Suggestions For The Beginner's Toolbox

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I recently got married and would like to spend some of our wedding gift money on a collection of good quality tools. I'm a novice handyman and looking for suggestions on the essential tools in a handyman's garage. Cordless drill, circular saw, router? What are the must-have tools?
I'd also appreciate recommendations on brand names. I don't think I'll ever buy another Black and Decker product, having been disappointed with everything I've bought of theirs in the last few years. But what brands are the quality but reasonably priced brands, both in power tools and things like screwdrivers and wrenches?
Thanks for the input.
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Dear Mr. Fleemo, All you need to start is a power drill and some screwdrivers. Use your wedding money on something like a bowling ball.. EVERY project will require a trip to the hardware store anyway, so just buy additional tools in the order that you need them. When you do need a particular tool, and only when you need that particular tool, buy (don't borrow) a medium-priced one because cheap ones will break and expensive ones are just a little bit more useful than medium ones. -B

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Fleemo wrote:

DeWalt or Panasonic.

Porter-Cable 743K or 347K, depending on your blade side preference. Go quick before B&D has a chance to screw things up.

I have a Porter-Cable 691 with both the fixed and plunge bases, and love it. Fantastic tool. Don't skimp here. A cheapie router will cause you endless strife.

I use my DeWalt 972 cordless drill and my Klein 10-in-1 driver two or three times a week each.

I have Kobalt (Lowe's house brand; same manufacturer as Snap-On) screwdrivers and wrenches and have no complaints. It's a good quality/price compromise. I'd recommend that you get at least one hand driver that takes hex bits.

No problem. Have fun.
--
Bo Williams - snipped-for-privacy@hiwaay.net
http://hiwaay.net/~williams /
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Plan for bit storage & identification prior to buying a router. Carbide bits last longer than steel. Wear hearing protection.
wrote:

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Cordless drills are nice, but after time, the batteries will go dead, used or not. Corded can make sense in some cases. I love my Panasonic. Nice power/weight ratio. Also consider Bosch, DeWalt, Milwaukee.
Circular saw. Porter Cable
Router Do you really need one yet? DeWalt or Porter Cable, or Bosch. Visit www.partwarner.com for router information and suggestions. Pat is probably the best.
The tools you need will be governed by what you want to do. I do woodworking and have two routers. I lived through 35 years of marriage and home ownership without one. If you have a project in mind, sure, get one now.
Handy to have: Hand tools such as hammer, screwdrivers, wrenches, garden tools, sharpening stones, chisels (Marple blue handle are good), square, assorted drill bits, rulers, tape measure.
Get a catalog from Lee Valley. www.leevalley.com Lots of nice tools, project supplies, good ideas. If you have any plans of doing anything in wood, get a Veritas blockplane.
Sander. My favorite is the random orbital with hook and loop disks. I have both Porter Cable and DeWalt and like them both.
A small compressor is handy. Good for filling tires, operating nail guns, inflating, blowing air to clean out crevices.
You already know that B&D is mediocre. So is Skil, Ryobi, most Craftsman. Most tools from Porter Cable, DeWalt, Bosch, Milwaukee, Delta, Hitachi, Makita are pretty good.
Your first project should be to build a work bench. Even a small 24 x 48 would be good for tinkering, but 30 x 60 or 30 x 72 would be better. Good heavy top is important. Double thickness of 3/4" MDF or plywood is good. Mount a vice on one end. Second project is to make some shelves, drawers, cabinets. Be sure to tell young bride you need all of this to assure her happiness when something needs fixing.
Find a good tool shop. Home Depot does not carry some of the best equipment. I can get better quality, better selection, better prices at www.coastaltool.com here in CT. I also like Woodcraft stores.
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Catalogs are good places to start. Craftsman, Harbor Freight ( for things you only use once), McFeely's for fasteners, etc. Go online to Amazon.com for collections of trade specific items, like all kinds of stuff for drywall work. For electrical work, buy the new Klein Tools 14, 28, or 19 and 41 piece Journeyman Tool sets. They aren't all that pricey, you will get a ton of use out of them and be the envy of all the electrical DIYers. Try to get a decent sized all year around workshop going as soon as you can. Then buy a good table saw, preferably something like a used Delta Unisaw. Let the project dictate the tools, rent first if not sure. HTH
Joe                 
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On 6 Nov 2004 18:10:38 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (Fleemo) wrote:

