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#214890 - 01/13/11 05:56 PM basic tool kit - Home
TeacherRO Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2192
Given limited space and budget, whats a good basic home tool kit?
Repairs and emergency fix-up

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#214891 - 01/13/11 06:19 PM Re: basic tool kit - Home [Re: TeacherRO]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2812
Buy one tool at a time as you learn how to use them (If you don't already know). Look for after Christmas and after Fathers day sales.

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#214892 - 01/13/11 06:25 PM Re: basic tool kit - Home [Re: TeacherRO]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 2796
Loc: USA
You can get away with nothing more than a flashlight and a good multitool for a lot of things.

For a home setup, I'd start with a flashlight, hammer, screwdrivers and pliers -- slip-joint and longnose both. I think of duct tape as being less of a tool and more of a life essential.

After those minimal basics, a pipe wrench, a crescent wrench, lineman's pliers, and a socket set are super-handy. Big pliers, small needlenose pliers, and more screwdrivers round out the hand tools I use most commonly. A small pry bar can be worth its weight in gold, I'm particularly fond of the 15" Vaughan.

If you're going to buy any power tools at all, buy a high-quality cordless screwdriver with an extra battery; the setup should allow you to charge one battery while working with another. Some of the cordless tool sets out there are very good. A cordless recipro-saw is more useful than a cordless jigsaw. I have a cordless circular saw but usually I'm using the heavy-duty corded model when I need a circular saw. Don't wait to charge and maintain your cordless tool batteries -- get that done before you need to use them. If you can standardize on a single type of cordless battery, you'll be glad you did.

What I've found is that if I know how to do something and I don't have the tools, that's when it's time to go tool shopping. If you don't even know what tools to use, that usually means it's a good time to hire someone who does.

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#214896 - 01/13/11 06:50 PM Re: basic tool kit - Home [Re: chaosmagnet]
Paul810 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 1428
Loc: NJ, USA
I would say this is a good starting point:

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00933083000P?prdNo=19&blockNo=19&blockType=G19

Otherwise, I would add a flashlight, regular screwdrivers, needle nose pliers, channel locks, vice grips, and a rechargeable drill/saw combo.

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#214900 - 01/13/11 07:47 PM Re: basic tool kit - Home [Re: TeacherRO]
Mark_R Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/29/10
Posts: 841
Loc: Southern California
I just puchased my first house about 2 years ago, in order of what got used the most:
Measuring tape
Steel ruler or builders square
Pencil
Ratcheting bit driver with interchangeable bits
Flashlight/headlamp
Torpedo level
Stud finder
Utility knife
Claw hammer (14 oz minimum)
Corded drill + short extension cord (cordless is nice, but if you can manage the cord, corded offers more bang for your buck)
6 ft ladder
Jab saw (drywall repairs)
Putty knife (drywall repairs)
Dremel

These only get used rarely for house repair
Cross-cut saw (cutting lumber and shelves)
needle nose pliers
Adjustable crescent wrench (8-10")
Channel lock(8-10")
Socket set
Basin wrench (you don't need one until you really need one. Don't buy until you're replacing faucets)
I also have a B&D jigsaw that is an unmitigated piece of junk.

With the exception of the saws and the power tools, you can get away with the bargain stuff for basic home maintanance. Buy brand name (DeWalt, Bosch, etc) when you're dealing with those.

EDIT: A basic home improvement book.
http://www.homedepot.com/How-To-Books/h_...catalogId=10053


Edited by Mark_R (01/13/11 08:00 PM)
Edit Reason: add book
_________________________
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane

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#214903 - 01/13/11 09:11 PM Re: basic tool kit - Home [Re: chaosmagnet]
bsmith Offline
day hiker
Addict

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 577
Loc: ventura county, ca
Originally Posted By: chaosmagnet
If you're going to buy any power tools at all, buy a high-quality cordless screwdriver with an extra battery; the setup should allow you to charge one battery while working with another. Some of the cordless tool sets out there are very good. A cordless recipro-saw is more useful than a cordless jigsaw. I have a cordless circular saw but usually I'm using the heavy-duty corded model when I need a circular saw. Don't wait to charge and maintain your cordless tool batteries -- get that done before you need to use them. If you can standardize on a single type of cordless battery, you'll be glad you did.
1+ on all of the above.

with rechargeable tools - i learned the hard way. the sears instructions clearly stated (who reads that stuff anyway? well, me now) that the battery should not be stored on the tool as it would apparently continue to discharge slowly. well, i did. there was no other space to store the batteries in the case that the tools came in - so it made sense to store them there. within a couple years both batteries would not hold a charge and i had to buy new ones.

lesson - the cordless are great, just don't store the batteries on the tools. they will hold the charge for surprisingly long time.
_________________________
“Everyone should have a horse. It is a great way to store meat without refrigeration. Just don’t ever get on one.”
- ponder's dad

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#214904 - 01/13/11 09:42 PM Re: basic tool kit - Home [Re: TeacherRO]
JBMat Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 745
Loc: NC
+1 on the above

I'd like to mention Harbor Freight. Good tools at cheap prices. No, they won't last forever, but at the prices charged, you can afford to replace them now and then. And should you break one, you won't go into spasms of agony because you broke a tool.

