Newbie at This Stuff

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) ;Þ
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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Home Depot offers How To clinics that MIGHT get you up on the curve soon. This is the place to ask IF you can ignore the typical no-brainers that love to ridicule. When asking try to include details like diameter of hole in bracket that you're trying to install and material in which it will go. Remember NO question is stupid just some "responses".
On 6 Aug 2003 06:13:11 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@jimmy.harvard.edu (linda) wrote:

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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:

and if you do much drilling into concrete, you will appreciate how 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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convenient.
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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A lot of apartment buildings have concrete dividing walls between the units, often the other walls are drywall, one really solid apartment building we lived in had all the main walls in concrete & only the lesser ones finished in drywall. Needless to say simply hanging a picture anywhere was not simple at all.
Good luck
Jon~ J.D.Power Tool Canada.
http://www.stores.ebay.com/jdpowertoolcanada
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Many apartments have at least some cinderblock walls, but agreed - she should ask.
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to avoid

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.

assortment will I need?
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.

with
folks,
in
she?
even
bits
avoid
hand
advice?
basics...nothing
you
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Denise wrote:

Okay, so I am a girl too but here is my cents worth. "don't buy cheap tools" is very good advise. They won't last very long. Better to buy what you need now and add things as you go along. While I wouldn't necessarily recommend Sears for everything, that is usually where I buy things like wrenches, drill bits, etc. Most items have a lifetime warranty. They also have a variety of tool storage items, not cheap but good. I have also found their salesmen to be very helpful, one even took chain saws down from a wall display to let me feel them in my hand. On their web page, in the Portable Power Tools section, Buying Guide they have some very good Faq's, including very basic info about the tools themselves. Also in my city they have an outlet store where reconditioned tools are sold. I have purchased paint sprayers and heat guns for paint stripping there and gotten very good deals and dependable products. Be sure to check out the size/weight and the feel of the tool before you buy it. For instance, manual staplers are mostly not sized for girls hands and can be difficult to operate. Or the larger drill can feel like lead weights before you're done especially if you are working above your head. Other helpful info can be found at your local hardware/lumber yard. I have taken things in and asked for help selecting a replacement and gotten the right one, along with some basic instructions for installing things. The more you know how to do the more they can sell you. One other thing when shopping for tools and material where you may need to ask questions, go at a time when the sales people are not very busy, not a good idea on Mondays when all the tradespeople are getting ready for the week or on Saturday when all of us DIY'ers are out there shopping too.
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Sometimes the other customers at the store are your best resource.
I used to work for Sears back in 1996, and I wasn't all that impressed. Their stuff can be over priced, and very often the repair parts are sized a little differently then the rest of the world, and you have to buy Sears parts for Sears products. I don't like that.
--

Christopher A. Young
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she?
even
bits
avoid
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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with
folks,
in
she?
even
bits
avoid
hand
advice?
basics...nothing
you
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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Well, what comes to mind is to find someone in your life who uses tools, and ask to work with her (or him) for a while. Sounds like a real adventure for you.
I watched my Dad fix just about everything while I was growing up, I really got lucky.
The advice "get as good tools as you can afford" is good. Junky tools don't work well, and will frustrate you.
Another advice: Everyone makes misteaks. Don't beat yourself up cause you drill a hole in the wrong place, or too large or too small. Big contractors make misteaks too. Sometmes they even make spelling airs. (smile here: Mistakes, errors).
Keep working along, and have some fun doing it.
--

Christopher A. Young
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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.

Good luck, GG. It's all common sense and patience. But you have an 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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