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How to build the essential toolbox ?

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Want to become the perfect handyman ? Here are a few tips on how to build the essential toolbox, from the most minimalist toolbox to a kit for the experienced DIY.

The first thing you need to consider is how you are going to gather all these handy tools. Buying them all the same time will cost you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. The smartest way to do it is to buy all basic tools such as hammers, screwdrivers, wrenchs, that you need on hand just in case, and any additional ones you might need for the project you are currently working with. Then, pick other along th way as new projects are coming in. This method will help you buy the best quality tools you can possibly buy.

If you wonder if you should rent or buy the more expensive tools, ask yourself this simple question : if you will use it only once (like a floor sander), rent it. However, if you plan to use it more than once a year, then, it’s worth an investment.

Check out for sales or ask for it as gifts. The suggestion you will find below for the basic toolbox also make great graduation or housewarming gifts.

Finally, it is essential that you remember to put all your tools back in the same place, whether it is in a drawer, an actual toolbox or a full-fledged workshop. (Trust us, you don’t want to walk around your home looking for a wrench when a pipe is leaking.)


The Universal Tool Box : 10 essential tools

Screwdriver Set: From prying the lids off of your paint cans, to opening child-proof battery compartments, screwdrivers are a must-have tools, regardless of your handyman level. Look for flat and Philips-head screwdrivers of various sizes; you can often buy these in sets. Aim for comfortable grips to make screwing or unscrewing easier.

Our recommendation: Stanley - Push-N-Pick Screwdriver - 69-193P

Claw Hammer: Have you ever seen a toolbox without a solid hammer ? One end is used to drive nails in, the other side to pull (generally bent) nails out of wood or a wall. We recommend a hammer with a 16-inch handle, that weighs about one pound. Rubber, plastic, or vinyl handles offer the best shock absorption and a better grip.

Our recommendation: Stiletto - TIBONE MINI-14 OZ. MILLED FACE/STRAIGHT 16" TI HDL. - TBM14RMS

Pliers: Adjustable, locking pliers, also known as plier wrenches, lever-wrench liers and wise grips are very polyvalent tools. They lock in place, they can be used as a clamp, or, as we have mentioned it earlier, instead of a wrenc, wire cutter, or more. We recommend a standard 5-10 size for this plier.

Our recommendation: Stanley - 9-Inch MaxSteel Curved Jaw Locking Pliers - 84-809

Adjustable Wrench: A crescent, adjustable wrench is like having a selection of multiple wrenches in one. You will need one to tighten nuts and bolts and looser plumbing fixtures.

Our recommendation: Stanley - 10-Inch Long MaxGrip Locking Adjustable Wrench - 85-610

Tape Measure: Tape measures come in varying widths (from from ½ inch to 1-inch), with the wider widths easier to support with one hand when extended. We recommend a ¾-inch wide, 16-foot long tape measure, as it is a good size job for most jobs.

Our recommendation: Stabila - 16' Tape Bm 40 - 30316

Level: Having a level ensure you don’t hang or install anything less than horizontally perfect. You can find some mobile apps that you can use as a level, but a longer (3 to 4 foot) metal will be way more precise. For hands-free leveling, you can use a laser level as well.

Our recommendation: Stabila - 24" Level Model 196 - 37424 - Bosch - GLL 1P Line and Point Laser Level - GLL 1P

Utility Knife: Whether it is for sharpening pencils or opening boxes, the utility knife (or cutter) remains an essential in the basic tool box. We recommend buying one with built-in blade storage and rubber-covered handles for comfort.

Our recommendation: Bessey - Knife kit, Folding, lock back utility knife kit - DBKPHSET

Work Light or Flashlight: Work light or flashlight always come in handy, even in an emegency kit. Look for a dedicated LED light, head lamp, or work lamp to make sure you sawing, screwing, nailing or polishing correctly in low or no light.

Our recommendation: Bosch - FL12 12V Bare LED Flashlight - FL12

Electric Drill: The most convienient for working anywhere are the cordless drills. However, the corded kinds are less costly and don’t require expensive battery replacements. Regardless of the type you get, an electric drill not only drill holes and drives screws, but with different bits, you can also sand and grind materials and also stir paint.

