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Garage Tools - Woodworking Tools - Tool Storage
Garage Tools - Woodworking Tools - Tool Storage
Adjustable Tools You Should Have
You should have one or more adjustable tools in your tool chest. Most will be in the form of wrenches but there are some other tools in this category that you might like, also.
Adjustable wrenches are valuable additions to your garage tools. If you have two or three sizes, you can handle most grip and lock or loosen tasks. Sometimes still called by their original manufacturer name - Crescent wrenches - they can handle many tasks, whether you’re working on your car, your plumbing, household repairs, or furniture building. They are durable, strong, and reliable.
Adjustable joint pliers are also very useful members of your tool box. With long handles and powerful ribbed jaws, they can be adjusted to grip a wide variety of objects. The most popular sizes are 8 and 10 inch styles, which can handle most household and garage tasks that arise. As pliers tools, these are very versatile.
Adjustable hacksaws can be handy for those times when you need to cut metal objects. They can have a few cutting positions and normally can accept some different sized blades making them quite versatile.
Clamps and vises are very useful whenever you need to join objects together with glue, epoxy, or some other adhesion substance. In addition, they are used to secure objects so you can work on them, saw them, carve them, or perform any other function that requires the object to stay in one place. These are widely adjustable and, with a variety of sizes in your tool box, you can hold anything smaller than a 1958 Buick.
Appropriate Tools as a Gift
What are the appropriate types of tools to give as a gift? If you’re considering giving a serious weekend tool warrior one or more additions to his/her garage tool kit, caution is the key word. This advice also would apply if your friend or family member was a serious golfer, softball player, sailor, stamp collector, artist, etc. People who are serious about their hobby know much more about it than you do. They know what they want, what they have, and probably have favorite brand names of the things they have or need. In this case, an attractively presented garage tool set that contains less than quality tools or is composed of hand or power tools the recipient already has, is not a good idea.
If you want to contribute to a garage tool collection, here are two tips to make it work. First, forget the surprise and directly ask if there is a specific tool or set that he/she wants or needs. Also ask if they prefer a particular manufacturer (DeWalt, Husky, Craftsman, etc.) for the tool they need. While the mystery will be gone, your recipient will be much happier. Second, if you must retain the surprise factor, at least find out where your tool-lover likes to purchase power and hand tools. Whether online or in person, you can purchase a gift card to any tool retailer in any amount that fits your budget, and your gift recipient will be thrilled. If not his/her favorite gift, it will rank right near the top. Guaranteed!
Basic Cordless Power Tools
If you’re ready to upgrade your garage tool kit to include cordless power tools, here are some suggestions to fill your tool kit:
- Drill tools – Variable speed, reversible power drill; at least 9.6 volts
- Screwdriver tools – Cordless screwdriver for spots too small for your drill to fit
- Cutting tools – Circular saw that allows you to cross cut, rip cut, angle cut, and bevel edges; at least 10 amps, preferably 12 or 13 amps
- Cutting tools – Jig saw (or saber saw) for detailed cuts; about 3 amps or more will do
- Be sure to buy cordless tools with sufficient power to do the jobs you believe you’re going to tackle.
- If you’re purely a casual weekend warrior, you need not invest in professional quality tools, but don’t make the mistake of buying very inexpensive, underpowered cordless tools. Not only will they last a short period of time, they will not even complete some of the tasks you need done.
- Consider weight. Cordless power tools are wonderful for home and garage toolboxes, but as you buy more powerful cordless tools, the heavier they become. They need more heavy duty batteries to deliver the power you need. For weekend projects, this should not be a problem but if you are more active, take this into consideration.
