The HomeRenoTips tool shop

"If there's one thing I've learned over the years it's this: to do quality work you need quality tools. Here are some suggestions."


What should a basic toolbox contain? ...part 2

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#6: Yes, you will eventually need a hammer. The new anti-vibration models will absorb shock and reduce joint strain while working. The standard 16-oz claw hammer will be suitable for most renovation jobs.
#7: Here's one of those usually-neglected tools that you don't miss until you're stuck in the middle of a job without it: a pry bar. Your claw hammer can be used to pull some nails but you'll find that there are a hundred jobs where only a flat pry bar will work. Trust me! I've been there! Here's a tip: my black pry bar was always getting lost on demolition jobs where there's a lot of rubbish. To spot it more easily I stuck pieces of reflective tape on both sides of it. Works like a charm! construction
#8: While the reciprocating saw is great for all kinds of jobs, it's no good for things like cutting a piece of 2x8 or a 4x8 sheet of plywood.
For that you need a circular saw. The usual size is 7" but there are smaller sizes for special jobs. The standard model with a good 30 Tooth combination blade will do just fine.
A combination blade is used for cross cutting and ripping (cross cutting is when you cut across the grain of a piece of wood, ripping is when you cut along the grain). The more teeth it has, the finer the cut. A 30T blade is OK for rough work but you'd need at least a 60T for finishing work.
And the laser guide is a nice option to have, and most saws have it now, but it's not absolutely essential.

work_table #9: Although not strictly part of the toolbox, it is part of the work environment. I'm refering to a folding work table. When you have to cut or paint or sand small objects, you need a stable surface to work on.
The folding table can be carried along to any worksite and if you have two of them, you can even use them as saw horses.
Speaking of which, you should also get a pair of saw horses to hold your long pieces while you're working on them. The folding variety can be hung on the wall when not in use.
#10: Last but not least, the small hand tools that you'll use for a hundred different jobs, including a good set of pliers and snips.
Add to that a couple of locking pliers (usually refered to by their brand name Vise-Grip).

Later, in the tutorials, we'll look at the more specialized tools you'll need fo jobs like plumbing and electrical.

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