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Arming your tool kit: The 15 tools you need to have

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July 10, 2013 · 606 Views

Photo by Tim Green

The desire to break out the toolbox and make some long overdue home improvements often arrives with the warmth of the spring and summer seasons. Do-it-yourself projects can be extremely gratifying but if you’re not armed with the right equipment, they can also be frustrating and expensive. Here’s a list of essential tools that every DIY-er should have:

1. Flat Head Screwdrivers: Used frequently for a variety of purposes, flat head screwdrivers come in all different sizes and lengths, but always with a single slot, flat blade screw head. In addition to tightening or loosening screws, flat heads are good multi-taskers, helping to open paint cans, scrape surfaces clean and function as mini pry bars.

2. Phillips Screwdriver: Always having a Phillips screwdriver in your toolbox is also essential because its four-star point at the end is compatible with the common cross-shaped screw used for tightening and loosening. The Phillips also comes in a wide range of sizes and lengths and, unlike the flat head which does have more versatile uses, there is less risk of “over-torqueing,” a common problem when you apply to much pressure.

3. Hammer: One of the oldest tools in existence, the hammer is most commonly used for driving nails, fitting parts and light demolition. Though there are many different sizes and shapes reflecting slightly varied uses, the most popular type of hammer is known as the “Claw Hammer, ” which typically has a v-shape toward the back for nail removal.

4. Wrench: Wrenches are tools used to provide sturdy grip for turning and fastening objects, a frequent part of many do-it-yourself projects.  Every household should definitely have at least one standard steel universal 12 piece set for general use. 

5. Pliers:  Pliers are one of the handiest tools to have around because they serve multiple purposes such as gripping, bending, tightening, splicing and cutting. Due to their cross-limbed shaped, pliers allow you to apply a great deal of leverage. 

6. Measuring tape: It seems like something one would automatically keep around the house, but tape measures often get lost or damaged so it’s important to know you always have one in your toolbox, as measuring is one of the most fundamental steps of most DIY projects. 

7Allen wrenches: Available in various shapes and sizes, an Allen wrench, or “Allen key” is an L-shaped tool with a hexagonal head that is frequently used to tighten fasteners in furniture and sporting equipment. If you’ve ever bought Ikea furniture, you are familiar with the Allen wrench. 

8. Hacksaw: A hacksaw can be used for cutting a variety of materials for indoor or outdoor projects. With different blade settings and “tooth” counts hacksaws can cut through wood and a wide range of metals and piping. 

9Electric Drill:  Cordless power drills can accommodate hundreds of different attachments from drill bits, and grinding wheels to screw driver attachments. They are quite convenient and highly recommended for an endless variety of DIY projects. 

10X-Acto Knife: Also known as a utility knife, this particular tool is an absolute must-have for any serious DIY-er. It has an extremely sharp, short blade mounted on a handle shaped very much like a pen. X-Acto knives are used for very precise trimming and incisions, much like a surgeon would use a scalpel. They are often used creatively for more arts and crafts-like DIY endeavors. 

11. Crowbar: Used most often to pry things apart, it can also be used as chisel or even to grasp things like nails with its curved end. Make sure you get a sturdy, heavy one so it can be used for demolition work if need be as well.

12. Duct tape/electrical tape: There’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a little duct tape! Electrical tape is usually made of vinyl that insulates electrical wires.

13. Spackling knife: A huge amount of DIY projects involve painting or dry wall at some point, so be sure to have a solid spackling or “putty” knife in your tool box. They are mainly used to smoothly spread plaster on surfaces, which is very handy particularly when covering up various holes around the house.

14. Circular saw: Mostly used to cut wood, but these can also cut metal, plastic, masonry and ceramic too, Circular saws are helpful to have around for any DIY project involved with tough cutting jobs. They come in a variety of sizes and are now available cordless. 

15. Extension cords: If you’re working out in your garage or doing projects around the home, you’ll want to be armed with plenty of extension cords to prevent having to move your work station to the nearest outlet for every new project.

**Bonus, The number of your local handyman: Every once in a while, a project you’re working in is bound to run into an insurmountable road block. Remember, its never a bad idea to bring in professionals when necessary.

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