Basic Woodworking Tools
If you want to set up a basic workshop in your garage, there are some things to consider and purchase. You’ll be exposed to hundreds of choices for woodworking tools, but here are some basic items to consider at the beginning:
- Sturdy workbench – Often overlooked at first, it’s necessity will quickly become evident
- Hand saws – One with a cross cut blade and another with a rip blade
- Back saw – A woodworking tool with a stiff rib opposite the blade to give you control when making more detailed cuts; there are a variety of styles
- Circular saw – Corded or cordless
- Jig saw (saber saw) – Power or hand held
- Drill/driver – Hand, power, and/or cordless
- Hand plane – For slimming down wood surfaces
- Sandpaper – All varieties and grades
- Sanding tools – Sanding block or power palm sander
- Screwdrivers, hammers, and wrenches
- Clamps and vices – Get a variety of sizes for different shaped objects
- Safety glasses – Good ones for eye protection when cutting and sanding
- Chisels – Have a few of different sizes
Best Way to Start Your Garage Tool Kit
With the wide selection of choices of garage tools available today, the question of how much “quality” to purchase as you begin your garage tool kit is perplexing. If you’re just beginning your adventure into the exciting world of home improvements, auto maintenance, or woodworking projects, an investment in professional grade hand and power tools is not recommended. You’re probably not yet sure whether you’ll delve deeply into this hobby or merely perform basic home repairs and minor improvements. Top quality tools are built to last up to a lifetime and can become quite pricey.
At the same time, the other end of the spectrum is also not recommended. Purchasing very inexpensive hand or power tools can become an annoying problem if you use them more than only very rarely. These are not built to last or tackle medium or serious tool tasks. Should you enjoy your new hobby and start using your tool kit often, low end tools will simply not last and will not provide the power and comfort you’ll begin to demand.
Your first basic tool kit should include mid-range hand and power tools that will get most basic repairs and improvements done efficiently on an occasional but consistent basis. When you need them, they will work. If you decide you really enjoy being a weekend warrior, you can upgrade your garage tool collection as needed and desired. You will still be able to use your original tools for the minor repairs and projects that always present themselves.
For instance, you might start with a cordless drill/driver that has 9.6 to 12 volts, able to handle all basic household tool tasks, but you now want to build a backyard deck. You’ll want to purchase a cordless drill/driver with the power of 18 to 24 volts. Buy it. Your smaller tool, if decent quality, will still be ready for small household jobs when you need it. If you decide you now want to build a backyard shed to match your new deck, your more powerful drill/driver is also available to get that job done. You win both ways.
Carving Tools You Should Have
Wood carving tools will be challenging to use deftly at first, but like most skills, you will improve your technique if you do three things: practice, practice, and practice. Whether you want to carve figurines and objects, make cabinets or furniture, or simply add some interest to your woodworking projects, quality carving tools are a must have. Like everything else in the tool category, you could spend big dollars on many types of carving tools. To avoid the necessity of getting a second mortgage loan on your home, here are some basic carving tools that will complete most basic tasks.
- Carving knife - Used to cut, pare, slice, and smooth wood
- Gouge - With a curved cutting edge; they come in different sizes to allow you to carve curves, hollows, rounds, and other “non-straight” cuts
- Chisels - Straight cutting edges allow you to make lines, clean up, and level flat surfaces on your wood
- V-tool – Permits you to separate or part lines and/or cut v-shaped channels in your objects
- Veiner – A form of gouge that gives you the ability to make u-shaped cuts in wood
- Rubber mallet – For safely tapping, joining, and fixing angles on wood
In 1924, Raymond DeWalt invented the radial arm saw and started his company, which was to become one of the brands of tools offering some of the best professional quality selections in the world. DeWalt Tools was then acquired by another legendary tool manufacturer, Black & Decker. Duncan Black and Alonzo Decker started their company as a machine tool shop in Baltimore, MD, in 1910, and, since inventing the first portable electric drill in 1917, the company has grown to be a household name in the power tool industry. In 1960, B&D acquired DeWalt Power Tools and has maintained their level of quality since then.
While Black & Decker markets power tools at all levels, from inexpensive, low strength household tools to higher quality garage tools, DeWalt power tools are built for the serious hobbyist or construction professional. They are considered strong, reliable, powerful, and comfortable to use. As an example of their dedication to quality-level power, the recommended minimum power for amateur level cordless drills is 9.6 to 12 volts. Most serious amateurs and many professionals use 18 volt cordless drivers. Recently, DeWalt power tools, using the catch phrase, "The Power Of Corded Without The Cord," introduced a serious group of power tools with 36 volts of power!
