your goal is to save money and be able to do much of the work around your home on your own, getting your workbench stocked with these basic tools is essential. All the tools on this list can be purchased at just about any neighborhood hardware dealer or home supply store.

Image courtesy http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/12782

Ed Mostella is a DIYer and manufacturing tools expert, Ed enjoys helping people work safely and effectively. He specializes in training on the torque wrench and air screwdriver.

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