Essential tools for the handyman
Now and then, you're bound to bump up against a minor home repair issue; it's a fact of life if you're a homeowner. A set of basic hand tools will get you out of a lot of fix-it jams, and if you're a carpentry or construction hobbyist, an expanded set is something you won't want to be without.
A Hand Tools Checklist
Even the simplest tool box should contain at least one hammer, an adjustable wrench, set of wrenches or socket set, screwdrivers with various heads, a saw, a tape measure, clamps and a set of pliers. Your hammer will be most versatile if it has a claw you can use to yank out old nails, and if you want to save some money, an adjustable wrench will cost you less than a full socket set. With screwdrivers, you can get models that allow you to swap out various heads as needed, or you can get individual screwdrivers, each with a different head. What's important is that you have all the different heads on hand.
One of the more advanced tools you'll need if you're performing home improvement projects is a torpedo level. While it's rare that you'll require this tool for day-to-day minor repairs, torpedo levels are extremely useful if you're installing new appliances or have to determine perfect vertical or horizontal planes.
Hand Tool Safety Tips
Because they're so common, many people underestimate the potential dangers that hand tools can pose. To stay safe, be sure to observe these hand tool rules:
- Always wear work gloves when you're handling tools.
- Use the correct tool for the job you're doing.
- If you have to use knives or saws to cut building materials, cut away from your body whenever possible.
- Sharpen dull tools before using them again. Discard broken tools; don't bother to continue using them. Replace worn-out screwdriver heads promptly.
- If you're working with other people, never throw a tool to them. Instead, pass it to them, handle first.
- Avoid carrying anything sharp in your pockets or on your person, unless it's safely stowed away in a tool belt.
- Work smarter, not harder; if you have power tools that could get the job done, use them instead. This will reduce your chances of suffering a repetitive stress injury.