Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
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.


August 27, 2014



Don't be afraid of fats! Healthy fats, like those found in nuts, avocado, or cheese, make great lunch additions or snacks, and will help keep your child full until the end of the school day.


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

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.

GO

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

11 Coolest Lunch Boxes for Kids
Send your child's lunch to school in style! Check out our picks for the 11 best lunch boxes with great features from BPA-free accessories to spill-resistant fabric.

7 Important Back-to-School Safety Tips
Follow these back-to-school safety tips to make sure your child stays safe on the way to school, in the classroom, and while on the playground.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!