So, you finally feel like tackling that big project at your house, and you want to do it yourself. You’ve watched a few YouTube videos, seen at least three episodes of This Old House, read some terrific DIY blogs, and you’re itching to get started.
Time to get some tools
Ever since the dawn of humanity, tools have been an essential part of our evolution. Without them, we would have quickly died off from starvation and saber-tooth tiger attacks.
While our tribulations have changed a bit since then, our need for tools has only increased. The tool isle can be a little intimidating to someone who is starting from scratch, and you certainly don’t want to blow a whole bunch of hard-earned cash on what amounts to a Fisher-Price Set for Grown-Ups!
Have no fear, your old pal Captain DIY is here to help you pick out the basic essentials to get you started.
Make a list and check it twice
I’m going to tell you about the most basic toolset you can use to do most beginner repair jobs around your house. There is always room for improvement and addition of course, and if you’d like to learn about what quality level you should consider, check out this article on quality levels and lifetime warranties.
This is one of the most basic tools, and probably the first one ever used by a living creature. As the old saying goes, “if at first, you don’t succeed, try getting a bigger hammer.” I may be paraphrasing, but really a hammer is an indispensable tool for any homeowner. Just be sure to pair it with the next tool which is…
Sure, you feel a little silly putting these on, and sure, your kids and/or your spouse are going to laugh at you. They won’t be laughing after you jab them in the eyes Three Stooges style, though! Legal is advising me to tell you not to do that. Don’t do that.
But seriously, getting something in your eye sucks, and having a shard of metal flying into your eye at high speed sucks a lot more. Just put the darn things on.
Bring along an assortment of these guys and your hammer, and you can do just about anything! You’re going to want to get a #1 Philips (the one that looks like a plus), a #2 Philips, a 3/16” flathead, and a 1/4” flathead.
This will comprise the most basic screwdriver set, and these will take care of just about anything the average homeowner will encounter.
Now, I’ve heard that some folks out there don’t know how to read one of these. Don't be intimidated by all of the little tiny lines, and don’t worry if your mark ends up between them. Just know that whatever you do is going to be wrong, and you will have to cut it again.
I’m kidding, of course, you’re going to nail it! Tape measures are easy to read, and I’m willing to bet you will not need to be any more specific than 1/8”. A lot of tape measures even number the lines for the first few inches. If you’re really worried about it, YouTube is always there to help.
Don’t think you can just stack up some chairs on a table with a milk crate at the top and as long as nobody breathes on you, you'll be fine. Get the right tool for the job, and if that job involves you higher than ground level, you are going to need a ladder.
I personally only use fiberglass, as they are not electrically conductive, but if all you’re going to be using it for is painting then aluminum is fine. Just don’t pull your grandfather’s old wooden ladder out of the storage unit and think you’ll survive. You won’t.
I saved the best for last. This one is a step up from the rest, and it is only necessary if you need to drill holes. Sure, you can use it to drive screws, but you can use the aforementioned screwdrivers for that as well.
This one is a step up based on the potential for personal injury. The drill, especially if it is in the lower speed setting, is definitely stronger than you. If it catches while you’re drilling, it will twist your arm up and possibly break something on you and whatever is next to you. Trust me on this one.
That being said, this is an incredibly useful tool that I always bring with me on service calls.
There you have it; your toolbox has now been officially created. All you need now is a pegboard on your basement wall and a marker to trace the tools on it, and your friends will be calling you “Tim the Tool Man Taylor” in no time! They’ll also be calling you to borrow your tools, but that’s another story for another day.
Now get out there and break some stuff! Er, I mean fix some stuff! And be safe! (Thank legal for that.) Captain out!
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