- Home Improvement
10 New Hand Tools and Things Everyone Including Every Homeowner Needs
Living on your own is rough as it is, without things breaking. Not having the tools you need to scrap by makes it even harder. It's surprising that no one talks about tools, when discussing what you'll need when you finally do make the jump to your own place. I suppose it's seen as kind of a given. Everyone assumes everyone already knows. This, like so many things in life, is never the case.
This is hardly a comprehensive list of every tool you'll need for EVERY situation, of course. That list would be a mile long and growing. Instead, this list is...a beginners set of sorts. The most basic of tools that everyone should have. Presented for you...in no particular order.
Oh, the lowly scissors, how we forget ye use, until we are rendered useless without ye. More often than not you'll find yourself in a situation with a stray thread magically appearing from a shirt cuff, jutting out just enough to ruin your day or make you believe that everyone thinks you're a disheveled idiot. Either way, you rummage through a junk drawer to find something sharp and crafty to remedy the situation. Unfortunately, you didn't read this hub and must now settle for a steak knife and a steady hand.
Scissors are good for cutting paper, tape, cloth and who knows what else. Often times, these are left out of the mix when buying things for a new place. Always have a set around for when those cutting needs arise. They're a great tool for almost any cutting endeavor. Almost.
9. A utility knife
Ah, the utility knife or X-acto knife as some might call it. It's basically a razor blade with a sturdy handle. This little beauty can cut a lot of what scissors can't handle and do it with ease. It's really useful for cutting screen, plastics, heavier fabric and delivers a more exacting cut than scissors would.
Just be careful, as with all cutting devices, it's sharp. A utility knife is really, really sharp. As was mentioned earlier, it's a razor with a handle. So, manipulate it with care and make use of all of it's safety features. Don't forget to store the blade in it's blade down, locked position, either. Reaching blindly into a messy drawer (as we're all prone to do, from time to time) and realizing your fingers found the business end of it's razor never helps your day get better. It's usually leads to a lot of bleeding and screaming.
Just so everyone feels better, here are a bunch of people acting out utility knife injuries and explaining you how to avoid them. We'll all sleep better at nig
8. A hack saw
Oh, the mighty hack saw; as it turns out, they're not just for breaking out of prison any more. Often, one finds themselves in a situation that needs a quick sawing. Be it an unruly, lopsided chair, an aluminum fence post or cutting branches, hacksaws can more or less do the job.
They're relatively cheap and can be adapted for many uses. It's compact and easily stores beneath a sink or in a drawer. Given the right type of blade, it can saw through plastic, wood, various types of metal and given the right kind of blade, even porcelain tile. It's handy to have around.
For all of you hacksaw rookies out there; a video.
7. A hammer
I think a great poet once said, "Into each life a little hammering must fall" or something vaguely like that. Now, whether a poet actually said that or I just completely made it up, doesn't make it less true. Everyone will need a hammer at some juncture in their lives.
Who doesn't need a hammer? Well, other than the guy that owns a hammer factory. Besides him, everyone else should have one. Why? If you've ever tried to hang a picture, nail down loose carpeting, smash an annoying alarm clock or bang together...well...almost ANYTHING, you know why.
The most commonly used, household hammer is called a "claw hammer". It's "claw" portion is outstanding for pulling out crooked nails or prying up carpeting, paneling and such in a pinch. Otherwise, you'll be left searching for a hammer like object in the shape of a shoe, heavy lamp base or brick, all of which are extremely poor substitutes for a hammer, a million cursing people with un-hung pictures can attest to that.
If you turn the volume down, this looks like an infomercial for a serial bludgeoner.
6. Screw drivers – flathead and Phillips head
Screwdrivers, the work horse cousin of the murdering ice pick. This tool would seem like a no-brainer to most, if it weren't for the fact that a lot of people only own one type. That type is, almost always, the opposite of what they need. Murphy's Law strikes again.
A Phillips screwdriver has a head with pointed edges in the shape of a cross. It neatly fits into the cross slots of it's Phillips screw counterparts.
It's flat head screwdriver partner has just that...a flat head. This type fits screws with just one slot across it's head.
Why do you need both? Because the world uses both and likes to keep which one it currently favors a secret from you. As anyone who has had to repair an errant piece of furniture or baby crib will need either or. So, it's best to prepare for both worlds...so to speak.
Ladies and gentlemen, the fun filled world of screw drivers...
5. A socket wrench set
Many times during the course of living alone, you might run across a bolt or nut that needs tightening or loosening, whatever you're into. A lot of times, that bolt or nut won't be the kind an adjustable wrench will handle. Plus, it's just easier to grab a socket wrench, fit the right socket to it and have at that bolt.
Being that there are two common types of measurement in the world: standard (inches, foot, etc.) and metric (centimeters, millimeters, etc.), there are also two types of sockets included in most sets. The more elaborate the set (and more expensive, usually) the more expansive the measurements it contains, of course.
A good mid-range set (price wise) is usually a great place to start. As with McDonalds chicken nuggets, a 20 piece is probably good to start with and might be all you need.
4. Pliers – needle nose and slip joint
As I said before, this list is far from comprehensive. So, to illustrate that, having just two sets of pliers is at most, extremely basic, in terms of plying...things. Still, the these two kinds are very adept at handling a lot of situations in which you'd need a set of pliers. Be it holding a bolt in place or straightening wire, these would work fine.
"Slip joint" pliers are so named for their slipping joint used to adjust their size. Needle nosed pliers are so named due to their long, I suppose, needle like nose.
3. Adjustable wrench (or Crescent wrench)
When Charles Lindberg took his solo flight across the Atlantic, he said he brought only "gasoline, sandwiches, a bottle of water, pliers and a Crescent wrench". Due to their incredible versatility, he felt he didn't need much else. You shouldn't either. An adjustable (or sometimes called Crescent) wrench is a time honored standby for a myriad of situations. It's used in almost any tool -centric field, from plumbing to auto repair. Why don't you have one already? No, I'm kidding, but, seriously...get one.
2. Allen Wrench set
Never has their been a more underrated tool than the Allen wrench. It's hexagonal shape and the corresponding screws and bolts they fit, are used in manufactured goods the world over. Yet, you'd be surprised how many people still don't own a set. If you've ever put together pre-fab furniture or a child's bike, you probably know how often they're needed. They're very cheap to obtain and are great to have when the odd "Oh, great, I need an Allen wrench for this thing." situation arises.
1. Duct tape
If the Myth Busters have taught humanity anything over the years, it's that duct tape is essential for living. Okay, maybe not "essential", essential, but, it makes our lives run a lot more smoothly. Duct tape is good for a lot of on the fly home repairs. It can hold things in place, bind things together, it's even used to plug leaks. It's a "must have" for any tool box or household utility drawer.
These tools won't cover every mishap, but, will help with a lot of life's little foibles. I like to think of these as a "starter kit" of sorts. Enough to get by, but, you can always, ALWAYS use more.
A couple of honorable mentions I'd like to throw in here:
- Electrical tape - Not that duct tape isn't grand, it has it's limitations. Electrical tape is good to have around for those electrical, non-conductive needs. Like, taping off a wire or holding two wires together.
- A rubber mallet - These are handy for hammering things you'd rather not damage with a regular hammer. They're great for hammering wood into place, metal framing, things like that.
- A pipe wrench - Given that most people have indoor plumbing, this remarkable wrench is extraordinarily handy for gripping, tightening and loosening pipes and fittings.