Sunday, July 30, 2023
Monday, July 17, 2023
New homeowners often find themselves constantly visiting the hardware store the first few weeks after moving into their new home. Those visits take time and can be intimidating given all the items available so here's my suggestion for an inital shopping list that will hopefully save you some times and lower the number of trips to the store.
- Tape measure - this is used so often that you might consider buying two
- Knife/Box cutter - you'll be opening a lot of boxes and packaging. A multi-tool might be a good option for versatility.
- Screw driver - After driving back-and-forth, you might hope this is the drink but sorry, no. Have at least one philips head screw driver and a flat head screw driver. The latter is also useful to pry open paint cans lids, etc.
- Pliers - a pair of hand pliers can save a lot of pain trying to get an old nail or object out.
- Level - Checking that something is level happens more than I expected.
- Paint brush - useful for both applying paint and also brushing things off/
- Painter's tape - People swear by duck tape, but I use the famous blue painters tape for everything and not just for painting because it comes off easily.
- Hammer - I don't use a hammer all that much but when needed there isn't many other substitites so keep one around.
- Sand paper - For sanding and removing things stuck on surfaces.
- Vynyl gloves - inexpensive and protects your hand from chemicals and other gross stuff.
- Eye protection - Listen to Norm!
- Dust mask - Don't want to breath in dusts and molds.
- Power drill & drill bits - Save time and your wrists and get a power drill. I recommend getting a drill and driver set as they are common and cost effective.
- Stud finder - Don't rely on your Tindr app. Get a real stud finder so your picture frames don't fall off the wall.
- 5 gallon bucket - Useful for bringing your tools around to where you need them and can use to hold other stuff. I suggest getting two (or get a tool bag to replace one of the buckets)
- Paper towels - DIY can be a dirty job
- Baby wipes - It's gentle on a baby's skin so probaby also for your painted walls.
- spackling compound - I know you don't make mistakes but the previous person might not have put the hanger your spouse wanted.
- putty knife - Cover up the mistake by the other person.
When I first started learning woodworking, I watched shows like the New Yankee Workshop and videos on Youtube. I was envious of all the tools and gears that the creators had but over time I realized that I don't work like them or build things the same way they do. The tools that I reach for my projects turned out to be different from what is often shown on the videos. To give another perspective on what are tools to consider for the hobbyist, here are what I use for almost every project.
Used for Every Project
Measuring tape - There's no project that doesn't require some way to do measurements. Even if you are going to buy rather than build, you will need to be able to measure.
Mechanical pencils - I don't recall any project that I've done that didn't require having a pencil to write or mark something. It was so common for me to be searching for a pencil that I ended up buying a bunch of cheap mechanical pencils and having them everywhere so that I don't constantly stop to look for one to write with.
Combination square - I didn't expect this to be my #1 most useful tool for woodworking. You don't usually see it being shown or highlighted in woodworking videos, but this the versatility and usefulness of this understated tool means that I use it for every project. I use it to mark, set repeatable heights, as a straight edge, 45/90 degree finder and a host of other activities. I started with a basic one and eventually knew that if I bought an high end one I'd have no regrets.
Used for Most Projects
Drill & Driver and screw drivers - Most projects will require installing fasteners (e.g. screws) so either a set of screw drivers or a power tool (driver) will be used. A drill is used for drilling holes but can also can drive screws but I prefer having separate drills and drivers.
Woodglue or Screws - Joining things together requires either glue, screws or nails. I don't use nails much so it's either glue or screws for me. For screws, I prefer the square head screws rather than phillips screws but it's not so common to find in US hardware stores. Torx head screws can be found but they might be more expensive.
Saw - Having a saw is very useful. I'd recommend starting with a Japanese handsaw which are less expensive but cuts better (in my opinion). I also find Japanese handsaws to be more versatile then western style handsaw. There are also powered saws such as table saws, track saws, circular saw, etc. Having something to cut with is VERY useful but there are times when I buy materials to size that meant I didn't have to do my own cutting.
Woodworking square - My first "splurge" tool was a Woodpecker woodworking square and I nearly always reach for it at some point when I'm working on a project. I mostly use it to check for square but I also use it to hold things square and check for straightness.
Mallet - I use a rubber mallet a lot more then I use a hammer to avoid marring surfaces when I really need to pound something.