Whether you want to have lower voltage quality corded and cordless power tools in your garage tool kit, or are a working professional who needs all the power and reliability that high end tools should deliver, DeWalt power tools are an excellent choice. Also, lots of amateurs and professionals like to rock ‘n’ roll or rap while they work, so DeWalt even markets a water-proof, powerful (of course) boom box for your entertainment while working.
Electrical Tools You Should Have
Unlike hand, woodworking, cordless, and corded power tools, there are not too many electrical tools you need to have. There are a few, however, that can be very helpful for your household and auto tasks.
- Circuit testers – Can be very basic and inexpensive or more sophisticated. Continuity testing tools are often used to identify and find automotive electrical problems. The continuity of electric flow is critical to the proper operation of auto circuits and this tester can identify problems for you. A 6 to 12 volt circuit testing tool can be used for auto or in home use. Any outlet in the home, plug or switch, can be tested to ensure that electricity is flowing making the outlet “hot” as it should be. If you are aware of a problem but not sure where it really is, you can use your electric tool to locate which box or boxes are no longer “hot” and need some attention.
- Wire strippers – For neatly removing insulation from the ends of electrical wire. They’ll have insulated handles to keep you from having unwanted shock surprises.
- Electrical pliers – With insulated handles, most will also give you some crimping ability which you often need with electrical tasks.
- Crimping tool – If you plan on more than a rare minor electrical project, you will want a hand tool for crimping wire. When joining two or more separate wires, the easiest and best way to do this is by crimping (deforming) the exposed ends so they can be tied together securely.
Examples of Garage Tool Organizers
You can find garage tool organizers of all sizes to hold just a few popular tools or much of your entire tool chest. A wall tool organizer is an excellent way to keep you’re your tools handy. Whether you install a wall organizer above or to the side of your main work bench area, all of your most often used tools will be right within reach. Made of plastic or steel, wall organizers can be of modest size to hold 10 to 12 of your hand tools or much more substantial, holding 20 tools or more, sometimes including some hardware storage, a shelf or two for liquids and sprays, and the ability to configure you’re storage positions.
If you’re not happy with your current work area, you may want to consider a combination secure workbench with a vertical tool organizer attached, all in one piece. For smaller work areas, such as a corner of your garage, this combination provides a compact, workable solution to your work and tool storage needs. For around $100 to $300, you could use one solution to solve two issues.
Another solution to keeping your garage hand tools both organized and handy is a magnetic wall tool bar. They look like the devices made for your best kitchen knives that install over or next to your stove or food prep area. These magnetic tool organizers keep your most used tools secure, open, and right where you can reach them quickly. There are some other choices, but one of these three, or a combination, will organize your garage hand tools and keep them right where you need them for your projects.
Garage Tool Gift Sets
If you are motivated to give someone a gift of garage tools or a tool kit, you’ll be hard pressed to find those labeled as “gift sets.” However, there is one loud exception to this reality. Should you be a businessperson wanting to upgrade your normal level or type of gift or reward to your clients or customers, you can find a good selection of promotional tool gift sets, the case displaying your company name. The normal quality of the enclosed tools is modest to keep your cost down since you’d be purchasing multiple sets. But, most contain hand tools of basic household quality so you won’t be embarrassed to present these items to your better customers.
You still have the option of converting an available hand tool set into the gift variety through colorful wrapping and interesting presentation. However, please note a word of caution. If the friend, business associate, or family member who is to be the recipient of your gift is a dedicated tool aficionado, with a serious collection of good quality tools already, you could undo the effect of your gift by giving low quality tools or just adding unnecessary items to his already crowded tool chest. Should you know of a specific tool or tool set your recipient is lacking and wants, or you find a unique (and useful) tool you’re sure is not in your friend’s tool box, you could give this gift with some confidence.