I'm sure you'll get lots of advice about the tools to choose. I'd like to talk about the "container" instead.
I bought a house six years ago. One of the first things I did was build myself a workbench, with a big sheet of plywood mounted on the wall behind it to hang tools from. The tools were organized and easy to find.
Then I began to do actual work around the house. And that's where the work was, around the house: NOT in the garage where the tools were. Each job began with grabbing the tools I thought I'd need and carrying them to the room I was working in. This was followed by frequent trips BACK to the garage to get the tools I had forgotten.
Eventually I decided to put together a toolbox. I'd had a metal one, originally from Sears, for many years. It's the standard kind, with a lift-out tray on top and an open space below. I put all the "better" tools in the box, along with a selection of screws, anchors and other small parts in a plastic organizer. I stocked it quite well, and it was heavy.
The sheer weight of it made me often choose to, you guessed it, just grab the tools I needed for small jobs. More trips to the garage ensued. You ALWAYS need more stuff than you think. Worse yet, even when I did carry the toolbox to the job, the tools were jumbled up inside. The fastener tray was under the hammer, the level and a ton of other stuff.
I decided to make myself a "first aid" tool kit, specifically for small jobs. I got a sort of square canvas tool bag with lots of compartments and pockets. It's sort of an 11" cube and fairly rigid. I put a bunch of my "second-string" tools in it. It also has a small plastic organizer tray that slides into a bottom compartment.
Two years later the "first aid" kit has my better tools in it and my "main" toolbox is lying unused on a shelf in the garage. I have a good selection of hand tools in it, each of which is visible and accessible immediately. I also have 4 sizes of sheetrock screws, plastic anchors, a few wire nuts, nails, 2 sizes of wire ties, a pair of gloves, a small level, a magnifying glass, some drill bits and a cordless screwdriver in it.
Most jobs around the house can be accomplished with just this tool kit plus the cordless drill I keep on the shelf next to it. Over time I've added some tools I found I needed, and removed a few that I never really used. Although I still occasionally fool myself, I usually know better than to "just grab a few tools" now. I grab the first aid kit for even the simplest jobs and I almost always end up using something I hadn't expected to need.
I strongly recommend that every home handyman get something like it. I do, of course, need more and larger tools for bigger jobs. I keep an empty 5 gallon bucket around to carry them. My wife and daughter usually find somplace "safe" to go on those days. :)
Greg Guarino
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A large tool box, tape measure, socket set, a VS drill , drill bit box and a 10 and 1 screwdriver. Buy at Sears lifetime warranty no hassle on hand tools. Drill-driver maybe Makita cordless not B&D or Ryobi
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On Sun, 7 Nov 2004 05:17:38 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (m Ransley) wrote:

