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MOST HARDWARE STORES, RETAILERS AND HOME CENTERS STOCK a wide range of hand and power tools. Many tools are designed for specialized tasks, but the basic tools here are necessities for most homeowners and do-it-yourselfers.
All tools are grouped by their use: striking, cutting, screwdriving, holding, turning, measuring, and leveling.

Hammers and other striking tools are perhaps the most used of all hand tools. They are made in various types and sizes for specific purposes. There are three hammers normally encountered in the life of the average do-it-yourselfer (Fig.1):
Claw Hammer. This is the most common type of hammer, used for driving nails. Available with wood, metal, or fiberglass handles. A 16-ounce smoothfaced claw hammer is a good multipurpose tool. However, you can also choose hammers with lighter or heavier heads.
Tack Hammer. A tack hammer is lightweight, so it won't bend brads and tacks as you drive them. Buy one with a magnetized end, making it easier to position and start small nails.
Mallet. To drive chisels, use a rubber, plastic, or wooden mallet, not a metal hammer, which can easily damage chisel handles.

Many different tools are used to cut wood, metal, and plastic. They include handsaws, planes, chisels, files, rasps, bits, and drills.
Crosscut saw. A crosscut saw cuts against the grain of the wood. Since the teeth of the saw are small and spaced fairly close together, a crosscut saw produces a smooth cut even when it is used for ripping wood. If your budget allows you to buy just one saw, this is the one to buy. You can use it effectively for most wood and light plastic sawing projects.
A crosscut saw has from 6 to 12 teeth per inch - the more teeth, the finer the cut. Each tooth is bent out from the saw blade in an alternating pattern: one tooth to one side, the adjoining tooth to the other side.
Backsaw. A backsaw is a crosscut saw with a reinforced spine (top edge) designed for sawing a perfectly straight line across the face of a piece of stock. It's almost always used with a miter box for sawing trim and moldings.
Rip saw. Rip saws are designed to cut efficiently with the grain. The chisel-like teeth on a ripsaw are widely spaced-4 to 5 1/2 teeth per inch. When a ripsaw is used for cutting wood with the grain, the finish cut will be rough and will have to be smoothed with a rasp, plane, or sandpaper where smoothness is important.
Hacksaw. Cut metal, and some plastics, with a hacksaw. You can buy hacksaw blades designed for cutting different types and hardnesses of metals. The number of teeth on a hacksaw blade normally range from 18 to 32 points per inch. The more teeth, the smoother the cut. As a rule of thumb, use fewer teeth per inch for tough metals, and more teeth per inch for soft metals.
Coping saw. A coping saw is designed to make very intricate and delicate cuts into wood, most plastics, and light metals. The blades have from 10 to 20 teeth per inch-the more teeth, the finer the cut. The blades may be either flat like a hacksaw blade or round.
Keyhole saw. A keyhole saw is narrow and pointed, allowing it to cut curves and irregular shapes. The saw is often used to make cuts in the middle of a piece of wood. First a hole is drilled, then the pointed end of the saw begins the cut from the hole. Keyhole saw blades have 8 to 10 teeth per inch.

Power Saws:
A jigsaw is a power tool that can make inside cuts in materials without a starting hole. You just tip the saw into the material and let the saw do the rest. However, for more accuracy you should first drill a pilot or starting hole for the jigsaw blade. A jigsaw can do many different cuts, including scrolls, curves, gingerbread, straight cuts, angles, and so on. You can also buy an assortment of blades which will let you cut metal, plastic, and masonry.
Circular Saw. A circular saw can make many of the same cuts that its saber saw counterpart can, only much faster. When shopping for one of these, look for a 7 1/4-inch model with an automatic blade guard, a saw blade depth adjustment, an adjustable baseplate so you can make bevels, and a ripping fence accessory.

Planes & Chisels:
Planes. With a sharp plane you can cut fine shavings of wood to smooth rough edges, trim boards to fit together snugly, and free up stuck doors. Many different styles of planes are available: block planes, jack planes, smoothing planes, rabbet planes, spokeshaves, cabinetmaker's planes, and low-angle planes. However, you will only need a block plane and jack plane for most home projects.
Chisels. Wood and metal chisels are first cousins to planes. You can whittle, cut, smooth, and trim wood, metal, and plastic with them. Also, you can buy chisels to score and break stone, brick, and concrete blocks.
Chisels are often available in economical 4­piece sets which include the most common sizes: 1/4-, 1/2-, 3/4-, and 1-inch widths.

Files & Rasps:
These metal tools are similar to planes and chisels. Their main purpose is to smooth and shape wood, plastic, and metal-often after the material has been sawed, planed, or chiseled.
Some files have single rows of teeth. They are called single-cut files. Other files have two rows of teeth-one row crisscrossing the other one. These are called double-cut files. Files are made in many different shapes and profiles, and are of the following four basic types:
Bastard. This is used for rough cuts.
Smooth-Cut. Used for either initially or fairly rough material that doesn't require a bastard file or for smoothing material after you use the bastard file.
Finish. This tool is used for final smoothing.
Rasp. This is used for wood only. Although a rasp really isn't a file, it resembles a file with its very coarse and widely set teeth.
Your basic home repair kit should have an 8- or 12-inch smooth cut file and a wood rasp. A good choice is a "four-in-hand" rasp that has a combination of four types of teeth-two on one side and two on the other side. Or you can buy rasps with just two different sets of teeth.

