Expand the do-it-yourself toolbox

Beyond the Basic Screwdriver, Hammer, Pliers, Tape Measure, Level and Scale, Here Are the “Right Tools” for Intermediate Jobs

Whether you’re an apartment owner or an apartment dweller, you’ve probably discovered the sense of satisfaction that comes from something as simple as grabbing a nearby screwdriver and tightening a loose knob on a dresser drawer, or turning a loose knob. using pliers to fix a leak under the sink.

Having the right tools and knowing how to use them is rewarding.

You may find yourself tossing aside the mini tools that come with your next ready-to-assemble bookshelf to use your finest. If you find yourself wandering around the house looking for more projects, it might be time to take things — and your toolbox — to the next level.

More power to you

Whether you’re hanging a mirror or building a workbench, a power drill is your best friend for drilling holes, driving screws and more. In fact, what you can do with it is only limited by your collection of drill bits.

Standard twist drill bits will do most of the basic work and, with a set of screwdriver bits that turn the drill into a power screwdriver, may be all you need. Consider brad point drill bits for more precise work; their sharp center guide point keeps you on your mark. Spade bits work the same way and are usually available in widths up to 1 1/2 inches. Masonry bits feature carbide tips for drilling into concrete, brick and stone. Cobalt bits are the best choice for metal because they dissipate heat quickly. Hole saw bits are used to drill new doorknobs and deadbolts.

Although corded drills are still available and can deliver higher power depending on the model, if you only have one drill, a portable cordless drill is the best choice. A 1/4-inch drill is best suited for light-duty use, while a 3/8-inch model, which accepts more bit sizes, is a more versatile and versatile choice, especially when compared to a 1 /2-inch drill designed for heavier applications, which may be more than needed.

Look for a variable speed drill that gives you the versatility to work with softwood, hardwood, metal and masonry, with a keyless chuck – the part that tightens to hold the bit in place – for easy changing drills and screwdrivers. faster. Don’t forget to look at all the brushes you can attach to a drill to get tough cleaning jobs done quickly.

A quality ratchet set will level uneven dishwasher feet one day and help you get work done on your vehicle the next. (Arhendrix/Shutterstock)

make the cut

When you get to mid-level projects, chances are you’ll need to cut some wood. The cheapest option is a handsaw with a miter box that features pegs and slots to securely hold narrow wood in place when sawing at a variety of preset angles. This combination works well for soft woods such as baseboard moldings or picture frames.

For larger projects or when dealing with large sheets of plywood, you will want to use a circular saw. Cordless models, which typically range from 5 3/8 inches to 6 1/2 inches, are ideal for light duty use, while corded models are recommended for masonry, steel, or continuous wood cutting. The bigger the blade, the deeper the cut; for example, a 5 3/8 inch blade can cut two inches at a 90 degree angle in one pass.

Saw features include electric brakes to reverse the electricity when you release the trigger for a safer, faster stop; a spindle or arbor lock to facilitate blade changing; bevel stops to allow quick adjustments for angle cutting; and a laser guide to improve accuracy by showing you where you’re cutting.

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To clean tubs, showers, and sink clogs, consider getting a plumbing snake. (nito/Shutterstock)

hold things together

Bolts are used in a variety of fastening applications, often in tight spaces. A quality ratchet set (also known as socket wrenches) will level uneven dishwasher legs one day and get you working on your vehicle the next. A base set starts at 13 pieces, either metric or inch/SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). Both metric and SAE systems are available with 1/4 inch ratchet handles for small bolt heads and extremely tight places, 3/8 inch for general purpose work, or 1/2 inch for heavy duty work.

Extension bars extend your reach in tight spaces. Adapters allow a 1/4″ socket to be used with a 3/8″ or 1/2″ handle, or vice versa. Six-point sockets grip more firmly, while 12-point sockets are easier to align Deep sockets are for nuts on long bolts or for specific uses such as a spark plug socket, which has rubber inside to protect the spark plug head.

keep it flowing

A drain snake is the tool you buy hoping you never use, but you probably will. The smallest is a toilet auger that features a three-foot crank cable to clear the toilet line when a plunger isn’t doing the job.

For tubs, showers, and sink clogs, consider a plumbing snake with 25 feet of 1/4 to 5/16 inch cable. A medium snake with 50 to 75 feet of 3/8 to 1/2 inch cable is designed for kitchen or washing machine clogs that have gone deep into the drain. Larger snakes and electric models are available if your clog is in the 3-inch or more line going down the street, but even a toilet auger can save you hundreds of dollars and time spent waiting for the toilet. arrival of a plumber.

finish the job

The old saying goes, “You are only worth the tools you use.” If so, these power tools will make you better than ever.

Essential lighting

A portable work light lets you have bright light exactly where you need it. Use it around the workshop, in your car’s engine bay, while plumbing under a dark sink or, if battery powered, during a power outage. Some have magnets to attach to metal.

clean everything

A wet/dry vacuum cleaner is always there for you. He cleans up sawdust and project scraps after a fun day in the workshop, cleans the porch before the in-laws arrive, and gets rid of standing water before it can damage the house.

air source

A portable air compressor opens up a whole new world. You can clean screens, filters, and more with the blow gun, turn it into a paint sprayer, and inflate everything from oversized pool toys to car tires, my favorite use, in minutes without inflating or blowing up.

Geraldine D. Luckett