Our recommendation: DeWALT - 1/2" (13mm) 14.4V Cordless XRP™ Drill/Driver Kit - DCD920KX - Makita - ½ Corded” Drill - DP4002 - Milwaukee - M12 FUEL™ 1/2" Drill/Driver Kit - 2403-22

Hacksaw: A hacksaw can cut through wood and even metal and plastic pipes. Aim for the kind you can quickly replace with new blades.

Our recommendation: Stanley - 10-Inch Mini-Hack Light-Duty Utility Saw - 20-807

Toolbox: The final touch for this essential toolbox, is the carrier for all your new goodies. We recommend a sturdy plastic or thick, resistant material to carry your tools around.

Our recommendation: DeWALT - 12" Tradesman's™ Tool Bag - DG5542

The Upgraded Toolbox:

Once you have your basic toolbox at hand and all your shiny, new tools, here are the extra tools you might want to consider for an upgrade.

Stud Finder: A stud finder helps you to secure shelves, cabinets, TV, to studs in the wall, and avoid any bad surprises when opening one.

Our recommendation: Bosch - GMS120 Digital Multi-Scanner - GMS120

Ratcheting screwdriver: This particular screwdriver locks into place when you turn it clockwise and also loosens when you turn counter-clockwise, which diminishes the stress on your wrist. Most models store a variety of screwdrivers heads in the handle and may bend 90 degrees or more for improved polyvalence.

Our recommendation: Milwaukee - 10IN1 Square Drive Ratcheting Multi Bit Driver - 48-22-2302

Pliers Set: Other than the adjustable pliers, other pliers may come in handy, when it comes to pick up include needle-nose, as well as wire-cutting and diagonal for more precise work, like fixing jewelry.

Our recommendation: Stanley - 3-Piece FATMAX® Groove Joint Plier Set - 84-538

Socket Wrench: For large projects where you have to tighten or loosen many nuts and bolts, a socket wrench set with a ratcheting handle is the way to go. /For bigger projects where you have to tighthen or loosen many bolts and nuts, a socket wrench set with a rateching handle is the thing to have.

Allen wrenches: Also known as allen keys or hex keys, are L-shaped tools used to drive bolts and screws with hexagonal sockets in the head. You find yourself using them while building up furniture or repairing your bike. Aime for allen wrench kits in range of sizes and both Imperial and metric measurments.

Our recommendation: Bondhus - L-Wrench Set - Star, Tamper Resistant, TR6-TR25, 8 Pc - 32432

Pipe wrench: As its name says, the pipe wrench is used mostly for turning plumbing pipes and other fittings. Even if the large-scale plumbing jobs are best left to a professional plumber, you can save time and money on small jobs like putting on a new faucet, if you have the tools to do it.

Our recommendation: Stanley - 10" Pipe Wrench - 87-477

Putty knife: Like its name says the putty knife is for spreading putty to patch holes in wall. Available both with stiff or rigid blades, you can also use it to scrape off old paint or glue residue, pry up nails or can lids, remove wall papers or clean paint smudges.

Our recommendation: Stanley - 2-Inch Nylon Handle Flexible Blade Putty Knife - 28-242

Combination Square: When you need to make cuts that are 90-degree angle or otherwise precisely measure, and mark said squareness of corners, you need a combination square. We recommend picking up both a 6" and a 12" combination square.

Our recommendation: Samona/ROK - Precision Combination Square - 28130

Chisel: If you are working with wood or changing the deadbolt on your front door, a set of sharp chisels comes in handy. There are many types of chisels out there, made for specialized purposes, but the standard design will do for just about anything.

Our recommendation: Stanley - Chisel Set, 3-Piece - 16-300

Crosscut Saw: Also called hand saw, the crosscut saw is ideal for small jobs like cutting 2x4s and for cutting across wood grain.

Our recommendation: Stanley - 20-Inch Blade Length x 12 Points Per Inch FatMax Saw with Blade Armor Coating - 20-047

By following these simple yet crucial steps, not only will you have the perfect toolbox, but you will have one that can handle any kind of small jobs around the house !


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