Building a basic hand-tool kit!

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Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by the_alias » Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:29 am

I've wanted to put together a good - solid - hand tool (non electric!) kit for myself for a long while. Something with good gear and can cover a lot of general scenarios of repair and building.

Here is my list so far and I am looking for input and additions:
  • Screwdriver set (including standard Philips/Flat head etc)
  • Claw Hammer
  • Slipjoint Plier
  • Jaw and Tongue Plier
  • Generic Handsaw
  • Yankee Screwdriver
  • Old school non-electric Handdrill
  • Pry-bar
What am I missing?
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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by NT2C » Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:44 pm

On the screwdrivers I highly recommend these for their versatility and durability:

LENOX ALL-IN-ONE SCREWDRIVERS

A pair of the 9-in-1 models will handle quite a lot of the things you want a screwdriver or nutdriver for.

On the slipjoint pliers, a set of these in all three sizes but especially the 546 and 548 (7" & 8" models) have been my go-to pliers for more than 40 years now:

https://www.channellock.com/product/546/

Note the jaw shape. These let you see what you're trying to grasp a lot better than typical round jaw pliers, especially when you're in a difficult to reach spot. They're strong (never broke or bent one in 40 years of abuse) and will grip better than most others. I also highly recommend the same brand's tongue & groove pliers are the gold standard for the type and well worth the price. I suggest an assortment of sizes. You should also add some needle nose pliers and diagonal cutters to your kit, a set of metric and SAE hex wrenches, a good quality wire stripper (not one of those combo shits that also "crimps") and a good terminal crimper. This is all in addition to a wrench set (SAE and metric) and socket sets in 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 drive, metric and SAE, and including deep sockets.
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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by majorhavoc » Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:52 pm

A lot depends on what you'd like to do with it. Assuming for the moment that we can set aside mechanics tools (car/home systems repair, etc), I'd consider adding the following for basic wood working:

Basic measuring and marking tools: tape measure, combination square (which usually comes with a small scratch awl for marking measurements on wood), framing square, etc, carpenter's pencil.

Hand chisels

Hand plane (go vintage unless you're willing to pony up big bucks for a Lie-Nielsen or Veritas; the big box home stores only sell garbage). I'd recommend an all around jack plane and maybe a block plane for smoothing end grain.

A means to keep your hand chisels and hand plane iron razor sharp. The hand plane in particular is functionally useless without a keen edge on the iron. I prefer synthetic water stones, but a good set of oil stones will also work fine.

Give some thought to what you mean by generic handsaw. There's a world of difference between a crosscut and a rip saw, not to mention a back saw. A double-sided Japanese style pull saw can do wonders as a do-all wood cutter for most tasks short of fine carpentry if you're looking to minimize individual tools.

Ditto hand drill. There's the egg beater style for small twist bits, but nothing beats a bit/brace set for larger diameter holes.

I'm sure I'll think of other essential tools later, but this is what I've come up with for now.

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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by the_alias » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:32 pm

NT2C wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:44 pm
On the screwdrivers I highly recommend these for their versatility and durability:

LENOX ALL-IN-ONE SCREWDRIVERS

A pair of the 9-in-1 models will handle quite a lot of the things you want a screwdriver or nutdriver for.

On the slipjoint pliers, a set of these in all three sizes but especially the 546 and 548 (7" & 8" models) have been my go-to pliers for more than 40 years now:

https://www.channellock.com/product/546/

Note the jaw shape. These let you see what you're trying to grasp a lot better than typical round jaw pliers, especially when you're in a difficult to reach spot. They're strong (never broke or bent one in 40 years of abuse) and will grip better than most others. I also highly recommend the same brand's tongue & groove pliers are the gold standard for the type and well worth the price. I suggest an assortment of sizes. You should also add some needle nose pliers and diagonal cutters to your kit, a set of metric and SAE hex wrenches, a good quality wire stripper (not one of those combo shits that also "crimps") and a good terminal crimper. This is all in addition to a wrench set (SAE and metric) and socket sets in 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 drive, metric and SAE, and including deep sockets.
Thanks for the recommendations - I'll pass on the Lennox as I just am yet to ever find that kind of All-in-one tech that works. I just don't like them!
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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by teotwaki » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:36 pm

the_alias wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:29 am
I've wanted to put together a good - solid - hand tool (non electric!) kit for myself for a long while. Something with good gear and can cover a lot of general scenarios of repair and building.

Here is my list so far and I am looking for input and additions:
  • Screwdriver set (including standard Philips/Flat head etc)
  • Claw Hammer
  • Slipjoint Plier
  • Jaw and Tongue Plier
  • Generic Handsaw
  • Yankee Screwdriver
  • Old school non-electric Handdrill
  • Pry-bar
What am I missing?
I once had a power outage that led me to buy the non-electric hand drill in my tool box. However, a good cordless drill and a batch of batteries is super nice.

