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We’re back with another installment in this most important series for those of you out there looking to break into the world of DIY! In Parts 1 and 2 we mentioned a good chunk of the basics, now it’s time to finish up the ultimate top 20 tools you should have kicking around in your garage. I’m sure there are more, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
On To the Good Stuff
The benefits of a good lubricant are enormous. If you ever get a stubborn screw or nut that won’t loosen, before you strip the hell out of it and have to resort to cutting things apart and tearing your hair out (take a moment of zen here), try some high-quality 3-in-1 oil. There are other options, such as WD-40 or PB Blaster that work well for vehicular applications, but for most in-home tightness or squeakiness a couple of drops of this oil will do the trick without smelling up your house.
There’s an old saying in the DIY world that goes, “If it doesn’t move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and it shouldn’t, use duct tape.” You may want to take this with a grain of salt depending on the quality level for which you strive, but in reality good, strong duct tape is a miracle of modern science. With enough of the stuff, you can make a belt or wallet, attach a “friend” to the ceiling, or put the wings of a plane back on! I mean, I’m no aerospace engineer, but that shit is strong. Just sayin’.
Socket Wrench Set
You may remember an article in which I was forced, by the glorious all-consuming power of The Universe, to repair a flat tire. That might have sucked, but luckily for me I had a good Socket Wrench Set to get me through! I have also used this highly versatile tool set to repair my children’s bicycles, connect electrical power to homes, and threaten potential home invaders such as mice and chipmunks. There’s almost nothing this set won’t do for you. Except make up for that lame birthday present you got your spouse. Or make your kids recognize your brilliance and coolness.
While it’s true that I wrote an article a while back detailing how to turn a long-sleeve shirt into a dust mask, that isn’t really the best way to go. That is great in a pinch, but what you really want are some good-quality properly fit dust masks. Depending on the job you may even want to invest in a good cartridge respirator, especially if you plan on working with noxious chemicals such as deck stain or testosterone, but for most simple carpentry and sanding projects a good N-95-rated dust mask will suffice.
Allen Wrench Set
If you have ever attempted an Ikea furniture build, you are familiar with this little spawn of the Devil. These come in handy for working with screws that some schlub in engineering has decided should have a different type slot than every other screw in the world so that you need to go out and buy another friggin’ tool. They’re also terrific in situations where you don’t have room to turn the wrench all the way before the part that sticks out hits an obstacle next to it, so you have to keep giving it a 3/4 turn, taking it out, fumbling with it while you try to fit it in again, and repeating until you start snapping at your incessantly nagging children who are innocently wondering when you are going to be finished building their new shelving unit so you can get them another god damn snack! Not that I have any personal experience with this or anything.
First Aid Kit
If you have been following my simultaneously brilliant, inspirational, and informative Twitter and Instagram feeds, you would know that none of those adjectives apply. You would also know, more importantly, that I have an unabashed love affair with wrapping my hands up in electrical tape after I have nearly severed a finger. In fact, you may have noticed just such a bandage situation in most of the pics here. That failed attempt at a partnership with 3M aside, there is a much better way to keep from involuntary blood donations, and that is a proper First Aid Kit. A good one to have handy should have things like adhesive bandages, gauze pads, medical tape, candy bars, antibacterial cream, ibuprofen, and all of your emergency contacts for the EMTs, as well as good playlist to listen to on your way to the hospital. I’m not saying it’s a definite that you’re going to get injured, I’m just saying that, if you’re anything like me or any male in my lineage going back as far as recorded history, you’re gonna need some bandages in your life.
That Wraps Up This List
That wraps up this list.
I’m sure there are still plenty of very useful tools out there that I haven’t yet mentioned, and to those tools I apologize. But you know what the really great thing about a blog is? It can go on forever! I can just keep adding to this list in perpetuity, recommending more and more tools for you to run out and buy until you have saved so much money that you are dead broke!
But seriously, I only recommend tools that I have found to be necessary to get the basic home- and vehicle-based repairs and improvements done. If you have any questions for me concerning brand names, quality levels, where to buy, or other tools you think should be added, leave a comment! Comments make the world go ‘round!