Garage Tool Storage
Garage tool organizers are available in a variety of types. Much depends on your desire for portability and the extent of your garage tool kit. Tool storage is an important consideration, particularly as your collection of garage tools expands, as it will.
Garage tool boxes: The best choice for maximum portability, tool boxes and tool chests will keep all your tools organized and right at hand whether you’re in the garage, the basement, the bathroom, or the attic. You can bring your hand tools to wherever you need them to complete the task at hand.
Garage tool cabinets: You can choose from simply moving in a cabinet to house your tools or install a full modular garage tool organizer system of tool chests and cabinets. In addition to giving your garage and work area a professional look, you should have adequate space to have more garage tool storage as you add more precision tools to your collection.
Tool organizers: These nifty products provide the ability to have a home for each of your tools while keeping them close to your hands while you’re working. Most of these are wall mounted with slots for your most popular hand tools. As a companion, you could install a hardware organizer, either open hopper or with clear faced drawers, to keep your nails, screws, washers, nuts, bolts, etc. right where you need them – where you’re working.
There are many online and brick and mortar retailers to visit and find the best garage tool storage for your situation. Even a “mix” of a portable tool chest for out of garage jobs and permanent tool storage would be another option.
General Tool Sets
If you are about to begin the process of having a garage tool collection, you might want to consider purchasing a full tool set to cover your beginning bases. There are quite a few choices from both e-commerce and brick and mortar retailers. Here are some suggestions to investigate:
- Sears – Has a selection of basic tools of medium quality and quality tool kits for homeowner, auto maintenance, and professional levels; price range around $25 to $300
- MSN shopping – Tool sets from a wide variety of manufacturers from occasional use home quality through professional grade hand tools; price range from $25 to $6,500
- Stanley hand tools – A variety of tool sets, all of good quality; various price ranges
- Lowes – Both hand and power tool sets; from around $20 to $300
- HomeDepot – Selection of hand tools or power tool combinations; from around $20 to $300
Hammer Tools for Your Tool Box
You should have at least a small variety of hammer tools in your garage tool kit. There are a number of specialty hammers that could be added to the list, but these are suggestions for having all the basics to get most of your jobs done well.
Claw hammers are absolute must-have hand tools in all but pure auto tool kits. A 16 to 20 ounce claw hammer will handle most household and garage tasks you’ll encounter. You might also want a smaller one for tacking-type tasks and for working in tight spaces.
Tack hammers are useful for smaller jobs from hanging pictures to furniture repair. They are usually better balanced than very small claw hammers and will do a better job if you include one in your tool box.
Rubber mallets are very helpful when you need to hammer something but using a steel-headed claw hammer will damage the object being hammered. The heavy but softer head of the rubber mallet can accomplish the work of a classic hammer without hurting the object being worked on.
Ball peen hammers , though designed for metalworking tasks, are also good workers in your garage tool kit. They are excellent for hammering chisels, punches, and rivets, along with working on unhardened metal.
This collection of hammer tools should give you the versatility to handle most creative and repair tasks you’ll face. As you become more experienced, you might want to add one or more specialty hammer tools to give you even more options to complete your tool related jobs.
Metric Tools You Should Have
The metric system, developed in France in the mid-1800s, tends to be the international standard of measurement, contrasted with the English system, using inches and feet. Many nuts and bolts that you will encounter in your tool travels will be metric and not English. Whether you are working on your auto, motorcycle, bicycle, or household projects, you will need some metric tools eventually.
The most often encounter you’ll have will be with nuts and bolts that need to be loosened, tightened, installed, or removed. The differences in metric and English measurements are not large but installing a metric nut with an English wrench can be frustrating at times. Your wrench will mostly fit, but won’t be as snug as you’d like it. Tight nuts and bolts will prove to be a major challenge to loosen without stripping them.
