The basement is essentially done now, and I wanted to geek out on some of my tools that helped me get the job done easier. These tools rank in my top 5 favorite tools list. Disclaimer: (the tape measure isn’t mentioned, because it’s kind of a given that I couldn’t work without one, so I’ll mention it now that It’s a wonderful tool too.
1. Miter Saw
My 8″ saw may be small when compared to those big 12″ powerhouses, but it’s smooth, manageable, and reliable. I love this tool. Whether you’re cutting 2x4s, base boards, or molding, it’s extremely handy. My first home improvement project (a chair rail in my kitchen) was done using a miter box and a hand saw. That took forever and was a pain in the butt. Every guy who does a lot of building should have one of these.
2. Tool Pouch
I’m not sure if you can call this a tool…more of a tool-helper, but I bought one my first week of the basement project. I paid something like 14 bucks for it and knowing how much it helped, would have paid 50. I highly suggest everyone have a pouch or tool belt. The pouch worked best for me because it was lightweight, and didn’t try to pull my pants down. Great accessory!
3. Chalk line
I have this chalk line that I’m not sure if my Dad gave me, or I borrowed it and never gave it back, but in any case, I have a chalk line that’s probably as old as me, and I quickly developed an affinity with this tool. Whoever came up with this idea, simply genius. Without this, a lot of aspects of this project would have taken a really long time. Instead of drawing several lines and connecting them, you just draw two marks, then pop one line.
Note: This is at the top of the list because of how crucial it was to my project, but it is not necessarily my #3 favorite tool. It’s probably more akin to number 5 of 6.
4. Black and Decker drill
I got this on the last leg of my project (the ceilings) where I had to drill holes through metal corner pieces for dropped ceiling. My cordless drills were dying because I had to drill a hole for every stud, so I went out and for 40 bucks bought this tool. It quickly became my favorite. Partly because the model I have allows you to quick release the chuck and drop hexagonal bits in there. That’s handy.
I didn’t realize how useful this tool was until I started hanging drywall…I had purchased a crappy cordless drill and jigsaw set from a local hardware store and got out the jigsaw to cut the outlet boxes out. It worked so well, that for tricky cuts I started using the Jigsaw.
My future sister-in-law, Angie got me a real Jigsaw for Christmas, and since that time I’ve used it several times. Having a corded power tool makes a big difference (just like the drill).
6. Wire stripper
If you’ve done a lot of work with electrical, you know the benefit of a wire stripper. At the local, cheap as crap-but-is-crap hardware store had this guy on sale for 2.99, I bought it, got 75% through the project with it, it broke, and I bought another. It’s perfect for 16-Gauge electrical wire.
7. Carpenter’s Pencil
I love these things. They are tough as nails, and you can easily sharpen them with your nearby knife. It’s so nice to have it in your tool pouch. These things never rust or rot or get too old; you could literally use the same pencil for 20 years.