Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Like all people who own a home, I've had to become a Do It Yourself kind of person. Trouble is, I consider myself something of a klutz. My family will tell you tales of my earlier exploits at playing junior mad scientist and if you give me any grief, I'll make you sit through a few stories. The first 10 times are the most painful, I promise.
But practice makes perfect. Or necessity becoming the stuff of invention... or something like that.
The first time I tried to put a light fixture on a ceiling fan, I almost electrocuted myself and shorted out the apartment. I've gotten better since then. One of the projects I did this summer was put a new fan in my kid's bedroom. I'm happy to say nothing has burnt down or shorted out.
A few days ago, I talked about putting in wood flooring. But what are the basic tools you would need for day-to-day stuff?
I'm a big believer of buying a tool that you will use over and over again. If I'm only going to use a tool once, I find a way to rent it.
The Basics:

Let's say you open your magic toolbox. What are the first things you should see?
A hammer, A pair of pliers, screw drivers both flat head and phillips and a tape measure. WD-40 and duct tape should be there as well.

Now let's go beyond that.
An L square: I bought this thinking I was only going to use it once or twice, but over the years, this has become one of my tools of choice. Need to make a angle cut? How about drawing a right angle or straight line?
Saw horses: You may be tempted to get the cheapest of these, but don't. The first one I brought home was made of plastic. As soon as my dog saw it, he said, "Oh look! A toy!" and proceeded to parade around the back yard with it in his mouth. It became his favorite chew toy.
The ones I have now are made of steel and have a 2X4 attached to help prevent kick backs. Which brings up the next tool you need.
A circular saw: Yes,one day you will have to cut a piece of wood with one of these.
A jigsaw: Just as you will need to cut a straight line, you will one day need to cut a corner or curvy line.
A level: Unless you're going into the Cabinetry business, you won't need a long level. Look for a torpedo level. It's about a foot to 18 inches long.
Bow saw: If you're like me, you have to constantly beat back the branches that are trying to get under my roof eaves. 
A socket wrench set: Useful for getting a rusty nut and bolt off or a whole bunch of other stuff. Get one metric set and one SAE. You'll thank me when you're putting your kids bed together or changing the spark plugs.
A ladder: Can't decide to get either a A-frame or a straight one? They make aluminum tri-fold ladders that can switch  if you need length or stability. 
Allen wrenches: Remember those funny L shaped things that helped you put together that IKEA furniture or desk? Those are Allen wrenches. Go out and buy one SAE and Metric set. You will be using both, trust me.
A Drill: Probably my most often used tool. I have the driver bits that allow me to screw/unscrew things fast.

That's the basics. You may find yourself collection growing depending on your projects. Use them well and don't forget the safety goggles.

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