Standard disclaimers - no connection other than I spend some bucks there when I can. And always check for coupons for them, often they have great sales.

Another thing. Some companies warranty batteries "for life". The bad part, they stop making some models/batteries and you can't find them for love nor money. My $100 drill on sale now has one functional battery and no way to replace the other dead one. When it goes, back to HF for a $25 replacement.

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#214906 - 01/13/11 10:43 PM Re: basic tool kit - Home [Re: Paul810]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont


I like it. Real screwdrivers, needle noses, vice grips, a second wrench, a couple pencils and a note pad, a solar calculator and head lamp should be added, but thats about it IMHO.

And a decent locking jackknife or small fixed blade that you won't mind getting things like caulk on.
_________________________
-IronRaven

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

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#214913 - 01/14/11 12:05 AM Re: basic tool kit - Home [Re: Mark_R]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Originally Posted By: Mark_R

Corded drill + short extension cord (cordless is nice, but if you can manage the cord, corded offers more bang for your buck)


I think you nailed it with the recommendation of a corded power tools. Over the years rechargeable batteries have improved but all of them will self-discharge over time and it is not uncommon for cells to flip simply because one cell discharged at a slightly faster rate. The end result is a battery pack that is useless when you try to use it after being in storage for a long time.

I have a half-dozen cordless tools that lack functional batteries around here. The batteries can be repacked with cells, I've done that a few times, but it isn't a DIY job for beginners and the new cells are not cheap. New battery packs are often more expensive buy alone than buying a complete kit with a new tool, two batteries, and a case.

On the other hand I have corded drills that date back to the 70s that are still kicking. I have a circular saw that was new in the early 60s. It has never been serviced and still cuts well. With a corded tool you have consistent power and performance without waiting. You have to have electrical power and a good extension cord is vital but once you have them you have something you can count on.

A simple 500w to 1000w, less than $100, inverter that will hook to a car battery can keep you working when power is out or otherwise unavailable. I have a 700w inverter than runs a 3/8" drill/screw gun, jigsaw, reciprocating saw, and 1/2" hammer-drill on small jobs. It lags with a 7-1/4" circular saw on long cuts and hardwood but for regular 2by4s and 1/2" ply it works well enough.

Makita makes a basic 3/8" variable speed drill that does most of what a homeowner might need for about $40. I have bought a few of them as backup units and second drills during commercial projects. They don't have the wrist breaking torque of a heavy-duty unit but they are more than plenty for 90% of DIY use. Add a 25', 14ga extension cord for about $20 and you have a tool that will still work ten or twenty years down the road.

For interior work a 25' extension cord is usually plenty. When the budget allows get a second. Buy commercial grade 14 gauge cords. If money is really tight, it happens, you might get by with short a 16ga cord if the tool isn't too power hungry. Light-up ends are worth the extra cost as they tell you when you have power.

Before buying tools I strongly recommend that you have a garage to store them in. A tool roll, toolbox, or soft-sided tool bag gives you a place to keep your tools. Keep them together and both clean and well oiled and they will last for many years. Without the central storage they wander off, get forgotten, and neglected.

A simple $5 voltage tester, a set of neon lamps with two short leads is worth the price. It will tell you when a circuit is live and what voltage/s are present. Gardner-Bender makes a nice little unit.

A box-cutter is a good tool. Disposable blades are cheap and expendable. I prefer the non-retractable sort, the Stanley 188 is a classic, but you have to keep it in a sheath or use the included guard.

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#214915 - 01/14/11 12:31 AM Re: basic tool kit - Home [Re: Art_in_FL]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5998
Loc: southern Cal
I really like a cordless drill. The trick is to check Consumers Reports and follow their recommendations - not all drills are equal. I often grab my drill for quick jobs and not having to mess with extension cords can save a lot of time. OTOH, I ttoally agree with Art about the durability of corded tools. I still use some of my tools of similar vintage and they are great

Of course, there is still another type of cordless drill - the vintage hand powered type. They work well too and present no battery problems....

My rule of thumb is that every significant project yields another tool for my collection.
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