I would add in a couple of adjustable pipe wrenches to use for gas line work.
Add a tape measure and pencil and grease pen
Wire cutters of various sizes.
Crescent wrenches in a few sizes
A set of drill bits
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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by taipan821 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 5:58 pm

Crimp tool and Wire stripper...just in case

I would also include a box in your toolkit with stuff for quick repairs, electrical tape, nails, screws, butt splice joiners, crimp connectors, solder, Flashtac (tar backed aluminum foil) zipties

Also might be pushing the boundaries, but would a basic gas torch fit? They are so useful
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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by woodsghost » Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:03 pm

Files have not been mentioned. Metal and wood files, separately. A 4 in 1 wood file. Different bastard files for metal. Some circular files.

And I saw a drill with a chest plate which looked useful. But those egg beater drills suck, in my experience. Especially if the parts are plastic. There are other designs, I believe one was mentioned above.

A hacksaw is very useful.

Saw horses are pretty handy.

A chalk line is nice.
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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by EBuff75 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:42 pm

Man, you can go into a serious rabbit hole when thinking about what-tools-do-I-need...

I'd add a few hammers, since a claw hammer is just the starting point.
  • Ball peen hammer
  • Handheld sledge hammer (2.5 to 4 pound)
  • Rubber mallet
  • Dead blow hammer
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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by RonnyRonin » Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:44 pm

Beyond the slipjoint pliers, "channel locks" (generically called tongue and groove pliers?) I find I use quite often. Some very long needle nose pliers get quite a bit of use as well.

For quick and dirty 2x4 projects a speed square is your best friend

occasionally a rubber mallet is handy, but not as high on my list.

Diagonal cutters, end cutters, and tin snips

a decently sized level

For mechanics tools Costco has a good looking DeWalt set with your typical wrenches/sockets/drivers.

For a hand saw I am in love with the Vaughan Bear Saw, japanese made blades but cheaper then most examples and can be swapped between fine/medium/course blades.
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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by Halfapint » Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:21 pm

A good chisel or two are very useful

small plane

and maybe a couple small clamps

the plane is more for wood working but the chisels and the clamps can be used for quite a few things. I use a cheap older chisel all the time, I even sharpened the side a little (not for cutting) so I can turn it sideways and scrape things clean.
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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by boskone » Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:30 pm

Speed square (metal, not plastic), tape measure, a couple one-handed bar clamps, and (stretching the "hand" part) a small shovel.

A speed square can be used for linear or angular measure (it's designed for trusses, in fact), as well as (with the use of a clamp) a saw guide.

A tape measure for long measurements. Get a good like 25' one; should be more than long enough for any reasonable measurement you need. I have one that's imperial on one side and metric on the other, very handy.

The bar clamps aren't perfect, but are sufficient for light-middling tasks. I had to rebuild the back fence myself, and an Irwin clamp was sufficient to hold the runner straight enough I could attach one end, then go back and screw in the clamped end. If you need a particular angle or really straight cut, clamp your speed square to the wood as a guide.

For the shovel, I'd probably just get something like this, but an e-tool would probably work as well if you get a good quality one. It's just been handy enough that one resides in my truck's toolbox.

And while it's not exactly "tools", Gojo Fast Orange (or similar) and WD-40. Fast Orange is great stuff for getting your hands clean, with minimal water. WD-40's...well, WD-40. It's probably got some kind of record for most uses.

And duct tape, of course. Any tool box without duct tape is really just a pile of useless metal bits. ;)

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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by moab » Thu Oct 25, 2018 5:55 pm

Chain pipe wrench.

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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by Dooms » Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:10 pm

Torx set (just get the security torx, they work on the standard too)

Metric/Standard Allen sets.

Vice-Grips (these things are a life saver)

Chisels/Center punches

Wire brushes

Tin Snips

Putty Knives/Trowels

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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by majorhavoc » Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:40 pm

I think we've established that the ultimate answer is: you can never have too many hand tools. That's a governing principle in my life. Well that and "tis better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission" but that's a whole other ball of beeswax.

Since "hand tool" can cover everything from a pair of linesman's pliers to a drywall knife to a torque wrench, it might be helpful to focus on Alias' original request: he's looking for a basic set of tools for "general scenarios of repair and building". Maybe set some parameters here, Alias? I'm thinking gas torches, chain pipe wrenches and Torx drivers is a bit beyond what you're looking for, but maybe I'm wrong.

If I am, then allow me to be the first to suggest that no basic hand tool kit is complete without at least a set of 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" ratchet wrenches and a broad assortment of standard and deep wall SAE and metric sockets. And socket extensions. And universal joints.

I guess my point is: someone has to draw the line somewhere and it might as well be the OP of this topic.

