Newbie at This Stuff

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Hello there!
Well, it's finally happened. I broke down and got myself a new tool-box, along with some cheap tools, among various other things, as I am tired of asking for help fixing things around the house, and I want to learn how to do home repairs. <My dad will really appreciate me not innundating him with phone calls with repeated pleas for help> (Pardon my droning on here, folks, but I am so out of the loop when it comes to tools, drills, measurements, etc...but I'm sure that I'll prove to be endless fodder for entertainment in the process) ;
My questions, I'm sure, will either make the pro's out there laugh their butts off, or think...geez, this woman really doesn't have a clue, does she? But then again, if I want to learn, I have to ask...and I am a babe in the woods when it comes to this stuff. Hopefully you can bear with me with even the most inane of questions.
Now here is my initial dilemma: I am in the process of buying new drapes for my living room windows, and I went out to Canadian Tire and bought myself an inexpensive drill. When I asked the guy in tools about drill bits and other things, he looked at me as if I had ten heads, and I want to avoid further embarrasment. (Needless to say, I didn't ask what other kinds of tools a female new to home repairs would need) I just wanted to get the hell outta there.
How do I know what size drill bits to buy, and how much of an assortment will I need? Not just for the drapes, but just so that I have enough on hand in case I decide to tackle another project. (I am an apartment dweller, so of course, I have cement walls to deal with) I'VE NEVER USED A DRILL BEFORE!!! Can you guys and gals offer a beginner like me any newbie advice? Also, I'd like to purchase some home repair books (just the basics...nothing too advanced), and was wondering if anyone out there could recommend some titles to me? For example, "Drills for Dummies", or "Tools for Dummies", you know...something along those lines.
Thanks so much in advance for your help, gang...and I look forward to lurking and learning from you all....
GG
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hi GG here's my advice:
don't buy cheap tools. buy the best you can afford. otherwise you will end up getting frustrated and not have fun with your projects. you can buy tools as you need them and gradually add to your collection. they will last longer and you will enjoy using them.
don't buy tools from stores/salespeople who make you feel intimidated. there are plenty of places out there to choose from. lots of people who will be willing to help & not make a female feel uncomfortable.
i would suggest a good cordless (rechargeable) drill, makita is a good brand and they come in different sizes. pick one that feels comfortable to you. you say you are an apartment dweller so you may not have alot of room for a whole lot of tools, but i use a heavy duty plug-in type drill (milwaukee, though just about any good brand will do) as well as the cordless. lots of times it is handy to have 2 drills, one to pre-drill a hole and the other with a phillips head bit to screw. you should be able to find pre-selected drill bit sets at any home supply store with about a dozen or so bits. this should serve you well for most jobs.
--linda

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snipped-for-privacy@jimmy.harvard.edu (linda) wrote in message

If you only want one dirll, let it be corded. The cordless drill is 1. more expensive. 2. bulkier, heavier. 3. less powerful. 4. Battery will die in a few years, the replacement will cost more than the drill then. 5. The battery is not charged when you want to use it. 6. The battery will run of juice just 2 drills away from finishing your job.

Maybe you need a Quickload instead of tow drills.
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On 6 Aug 2003 11:35:48 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Karen) wrote:

much easier a hammer drill makes this task.

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Disagree. For most small jobs in an apartment, cordless is more convenient.
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"Convenient" in WHAT way?! I'd say that if she owns 5+ acres that cordless might be the way to go for a first purchase.
Buy a 50' extension cord and use corded tools ANYwhere in a building--Karen (cherubhollyhock?! Love yer nym, sweety) is right on with her 6 points.
--John W. Wells (now I'd agree that a cordless flashlight IS convenient) :-)
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You can't imagine in what way it's convenient? Go with cordless.
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"Denise" wrote in message

Don't be afraid to ask questions. Ask lots of them until you understand what you need to do. I have been around people who will take the time to explain things to me and I appreciate it. Other times someone is rude and makes me feel like I am an idiot for asking a silly question. When that happens, I just go elsewhere and find someone else who is willing to be helpful.
So far as your walls and anchors... I would guess that your walls are "drywall" and not concrete. It is possible that they are concrete, but not likely. Try to find out exactly what your inside walls are made of. Ask a neighbor or your apartment manager. Then come back here and ask a specific question like "how do I put an anchor in drywall" or "how do I put an anchor in concrete". There are different methods/tools depending on the material your wall is made of.
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Many apartments have at least some cinderblock walls, but agreed - she should ask.
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Don't assume that he know anything about home repair just because he works in a tool section. How many guys have the gut to answer a lady with "I don't know"? His strange facial expression might be his way to mask his embarrassment because he didn't want to admit to a female that he didn't know anything.

