18 August 2019
Have you ever been so excited about starting a DIY project that you bought a cool toolbox only to arrive home and realise that you neglected to fill it with essential tools? Or perhaps you already own a toolbox, but it’s currently filled with a bunch of random bits and bobs, leaving you frustrated when you want to make a start on fixing things around your home?
As a seasoned DIY presenter and blogger, I have learned over the years which tools are truly handy, which ones are nice to have, and which ones aren’t all that essential. In my experience there are a few basic hand tools everyone should have in their kit, which I will be sharing here.
Before we get started, here is one thing I always tell aspiring DIY enthusiasts – build up your toolbox as you go along but be sure to purchase high quality tools that will see you through your future DIY projects. This way you make a once-off investment and will be able to rely on these tools for a long time to come.
Without further ado, here is my list of top 10 essential hand tools to start your very own toolbox.
ELLE’S LIST OF 10 ESSENTIAL HAND TOOLS TO ESTABLISH A GROWN-UP TOOLBOX
This may sound very basic, but the value of a good quality tape measure cannot be overstated. It’s an absolute essential in any toolbox. Whether you are renovating a room in your home, tackling a DIY project, doing a few repairs or even buying new furniture, the one item you will be reaching for every time is a tape measure.
INSIDER TIP: Invest in a tape measure with a span of 5 to 8 meters, so you have the ability to measure more items. A shorter tape measure can be a little restrictive at times.
There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to mark out points or measure lines with a pencil that breaks or doesn’t mark clearly or accurately. This is why every toolbox needs a carpenter’s pencil. Not a ball point pen, a regular colouring pencil, or even a permanent marker – a carpenter’s pencil.
Carpenters pencils are great for marking on rough surfaces, including wood, concrete and stone. The shape of the pencil and its lead density is ideal for marking legible lines with a straight edge that will be clear and easy to follow with a saw blade.
Every contractor, homeowner and DIY enthusiast should have a good, all-round generic hammer like the Lasher Claw Hammer. Aside from general hammering, a claw hammer can also be used to remove nail heads from walls or wood. The Lasher model also has a comfortable ‘Suregrip’ handle for a tight grip. I once took apart an entire pallet only using a claw hammer. No lies! This is a very handy tool indeed.
INSIDER TIP: The hammer’s weight is an important feature to consider. I would recommend buying a 500g, 600g or 700g hammer. Hold the hammer in your hand to test the weight before you make your purchase. A hammer should never be too heavy for you to use, but it has to be heavy enough to make a decent impact.
I am sure you were waiting for this one! A decent variety of screwdrivers in varied sizes is a must for any tool kit. The screwdrivers that are most commonly used are the flat head and the Philips head. The great thing about the Lasher screwdriver set is that the screwdriver blades are made from high grade chrome vanadium steel that has been magnetised, which really helps to hold screws in place.
INSIDER TIP: Different blades are used to cut different metal materials. Take note of the teeth per inch (TPI) on a blade, which is usually marked on the blade itself, ranging from 18, 24 or 32 TPI
The thickness of the material being cut determines which blade needs to be used, Normally there should be at least 3 to 4 teeth in contact with the material being cut (18 thicker material and 32 TPI thin material) 24TPI would be the ideal blade for DIY
The 32-teeth per inch blades are useful for cutting soft metals (aluminium, brass, etc.) or for making more precision cuts in steel. If a cleaner edge or a straighter cut is required, go with the finer blade. It will take much longer to cut, but the results will be cleaner
A paint scraper is a simple but immensely handy tool consisting of a flat steel blade affixed to a plastic or wood handle. It is used for everything from removing paint from walls and furniture, to stripping wallpaper. Lasher paint scrapers come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 35mm to 100mm.
INSIDER TIP: Keep the surface area that you’ll be scraping in mind when choosing your paint scraper. The bigger the surface area, the larger your scraper blade should be. It’s important to keep the blade flat against the surface in order to scrap off the paint, in small spaces, the smaller the scraper, the easier it is to do.
Sanding blocks are very helpful when you’re sanding something by hand. This nifty tool holds the sandpaper in place with teeth or clamps affixed to the block and protects your hand from the friction and heat of the sanding process, which is much better than using the sandpaper on its own. These blocks are usually sized and designed to hold a quarter or half a sheet of sandpapers of different grits.
Quality pliers are a great hand tool to add to your beginner’s collection. Used to hold objects firmly, and also useful for bending and compressing a wide range of materials, the better kind of pliers have handy features like built-in wire cutters or slip joints that allow it to expand extra wide.
10. Adjustable Wrench or Shifting Spanner
Adjustable wrenches free up a lot of space in your toolbox. They have an open-ended wrench with a moveable jaw, which can be used with fastener heads of different sizes, unlike a conventional fixed spanner/wrench that only works with one fastener size. This allows the user to tighten or loosen a variety of different nuts and bolts using a single hand tool.
With these essential hand tools in your toolbox you’ll be well on your way to getting those DIY jobs taken care of without too much hassle.
For more information on these products and other essential tools for the home and garden, visit www.lasher.co.za For more home DIY tips and projects inspiration, follow DIY with Elle. In the meantime, keep on smiling and DIY-ing J