If you read my list of 9 Must Have Tools then you probably have picked up on the fact that I love tools. Like, seriously love them. So for me, just the basics won’t and don’t cut it. Furthermore, I tackle some pretty big projects. I really enjoy fixing things around the house, building things for the Wanderstead Wife and family as well as trying to make a bit of a living. An extensive tool collection is a must. However, for the average person this is probably way over the top. As I said, I think EVERYONE should have at least a very basic set of tools, but if you want to take the next step these are some of the tools that I use the most. These are a little more advanced, and with that comes a slightly higher price tag, but once again, you get what you pay for. So, what do I reach for the most? Here is the list:
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- Wrench Set – A good wrench set is a wonderful thing. Obviously next to screws, nuts and bolts hold more stuff together than anything else. This also applies to my next entry. If you need to take something apart and put it back together a good wrench set is a must. You can spend BIG money on wrenches and for a lot of the people in my circle that make their living with them it is the only way to go, but even for the occasional use I recommend getting a decent set. They will damage fewer nuts and bolts and bloody fewer knuckles. I personally own wrenches that are on the higher end of the scale but I’ve had them for years (again an argument for buying quality) and use them more than the average person. If I were choosing a set for the DIY’er I would probably get a complete tool set which would include a decent Socket Set, see below
- Socket Set – Pretty much everything that applies to wrenches applies to a socket set. However ratchets and sockets allow you to remove or install fasteners faster and more efficiently than wrenches but require more space to use. Either way they pretty much go hand in hand with a wrench set. Something like this would be a good start. As a bonus, it has a container and some other nice to have tools. One way to get a little of both worlds are gear wrenches. I use mine constantly, they have become a very big part of my tool arsenal.
- Cordless Drill/Driver – These for me, are practically an extension of my arm. I use them pretty close to everyday. I actually thought about including them in my Must Have list but I guess it is just a Must Have for me. When cordless tools first came on the market, they were great but the batteries were weak and discharged quickly and required a long recharge cycle. Like everything else technology has come a long way since those early days and now cordless tools are amazing. They are extremely powerful, hold a charge amazingly well and are much more affordable than ever before. Most of the manufactures are also offering a wide range of tools that the same batteries fit into. This is a huge leap forward as the batteries are the expensive bit of the tool. Today you can get everything from a cordless drill to a cordless vacuum cleaner that all work on the same battery. I use and am very happy with the Milwaukee Brand tools. This is the set that I chose a while back and have been adding to. Milwaukee offers a huge selection of tools that all use this battery pack, so you can use it as a platform to build your cordless collection from.
- Circular Saw – Yes, you can use hand saws and in some circumstances they are preferable but let’s face it, when you CAN use a power tool, most of us would prefer to. I have been using circular saws my whole life and probably rely on them too much but a circular saw was pretty much the first thing my Dad trusted me to use that was dangerous and because of that it was and to some extent still is exciting. There is a reason so many people have them, pretty much anytime you need to cut some lumber the circular saw is the way to go. There are two main types of circular saw. Sidewinder and Wormdrive. Sidewinders and the more common, are usually lighter weight and smaller in general. For the most part they will serve your typical DIYer just fine. On my wish list is this sidewinder from Milwaukee that will work with the previously mentioned battery packs. Wormdrive saws tend to be larger, heavier and more robust. They are what people in the trades use for the most part. I personally use and older model Wormdrive that is no longer made but if I were in the market the Skilsaw (which is synonymous with circular saw) is still the way to go in my opinion.
- Reciprocating Saw – More commonly known by Sawsall. This tool is something that you will use anytime you need to make an odd cut or demo something. The Sawsall is addicting so be careful. This is not a finesse tool but a get-it-done kind of tool. Don’t purchase this tool thinking you are going to make intricate cuts or precision straight lines with it. It is for rough in or rough out kind of work but will shorten your days work and make your life much easier if used correctly. The blade is replaceable and what’s more, there are hundreds of different types of blades for thousands of different uses. Everything from tree trimming to cutting thick steel. Once again I use an older version of the Sawsall, however it is still made today for good reason. This is the newer version of what I own. Here again, on my wish list is the following one that uses the same battery pack as my other tools.
- Werner Work Platform – OK not really a tool but bear with me. I know there are other tools out there I could put on this list but these things have changed my life. They are lightweight, collapsible, sturdy and infinitely useful. They can be used as a step stool, bench, scaffolding, saw horses, table, work surface and any other number of things you might need. I own a couple of different sizes and a couple of each so that I can either line them up to use as a longer work surface or more often as a very solid set of saw horses and or work surface. I can’t even remember nor do I want to remember what life was like before these things. Moving a small step stool every time I worked past my reach, or using flimsy wobbly saw horses is a thing of the past. What’s better is that these fold up and and pretty light so hanging them on a wall or tucked into a corner is pretty easy.
In putting these two lists together I have realized that I have a lot to say on the subject of tools. So keep an eye out for upcoming entries on the subject. A few that come to mind are More Advanced Tools – this would be the next in this series; Homesteading/Outdoor tools – The items that you need to have to start taking care of your place outside. Oddball tools – I thought I might share some of my weird and wonderous oddball tools that I have collected over the years, and maybe some that I would like to have which would lead to…. Dream Tools. This would be my “I just won the lottery and get to go shopping list”. I hope you have found these little Wanderstead Husband nuggets useful or at least somewhat educational. No get out there and put these things to work!