Usually it's cheaper to buy a whole set (drill bit and screwdriver set combo) than buying individually, something like Mastercraft 21-piece QuickLoad Accessory Kit.
http://www.canadiantire.ca/assortments/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id 5524442970415&FOLDER%3C%3EbrowsePath08474395348043&FOLDER%3C%3EbrowsePath%34374303512705&FOLDER%3C%3EbrowsePath%34374303512721&FOLDER%3C%3EbrowsePath%34374303512724&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id%34374303512724&ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id08474395348027&bmUID60176569662
I like the convenience of those quickload bits. They're a little more expensive than regular ones. Walmart, Home Depot and Sears have similar set. Since you know Canadian Tire always have 1/2 price sale on their own tools accessories, you may want to wait for the sale. Meantime you can get $1 drill set (4~5 drill bits in a plastic box) and $1 screwdriver set (6~8 bits in a plastic box) at a Dollar Store to get you start on the drape. If you don't do a lot of work, it may be all you need. Walmart also have the regular 100 bits set for around $20.
Good luck.
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Go to Chapters and look up a book that is written by, of all people, Reader's Digest. They have a couple of books on how to do almost everything about the house. They are well written and filled with diagrams. In Canada they are revised to Canadian standards. Get one or all, you will not go wrong. Also go to Home Depot if you have one in the neighbourhood, they also have a book that is similar, I haven't looked at it so I am not sure how comprehensive it is or if it is a Canadian version. This book may also be available at Chapters/Coles/Smith's books stores. Check them out. These books will give you a start. You look up what you want to do and follow directions. It will at least give you some basis of sounding like you know what you are talking about when you go to buy some tools or supplies, or when you are talking to your father.

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The drill and bits (a pre pack kit of 10-20 bits, 1/16 to 3/8") will handle most home chores.
Hammer, pliers, vise grips (locking pliers), slotted & Phillips screw-drivers (2 each most popular sizes), an adjustable wrench (some times called a crescent wrench). If you get to plumbing a set of pipe wrenches.
If you need some help with the drapery install post here again or email me. That's what I do for a living. I just work on old houses for fun!
Colbyt
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just ask "Art's Home Repair" he claims to know everything about repairs. I'm sure he could teach you a thing or two or maybe even three.
He must have written a book by now!
stick around I'm sure he will be by soon.
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wrote:

Um, no. I'm a pro and it sounds as if you are about where I was thirty years ago, with the same confusions and questions. None of us was born knowing anything.
We applaud you for wanting to learn.

Good idea. Until you know how much you'll be using them and what you'll be using them for, there's not a lot of point in spending more than minimum amounts for tools. For example, I use a Compound Mitre Saw and a Table Saw frequently and spent just a thousand on each; I use a jig saw three or four times a year and picked up a Skil for something under fifty bucks.

The help at Canadian Tire is either bright high school kids or minimum wage adults -- if he gave you that weird look, it is HIS problem not yours. If you have a Totem or a Rona (formerly Revy), try their tool sections. You'll probably find them helpful and genuine.
My suggestions would be: small, inexpensive hammer, decent set of pliers, small crescent (adjustable) wrench, needlenosed pliers and a set of screwdrivers (slot blade, large and small Phillips (the ones with an X shape) and a couple of Robertsons (the ones with the square ends). Since you have a drill, get a Phillips and a #2 Robertson bit. That will let you use your drill as a screwdriver.

You can buy an assortment of twist drill bits for about $20 bucks. Most things around the home are NOT sized in metric ... and most construction is not done in metric so don't bother with metric drill bits.

Check with your super ... he'll tell you how to go about hanging things.