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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by NT2C » Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:25 pm

majorhavoc wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:40 pm

If I am, then allow me to be the first second to suggest that no basic hand tool kit is complete without at least a set of 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" ratchet wrenches and a broad assortment of standard and deep wall SAE and metric sockets. And socket extensions. And universal joints.
Ahem...
NT2C wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:44 pm
This is all in addition to a wrench set (SAE and metric) and socket sets in 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 drive, metric and SAE, and including deep sockets.
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Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by majorhavoc » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:14 am

NT2C wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:25 pm
majorhavoc wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:40 pm

If I am, then allow me to be the first second to suggest that no basic hand tool kit is complete without at least a set of 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" ratchet wrenches and a broad assortment of standard and deep wall SAE and metric sockets. And socket extensions. And universal joints.
Ahem...
NT2C wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:44 pm
This is all in addition to a wrench set (SAE and metric) and socket sets in 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 drive, metric and SAE, and including deep sockets.
I stand (sit) corrected. But you left out the bit about the extensions and the u-joints. :crazy:

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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by moab » Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:35 am

majorhavoc wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:14 am
NT2C wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:25 pm
majorhavoc wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:40 pm

If I am, then allow me to be the first second to suggest that no basic hand tool kit is complete without at least a set of 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" ratchet wrenches and a broad assortment of standard and deep wall SAE and metric sockets. And socket extensions. And universal joints.
Ahem...
NT2C wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:44 pm
This is all in addition to a wrench set (SAE and metric) and socket sets in 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 drive, metric and SAE, and including deep sockets.
I stand (sit) corrected. But you left out the bit about the extensions and the u-joints. :crazy:
I declare it a tie. For tie downs. You both forgot tie downs. ;p
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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by NT2C » Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:13 am

majorhavoc wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:14 am
NT2C wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:25 pm
majorhavoc wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:40 pm

If I am, then allow me to be the first second to suggest that no basic hand tool kit is complete without at least a set of 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" ratchet wrenches and a broad assortment of standard and deep wall SAE and metric sockets. And socket extensions. And universal joints.
Ahem...
NT2C wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:44 pm
This is all in addition to a wrench set (SAE and metric) and socket sets in 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 drive, metric and SAE, and including deep sockets.
I stand (sit) corrected. But you left out the bit about the extensions and the u-joints. :crazy:
And you forgot regular wrenches.
moab wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:35 am
I declare it a tie. For tie downs. You both forgot tie downs. ;p
A tie it is. Oh, and a 100' hank of paracord.
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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by raptor » Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:41 pm

the_alias wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:29 am
I've wanted to put together a good - solid - hand tool (non electric!) kit for myself for a long while. Something with good gear and can cover a lot of general scenarios of repair and building.

Here is my list so far and I am looking for input and additions:
  • Screwdriver set (including standard Philips/Flat head etc)
  • Claw Hammer
  • Slipjoint Plier
  • Jaw and Tongue Plier
  • Generic Handsaw
  • Yankee Screwdriver
  • Old school non-electric Handdrill
  • Pry-bar
What am I missing?
What are you missing? That tools are like firearms. You cannot stop with just a couple and there is always a better tool out there.

I would omit the hand drill unless you are doing wood work. A hand drill will not work well on metal. You can use the Yankee screwdriver with wood drill bits if you get the correct head.

I would add a couple of hacksaw blades for metal cutting ( you do not need the frame to use them), a small or medium bolt cutter and vise grips with built in wire cutters.

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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by SCBrian » Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:30 pm

Depending on the type of work you are planning, you can probably omit 1/2" ratchets & sockets. Ive rebuilt engines, axles and rearends on 3/8. Is 1/2" easier? Sure, leverage, torque etc, but if you are going budget - a good 1/4 & 3/8s is fine. Buy a brand that stands behind their tools, and has a replacement policy not Chinese junk. Kobalt, Husky, I used to recommend Craftsman but...
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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by Evan the Diplomat » Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:20 pm

As mentioned previously, are you looking to work on machines, cars, generators, appliances; or on structures?

Assuming these are tools for a PAW scenario, you should include some specialized bicycle tools, like a spoke wrench and bottom bracket tool since following a global EMP or peak oil, bikes will be the primary means of transportation. https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-he ... t-advanced

https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/t ... hould-own/

When I lived in San Diego in the early 90's the police would have property auctions whch included loads of recovered, but unclaimed tools.

Several academic programs have great tool lists, here are two.

https://www.weber.edu/automotive/tools.html

http://www.alfredstate.edu/admissions/a ... nstruction
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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by teotwaki » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:09 pm

a 100 count bag of zip-ties
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Re: Building a basic hand-tool kit!

Post by NT2C » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:25 pm

teotwaki wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:09 pm
a 100 count bag of zip-ties
Why limit yourself?

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Sic quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit; occidentis telum est - Seneca the Younger, Epistles

We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who would pervert the Constitution. - A. Lincoln

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