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Every home deserves a toolbox, and you can pick one up through any reputable online or brick-and-mortar hardware store. But what actually goes into your toolbox? That can be a surprisingly hard list to make – you don’t want to spend the Earth or feel inundated with gadgets, but neither do you want to find yourself missing the right tool for the right job.
Luckily enough, your toolbox doesn’t need to be overflowing to be fully stocked with all the essentials – in fact, any toolbox worth its salt is built around just 10 fundamental items.
Having the right equipment to hand means being able to respond to essential jobs around the home and put together your flat-pack furniture in a flash – you’ll even have all the necessaries if conducting major home improvements starts to appeal to you, but you don’t have to collect the whole hardware store to feel confident in your DIY-ing ability.
Here’s a quick rundown of your essential items. You’ll learn where to use them, how to use them, which ones to pick, and the ins and outs of storage – by the end of this post, expect to be well-versed, well-prepared, and ready to get started.
Essentially just a metal rod with a shape at its head, the humble screwdriver is used to get screws in, get screws out, and, more often than not, to lever lids away from paint pots. Screwdrivers are rarely a one-shot deal. There are differences in heads and differences in size, but you can basically break the essentials down into:
Slot Head: The head tapers to a single wedge that’s perfect for simple slotted screws. Blades are measured by fractions of inch.
Philips Head: The head fits into cross-shape-headed screws, with sizes varying between #0 and #4.
Allen Head: The head fits into a hexagonal shape and is measured in millimeters.
Stubbies are as short as possible; with a pronounced knob to hold onto instead of the customary long handle, they are tailormade for working in smaller, tighter spaces where maneuverability is compromised. In contrast, longer screwdrivers should be your go-to for reaching into gaps. Ratchet screwdrivers save you taking the head from the screw at every rotation – a good investment should extensive screwdriving be on the horizon.
Using the wrong size or shape of screwdriver could strip the screw head. Don’t do that. Rotate slowly but steadily, holding the handle with your dominant hand and the screw with your other. Remember to turn, not press – this is a screw, not a nail. When you’re done, there’s really no wrong way to store your screwdriver, but it’s nice having them lined up so you can pick out different lengths and shapes at a glance.
As for brands, you can’t go too far wrong with the extensive range available from Stanley – Bahco and Draper are also worthy choices.
Spanners, known as wrenches across the pond, provide a set grip that fits over a fastener, such as a nut or bolt, with a handle to deliver leverage for easier turning – the longer the handle, the greater the leverage. A socket set uses a single handle that can be fitted to differently sized grips; whole sets are pricy, but they’re what you need to tackle a diverse range of fastenings without hauling around a weighty trove of single spanners.
Spanners are available in plenty of sizes, with a standard ‘M-value’ of fastener corresponding to different grip sizes. Look for one made of chromium-vanadium alloy, preferably with a chrome coating to resist corrosion.
How To Choose The Right Tool Set
Having just a couple of tools is not enough for most professional mechanics, in fact, the starting investment that a mechanic should expect to invest at a bare minimum is around $11,000. Collecting all the tools you need as time goes on one by one is the best option, even though it may take a while to have all the necessary equipment that you would use frequently. If this doesn’t work for you, tool sets for mechanics are the best option for you. We will discuss everything you need to know about tool sets so that you are able to choose the most suitable for the job. If you’re starting your career in the mechanic’s industry, buy a tool set that includes various types of tools for the different jobs that you will end up working on. We have listed below some features that you need to look for in a professional-grade tool set.
1) Number of Tools Pieces
It is important to note the number of pieces that are included in the tool set as this saves you money in the long term and makes so you having matching tools. Tool sets can include 50 to hundreds of pieces. However, more pieces doesn’t always mean value or convenience; you have to make sure that the tools included are of use for your job.
If you work on the go one of the big questions to ask is “Can I take this with me easily”. If you are on the go you need to consider the options that have a carrying case with a handle that enables you to carry all of your tools wherever you go. Weight is another important factor that you should consider when choosing a tool set. The lighter the tool set is, the easier it is to carry and transport. If you want a portable option, you should choose one that is light enough for you to be able to easily move it. Ensure that the case is sturdy and heavy-duty to ensure a lifetime of use!
