5 hand tools I can't live without

Kit Stansley

October 30, 2012

By: Kit Stansley, DIY Diva


The truth is that my heart belongs to my power tools, but that doesn't stop me from hoarding hand tools that don't have batteries or power cords either. What can I say? It's a addiction. Last week I talked about the five power tools I just can't live without, so I figured I'd even things out with this list of the most useful hand tools in my collection, because even a crazy tool-collecting country girl needs to be well rounded.

No. 1 -- Hammer

It's my feeling that every human being should own a good hammer. Not a little sissy hammer, but something you can really whack things with. (Note: I said "things" not "people." ) I use this hammer almost every day for things like sink removal, but also for demolition, encouraging hard-to-fit things into place, and general attitude adjustment. I lent this hammer to a friend over the weekend, and I'll admit that I had a little separation anxiety, which is how I know it belongs first on this list.


No. 2 -- Screwdrivers

This is a bit of a no-brainer. Even with a drill that you may or may not keep next to your bed while you sleep, you can't beat a good set of screwdrivers for things like electrical work, changing door hardware, digging gunk out of a sink (note: do not follow that link if you have recently eaten), and assembling any furniture that comes in a box. Plus, given a hammer, a screwdriver, and enough time, I'm pretty sure I could deconstruct an entire house piece by piece.

No. 3 -- Chisels

For most of us chisels aren't something that get used in the shop every day, but when you need one, nothing else will do. Maybe it's because I often build things on the fly instead of pre-planning, but it seems there's always a little adjustment here or there, and my chisels are always the first thing I reach for.

No. 4 -- Coping Saw

I'll admit that for a long period of time I was anti-coping saw and chose to use my dremmel for that kind of work instead. You might say that patience isn't one of my virtues, but after getting a few tips from a local builder while working on a Habitat house, my coping skills increased tenfold. And, as with many of my favorite tools, I've found a variety of uses for this one as well, particularly for detail work on small wood pieces.

No. 5 -- Channel Locks/Clamps

As a girl who often works alone in her shop, the one thing I could always use is another set of hands. I'm pretty sure it's illegal to own another set of hands if they aren't, you know, attached to an actual human being, so to avoid those awkward questions I compulsively buy clamps. Large wood clamps, small wood clamps, quick release clamps, and a variety of channel locks -- which, if you didn't know, also work as a good substitute for a front door handle, if you happen to be missing the knob.

So, those are the most useful hand tools in my shop, what about yours?


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