Hand Tools (T-Handles vs. Bits vs. Wrenches, etc...)

Hi all,
This is a very general question from someone who is looking to own a small but high-quality collection of tools for home and car repair and maintenance.
Given the great number of available variations in form of tools like screwdrivers and wrenches, do you have any opinions on which type is most useful, if you can't have a full mechanics set? For instance, what's up with all the t-handle drivers I'm seeing these days - is that just a leverage thing? Can these replace straight handled drivers in most instances? What about box wrenches with built in ratchets, as opposed to sockets, or bit and driver sets versus fixed-handle styles? Are these all just a matter of preference or are some examples of newer, better technology?
Thanks!
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on 11/20/2007 4:57 PM Shrubman said the following:

Yes, leverage. I had to take something off an engine today and was using one of those hex key combo sets where you have to swing the right sized hex key out. I wish I had a t-handle hex key because it was pretty tough to get the hex bolt to turn with that hex combo set.

--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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One piece of advice I can offer is don't buy tools until you need them. I know some tools go on sale from time to time, but when you really need the right tool for a job it probably won't be something that is already in your tool box.
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It's more an issue of what's suited to the job at hand, with preference the next issue. You can get a single allen wrench or a socket type driver into a tight spot that you'd never get a T handle into. The T handle offers more torque and is balanced.
Same thing with the ratching box wrench. For close work, where you can't get a socket on it, they work great and are a life saver. But if I had a tough bolt to loosen, I wouldn't want to expose one of those wrenchs to that much torque, and if possible would use a regular socket with ratchet or bar.
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I concur. Buy tools when you need them, except for having the obvious, like pliers, socket wrenches, screwdrivers. I do like the ratcheting end box wrenches for quick on/off stuff, then do final tightening with proper sized sockets. A new project is an excuse to buy a new tool... <grin>.
Go for top grade stuff. Cheap is cheap, and you will hate yourself. Sales are good, and beware of "exotic" stuff that you will hardly use.
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This should be the only tool set you'll ever need. At $4,995 plus for a little extra for a case made of elephant leather, you can't go wrong.
http://www.mensvogue.com/design/articles/2007/03/limited_tools
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I've not tried the T-handle drivers. For occasional use, the straight handle type have been in use for ages. Home repair and vehicle repair are rather different sets of tools. As another poster suggested, buy the tools as your need them. It's very easy to end up with a lot of tools you don't need. As for the tools I actually use, a basic set might be:
HOME REPAIR Hammer Screw drivers (6-8 slotted, and #2 phillips most common) Drill and drill bits Crescent Wrench
AUTO REPAIR Socket Set 3/8 through 7/8 Ratchet handles, 3/8 square drive and 1/2 square drive Socket extenders Screw drivers Vise grip pliers Wire brush Combination wrenches 5/16 through 7/8 The 5/16 is for removing side post battery terminals Scraper knife for removing gaskets and stickers
--

Christopher A. Young;
.
.

"Shrubman" < snipped-for-privacy@evanthibeault.com> wrote in message
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Looking at the responses, the screwdriver issue can often be nicely met with one of those 6-in-1 screwdrivers. It has 2 slotted bits, #1 & #2 Phillips, and the sockets for the bits take care of the two most common hex heads for things like sheet metal screws. I keep one of those in every toolbox in addition to the usual screwdriver set. Also, a small set of "jeweler's" screwdrivers is mighty handy for glasses. Even the "emergency" kit you can get in the drugstore is handy.
When traveling (need to put in checked baggage), a multi-tool and/or Swiss Army knife is a good bet. Swiss Army knife in the glove compartment of the cars, for sure.
The wire stripper/cutter/crimper/bolt cutter is also a handy thing to have in your tool box.
You also need a tape measure, pencil, and brad awl for marking, or making starter holes.
Hand drill (really!!) and set of small bits.
Set of Allen wrenches - lots of plumbing fittings have them on the knobs.
Small flashlight.
They guy that dies with the most tools wins.
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