3. Types and Categories Of Tools
You definitely don’t want to buy a tool set that does not have the tools you require. Think about what you are going to use the tool set for and what tools you will need for your work. Look for a tool set that includes all or at least the majority of the tools that you need. If you’re starting out, pick one that includes wrenches, sockets, and extensions with SAE and Metric measurements, and if you need a more substantial set, choose one that also includes pliers, screwdrivers, and a torque wrench. Also, If your tool set contains multiple tools and accessories, then it’s a good idea to get yourself a tool organizer. A tool organizer will help you store them so that you have them tidied up and don’t waste valuable time looking for the right one.
Tool Boxes: Chests, Cabinets, and Other Organizers Explained
Tool boxes represent a great unappreciated necessity for your workshop or garage. As your mechanical skill grows, so does your need to purchase good quality tools. As your abilities continue to advance, you realize that a greater variety of tools helps you get jobs done more efficiently. So your tool collection expands, which is great. But piling your tools on your workbench, or in various portable carriers, or on shelves in scattered locations, just doesn’t cut it any longer.
Perhaps this scenario rings a bell: You’re in the middle of a rather complex job on your car. A major component is partially disassembled, and it’s precariously perched, waiting for you to loosen and remove the few final bolts holding it in place. You have it gingerly leaning against the fender, and you need to walk away from it for a moment, because in order to continue its removal, you need a particular tool. You need that tool RIGHT NOW, and you CAN’T FIND IT. Frustrating, we know, we were there once! If you had all your tools organized in a decent tool box, this nightmare wouldn’t exist. When you are ready to make this better for yourself, stop what you’re doing, pour yourself a cold drink, and look through our selection of tool boxes, chests, and cabinets. We’re here to help you decide which and how many of these important organizers you need.
The scope of this article will be focused on what are referred to as professional-level or mechanics-level tool boxes: tool chests, roller cabinets, or the combination of the two (see definitions below). While you can certainly consider portable tool boxes, rolling tool carts, locker cabinets, and small organizers, these are outside of today’s discussion. We will zoom in on the all-metal, multi-drawer type of boxes that you see in dealership service departments and well-organized workshops.
What are wire and cable cutters?
Wire and cable cutters are tools that have been designed to properly cut either wire or cable with minimal damage to the insulation or internal conductors of the wire or cable. Having a clean cut on a wire or cable can improve the quality of an electrical connection. Without the proper tools, you run the risk of tearing or otherwise damaging the insulation which can compromise the integrity of the wire or cable. More than that, you potentially damage the internal conductors which can severely affect the conductivity of the connection. What is the best way to avoid this? Use the proper wire and cable cutter to ensure that you get the cleanest cut and strong potential connection. The first thing to understand when looking at our wire and cable cutters is each tool is significantly different from the others.
What to Use if You Don’t Have a Wrench
Duct tape is useful in almost any situation but you may be surprised to learn that you can use it to loosen bolts. First tear off a section roughly 12 inches in length, after this tear it down the middle so you are left with two 12 inch strips.
Make a strong tape strip by sticking one strip to the back (the non-sticky side), next wrap part of the strip around the nut leaving a ‘tail’ 6-8 inches long and press firmly to ensure it has adhered to the metal nut. Pull the duct tape tail in the direction required to loosen the nut to easily remove it.
Who would think that money can be used as a makeshift tool? Take two large coins (2 pence coins work perfectly for this) and place them on either side of the nut.
Grip the coins between the knuckles of your index and middle fingers for extra grip and twist in the direction needed to loosen the nut.
These wonderful little toolbox accessories aren’t just used to tidy up cables and attach hubcaps, they can also be used in place of a spanner.
Place the zip-tie around the nut as tightly as possible and using the tail of the zip-tie pull in the direction necessary to loosen or tighten the nut.
Another nut and bolt
If you don’t have any of the previously mentioned objects but have plenty of nuts and bolts lying around, you can still create a makeshift spanner with two nuts and two bolts.
First, attach one of the nuts to one of the bolts and place it on top of the nut you wish to loosen or tighten (so that the thread of the bolt is on top of the nut). Adjust until the nut is gripped tightly between the head of the bolt and the nut.
Now take the second nut and attach it so that you can connect the two bolts, make sure that everything is connected tightly and turn your creation in the direction required.
So there we have it, four alternatives you can use to loosen or tighten nuts without a spanner. With this guide, there are no more excuses for why you haven’t done any of the jobs you said couldn’t be done yet because you don’t have the tools!
Of course, it is always better to have a toolbox with the basic tools required for general DIY but with these quick fixes, you won’t be caught in a pinch again.