Mega Roundup: Must-Have Tools For Every DIY Level

When completing jobs around the house, it’s pays to be well-equipped – from the simple hanging of picture frames on the wall, to doing major home improvements. That said, here are the tools everyone should own: from the most basic toolbox to the shed of an experienced DIYer.

 

Level 1: Beginner
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Photo by SparkFun Electronics

Measuring Tape & Level. They may come in small sizes, but both tools serve a myriad of purposes. Want to make sure your new furniture will fit in a room? Looking to install your flat-screen TV and shelves? A metal level is your best pal.

Screwdrivers & Pliers. From opening battery compartments to prizing the lid off paint tins, screwdrivers are must-have tools. And just as versatile, pliers can be used as a clamp or as an alternate to wrenches and wire cutters. To make the most of both, check out Art of Manliness’ quick tutorial and recommendations.

Utility Knife & Hammer. Most DIY projects involve lots of sharpening pencils and opening boxes, and the utility knife is your champ – best options for which are those with rubber-covered handle and built-in blade storage. Additionally, no toolbox is ever complete without a claw hammer. And with that, Bob Vila suggests getting one with a 16-inch handle.

Electric Drill & Bits. Now this may not be an immediate need, but owning an electric drill can make things easier for you, not just with drilling holes and driving screws – but, with different add-ons, also stirring paint and grinding materials. The 12-volt portable drill is highly recommended by Thesweethome.com.

Safety Goggles. Gotta protect those eyes!

Level 2: Semi-Skilled

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Photo by Xanderalex

Allen & Socket Wrenches. Often found in furniture and bike repair kits, allen wrenches are used for driving screws and bolts with hexagonal recess in the head. Socket wrenches, on the other hand, are for loosening heaps of nuts and bolts. For larger projects, go for a set with a racheting handle.

Combination Square. Combination squares are pretty much what you need for accurate marking of corners. Wood Magazine advises to pick up both a 6” and a 12” and lists 8 different ways through which you can put them to use.

Putty Knife. Commonly used for spreading putty, a putty knife may also help you out with scraping off paint, prying up lids, and removing wallpapers. For specific features to consider, read Do It Yourself’s nifty list.

Chisel Set. If you’re working a lot with wood, stone, or metal, then you can never go wrong with a set of sharp chisels. Check out Galt Tech’s advice page to see what suits your needs.

Crosscut Saw. Perfect for small wood jobs is the ever versatile crosscut saw. Keen to cut sheets of plywood? This will do just that! For more info about this tool, have a wee read of Home Repair (About.com)’s advice.

Level 3: Experienced
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 Photo bysamlevan

 Staple Gun. Staple guns are your standard office staplers on steroids. Usually priced at under $20, this tool comes with a wide range of applications: from basic crafts to upholstery and roofing.

Rubber Mallet. We’ve all been there: wanting to hammer away without damaging lovely surfaces – specifically after installing ceramic tiles. To do that, you’re going to need a decent rubber mallet, which you can get for under $25.

Crowbar. Crowbars are designed to remove stubborn nails, pry boards apart, and help out with doing a bit of heavy lifting. For most DIY projects, a medium size bar that’s 2-3 feet long would do.

Nail Gun. If a project requires driving a whole bunch of nails, always pick a nail gun over a hammer – mostly to save time and effort.

Table & Miter Saws. If precise cuts and slices are what you’re after, then worry not – there are plenty of specialty saws out there to choose from. This article by Bob Vila lays out why you might want to give both table and miter saws a shot, though.

Other: Tool-related injuries are on the rise, and so to spare yourself the physical damages, it’s always best to consider getting a shed for storing tools.

DIY is awesome, but most of the time, it’s a lot of work and commitment. However, if you have just the right tools in your storage area, there’s no reason why you won’t be able tackle just about any project around your home.

 

Guest Post|How to Make Your Home Wheelchair Friendly

It’s safe to say that life can throw curveballs. Early last year, my partner and I were moving the last of our furniture into our first home together. The final piece to be installed was a giant (and very heavy) television cabinet, which we decided to carry up the stairs. Our first mistake. The second mistake was not deciding to tape the glass doors down. Why was this a bad idea? The doors (decided) to detach themselves, shattering to pieces upon impact and sliding around my partner’s feet – slicing through both Achilles tendons. Needless to say, he was wheelchair bound for two months, spending the following six months learning how to walk again. The hardest part of this way realising how frustrating it is to manoeuvre a wheelchair in a tiny and ill equipped space. Obviously our two month wheelchair stint can’t compare to a life bound to a chair, however it got me thinking: what would one need to make life in a chair more comfortable? Whether you need to re-arrange your home for a few months, or re-design your layout, here are some of the things to consider when making your home wheelchair friendly.

Widen your Doorways

The standard door frame featured in most houses isn’t usually wide enough to accommodate a thirty-two inch wheelchair. Luckily there are some fairly simple (and not so simple) things you can do to make navigating your way through a doorway much easier. You could consider replacing your existing hinges with offset hinges, allowing the door to open the door a further two inches or taking the door off completely and replacing it with a pocket style door.

Build a Ramp to the Main Entrances

Creating a wheelchair friendly home starts with the entry to the front door. Anyone who is using a wheelchair, cane, or crutches will very likely struggle when navigating the stairs leading up to their home, so for this reason, it’s really important that a ramp is installed. A contractor like Additions Building will be able to properly design and fit a ramp that’s suited to your home. Unless you have the expertise, this is not a job you should take on yourself.

Eliminate Thresholds

If you are planning on a redesign of your home, it’s certainly worthwhile to remove all thresholds that contain a smaller bump. This will make it easier for a wheelchair to effortlessly transition into different areas of the home.

Ensure a Wide and Clear Pathway

To accommodate to the wheelchair, all pathways should be clear of any clutter, and awkwardly place furniture, to allow a safe passage.

Install Handrails and Grab Bars

You don’t need to be in a wheelchair to notice the benefits of installing a handrail, however, when you have limited mobility, handrails ensure safety for even the most basic of tasks. Handrails and grab bars can be installed in your bathroom near the toilet, bathtub and shower, as well as near the bed.

Place Frequently Used Items on your Countertops

Just because a member in your family uses a wheelchair, doesn’t mean they should have to lose their independence. Keep their frequently used items in a space where they can easily access them. This could include keeping your microwave, toaster, or blender on a low bench top instead of keeping them over the stove or in the cupboards.

Have you needed to change your home to a more wheelchair friendly environment? Leave your tips in the comment box below.

Summer Break Is Only A Few Days Away!

The kids’ eyes lit up when I said that summer break is only a few days away. They’ve been looking forward to going to the beach for a vacation. I am too, except that we might have to wait until summer classes are over. Ria is graduating in Grade 6 and has to have summer classes to cope with her requirements before she could proceed to Grade 7.

She has indicated interest in learning Piano and voice lessons at her school and we are very supportive about that but her classes have to be a priority. We might put our good behringer amplifier from guitar center purchase on hold this summer because we are expecting many school expenses. Roi could still learn his guitar without an amplifier, anyway.

I am still hopeful that we could go for a short summer vacation. Let’s see how our schedules work out.

…celebrating the joys of family life!