Tools needed for electrical work

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  #1  
Old 12-31-02, 03:44 PM
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Tools needed for electrical work

I would like to know what tools are needed for a electrician, I am going to become a apprentice soon. And would like to know what tools I need to have . If any electrician could help me Please email me at [email protected]
 
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  #2  
Old 01-01-03, 03:02 PM
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For an apprentice any good company should supply you with a list of tools they fill you should need. But your basic starting tools is your comman screw drivers, lineman pliers, wire stripers, nut drivers, chanel locks, just your basics, but your company might fill as a apprentice you will need less, or more. Good luck.
 
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Old 01-01-03, 09:32 PM
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P Michael
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Tool Lists

Congradulations on joining the ranks!
I would be leery of taking tool lists at face value. When I started, I got a list and it said to get a Wiggy. So I spent $60 on one and haven't used it after 5 years. A VOM will tell you more.
When you start out they will often have you digging ditches so make sure you have a good pair of gloves.
Now for the accumulted philosophy--
Klein #600 "Screwdriver" AKA "Electrician's Chisel", pry bar, paint can opener, et. al. This is a 6", square shank, keystone tip, straight slotted driver. [~$8]
Klein Lineman's Pliers. Get the kind with the ability to grip fish tape. [$20+]
Wirestrippers. I use Ideal T-8 but Greenlee or Klein equivalent will do. [~$7]
Cordless drill. If you don't mind embarrassment, anything will do for the nonce. When it fails, by then you will have earned enough money to get something better. You see, I know that when you are starting out, you're at the bottom of the scale and can't afford all the stuff the journeymen say you must get.

That's it for the expensive, name-brand stuff.
You'll probably new a tool belt which is a bad idea in general but some foreman think you have to wear one to be an official electrician.
A 3/16" cabinet-tip screwdriver.
A #2 Phillips screwdriver.
Long nose pliers.
Aviation snips.
Channelocks -- actually groove joint pliers. I like the GL-6 but a bigger pair is more impressive.
Torpedo level. Get a good one. Or, I should say, an accurate one and rugged and with magnets.

Sooner or later, you will need a hacksaw which is practically fundamental in this field. In the Westm Lennox is the standard. I started out with a grocery store Chinese one and it lasted two days before the pin that held the blade on fell out. But by then, I had earned enough to pay the $20 for the Lennox [$20] which has lasted 6 years still as of yet and is still going strong. Get my point?

But when you are starting out, don't go overboard. They will send you to such and such a job. You might be digging ditches [hence the gloves], you might be pulling wire [hence the gloves], you might be working with MC or AC cable. Then, on your way home from your first day, you stop off at the local Electrical Supply House and get a RotoSplit. [$20] But, then again, if you aren't doing MC or AC, you don't need it yet. [Note: HD sells the Greenlee version and it broke on me.] Whatever they have you doing, you can see what the other guys and gals are using and get those immediate tools for the nonce. So don't blindly follow a list. [Except mine ]

I mentioned the "Electrician's Chisel". Actually, this is an abuse of a fine, expensive tool. So when I started out, I plunked down the pesos for a 3/8" cold chisel and a 1/2" Stanley, Contractor Grade wood chisel. So I got that covered. Also, I bought a 6" half round file. This is useful for all sorts of things, especially smoothing out burrs on conduit [the round part] and restoring damaged threads [the edge part] and is small enough to fit in your tool storage pouch. Once you start into conduit, don't hestitate to get the Conduit Reamer attachment for your screwdriver. @ $10 I know it's more than the screwdriver but you are going to be a professional, aremn't you? Then get the right tool for the job and don't mess around going thru the motions of twisting your pliers around in the end of the conduit!

One thing the tool lists never mention is that you must wear jeans and workboots. Also, there are some jobsites which won't allow you on the jobsite without a hardhat [~$7.57] but this is tricky. Some employers will supply them for free -- BUT if you already have one, they won't. But then again maybe they won't anyway cause they're cheap and then you can't even get on the jobsite. So the trick is to buy one and keep it in your car, just in case...

Hope this helps -- do you want more?
-Peter
 
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Old 01-02-03, 09:06 AM
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yes i would like to more of the tools I would need p. micheal
 
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Old 01-02-03, 08:16 PM
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P Michael
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How much money ya got?

Silly me. I totally forgot thw lowly utility knife. You should have it the first day. Since this is a professional tool, don't skimp. I use Stanley.

Another no-brainer is a tape measure. Most guys burden themselves with a 25' but most measurements are less so my main tape is a 1/2" by 12'. Your choice.

A pencil. This is very necessary but probably not in anybody else's list. Hah!

