Home > Mom's Life > Managing Your Home > Home Improvements > Must-Have Tools for Homeowners
|

Must-Have Tools for Homeowners

Must-Have Tools

You can't get by without some basic hand and power tools.

Hand Tools

Hand tools are still the starting point for home improvement work. If you keep these tools in the tool bucket, you should be able to complete an improvement without incessant tool-fetchit trips:

  • Claw hammer
  • 38" reversible, variable-speed, cordless drill
  • Assortment of drill bits and screwdriver bits, in small bag
  • Assorted screwdrivers
  • Locking and needle-nose pliers
  • Nailset
  • Pencils
  • Compass (a.k.a. divider, used for scribing)
  • Torpedo level
  • Utility knife
  • Hand plane
  • Wood chisel
  • Margin trowel
  • Magnetic stud finder
  • Wire stripper-cutter
  • Circuit tester
  • Tape measure
  • Small square
  • A small container of screws and nails

These obscure tools are fiendishly handy for home improvements.

  • Needle-nose locking pliers replace wire cutters, pliers, and locking pliers.
  • A small aluminum or plastic square guides a circular saw for a 90° cut. It's also handy for marking right angles and other angles.
  • A torpedo level can level or plumb electric boxes, shelves, pictures, and cabinets.
  • A sanding block grabs the sandpaper far better than a block of wood.
  • A mason's margin trowel is perfect for drywall and plaster work. I use mine to scrape paint and other crud, glaze windows, mix mortar, pry off molding, and protect walls from a prybar.
  • This rigid, hexagonal prybar disassembles stuff neatly because the flat tongue slips under the wood. And when you hammer it, it doesn't spring back.

Electric Drill: Your first power tool should be a 38", variable-speed, reversing drill. A drill makes holes in wood, metal, even tile, but it's equally useful for driving screws. Don't assume you need a battery drill; they are handy, but heavier and more expensive.

Clamps: Clamps may seem humdrum and optional, but it ain't so, Jo (or Joe). You need clamps almost any time you're gluing. They are also handy for holding pieces while nailing or screwing, and for stabilizing wood while sawing, drilling, sanding, or routing.

Jigsaw: Jigsaws are made to cut curves, but they will cut straight with a sharp blade. I use mine for cutting wood and drywall.

 

Should-Have Tools

This large category of second-echelon tools is growing every year, as toolmakers probe our desires and whet our appetite for their unending inventions. Still, a few of these tools will make your work faster and more satisfying.

Power Miter Box: A power miter box makes accurate crosscuts and miter (angled) cuts. For more money, miter boxes also cut bevels or wider boards. If you plan to cut molding, pay a bit more for accuracy.

Circular Saw: A circular saw makes crosscuts or rip cuts, and is especially handy for cutting plywood. A square clamped to the plywood improves accuracy with a circular saw.

Orbital Sander: Orbital sanders make fast work of finishing wood. Not only are they less likely to gouge than a belt sander, they're also cheaper and lighter.

Find out how to set up your workshop.

|

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Simple Home Improvements © 2004 by David J. Tenenbaum. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

mother’s day cards & crafts

Let your kids
spoil you with
homemade
goodies!

GO

highlights

Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Earth Day Books for Children
Celebrate the environment by reading some of these great children's books about Earth Day, recycling, planting trees, and all things green!

Prom Dress Trends for 2014
Check out 2014 prom dress trends inspired by celebrities’ red carpet looks, but with a price tag under $100!