I can only relate my own experience. I bought a Ryobi 12 Volt drill six years ago. It's about the size of the 14.4v drills they sell now. I took it home and drove a some 3" screws into a couple of stacked 2x4s to test it.
Since then I've used it nearly every weekend and a few weekdays as well. Several people who borrowed it have commented on how well balanced and comfortable to use it is. I'm no pro, but I could never work fast enough to run out of battery power. It definitely takes less time to charge a battery than to wear one out.
The batteries gave out earlier this year. The replacement batteries were pretty expensive, so I (reluctantly) bought a Ryobi 18V drill to replace it instead. Shortly thereafter I found a really good deal on the 12V batteries. So now I have 2 cordless drills. That has its own benefits in that I can drill and drive screws without changing bits.
I'm sure that there are higher quality tools than Ryobi. But my experience, five solid years of frequent use, has convinced me that my Ryobi 12V was a good value. I'm HOPING that the 18V will prove as good.
Greg Guarino
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Many good suggestions here on woodworking tools. If you are a homeowner, you will soon run into needing tools for electrical and plumbing. For plumbing, three pipe wrenches, small, med, large, also three adjustable wrenches and a faucet wrench for tightening the nuts up behind the sink. Two sets of Allen wrenches, metric and SAE. For electrical a digital cheapie meter from Radio Shackup, wire strippers, needle nose pliers, assorted screwdrivers. I've had a good set of Xcelite tools in a roll pouch for 40 years. It's their Service Master #99M complete with pliers, screwdrivers, nut drivers. Also, check out Jensen Tools.
Bob
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I don't have any advice regarding which tools to purchase, but I've got to say that if your new wife bought into this idea you've got a hell of a catch there !!
Peter H
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Never had my drain fixed, but I've had my pipes clean often.
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Well, Lots have put in their 2 pennies worth, I shall add one thought
EBAY for some of the tools you don;t need right away. Buy quality.
Remove "YOURPANTIES" to reply
MUADIB
http://www.angelfire.com/retro/ssterile/MAIN%20PAGE.html
one small step for man,..... One giant leap for attorneys.
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I've already put in about a dime's worth of my own ideas on this topic. But I'd like to add a few words in defense of lower quality tools.
There are some types of tools where poor quality will lead to almost instant frustration. Diagonal pliers and cutters come to mind. The Chinese ones bind up even before they rust, and then they rust.
But there are other categories of tools that I think every handyman should have a few crappy examples of. Screwdrivers, for example. A good screwdriver with a hardened tip and a nice large, easy-to-grip handle is a lovely thing. But my cheap Stanley yellow-and-black-plastic-handle-that-came-ten-in-a-blister-pack screwdrivers are cheap enough to keep a couple in the kitchen, my electrical tool box, my plumbing tool box, the yard etc.
More advantages: While you should get a couple of good screwdrivers in the sizes and styles you will use often, most people don't need the ultimate quality for the #3 Torx. So get an inexpensive set to cover all the less common styles. I also like to have a few screwdrivers that I won't mind opening a can with, or lending to the neighbors.
It's good to have a couple of cheap hammers, too. Same criteria: Don't use an uncomfortable hammer to drive dozens of nails, but keep a couple of cheapos in your tool boxes for when a little "persuasion" is required. I found some adjustable wrenches at the local $1 store. They wouldn't stand up to daily use (although they are better than you might expect), but they are just right to throw in my special-purpose tool kits. I keep the Crescent brand one in the shop.
You'll have to use your judgment to decide which cheap tools will be useful.
Greg Guarino PS: Definitely stay away from the Vise-Grip knockoffs.
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20 - 22 oz ripping hammer, circular saw, an assortment of combination wrenches both metric and standard, adjustable wrenches, "Vise Grip" brand locking pliers, regular pliers, diagonal cutting pliers, adjustable pliers, pipe wrenches, tubing wrenches, 1/2" hammer drill, an electric impact wrench, work bench, saw horses padded with carpet, step ladders, extension ladders, first aid kit, phone in the garage (to call 911 or order pizza and beer..)
This is only a basic list of things needed.
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On Sun, 07 Nov 2004 18:16:19 GMT, "Rich"

Working alone? (of course you are). Get yourself a couple of "Quick-Grip" clamps. They are a great "third hand" that can be applied to or removed from the work with ONE hand.
You might want to consider "reconditioned" power tools. I hear that these are rarely actually reworked in any way, just tested after they were returned to the store (sometimes after some jerk's idea of a "free rental"). I got a Makita hammer drill for about 35% off. It was indistinguishable from new.
Don't buy blister packs of 10 screws unless you're absolutely sure you won't need any more of that size again. How can you be sure? You CAN'T. Buy a box. Get some sort of fastener organization system going. This can be as simple as a plastic tray with a handle that can hold the boxes. Start off with three or four sizes of drywall screws and a few sizes of nails. Buy a box of the type of wall anchors that are appropriate for your walls AND the proper screws to fit them. Keep these together. Keep the proper masonry bit for the anchors with them as well for extra convenience.
Keep all the extra hardware that comes with anything you buy (knocked down furniture, curtain rods, shelf brackets, toilet repair kit, etc.) All those unused screws, brackets and such can be a real convenience when you need some odd size later. Keep wood scraps too. It's ridiculous to have to go out and BUY a piece of plywood 6" x 12".
Good luck.
Greg Guarino
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I used baby food jars. The babies are now 37 and 35, but the jars are still holding my screws, bolts, nuts, etc. Did I say my nuts are in a jar?
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Yes you did. Your wife probably put them there after 2 babies. Either that or it's just proof that you are married.
I tend to use small plastic instant coffee jars. Holds more "stuff" and they don't break when you drop them.
Randy http://members.aol.com/rsmeiner
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wrote:

I'm sure my dad didn't invent this idea, but he had the jar lids nailed into the BOTTOM of a shelf. That way the jars hung below the shelf and could be removed with a twist. I've got a few of those plastic compartment trays instead. I don't know if it's a better idea, but we still lived in an apartment when my daughter was a baby and didn't save the jars.
Greg Guarino
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wrote:

I dislike when I drop a glass, but I like to see what's in the container. I have replaced all the glass jars with recycled clear plastic Parmesan cheese containers. They are larger and lighter too. Peanut butter jars are good too.
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