It’s well and good if you have a friendly neighborhood handyman, plumber, or carpenter that you can call at a moment’s notice, but most people would probably agree that it’s also nice to possess a decent amount of do-it-yourself skills. Indeed, many individuals who are good at making or repairing things on their own tend to earn the respect of others, as they have this certain aura of confidence and maturity that is hard to ignore.
It would be safe to assume that this has something to do with the kind of personality that DIY cultivates in people. In making things on their own, DIY enthusiasts learn to develop creativity, perseverance, and self-reliance. By working with their own hands, they gain not only new knowledge, but also a deeper understanding of the things that truly matter—like the simple joy brought about by the opportunity to complete a project, or the chance to switch off from our busy daily lives. This is also why handmade gifts are often more appreciated by their recipients compared to those that are only store-bought. They are simply more personal and more meaningful.
If you are a DIY enthusiast yourself, you probably already understand these things. If you are just beginning your DIY journey however, you might need some guidance, particularly when it comes to things like putting together your very own DIY toolbox. What items should you get for your first foray into DIY? Here’s a quick guide you should find useful.
The claw hammer is the quintessential DIY tool. It’s one of the very first things that are acquired by anyone who plans on building their own folding stool, shelf, table or any other furniture. It’s also useful for general construction work.
The face and bell end of the claw hammer is great for driving nails into wood, while the claw end—with its curved profile—can be used as a lever to remove bent or unwanted nails. A claw hammers also works as a good all-around tool for demolishing smaller objects.
The motorized alternative to a claw hammer is the nail gun. This powered tool drives nails faster, but naturally, you won’t get to take advantage of the claw feature found in a claw hammer if you get a nail gun instead.
Needless to say, the primary function of screwdrivers is to drive screws or to remove them. But with their strengthened, wear-resistant tips and shanks, they are also often used by people as a versatile tool for everything else—as a scraper, a chisel, a pry bar, and so on.
Obviously, you should only be using screwdrivers and other tools for their actual intended purpose, but this only goes to show how useful high-quality screwdrivers could be. Just make sure to avoid chintzy products and stick to high-quality ones, like the screwdrivers from RS Components.
Screwdrivers also come in a variety of drive types, but the most common ones are either Phillips or slot (flathead). There are also powered screwdriver variants that are driven by electric motors and have interchangeable tips.
An adjustable spanner, otherwise known as a wrench, is another versatile tool that is a must-have in any basic toolbox. It is used to adjust nuts and bolts, which—along with nails and screws—are also among the most commonly used types of fasteners. Its inner jaw is moveable, which means you can adjust the tool according to the size of the nut or bolt that you are trying to move.
When working on DIY projects, you also often have to do a lot of gripping, bending, twisting, compressing, and cutting. These are just some of the techniques for which pliers are made. Depending on what you do, there is an appropriate pair of pliers for you. If you work with such materials as cables or wires, then a pair of needle-nose pliers or lineman’s pliers may come in handy. If you love restoring cars and other vintage machines, then vise-grip pliers, with their locking mechanism, may be something you’ll also need.
Boring holes is another procedure that you’re going to have to do when working on one of your DIY undertakings. Naturally, the easiest way to accomplish this is by using an electric drill, a type of drill that is powered by an electric motor.
For light types of work, an electric drill with a voltage rating of between 4 to 8 volts is usually enough, but if you constantly need greater power for heavier tasks, it would be wise to invest in a unit that has a rating of between 12 to 18 volts.
Depending on your needs, also consider between getting a cordless drill or a corded one. Generally, corded electric drills cost less and don’t have heavy battery attachments, but the cord could get in the way of your work.
If you work on carpentry or metalwork projects, you’re most definitely going to need saws as well. The most common types of saws in any DIY toolbox are the hack saw and the crosscut saw, which are used to cut small metal parts and wood, respectively.
In particular, a crosscut saw is designed to cut wood across (i.e. against) the grain. The grain of the wood refers to the wood fibers that run the length of a lumber, which means that a crosscut is the most likely type of cut you’d perform on any piece of elongated timber.
A bubble level, otherwise known as a spirit level, is a tool that is used by DIY enthusiasts and tradespeople like masons, carpenters, and bricklayers to ensure that surfaces they are working on are perfectly horizontal or vertical. It’s great for when you are working on projects like retiling your bathroom or hanging your paintings on your walls.
Often, you won’t be able to work on projects if you can’t measure dimensions. A measuring tape is a flexible ruler made of plastic or metal which you can use for this very purpose. Consider getting a retractable tape measure, which is convenient to use whether you’re measuring the length of your walls or planks of wood that you’re going to cut. It also easily stores afterwards.
General Purpose Knife
A general purpose knife or utility knife will be your best friend for a lot of different DIY tasks, whether it’s prying paint cans open, cutting cordage, sharpening carpentry pencils, or scraping all sorts of things. Make sure to keep one in your toolbox.
Indeed, putting together a toolkit is a good initial step to take before embarking on your first DIY project. Soon after in the future, you can build on this basic kit to grow your cache of tools based on your individual artistic and practical needs.