How To Use Essential Hand Tools
When talking about hand tools that all toolboxes need, let’s be clear – we’re not talking about anything that needs electrical assistance but things that can be used via the strength of your human hand alone! This might include such tools as a wire cutter, clamp, wrench, hammer, and many more. There’s not much you can do, DIY speaking, without hand tools. Electrical power tools are great but in many cases, hand tools will suffice.
What are the main categories of hand tools?
Industrial grade knives are an essential part of any useful toolbox. These can be used for multiple purposes and will often come with some kind of locking mechanism when they’re not actively in use. If you use a kitchen knife or culinary knife you are likely to end up bending or breaking the tip of its blade.
Scissors are very useful for a range of different DIY jobs. They can help in terms of cutting thin bits of rope, twine, certain kinds of washing-line, thinner metal strands, and even cutting packaging tape in order for you to carry out paint jobs to the line. Make sure you don’t use scissors which are kitchen scissors, otherwise you might be cross-contaminating certain foods with hazardous or toxic substances.
This well-known tool is usually made from carbon steel which is specially heat-treated for hardness. Its handle is often made from extremely durable plastic, so as to last through countless rotations. These days, you can get screwdrivers that have detachable heads; these are extremely useful because they are able to cater for virtually any screw-head, not just a Phillips or a flat-head, but up to 20 different varieties. Almost every single item in your house has screws in it, somewhere. Even your sunshades have tiny little screws, so having 20 different options from which to choose can help with fiddly little tasks like repairing them.
Hammers are designed to exact a high impact upon a limited surface area. The best traditional hammer shaft will be made from hickory wood (an extremely hard wood) and the head from specially heat-treated steel. It shouldn’t be so heavy that you can’t easily and repeatedly lift it; both a medium-sized one and a smaller sized one should be able to bang in most nails you’ll come across. Sometimes a hammer on a screw can be used to start off the screwing process, fixing it in place before your screwdriver takes over.
A wrench is used to grab onto and turn objects; typically, stubborn bolts or sturdy nuts and bolts. They can be very useful in terms of repairing your bike, doing minor plumbing adjustments, and fixing gates and metal railings. You can get adjustable versions or close-end versions. Clearly, adjustable ones will enable you to tackle a wider variety of tasks, whereas close-end wrenches are usually found in a mechanic’s toolbox; useful if you know what you’re doing.
Pliers are extremely useful when grappling on to objects which you want to remove, eg. old nails or rusty screws. They can also be used to straighten or manipulate existing wire; some will have a wire cutter embedded in its pivot, enabling you to splice reasonably sized wires. Alternatively, you can use pliers to firmly hold a screw in place until you can start the screwing process. Long nose or needle nose pliers are also useful in that they can help you to be even more precise when grappling onto smaller items like needles or smaller nails.
Clamps can be useful in doing repair jobs, DIY projects, or assembling furniture. They allow you to hold things in place until you can get to them; this is particularly useful when you are working solo. They can also be useful when using Epoxy or superglue which needs to be dried for an extended amount of time.
This is useful in starting off a screwing job, rather than using a hammer and screwdriver to make those first indentations. It is much harder to screw things from scratch, without making any indentations. It can be useful whether the surface being screwed is composed of a plastic or a wood of any variety.
9. Tape Measure
Tape measures are indispensable when you’re at the planning and preparing stage. It is essential to know that all your pencil lines and markings are correctly aligned, otherwise, the thing being assembled will be at best wonky, at worst malfunctioning. A 16 to 20-foot tape should suffice for nearly every domestic job, and the good news is that they’re relatively inexpensive.
10. Wire Cutters
These are used to splice anything from iron to brass to copper to aluminum to steel wire. They will often have chunky, rubberized handles, for comfort and so you will not suffer a shock from the wire. Those that are diagonally offset by about 15º are able to cut objects flush with a surface.
Hopefully, these essential hand tools will make all your DIY jobs easy and even satisfying.