If you’re like me you’ll walk into the tool section and think, “I want one of each!” problem is most home owners don’t need and can’t afford that. So what is essential and what can we live without? I’ve compiled a list for those that aren’t sure as to what they should have on hand or a short run, when the need arises.
1. A good tool box is a good start. There’s nothing more frustrating that needing a tool you know you have and not being able to find it. Just like your kitchen cupboards, everything has a home and that’s where it lives. When the water starts spraying inside the kitchen cupboard, you don’t want to be launching into a retrospective of the last place you saw the channel locks!
2. What a great segue, Channel Locks are a must have. With their ability to go for tweezing out a bent brad nail to opening up to tighten the inch and a half nut on the drain under the sink, If you only had one tool in the house this might be the one!
3. A quality screw driver is indispensable. Phillips head #2 is the most common in the home but you may want a flat tip around as well.
4. A mid-size hammer will come in handy when a chair rail comes loose. Don’t go with one that’s too light – sometimes we might need you added authority knocking a loose table leg back into line.
5. A utility knife can save wear and tear on the kitchen cutlery. Commonly called a box knife, their replaceable blades are cheap so we can always have a safe, razor sharp knife to work with.
6. A high end putty knife will only run about $8, and will save us from the temptation of scraping that dried on mess with the razor knife. Remember, the harder you have to force the knife you are using the more at risk you are for injury.
7. An electric stud finder can save having to over work that putty knife when you’re trying to hang the lost Jackson Pollock you found at the thrift store. That line of twenty or so holes running across the wall to the stud you finally found can distract from the experience you expect for a good piece of art.
8. A nice tape measure can save several trips back and forth to the furniture store. It can be a real drag spending all that time picking out furniture only to get it home and find it won’t fit through the front door.
9. A decent torpedo level can help keep that Jackson Pollock nice and straight. It can get tiresome for company trying to stand at an angle to get the full effect.
10. Last but not least, spend some money on a good paint brush. Don’t cheap out on this one. Go with a good camel hair one and take loving care of it. Synthetic brushes can degrade over time and melt in some solvents. If you care for you camel hair brush it will last a lifetime.
Take a look any big box store and you’ll see tools to fix tools. Don’t get caught up thinking you need them all. What is essential is a few real good ones on hand when you need them. If you have spent more than $150 to put your tool box together you probably paid too much. On the same hand don’t skimp on the cost of the quality tools, either. They’ll pay for themselves in the long run.
Robert White For home matters KIRO FM