Drilling Holes:
To drill a hole, you will need a hand brace or a power drill, fitted with an appropriate drill bit. A ratchet hand brace is sufficient if you rarely drill holes, but a good power drill is the better choice for most do-it-yourselfers.
Hand brace. A hand brace has a ratcheted (reversible) crank that turns a drill bit. The bit is centered in a chuck that accepts both square and circular shanks.
Portable electric drill. Portable drills come in a wide range of sizes and offer many different features. Cordless (battery-powered) drills are convenient and versatile-strong enough to do many of the jobs of corded drills. A good multipurpose drill
for most do-it-yourselfers would be a 3/8-inch variable-speed, reversible drill.

Drill Bits:
Here are some of the most common drill bits:
Twist Bit. Has a sharp point and two spiral-shaped cutting edges. It is suitable for drilling wood and soft metals. Common sizes range from 1/16 to 1/2 inch.
Spade Bit. Cuts larger holes than twist bits. It is shaped like a paddle with a triangular pilot bit in the center. Some spade bits come with outer spurs which cleanly score the hole before the blade makes contact. Cutting diameters range from 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches.
Brad-Point Bit. Has a center spur that keeps the bit from wandering away as the hole is started. Sharp outer spurs help to cut clean holes.
Auger Bit. This is used for cutting deep holes rapidly in wood. It has a screw point which centers and pulls the bit through the material.

Although there are many types and sizes, screwdrivers do just two jobs-they drive and draw screws. The two basic screwdriver types you should have in your tool box are the standard blade screwdriver (for driving slotted screws) and the Phillips screwdriver.
Screwdrivers are manufactured with wooden handles, metal handles, and plastic handles. They are available with long blades or offset blades for use in tight corners. Some models even have attachments that convert them into socket wrenches. The longer the screwdriver blade and the larger the handle, the more torque or twisting power you can apply to the screwdriver.
Consider the following when using a screwdriver:
• The blade of the screwdriver should fit the slot of the screw snugly. If the blade is too big or small for
the screw slot, you can damage the slot so the screw can't be either driven or drawn.
• Do not use the wrong blade in the wrong screwhead, such as a standard blade in a Phillips head screw.
• A screwdriver that is too wide can damage the material surrounding the screwhead.

Pliers, vises, and clamps squeeze, hold, or twist materials into the shapes you want.
Pliers. Pliers are like extensions of your fingers with the gripping power of metal. You can find a variety of pliers for sale in all different shapes and sizes. Choose at least three types: locking pliers, slip-joint pliers, and needle-nose pliers with a wirecut feature. Needle-nose pliers with insulated handles are best for electrical repairs.
Vise. A combination woodworking and metal vise is a good investment. It attaches to a workbench or tabletop with a screw-type clamp. You can remove it quickly and easily if you need to take it to another job location.
Clamps: Clamps are most often used to secure glued pieces together until the glue hardens, but they may be substituted as holding devices for almost any job.
C-clamps. C-clamps are available in a wide range of opening and throat sizes.
Bar clamps. Bar clamps, with spines made out of metal bars or black iron pipe, are essential woodworking tools. Some styles of bar clamps can be operated one-handed by squeezing down on a pistol grip which tightens the jaws together.
Spring clamps. Spring clamps, which look like large metal clothespins, are ideal for furniture repairs and for holding smaller pieces snugly.
Your basic tool kit should contain these types of wrenches:
Adjustable Wrenches. Try to buy at least three of these indispensable wrenches: one small, one medium, and one large.
Open-End Wrenches. These wrenches come is sets of the basic sizes. Try to get a set that provides wrenches from 1/4 inch to 1 inch, in 1/16-inch increments.
Hex (Allen) Wrenches. Allen wrenches usually come in a package with assorted sizes of wrenches.
Pipe Wrench. A medium-sized pipe wrench is necessary for plumbing repair jobs. Pipe wrenches, especially larger ones, can be expensive. They are also available at rental stores.

You will need a square, tape measure, and spirit level for almost any home repair or carpentry job. Buy the best tools you can afford. The quality of your project depends on these most basic tools.
Squares: There are different types of squares:
Try Square. A try square has a short blade and tongue that are permanently fixed at 90 degrees to each other. It is used primarily for marking square cuts across the ends of boards.
Combination Square. A combination square has a 12-inch sliding, metal blade/ruler attached to a handle. One side of the handle is perpendicular (square) to the blade. The other side is angled. The different sides allow either 90-degree or 45-degree angles to be marked across the width of a board.
Carpenter's (Framing) Square. With a 24-inch blade and 16-inch tongue, this large square ensures accurate squaring across wide boards and panels. It can also be used to calculate angles and slopes.
Tape Measures. These inexpensive measuring tools are thin strips of accurately marked steel that automatically retract into a metal housing. A 16- or 25-foot steel tape is a good length to have. Wider tape measures (1-inch, for example) can be extended and won't buckle and twist as easily as narrow tapes. Since the tape is flexible, you can use it to measure irregular contours.
Levels. Levels are sold in many lengths, up to 6 feet long or more. The frame of a level may be wood, metal, or plastic. Metal models are usually extruded aluminum and are lightweight. The vials are glass or plastic, and filled with alcohol. Bubbles inside the vials indicate vertical and horizontal level.

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Updated: 07/2017   copyright 2012 U-Repair.com