In ten years, I've learned about skill saws, radial arms saws, miters, bradnailing, and several other things that I'm very glad I've been taught. But as a do-it-yourselfer, and a mom who was home alone from time to time, I realized there are certain tools a girl should always have handy. So here are ten tools you should have.
1. An electric staple gun.
Any staple gun comes in handy, from a punch gun to a slap gun. The electric does the job the best. You can get a light duty gun for stapling cardboard to the back of a frame or a heavy duty gun for repairing upholstery. Most can handle varying depths and gauges of staples.
2. A stud finder.
Any woman can hang shelves or mirrors or pictures, and most of the time anchored nails set at an angle can hold a good amount of weight. But, if you have anything over twenty pounds hanging on a wall, it needs to be hung on a stud. A stud finder is easier than hoping your interior or exterior studs are set on 16 inch centers.
3. An idiot tape measure.
Yes, I said it because I own one. A beginner's tape shows the feet, inches, fractions, and what the center of the point your measuring would be. It would take me ten minutes to find 43 and 5/8 inches on a tape without my idiot one.
4. A light weight, smooth faced hammer.
There's not really a need for a framing hammer unless, well, you're framing something. A framing hammer is heavier, and has a waffle pattern on the head of it. It will marr wood and Sheetrock worse than a single ding with a smooth faced hammer.
5. A battery powered drill preferably, or a ratcheting, interchangeable tip screwdriver.
From screwing together a piece of furniture, or fixing a hinge, you never know what kind of screw you're going to come across. A ratcheting screwdriver uses your force stronger than a regular screwdriver, so it cuts into the wood or Sheetrock quicker. Plus, it reduces the strain on your wrist. A drill always makes it easier, no matter the job.
6. A multitool.
Several companies make varying versions of a multitool and it's uses are fantastic. It's basically a handheld, electric, oscillating tool with interchangeable heads. From sanding heads that fit into narrow corners, to blades that can trim off brick or wood, it's the most versatile tool I've owned. It can get away from you though, so watch it carefully and have a good grip.
7. A putty knife.
Have a nail hole that needs to be filled? Have plastic trim you need to peel off? With it's beveled edge, it can be used as a scraper, an applier, or in a tight spot, a flat head screwdriver.
8. A circuit tester.
If you need to swap out a light fixture, a socket, or an inoperable light switch, a circuit tester will save you a testy shock. Especially in older homes, your breaker box isn't always labeled correctly. So, before you decide that the power is off to whatever electric outlet you are working on, make sure you test it first.
9. A laser level.
Tiling your bathroom, replacing base board, or hanging a picture, you need to have a level. Laser or 2 foot, anything level gives the appearance of professional work. And trust me, there's that one OCD person that can see that your picture is crooked or your tile rises a 1/16th of an inch.
10. A shop vac.
Yes, everyone has a vacuum cleaner. The problem with sanding dust, be it from wood or Sheetrock, is that it's very fine and gathers up and clogs the filter of your regular vacuum. A shop vac, even a mini one, has a paper filter specifically for fine dust or large chunks. Don't tear up your household vacuum.
As the years have gone on, I've realized I can fix quite a few things on my own with my own tools. I got this, and you should be able to get it, too.