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TOOLS : Keeping a Well-Stocked Workshop for Home Projects and Repair Jobs

November 11, 1995|From Associated Press

You don't need a workshop full of tools for routine home maintenance, but what you have should be the best you can afford.

Most homeowners can get by with the following tools:

* Safety equipment: Safety goggles guard your eyes against flying particles and hazardous liquids. Inexpensive, disposable sanding masks give you relief from dusts, odors and mists.

For working with toxic substances--such as lacquers or urea formaldehyde--buy a disposable respirator or a dual-cartridge respirator with disposable filters.

* Claw hammer: A 16-ounce model is most useful for driving or pulling nails and prying wood.

* Nail set: Tapped with a hammer, it sinks the heads of finishing nails below the surface so they can be concealed with wood filler.

* Screwdrivers: It's good to have a variety of lengths and widths. One with a one-quarter-inch tip handles most slotted screws. It can be turned with a wrench if it has a square shank. Get a stubby one for tight spaces. For Phillips-head screws, a No. 1 and a No. 2 handle most jobs.

* Handsaw: Get a crosscut saw to cut wood across the grain. They come with 10 to 16 teeth per inch; 12 is a good choice for a smooth cut. You may also need a ripsaw, with five to 12 teeth per inch, to cut wood along the grain.

* Hacksaw: Blades come with 18 to 32 teeth per inch. In general, use coarser teeth on thick metal and finer teeth on thin metal.

* Coping saw: Cuts smaller-diameter curves and filigree. Blades have 10 to 20 teeth per inch for cutting wood, plastic or very thin metal.

* Keyhole saw: Its tapered blade, with eight to 10 teeth per inch, can make cutouts in wood with the cut started from a drilled hole.

* Adjustable pliers: Jaws open to varying widths. Versatile slip-joint pliers are good for light gripping and turning. The jaws of groove-joint pliers open to many widths, usually up to two inches.

* Locking pliers: Can be used as pliers, clamp, vise or wrench. Some have an edge to cut wire, nails and small bolts.

* Needle-nose pliers: Often with a cutting edge, they can bend wire, handle small objects and reach into tight places.

* Diagonal-cutting pliers: These have no gripping jaws and are used to snip wire and small metal parts.

* Adjustable wrench: Tighten or loosen nuts and bolts with an adjustable wrench. Adjustable ends are opened and closed by turning a thumbscrew.

* Pipe wrench: Used for tightening and loosening metal pipes.

* Electric drill: Get a reversible model with variable speed control. It can drill holes in almost any material and can drive screws, grind, sand or polish.

* Hand drill: A push drill or crank-operated (eggbeater type) drill can make small holes in wood or plastic when you don't want to get out the electric drill.

* Flat file: For smoothing metal edges or surfaces.

* Block plane: Used to smooth small areas of wood.

* Chisel: Get a one-half-inch size, to trim or shape wood.

* Utility knife: Razor-sharp, it's used to cut or trim wood or other materials.

* Putty knives: In one- and three-inch sizes, they're used for smoothing putty and plaster.

* Steel tape measure: Get one that's retractable and 25 feet long.

* Carpenter's level: For checking horizontal and vertical surfaces, a two-foot model is a good choice. You may also want a smaller torpedo level.

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