Usually, a tool chest begins with a modest investment from a new homeowner, who doesn’t have much experience with DIY projects. However, it expands and inflates over time, because each task and objective gives a boost to skill and proficiency.
In light of this learning journey, TOH has built a series of tool chests for amateurs, people with some skill, and really experienced DIY nuts. Don’t forget that you can’t really call yourself a DIY pro unless your chest has a good range of tools from all levels of skill.
You can’t only have the top level devices, because then you’re missing out on some fundamental bits and pieces.
Skill Set: Amateur
If you’re an amateur, start with the following hand tools. These are the tools everyone needs, so it makes sense to begin here and build up your skills.
Screwdrivers have a surprising elegance to them considering their toughness and brawn. They are used to carry out all sorts of tasks, from securing cabinet components to fitting light switches, and lifting the lids off paint tins.
This screwdriver kit includes ten pieces. They cover all of the most common screw heads, such as slotted and Phillips. There are some wider, squatter tools for levering and leveraging too, if you need it.
The tape measure is one of the most important pieces of kit you can own. You’ll need it to measure shelves, pick out lumber, and hang new doors.
This (12 foot) tape measure is housed in a sturdy green case, so you’ll always be able to spot it quickly, even in the shed.
If you want your screwdrivers, screws, and bolts to stay safe, you’ll need a secure toolbox for storage. Pick one with lift out or lift up compartments, so you can keep little pieces in separate drawers.
This toolbox is made out of strong plastic and it’s big enough to fit pretty much anything that you might need inside. There is a single metal fastener on the front, so that you can ensure the safety of your tools at all times.
The handsaw is a saw that I recommend over a traditional power saw. It is easier to use and it won’t be as fiddly as a full size device. They are also really great at chipping and trimming wood. Not only that but they can mold stock too, as they slice on the pull and push strokes.
For power and a reasonable amount of precision, you want a 16-ounce claw hammer, with a smooth front. It provides just the right balance of strength and good handling. Use it to hang nails for picture frames, put flat pack furniture together, and construct tree houses for the kids.
This Plumb hammer has a fibreglass handle, which is almost indestructible. We don’t advise you to go throwing it around the room, but you don’t have to worry about dropping it.
There’s nothing like duct tape when it comes to emergency repairs. It won’t last forever, but it will do the job until you can find a more permanent solution.
Make sure that your duct tape has a thick, fibrous backing. This is what makes it so strong and ensures that broken bits stay together.
The beauty of a rechargeable torch is that you won’t ever get stuck in a sticky situation, after a power cut. All you have to do is dig it out of the drawer and charge it in a wall socket, if it doesn’t already have power. No more fumbling around for old batteries.
Your torch is an essential item, so keep it safe and well maintained. You never know when you’re going to need it to venture into the basement and fix a breaker.
Pliers are normally used to pull at tough, rigid materials. For instance, you might use a pair of pliers to straighten out a bent prong on a plug. Or, you could use them to pull a stubborn nail out of a piece of timber.
This pair of ChannelLock pliers is one of the best on the market. It is actually an interchangeable device, which can be used with a needle nose, tongue and groove, slip joint, or side cutting attachment.
You’ll never be caught in an awkward or frustrating situation again if you keep a trusty multi knife around the house. They can prise open boxes, sharpen blunt pencils, chip wood, and pop the tops of beer bottles (if you’re deft enough).
It is worth splashing out on a knife with a rubber handle and a compartment for spare blades. That way, you can swap the existing one out when it gets dull. Trying to cut with a dull blade can be really dangerous, so keep an eye on its condition – and swap for a new one when needed.
If you want to put together things like swing sets and kitchen appliances, you’ll need a tough and adaptable wrench. They are particularly useful when it comes to installing and repairing plumbing.
These Crescent wrenches are six and ten inches in length (including the handles). It is a good idea to pick a wrench with a bigger handle, because it will give you more power when you’re putting force behind something stubborn such as a jammed bolt.