Buying guide to Tools and Accessories
Whether it is a new home or old, there is always something that needs fixing. Calling a repairman for simple tasks like fixing a blown fuse, a loose screw on the window and door hinges, putting a nail on the wall for hanging a painting or a washer in the sink can be quite expensive. Instead it is prudent to invest in a readymade tool kit or assemble one of your own according to your own requirements. Each tool in the toolkit serves a specific purpose and it is very essential for the user to know its correct function and purpose. A tool box will help you organize your tools and preventing you from searching wildly for these tools. Tools in a toolkit last long as they are not affected by external factors.
To begin with get yourself a sturdy tool kit that will take the weight of all your tools. Elementary tools like a radiator key, essential screwdriver, wires and pliers, fuses, hooks, insulation tapes, screws and nails of varying sizes, a hammer, spanner, wrenches, pocket and pen knives and a torch with extra batteries are a must. Advanced tools such as a drill a saw, a nailer etc can be added later depending upon the maintenance and improvements needed around the house. The tool kit can comprise of a mix of power tools, hand tools and rotary tools. Keep the tool kit in a nearby drawer or cabinet where it is easily accessible to every member of the house.
The right tool will save you extra effort and will let you finish your job in a breeze. This buyer’s guide to tools and accessories will discuss the most important tools needed in a tool set and will explain its functions.
Tools and Accessories
A tool kit comprises of:
Drills are used to create holes in the masonry and wood. Hand drills are easy to control and can be used even in the absence of power. A larger and powerful version of the hand drill is the breast drill.
Electric drills can be corded or cordless. These power tools are great for drilling holes into masonry, wood and other hard materials. A basic electric drill looks like a big pistol. The motor rests in this pistol shaped body which has a chuck in place of a trigger. The chuck accommodates several drill bits according to its capacity. While the older models used a key to lock the drill bits inside the chuck, the newer electric drill models use a keyless chuck that needs your grip to tighten it. This also helps you to change the drill bits easily and quickly. Two most common sizes for an electric drill are 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch. The ¼-inch drill is cheaper but offers only a limited drilling range and is incapable of handling heavy duty tasks. The 3/8-inch drill can take on any challenge it comes up against. Most Electric drills offer variable speeds option and come with several attachments such as sanders, paint mixers, buffers, and wire brushes and in some models a circular saw attachment too. A reverse feature in these drills let your remove screws in a rush. Corded drills draw power from the main power supply.
Cordless drills are variants of the electric drill that uses rechargeable batteries for power. Almost three times the price of the corded electric drill, these variants come in 9.6, 12, 14.4 and 18-volt models. Cordless electric drills also have an attachment a circular saw.
Different types of saws make the toolkit more versatile and user-friendly. Check out the size and sharpness of the teeth of the saw before buying. Band saws cut large pieces of wood and are also used for decorative work when equipped with a thin blade. Band saws: Choose a band saw when you need to cut large pieces of wood stock. When equipped with a thin blade, a band saw also is useful for decorative work. Reciprocating saws feature thin straight blades that moves back and forth and are used for cutting pipes. Table saws are used to cut straight and long pieces or wood while a tile saw, a variation of the table saw, are used for cutting ceramic and tiles.
A circular saw is a rotary power tool for cutting wood. Most circular saws feature an electrically driven, 7 1/4-inch diameter blade that cuts wooden boards in required sizes. This motor is protected in a housing that has a fixed guard above and a retractable guard below. Other parts of a circular saw include a handle, a sole plate or a shoe in the bottom. Two basic types, inline circular saws are designed to carry out all regular jobs around the house, while the worm-drive circular saw is for heavy duty tasks. With reasonable skill, the circular handsaw is easy to use and very practical tool to have around the home. Some circular saws are capable of interchanging blades making them more versatile. Miter saws are circular saws that are used to cut wood in exact lengths and angles. A jigsaw is a lighter and handier multipurpose tool that does every task that a scroll saw, handsaw and circular saw are capable of doing. Jigsaws are great tools for squaring off ends which are left rounded by a circular saw.
Hammers are basically used to drive in or pull out a nail. From a small tack hammer to a 18-inch framing hammer, these tools come in various sizes. Hammers weighing 16 ounces with a 16-inch handle are quite popular for the home purpose. Hammerheads can be flat on both ends or clawed on one and flat on the other.