To cover yourself, at a minimum, you should consider having:
- Open-end wrenches – A variety of both English and metric sizes
- Box-end wrenches – A variety of both English and metric sizes
- Combination wrenches – One end is an open-end and the other a box-end wrench – both English and metric sizes
- Socket set- Bits of both English and metric measurements
Organize Your Workshop
It is easy to have your garage workshop to take on a life of its own, particularly heading in the direction of mess and working disaster. In addition to the annoying eyesore, your garage tools will find hiding places just when you need them. Fear not, there are solutions that will restore the look and serviceability of your workshop, while providing a comfortable home for your household, auto, and woodworking tools. If you value portability, so you can get many of your power and hand tools someplace other than your workshop, you have a choice of a wide variety of sizes of garage tool boxes and tool chests. If you need your tools inside your home often, stick to a smaller one for your most important power and hardware tools. If you have one or more sophisticated hydraulic tools, or other monsters, they’ll be used in your workshop only. They are inappropriate for your tool box. Keep the size and weight manageable so you can actually carry it.
Garage tool organizers are wonderful for keeping your hand tools neat and right at arm’s reach. Choose a design, size, and layout that works for you. Some of the larger vertical, wall organizers are much like a puzzle. You can put your hooks, shelves, hardware storage bins, etc. just where you want them as a personal preference.
For tools you need quickly and often, you might want to install one or more magnetic garage tool organizers. Installed on a wall in front or to the side of your work area, they securely hold your tools in arm’s reach. Just grab a hand tool when you need it and stick it back up when you’re through. It’ll be right there when you need it next. If your work bench is just as sad as your work shop, you might consider a modular unit that is a work bench and vertical tool organizer together. This option might solve two problems.
If you have the space, popular solutions are garage tool cabinets that organize your workshop in an attractive and efficient manner. Much like re-designing your kitchen, wherein you can place different cabinetry where you need it, regardless of how your kitchen looks today, you can design your workshop with different size cabinets in a variety of configurations. This option gives you a layout for garage tool storage that works best for you. You can accomplish this online or at some major retailers, like Lowes, HomeDepot, and Sears.
Getting organized with one or more of these options will give you more pleasure in performing your tool tasks and allow you to be much more efficient. You will also no longer cringe if your friends or family enter the disaster area that is your current work shop.
Recommended Garage Tools
Recommended garage tools can differ with the answer to one question: What do you do in your garage? Do you keep your household tools there to be used when needed? Do you only work on your auto? Do you use your garage as your home workshop and perform repairs, woodworking projects, or build stuff? Or, is your answer, “all of the above”? Assuming you’re an “all of the above” person, here are some suggestions for your garage tool kit.
Household tool group:
- Hammers – claw (standard size) and tack (small)
- Screwdrivers – Phillips and flat head
- Pliers – regular and needle nose
- Utility knife – retractable blade
- Metal straightedge or T-square
- Putty knives – narrow and wide
- Levels – small and medium size
- Wrenches – adjustable, box-end, open-end, and Allen
- Saws – hand and hacksaw
- Cordless drill – with drill bits and screwdriver bits
- Adjustable Wrenches – Variety not in your home kit
- Funnels – Variety for different fluids – keep them separate
- Jack – For working on your auto
- Lug Wrench – For working on wheels and tires
- Rubber Mallet – Many uses for auto and garage
- Continuity Tester – For testing electrical circuits
- Socket Set – Both English and metric
- Spark-plug Wrench – A must-have in the garage
- Utility Knife – More duties than you can think of
- Garage tool storage – Good toolbox or tool chest
- Oil filter wrench – Specially designed to remove and replace oil filters
- Work gloves – Heavy duty hand protection
- Rubber Gloves – For handling different fluids
- Rags and paper towels – Keep plenty of these within reach
- Chisels – A few basic sizes
- Clamps and vices – Different sizes for different items
- Hand plane – For removing and refining wood surfaces
- Sandpaper – Variety from rough to finish (smooth)
- Safety glasses – Use for all cutting, grinding, and polishing work
- Combination square – Allows you to square corners of different sized objects
Screwdriver Tools for Your Garage
It is true there are so many types of screwdriver tools that you could easily have a separate garage tool box for all of them. As a weekend warrior, you certainly don’t need all of the possible types to complete most of your projects. The list below should give you all the versatility you need to have the right screwdriver tool available for most of your tasks. There are four primary categories of screwdrivers to consider: Flat head, Phillips head, combination hand power drivers, and cordless power drivers.
