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tool-box-for-diyAre you keen on getting some work done at your house yourself and save some money? There are many jobs in every house that don’t require special skills and usually professional builders don’t like them doing –jobs are too small or if they do – charge too much. First step in becoming a DIY enthusiast is to get the right tools – in this article I will give you some guidance on what tools you will require.

Any DIY enthusiast doesn’t have to get all the expensive electrical tools – usually most DIY jobs around the house can be completed with only the main set of tools. These have to be of appropriate quality – we don’t advice buying the DIY range tools. I’ve seen so many DIY instruments that are not suitable for any job – they break too often, the materials that they are made of are very cheap and low quality. And even if they don’t break on the first job, you will have to put a lot more effort and time into finishing your project than usually needed. As someone has said: “Good tool does a job itself – I just have to hold it properly”.

You will need tools for measuring, drilling, cutting, grinding, screw driving, some bits and bobs (drill bits, screw driver bits, grinding disks, etc.) and some other tools (non electric).

 

Measuring tools

measure-tapeTape measure – at least one will be needed (no shorter than 5m). The tape has to be rigid enough – try this by pulling it 1.5 m horizontally, holding it in the air – if it bends, try another one.

 

 

  

 

spirit-levelSpirit level – you should have three of them: 30cm, 90 cm and 2m in length. Usually the more expensive spirit level will stronger, will not bend easily and will be more precise. If you choose to buy a cheaper one, at least try it for precision: put it against the exactly horizontal or vertical surface – the air bubble has to be exactly in the middle of the glass tube. Then reverse it and try again – if the bubble is exactly in the middle, as before – the level is good enough.

 

water-level

Water level – this is a clear plastic hose, with a minimum diameter of 10 mm. Glass tubes (with slightly larger diameter – to ensure the minimum bias) are inserted into both ends of the hose. Water level is used to measure levels of objects at larger distances – say, between the garden fence poles. You put one end of the hose against one pole and another – against the other pole to be leveled with the first one. Water level in each end has to match the tops of both poles. In order to do that, obviously you will need someone to help you. When doing this, it’s very important to ensure that no air bubbles would be visible in the hose – the precision would be affected.

Chalk thread for marking – used with water level. Once marked the same level (using water level) in different corners of the same wall in a room, put the thread against the marked positions (in both ends), tense it, move the thread slightly off the wall (while still keeping both ends against the marked positions) and suddenly release – you will have a nice line on the wall.

bevel-squareBevel square – smaller (about 20 cm each end) and bigger will be needed. The use is for marking (or checking square corner (or any other degree corner, if adjustable).

 

 

 

Electric tools

cordless-screw-driverCordless screwdriver. The main characteristics to consider - power (if you are going have only one – no weaker than 12V), batteries (at least two required), battery working durability (depends how long it will last from fully charged). Also, you should pay attention to its manufacturing quality, weight (when you take it into your hand, you should feel it comfortable). This electric tool is most frequently used, thus it‘s worth investing some money. The general advice is to go for the professional range tool, priced reasonably – in our experience „Makita“, „Dewalt“ are good choices (reasonably priced, durable, easy to use).

Other tools you should acquire are: electric drill, sds drill (for drilling holes into masonry), circular saw, angle grinder, perhaps a jigsaw. These are the main tools – without them you will hardly be able to complete any DIY project. Of course, you could try to do some jobs without having all of them, but if you use a tool not specifically designed for the job (i.e. you can drill a hole in masonry using electric drill, while best would be to use sds drill), it may take ages to complete it and much more effort. Main characteristics to consider are: power, weight, size, manufacturing quality (especially important is the movement precision – cutting, drilling, etc.). Drills and circular saws should be no weaker than 800 W. Weaker tools may be lighter, more comfortable, smaller – but these may not be suitable for some jobs or if you use them, eventually you will break them or wear out faster than expected. Angle grinder should be no weaker than 400W.

angle-grindercircular-sawsds-drill

Other tools

Other tools that should be in any DIYer‘s tool box:

  • Sets of drill bits (metal drill bits will serve not only for metal drilling but also for woodwork – 2 mm, 3 mm, 4 mm, 5 mm, 6 mm, 8 mm, 10 mm, 12 mm – are most commonly used; sds drill bits - 6mm, 7 mm, 8 mm, 10 mm, 12 mm (10mm and 12mm could be 20 cm in length – for some jobs). If the drill bit (not the sds drill bit) becomes blunt (or the top chips away) you can sharpen it with an angle grinder – use metal grinding disk and grind it from two sides, at an angle. Also you will need screw driver bits – best are titanium (tougher, thus – more durable). Note that when the drill bit wears out, it becomes more and more difficult to drive screws – more force will need to be applied and more dangerous it becomes to work.
  • Metal fixing tools: adjustable spanner, plumbing wrench, pincers, pliers, round pliers, hand screwdriver (with replaceable bits. Again, as with any tools - the more you pay, the better quality you get: cheaper instruments are made of cheaper metal, thus they wear out much faster, and the precision is worse. Woodworking tools: at least two chisels (one narrow – 8 mm width, one wider – 20 mm width), a hammer, a hand saw. Different disks for angle grinder and circular saw. For an angle grinder: disks for metal, masonry, a special disk with replaceable woodwork sanding paper. For circular saw: two disks (one designated for rough cutting, another – for fine cutting).
  • Other: contractor halogen light (with 500 W replaceable bulbs), extension lead (better 3 wired, with earthing), electric tester screw driver, ladder, safety goggles, masks, safety ear muffs, and lastly of course - the toolbox.

These are the main tools for any DIYer to start with – later you can get any extra tools when you need the. Think of buying a tool as an investment – the better quality you get, the less time and effort it takes to do the job.

General advice when working with any tools: tools have to be clean, well maintained, sharp, in good operating condition. Also, when you do any job, think ahead: what consequences would be if the tool slips. Never apply to much force – if something goes wrong, you may get injured.