You Need A Basic Set of Hand Tools
As a first time home buyer there is an additional cost of ownership that you should definitely consider. The purchase price of a basic set of hand tools. A set of medium quality tools will cost about $150 and can help to reduce maintenance costs and take the edge off of emergency repairs. Most laypersons tend to purchase undersized tools and tools of inferior quality. An inferior tool is more useless than not having one at all. As a matter of fact inferior tools can be extremely dangerous. Cheap tools are somewhat akin to the “Saturday Night Special” of the firearms world.
Here is a list of what you will need. A hand saw, a hacksaw, an electric drill, pliers, vice grips a large crescent wrench, a plunger, a trouble light, a hammer, a tape measure, a couple of screwdrivers, a level and a square. If your significant other objects to the use of household knives for cutting hose, boxes, string or rope, then you may want to consider a razor knife as well.
For general purposes the hand saw ought to have 8 teeth per inch and should be the crosscut type. This combination of tooth type and spacing is best suited for rough cutting studs, posts and fencing. It also works well on plastic irrigation pipe. Although the hacksaw is also good for plastic pipe, it is specifically designed for cutting metal. Refabricating a hinge, cutting off a rusted bolt, trimming a bar of steel, shortening a length of metal cable and shaving a shelf bracket are a few examples of when the hacksaw can prove to be very handy.
An electric drill can be used for more purposes than we have space to mention in this column. With a grind-stone attachment a drill can be used to sharpen knives and tools, with a buffing pad it can be used to polish the car or a brass light fixture. Drill bits can be used to bore holes for drawer and door hardware and to bore tap holes for gate hinges and hardware. With the right accessories a driver-drill (combination electric screwdriver and drill) can be your single most valuable tool. If you can afford it consider one with a keyless chuck. The first time someone in your family decides to borrow your drill you can be pretty sure it will come back minus the chuck key. They aren’t very expensive to replace, but having to make that trip to the store to get one is such a nuisance.
Hanging a picture, building a fence and hanging wallpaper are just a few of the obvious uses for a level. But did you know that a plumber uses a level to insure proper drainage slope in waste lines and to insure that tubs and shower pans drain properly? Did you know that a carpenter uses a level to install kitchen and bathroom cabinets and countertops? The level makes sure that a project ends up straight and true. And don’t forget the square. You’ll need one to help you make straight cuts and square corners. You choose your favorite for your tool box. A large carpenter’s square (framing square), a triangular shaped speed square or an adjustable tri-square. If you are like us eventually you will own one of each.
The first time that you are present when a toilet backs up will be the last time you are without a plunger. In many instances using a plunger can eliminate the need for an emergency call to a plumber. And that can mean a savings of $75 to $150. Not a bad return on a $4 investment.
A number 2 Phillips head screwdriver and a quarter inch flat blade screwdriver will probably fulfill every task you require of a screwdriver. However, you may be money ahead to purchase a good quality set to be sure that you have the right tool for every job. Buy the way, screwdrivers are not meant to stir paint with. In any event, make sure to have a cleaning rag ready when you use one for a stirring stick. Even if you have a driver drill (and a set of screwdriver bits) there will be times when plain old fashioned screwdriver works best.
If you intend on doing a lot of rough carpentry work a wooden handled hammer with a straight claw is best. The straight claws can be used for prying, moving walls and pulling large nails with a sideways pry. If you intend on doing work in close quarters like cabinet building and installation a curved claw hammer works best for pulling nails out in tight spots. Also, the curved claw shortens the overall head length of the hammer and makes it easier to use in confined spaces.
The trouble light and the measuring tape can be used on almost every project. Remember these rules of construction. Work in a clean well lighted area — it’s safer that way. And measure twice so that you will only have to cut once.
For plumbing, electrical, gardening, equipment repair and more a versatile set of gripping tools is a must. A 10 inch set of pliers may seem a bit larger for your tool box — until the first time you need to hold something firmly. A 14 inch crescent wrench may also seem somewhat oversize. But more often than not when it comes to gripping — bigger is better. And don’t be afraid to purchase the largest set of vise grips that you can find.
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