A Claw hammer is a two-headed hammer with a two-pronged claw at one end to pull out nails from wood and a flat hammer head on another to drive in the nails. The hammerhead is made of steel and the handle is made of hickory wood, fiberglass, rubber, plastic or vinyl handles to give you’re a firm grip and to absorb shocks.
Screwdrivers are must-have tools in a toolkit. A tool kit should have a set of three or four single slot and cross screw heads. Stubby screwdrivers help in tightening screws in tight corners. Ratchet screwdrivers have a slider that is controlled by the thumb to rotate the blade clockwise and anticlockwise as needed without changing the grip. With a 90 degree ratchet offset at the tip, the power screwdrivers are capable of driving screws in the most unreachable spaces. Power screwdrivers come with variable speed options and are great time and energy savers when there are lots of screws to fix. The large bulb-shaped handles of the screwdrivers allow a firm and comfortable grip. To prevent shock, an electrician’s screwdriver comes with plastic handles. Long and short screwdrivers come in sizes ranging from 2-1/2-inches to 2 feet or more.
Routers are handy and versatile woodworking power tools that can evenly groove out sections in wood for making joints and for decorative finishing. A drive shaft and carbide-topped or steel router bit are common features in a power router. Routers are available in three basic variants namely, barrel or one-handed routers, two-handed routers and plunge routers. The horsepower rating of a two handed routers is mostly 7/8hp to 3-1/4 hp while that of plunge router is 1-1/2 hp to 3-1/4 hp. More the horsepower the more powerful is the router motor and more heavy duty its usage. Bit shank diameter in a router indicates the size of blade it can accommodate. Routers with larger bit shanks are preferred for making larger joinery cuts. The Plunge routers and two-handed routers are versatile, offer more advanced features and are great for all kinds of woodworking tasks. Inexpensive, the can readily handle all basic routing tasks.
Sanders are used to polish and even out rough edges. Palm sanders, random orbital sanders and belt sanders are a few types of sanders that are used by homeowners and professionals. For handling small jobs palm sanders are perfect. These are lightweight and round and use small round sheets of sandpaper and are used in a circular motion. Orbital sanders are one handed tools that are electrically driven and use prefabricated rectangular sand paper disks ranging from coarse to fine to be used on wood with a back and forth motion. The sandpaper is either fixed by a Velcro or adhesive backings that are pressure sensitive. Random orbital sanders come in one speed and variable speed units. Most models feature a dust bag to prevent the dust from clogging the sandpaper.
A Staple gun is used to fasten a vast variety of materials used in home construction and maintenance. Hand powered or electricity driven, a staple gun is a perfect tool for all kinds of sheathing, subflooring, truss building, framing, fencing, decking, and pallet assembly. Staples that measure 1/4-inch to 9/16-inch are accepted by most guns.
Other tools to have in the tool kit include open-ended and ring spanners are useful for fixing domestic appliances, tightening and loosening nuts and bolts and the adjustable type is used mainly for electrical and plumbing jobs. Craftsman Wrenches are used for gripping rods, pipes or nuts. C-clamps and Bar clamps are tools that hold pieces of wood or other material that need to be held together for gluing. A clamp consists of two jaws that are drawn together and tightened. Quick grip clamps have cushioned jaws and depend with a pistol –squeeze action. Snap on Pliers grip things that human fingers are not capable of and come in a range of shapes and sizes to hold, split and cut wires, locking into objects securely for loosening them.
Points to remember before buying your tools:
Give considerable thought to the various tools that you need to buy. Consult professionals and friends who have used similar tools. The right kind of tool can help you save precious time and energy on your projects. Don’t buy all your tools at one go. Get some basic ones like screwdrivers, wires, pliers, etc but other tools you can accumulate as and when you need them. Select tools that feel comfortable in your hands. The weight should not be too much for you to handle. Examine the tools carefully for their sharpness and smoothness; go for metal parts that are long lasting and non-rusting. All moving parts should move smoothly and must be free from play. Always buy the best you can afford. A tool kit can be a bit expensive to assemble initially; however, if tools are bought from reputed brands like DeWalt, Snap On Tools and Craftsman Tools, it will turn out to be a worthwhile investment in the long run. Tools from these brands are powerful, sturdy and long lasting and if used properly are much safer.
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