My own recommendation would be the Reader's Digest series of how to books. Mine are thirty years old... and still relevant. They're straight-forward and easy to understand.
Or check out a few at the library.. when you find one that's helpful, go to Chapters or whoever and buy it.
You may also check to see if there are any municpally sponsored or community college courses near you. I know the ones here are hugely popular.

advantage over guys: we only read the instructions after we've screwed it up twice <grin>
Ken
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This is a good website to read for starter toolkits:
http://www.factsfacts.com/MyHomeRepair/basicTools.htm
and the main page is: http://www.factsfacts.com/MyHomeRepair/index.html
Hope this helps; I think Jim, the guy who built the page, did a great job.
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says...

I haven't seen these myself, but here are some reviews (you can get these cheap on Half.com):
http://rebeccasreads.com/reviews/07hmgar/07susj22.html
http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0743439643/ref%3Dpd%5Fsim%5Fdp % 5F2/701-2947586-8783541
http://www.bestbookdeal.com/book/157145537X
Jeannie
--
To reply to me, remove *spamenot* from address.

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Get a moderately priced cordless drill. Virtually everyone has these nowadays and they can come in very handy as an electric screwdriver too (it should come with a couple screwdriver bits - if not, buy a couple.) Buy a small drill bit kit - one with about a dozen drill bits in it. Most things that you install yourself will tell you which size drill bit to use. So, make sure you get a kit where the sizes are clearly marked (e.g. 1/4"). Cement usually takes a special drill bit, so you might want to pick up a few of those too.
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things done. You never know what problems you might run into. Quality is nice, but quantity counts more in my opinion. Get as many different cheap tools as you can find over time. I'm talking as a do-it-yourselfer here, not as a pro. Pro tools are a whole different game.
Cheap drill bits will cut through concrete generally. So, you might burn one from time to time. If you're not a pro, who cares. You don't need something to last through hundreds of jobs. You just need to hang a few pictures.
A corded drill is a good idea too. If you buy a cordless you'll likely lose the batteries before you've used it much. Buy a corded one and you can use it occasionally for a lifetime.
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Forget about being embarassed! I'm new to this stuff too, but I noticed that no-one suggested that you buy a level so when you hang the drape hardware, your drapes will be straight. This is very important!
I drive everyone insane with my insistance on girlifying stuff up. I found a swell plastic case filled with a collection of drill & screw bits which I refer to as Malibu Barbie's dream drill accessory kit. I actually prefer a corded drill because I have small, arthritic hands and the cordless drills are too heavy & hurt. Buying several good power tool rated extension cords has been great. We have a couple of drills and we have bought a couple from Sears that are reconditioned and work really well.
Don't worry when people look at you like you have three heads. That Reader's Digest home repair book that someone else mentioned is wonderful and has pictures. I am very methodical in my approach to things and I think about what i want to do very carefully & make drawings, etc. It doesn't mean I won't go to the hardware store twenty times.
I now have a variety of home repair skills. Yesterday, I replaced a faucet on a bathroom sink that a plumber tried to scare me out of trying. He was a bad plumber who wanted to take advantage of me (wanted me to buy the faucet from him & said that basically, we'd have to buy a new sink). Unlike my much handier husband, I find that slow & steady makes for a good job. Lay everything out in order, read the directions & understand that you can call in a pro if you mess up too badly. But you probably will do a great job!
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wrote:

Yes, but! I installed a 4' length of wood doweling on an elderly relative's wall for displaying a quilt--used a level as you suggest. It looked AWful. Reason? Because the ceiling in that room was not level (it was a low ceiling and sloped slightly for drainage of the roof above).
Had to remount the dowel so that it "looked right," even though it was far from level!
For reasons like this it's often better to just "eyeball" levelness! Hanging pictures, for instance.

As long as you're girlifying YOUR bathroom and not mine, go right ahead, kiddo! :-)

Ha! Me too. I make drawing after drawing of what I want to build or modify. And if my sketch doesn't feel just right, I set it aside and don't even try to come back to it for several hours. And after a bit, lo and behold, new ideas come!

Lots of good advice! Atta Grrl, Montana! [But where was "handier" hubby when that plumber was trying to (ahem) 'take advantage' of you?!]
--John W. Wells
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