You, as a future professional, will need to measure voltage and ohms for continuity. And for safety. For the nonce, assuming you are not oil rich, anything with a dial and two wires sticking out of it will do. [Harbor Freight or Radio Shack = ~$8] Your foreman will sneer at you and say you should get a Fluke{~$80]. Tell him your birthday is coming up soon [and put his money where his mouth is...]
As part of this point, I recommend a "TicTraker". or whatever. This is about the size of a cigar and clips in your pocket [wear a shuirt with a pocket]. It will warn you if the wires you are about to touch are dead or alive.

Lunch. Assuming that you are as poor as I was when starting out as I was, you can save 66% every day by brown bagging it. Use the saved money to buy more tools.

Flashlight. This will come in handy but you don't have to have one the first day.

Sharpie. This is our secret code word for a felt tipped pen. Very necessary for labeling J boxes and conduits.

Not nutdrivers. The other poster mentioned these and I will politely dis-agree. They are good for their particular function but, when just starting out, you don't really need them. You can get by with ChannelLocks or the ViseGrips or a wrench or a socket set [deep sockets].

ViseGrips. I carry a 7WR. Wow! 2 tons of force in 7".

Literature. You don't say what apprenticeship program you are involved with. But you will need a copy of the National Electrical Code. [=~$30-$40] This is a law book. Thus it is arcane and indecipherable, obscure and contradictory. What I did was go to my friendly local neighborhood library and check out a handbook to decipher it. The official N.E.C. Handbook [=$100] includes the original text of the NEC so that's $40 for the text and only $60 to figure out what it means.

I will e-mail you privately with some more sevret dope.

-Peter
 
  #6  
Old 01-10-03, 03:32 PM
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bobrobin03
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I know why you would need a wood chisel for electrical work, but why a cold chisel please I would like to know why?
 
  #7  
Old 01-10-03, 04:19 PM
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Great posts P Michael!! Invaluable information.
 
  #8  
Old 01-10-03, 06:34 PM
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You need a small smoke meter and a pair of clampsulators also,,, make sure and get good ones though, preferably red ones with plastic handles. Ask the guy at the supply house, he will know exactly.
 
  #9  
Old 01-10-03, 06:43 PM
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P Michael
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Mr. Robin,
I am assuming you are embarking into this wonderful field of endeavor in the same way, more or less, that I did. I.e., you don't have much money. Hence, my advice to spend your limited amount of cold, hard cash as effectively as possible.
I did forget some things like the emergency supply of toilet paper. When I applied for my apprenticeship, I had the image of knocking on people's doors with a toolbox in hand and saying "I understand your fuses are blown". But all the work, so far, has been in construction work - sometimes new and sometimes remodeling. But not much residential.
As for the cold chisel, this is the counterpoint to the wood chisel. You use the wood chisel for soft stuff like -well - wood. And you use the cold chisel for hard stuff like metal. Actually the main use is for tightening locknuts. Most electricians will just resort to using their good, expensive Klein - #600 to do this and, when it comes time to tighten an obsolete, straight slotted screw, all they have left is something which looks like the end of a butterknife. Eventually they wise up and splurge on a cheapo "beater" screwdriver. The cold chisel is about the same price and smaller so it doesn't take up so much room in your pouch.
This advice is mainly aimed towards getting you thru the first day or two. The company you work for should supply the major tools such as the power tools, extention cords, ladders, pipe benders and ALL of the materials. Later on, you will want to accumulate your own repetoire of these items since they have a tendancy to allocate 4 ladders for 5 electricians and so on. The company stuff is anonymous is gets beaten up by crude apprentices [and foremen!]. Once you get your own stuff you will take good care of it and won't have power struggles over who gets to use the power cord next.
But that's all later down the line.
Just don't spend all of your money blindly following a list [except this one] before your first day on the job. Have a reserve of maybe $100-$200 and plan on a stop at the local store on your way home to get the goodies you immediately need the next day.
Good luck,
-Peter
 
  #10  
Old 01-11-03, 06:14 PM
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P Michael
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Just wanted to add -

Another use of a cold chisel is to do some MINOR chipping away of concrete.

PS Never heard of "small smoke meter and a pair of clampsulators". Maybe some sort of HVAC tools.

-Peter
 
  #11  
Old 01-11-03, 11:23 PM
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Peter,, ask at the counter next time you are at the jobber. The guy will show you.
 
  #12  
Old 01-12-03, 08:02 AM
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bobrobin03
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What is a smokemeter and clamsulators is that a vom meter and a clampon amp meter TRhank you for you time and help it has been greatly appreacited from a new guy. And please keep the advice coming I have learned a lot from this post
thanks guy.
 
  #13  
Old 01-12-03, 09:21 AM
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joefixit
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Wink

Peter,
Great posts, informative as well as entertaining! A smoke meter is used to blow smoke up your *** and clampsulators are used to pull your leg, both of which I suspect someone is trying to do!
 
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