The average do-it-yourself tool kit
Toolkit for house and section owners
This website outlines three levels of toolkit. This one is designed for the person who wants to save money by doing basic chores and repairs around the house — or who simply enjoys pottering around the house and section. See also: A tool kit for basic needs and The advanced tool kit.
All of the tools in the basic tool kit (click here)....
A wide builder's tape doesn’t bend as easily as a narrow one. Great for measuring something taller than you. The length of the tape you choose should be relative to the size of your rooms or any garden patch you might wish to measure up.
This allows you to use the familiar wide range of long, slender tubes containing sealants, adhesives and gap fillers that you see in any hardware shop. It’s an inexpensive but essential tool — and as there are two sizes of tube available there are two sizes of gun. The smaller one should be all you need for most small home jobs. A plunger mechanism inside the gun-sleeve pushes the material out of the tube. Buy the type of gun that has two metal plates that advance along a slim rod. You’ll get a smoother, more even flow with this type. A ratcheting plunger, on the other hand, tends to jam and create an uneven, bumpy bead of sealant or adhesive.
A narrow and a wide, flat chisel should be enough to begin with for the odd wood-shaping or gouging-out exercise.
Essential to protect your lungs from dust.
One metal file and a couple of grades of wood file will help in tidying up edges and making a professional finish.
For sawing pipes or rods in steel, other metals or plastic.
A speed saw is ample for quick jobs in timber. It’ll cut fast on the forward and backward stroke. See ‘How to use a handsaw’ in the website Contents List.
The short, flat version is essential for any preparatory undoing or demolition. Pulls nails easily and levers wood.
Stronger than wood or plastic. Less likely to end up broken or with a rough edge.
To punch a nail below the surface of wood for filling prior to a finishing coat of paint or varnish. Buy two sizes. See 'Using a nail punch' in 'Use a hammer like a professional')
This is essentially a pair of pliers that can open up to a much wider mouth. Handy for holding pipes or rods.
Buy a better quality drill that’ll last longer. An automatic chuck is preferable — no fuss finding the chuck key. Look for a chuck with a clutch, which prevents overloading and prolongs the life of the drill. Variable speed is very handy, especially a slow chug for screwing or unscrewing difficult screws. Must have reverse. A battery-driven drill is useful for indoor and outdoor projects. Buy a spare battery for longer projects so you don’t have to wait for recharging. Buy one that suits your hand size and strength and has a comfortable balance. See ‘How to use a power drill’ in the website Contents List.
Power-drill bits and screwdriver bits
Begin by buying a basic selection of each (see 'Screws' and 'Choosing an appropriate drill bit' in the website Contents List). As needs arise, add to your collection. For jobs in confined areas, where the bulk of the drill won’t fit, you might have to buy a few extension bits. There is a range of these and some are magnetic, making it very easy to hold a screw in position prior to driving it.
Designed for applying putty to window frames, but I use mine all the time, for picking, poking and spreading anything!
Should be worn at all times.
A set of standard hand screwdrivers can be useful for quick jobs when you don’t want to unpack a power drill. Buy a small and large one each of slotted, Phillips and pozi drives if you wish (See 'How to use a screwdriver effectively' and 'Screws' in the website Contents List). A ratchet screwdriver saves time and energy and could become your best friend.
A straight edge with a bubble of spirit that proves to you whether something is exactly level, or vertical, or not.
Essential for measuring and sawing accurately. A moveable square for marking up angles is an advantage.
Strong cutting knife
Snap-blade, for opening packaging or cutting plastic, plasterboard or nozzles on filler tubes, etc.
Handy when hanging mirrors or shelves. Some high-tech sonic-boom versions come on special every now and then, but a basic electro-magnetic one will cover your needs. A very cheap magnetic one is always useful, but not highly reliable. A wee knob jerks in excitement when it runs above a nail (if you’re lucky), indicating where the wallboard is attached to the stud. See 'How to find a wall stud' in 'Attaching something to a wall'.
A white self-sticking tape essential for connecting threaded pipes (plastic or metal). Wrapped around the thread before a flange is screwed on, the tape prevents leaks. See more information on thread tape in 'Adhesive tapes'.
For cutting light metal.
Workbench with vice
Helps when two hands aren’t enough or when more force is needed.