- Standard hand tools – Have a variety of the following
- Flat head – To fit a variety for different sized screw heads
- Phillips head – A few with slightly different heads for small and larger screws
- “Jeweler’s” set – A cased variety of small flat and Phillips head drivers, often used for computers and accessories
- Electrical tools – Screwdrivers, with both long and short shafts, that have rather narrow heads to fit the screw heads of electrical connections; should be insulated
- Combination tools – Hand powered drivers, technically bit tools, some with ratchet-drive, that accept different screwdriver bits to eliminate the need to change tools and to give you more torque
- Cordless power tools – One or both of the following
- Cordless screwdriver – Rechargeable battery and accepts many different driver bits
- Cordless drill/driver – Along with being a drill tool, it will accept a wide variety of screwdriver bits
Snap-On Tools Facts
Founded in 1920 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Snap-On Tools is a leading precision tool distributor. Joseph Johnson and William Seidemann originally created the Snap-On Wrench Company to market their ideas for ratchet and wrench handles that could accept different sockets and bits. But Johnson and Seidemann were not just “tool guys”. They were blessed with marketing and business intelligence, too. Since their focus was on high quality hand tools, they smartly realized that the successful professional spent most of their waking hours working, not shopping. Enlisting the help of Stanton Palmer, and Newton Tarble to travel to their customers’ worksites, they could showcase their products to their potential buyers. Since then, Snap-On has expanded its influence to become a global, Fortune 500 company that still visits its customers with fully equipped walk-in vans.
Snap-On Tools offers a complete line of excellent hand and power tools for serious construction, auto, mechanic, and woodworking professionals. Instead of advertising to bring your customers to your store, the brilliant idea of bringing your showroom to within steps of your customers’ workplaces has put Snap-On Tools in the forefront of the garage tool industry for years.
Sources for Discount Garage Tools
While it is more difficult, but not impossible to locate discount precision tools, you have a number of options for purchasing discount quality garage tools. The best sources are online retailers, particularly for smaller hand and power tools of good quality. In addition to household tools, you will find auto, plumbing, specialty tools, and full sets from online sellers. You can also find some high-end reconditioned power tools if you want the best but your checking account says no. This might be a good option for you.
The only tools that might prove to be a challenge are the larger and heavier models. Some of the larger table saws, compressors, and other heavy items might prove to be quite expensive because of shipping costs. Since it is difficult to find discount shipping, you’ll have to search a bit harder to find deep discounted larger items so you can justify the higher shipping expenses.
Finally, if you prefer to shop at brick and mortar retailers, mega home improvement stores, Lowes and HomeDepot, and giant wholesale-to-the-public entities, like Costco, carry quality tools at excellent prices. If your goal is to fill your garage tool box with good quality tools at below market prices, you should be able to purchase the items you want at the right cost.
Torque, its discovery credited to Archimedes, is defined as “the force applied to a lever, multiplied by its distance from the lever's fulcrum.” There are many real life situations when the amount of torque applied to the fastening of a nut or bolt is important to the functioning of that to which it is attached. For instance, automobile engines need nuts and bolts tightened to the proper torque level to perform properly. If the nuts are too tight, they will hinder performance. Should nuts and bolts be too loose, they will vibrate and eventually loosen or fall off. None of these events are acceptable.
If you plan to work on your car, you’ll want to add a torque wrench to your garage tool kit to handle a number of auto maintenance tasks. It’s a rather unusual looking tool that has a gauge or scale near the handle. Once you know the proper torque setting for a particular nut or bolt (settings are displayed in repair and owners’ manuals), you can set your gauge for the target value. Then tighten the nut or bolt while watching the needle on the gauge. When it matches your setting, you’ve correctly tightened the nut or bolt with the required pressure. There are more sophisticated electronic torque measuring systems for professionals, but this torque tool should be sufficient for your needs.