Tools - Introduction Tools - Introduction

What You Will Be Doing

Let's review building a tool inventory, the distinction of quality when purchasing, and the appropriate use and care of your tools and work area.

The various types of tools are those for measuring and leveling, cutting and drilling, tools to help you attach and assemble or dismantle, and tools you will use for finishing. There is also a section on pneumatic tools, that is, air compressors and accessories.

In addition, I will pass along to you many time and effort-saving tips from the professionals.

Before You Begin

One recommendation I like to make to those of you who will be taking on projects in and around the house from time to time is that you first acquire a copy of the local building code from the office of your county or city building inspector. Keep a copy of this on hand so you will know when your project requires a permit of any kind. Although tools can be fun, and can open doors to new and interesting do-it-yourself projects, always keep in mind that they should never be treated as toys. If you have small children, it's a good idea to keep your tools where they will be inaccessible to curious young hands.

A workshop is a very personal thing. It should be geared to an individual's own needs, extent of do-it-yourself involvement and space available. As your inventory of tools grows, you will want to set aside a special workplace. You will find that organized work space makes for an organized, smoother flowing project, because you will always know where to find that special tool when you need it. If you are unable to designate a separate room for your tools and projects, at least have a closet or locking toolbox that will secure your tools when not in use.


Anytime you work with tools safety must be your primary concern. A few general rules to keep in mind are:

  1. Protective glasses or goggles should be worn whenever power tools are in use; and when chiseling, sanding, scraping, or hammering overhead, especially if you wear contact lenses.
  2. Wear ear protectors when using power tools, since some operate at noise levels that damage hearing.
  3. Be careful of loose hair and clothing, so they don't get caught in tools.
  4. The proper respirator or face mask should be worn when sanding or sawing or using substances with toxic fumes.
  5. Keep blades sharp. A dull blade requires excessive force, can slip, and cause accidents.
  6. Always use the appropriate tool for the job.
  7. Repair or discard tools with cracks in the wooden handles, or chips in the metal parts, that could fail and cause injury.
  8. Don't drill, shape, or saw anything that isn't firmly and properly secured.
  9. Take care in storing oily rags, which can spontaneously combust.
  10. Don't abuse your tools.
  11. Keep a first aid kit on hand.
  12. Don't work with tools if you are fired. That's when most accidents occur.
  13. Read the owner's manual for all tools and know the proper use of each.
  14. Keep all tools out of reach of small children.
  15. Unplug all power tools when changing settings or parts.

Purchasing Your Tools

Give enough care and thought to the purchase of your tools. Conscientious investment should carry you through years of enjoyable projects.

  1. Acquire tools as you need them; avoid buying unnecessary tools or tools you will never use.
  2. Always purchase the best tool you can afford. Cheap tools are never a bargain.
  3. Purchase from reputable dealers and manufacturers, we link to some on-site.
  4. Choose the tool for the most comfortable fit and weight for your hand.
  5. Examine tools carefully for their sturdiness and smooth finish.
  6. Check all moving parts for smoothness and freedom from play.

Caring for Tools

Caring for your tools is also extremely important if they are to do the jobs for which they are intended.

  1. Keep your tools property cleaned and lubricated.
  2. Keep your tools out of the weather and store them out of the way when not in use.
  3. If the storage area is damp (in the basement, for example), install a dehumidifier and keep tools covered with a film of rust-inhibiting oil.
  4. Never throw tools into the toolbox. Handle them carefully to avoid dulling edges and nicking surfaces.
  5. Whenever possible, hang tools with cutting edges separately to keep them from getting nicked or dulled.
  6. Purchase carrying cases for your power tools to protect them and to store their accessories.

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