When assembling your toolbox for the first time, there are a number of essential tools that will make up the foundation of your kit and will do most of the everyday jobs around the house. Buying these tools initially and then accumulating other more specialised pieces of equipment down the track with every new task you do is your best bet. Once you’ve built up your repertoire and if you’re feeling confident, you can have a go at assembling a whole range of fun carpentry inspired ideas for your home, for that personal touch and to impress your guests!
Here are some of the basics to get you started:
To increase the versatility, opt for a rip hammer, with a straight claw end opposite to the pounding end. Not only can the ripping end be used to remove any bent nails, it can also be used for splitting blocks of wood, destroying drywall, and digging holes in soil. Selecting a hammer with rubber or plastic handle will allow for an improved grip and shock absorption.
Ensure you stock your toolbox up with both flat and Phillips head screwdrivers in a variety of sizes to make sure you’re prepared for anything! Rubber handles are again preferable to get a better grip, and magnetic tips will allow you to much more easily aim the screwdriver when working with tiny screws or when you have to place them in hard to reach places. Buying your screwdrivers in a kit will ensure you are covered in terms of variety. They are quite possibly the most versatile tool, as in addition to their main purpose of inserting and removing screws, they can also be used as a chisel, to open tins of paint, to pull nails, or even as a paint scraper.
When selecting a tape measure for you kit, there are a number of features to take into consideration. The width of the blade will depend on the area you’ll be using it in - if you’ll be measuring over long distances, or think your tape will be knocked around, a wider blade will be more appropriate, but for smaller areas or for amateur use, a narrow blade will do. The metal hook at the end of the blade will be more versatile in the multi-dimensional variety as opposed to a small, flat end so you can hook the tape onto objects from any direction, which is very handy if you’re working by yourself. Choosing a tape with imperial and metric measurements will give you the most options. The blade material must also be considered, with steel being the most common option but you may need to consider alternatives such as stainless steel or fibreglass to prevent corrosion if you think it will be exposed to water at any time.
A utility knife is an essential item for any toolbox or household, whether it be used for opening boxes, cutting binding such as rope or strapping, or scraping paint. The safest option is a retractable knife with a comfortable grip. Some handles also feature built in replacement blade storage.
By having a level on hand, you can always be certain that if you’re installing or hanging anything, such as a photo frame or wall shelving, it will always be perfectly straight. A basic spirit level will do the trick, and the longer it is, the better measurement you will get. If you really want to give the impression that you know what you’re doing, you can purchase a digital laser level to convince everyone that you’re the ultimate high-tech handyman.
An adjustable wrench is a very useful tool to have as it will save you a lot of space rather than having a bulky set of fixed sized wrenches. Anytime you need to tighten or loosen nuts or bolts, this will be your go-to!
In case you ever need to cut metal or plastic, having a hacksaw in your arsenal, equipped with a soft grip for comfort, with an interchangeable and flexible blade to reduce the tension that will cause it to snap is your best option.
If you can afford it, adding an electric drill to your toolkit will definitely be a lifesaver in a number of situations. From drilling holes and inserting screws to sanding and even stirring paint, this tool has got you covered. For convenience, cordless drills take the cake and if this is your pick, choose one with a long life lithium battery. Alternatively, for cost effectiveness and not having the expense of replacing the battery, go for a corded version.
If you’re going to be tackling any job around the house yourself, your number one priority is safety. Some essentials include safety goggles, work gloves, and earmuffs. Other miscellaneous items that will prove handy are a pencil, duct tape, super glue and WD-40. A torch with an LED battery or even a headlamp will be much appreciated when you have to work under conditions with poor lighting, but also gets bonus points if you ever find yourself without power and need to navigate your home without breaking your neck in the process!
Now you’ve got all your supplies together, you need a tool box to put them all in! You could go to your local hardware store to purchase one in a variety of different sizes, shapes, and with different options for storage compartments. Or, if you’re feeling creative, you could have a crack at crafting your own! All it takes is some pinewood cut into two sides, two ends, a bottom and a handle (or a piece of dowel). Nail or screw the sides and ends together, then add the bottom, then the dowel between the two ends. You can smooth over any rough edges with a piece of sandpaper, then apply a coat of wood finish for the final touch. A toolbox full of tools would also make a very practical housewarming gift for a new homeowner.
If you’re not totally confident in your own DIY and woodworking abilities yet, it may be worth researching how much it costs to hire a carpenter.
For any small jobs around the house, hire a Handyman!