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Customer Discussions > Home Improvement forum

tools for a newly separated woman

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Showing 126-150 of 218 posts in this discussion
Posted on Nov 5, 2010 6:45:50 PM PDT
Start dating again, only this time be certain he either has lots of tools, (most likely won't find one of those) or a ton of money and can afford to have a handyman take care of small household repairs. Using this scenario,hopfully you will earn two birds will one stone. And make him sign a contract too...............
This is coming from a man..............Much good luck and success..........

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2010 3:35:42 AM PDT
Wow, Joseph! Very good list! I had to copy and print for myself, and I have tools!
I just love a helpful man!

Reporting live from the workshop,
Miss Tere

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2010 5:38:22 PM PST
Timmy D says:
The first reply I read suggested Craftsman tools. Feel free to save a buck. Always check Harbor Freight first for basic tools. Their "Pittsburgh" hand tools have a lifetime warranty, are inexpensive, and are better quality than many modern Craftsman tools. Now, there is also the possibility that you will purchase a lesser quality tool when shopping at Harbor Freight, but if you only make ten cuts a year with your lineman pliers, a $4 Harbor Freight lineman will serve you about as well as a $50 Klein Professional series plier.

Posted on Nov 7, 2010 7:16:48 PM PST
D. Giffin says:
Lowes "Cobalt" brand tools are good. The best thing I bought at the first of my career (as a professional carpenter) was the big yellow Readers Digest home repair book.I used it constantly and still do occasionally. (after 40 years ) Buy it and you'll never regret it!

Posted on Nov 7, 2010 11:01:39 PM PST
Dokioki says:
R Manning,

Now really, at this stage in your life, isn't it more important having a handyman than a man handy?

Posted on Nov 12, 2010 11:19:32 AM PST
Life is good says:
Wow, look at all the people wishing you well!

The only thing I would recommend is that you buy these tools with organization in mind. For instance; buy only one screw driver. Tell them you want a six way screw driver. Most people will know what you mean. It is one screwdriver with 6 possible ends. Don't buy allen wrenches in a small pouch. They are difficult to work with, difficult to find the size you need. Instead, buy allen wrenches that are attached to a nice plastic housing and are foldable to the size you need. Metric will be one color, standard sizes another, torx sizes yet another color. Much better way to go and you don't have to fumble through a bag, drop them out on a flat surface, to find the size you need. Buy one hand saw, stanley makes a nice toolbox saw with very sharp teeth. They're cheap and it's okay to beat them up. In short, you can limit your toolbox size and tool purchase by buying multifunction tools and better organized tools.

Posted on Nov 14, 2010 4:48:43 AM PST
First let me offer condolences on the breakup of your marriage. 21 years is a big investment to watch crash. Wish you better for the future.

I would only buy tools as you need them. If you buy a nail, buy a hammer to go with it. For the first couple of months it will seem you can't come home with a box of Kleenex without stopping at ToolTown, but spreading the expense will allow you to buy good instead of cheap.

As far as tools go, the best way to success is name brand. Power tools, DeWalt, Milwaukee or Porter-Cable. I personally prefer the Milwaukee 12volt lithium battery drill for around the house. Do NOT buy a drill motor that does not lock the shaft from turning when tightening the chuck. Try it in the store, tighten the chuck with one hand, holding the drill body in the other. If the shaft turns when the chuck is tight, look further. The ones that require both hands on the chuck will never tighten sufficiently to hold the drill bits without slipping and ruining the shanks. Remember that when it comes to tools cheap... isn't. Doing it right is cheaper than doing it twice.

If I were putting together a tool box I would start with:
The box. Needn't be a tool box, per se. Could be a kitchen drawer or a rubbermaid under the bed type of effort.
Cushion gripped 10-in-1 screwdriver.
16 oz straight claw hammer (smaller if too heavy, but stay with straight claw; you should always use a backer block when pulling nails and curved rarely fits; different if you are framing a house but when you get to that stage you can buy another hammer ;^)> )
Klein offset pivot pliers, 8 or 9 inch; larger is better as long as it fits your hand.
8" wide opening jaw adjustable wrench ("Crescent wrench". Two will become necessary eventually, I would suggest 10" as the second.)
8" slip joint pliers (Channel lock type, stay away from the kind do not have separate tracks for each adjustment; they bite you when you slip a "hole".)
Folding razor knife with a pack of replacement blades
Razor scraper with a pack of replacement blades
Hacksaw frame that mounts blade on pins on the frame. Do not get the kind that has rear pin on a bolt; they never hold blade true and a twisted blade will cut crooked. Replacement blades for this in fine (for plastic and metal) course (for light wood) teeth.
Toolbox length wood saw, crosscut teeth. It is (marginally) easier to rip (along the grain) with a crosscut (across the grain) tooth than the opposite.
Solid metal awl (wood handles break when whacked with a hammer)
Kid skin gloves (hand skin also breaks when whacked with a hammer)
Allen wrench sets in English and Metric. The ones that open like a pocket knife are too clumsy; get individual pieces in a case or holder.
Safety glasses if you don't wear spectacles or if your specs are not safety lensed.
Kit of drill bits and screw driver bits to fit battery drill (buy with drill motor)
Long nose or needle nose pliers.

These should keep you out of trouble. Browse the tool aisles for other things that look useful; tools always are. There is little around the house needing repair that will require power tools heavy enough to need a cord. Good battery tools have lithium batteries, and a selection of tools to fit them. Standardize on one type of tool so you can interchange batteries, or if you can see your way clear get a couple of tools at a time. Kits are nice, but usually have tools included that you won't use so much (eg. lanterns).

I hope I have helped spend your money without the reckless abandon with which I go through my own. Secret is to buy tools as you need them (or if you spot a "sparklie" wait until you have an excu... a need to buy it).

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2010 5:07:38 AM PST
I would have thought that went without saying.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2010 7:04:15 AM PST
Mary says:
That is only true on the hand tools. Sears will not replace a power tool that goes bad with that same no-questions-asked policy on their Craftsman products. Just my experience.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 17, 2010 12:48:07 AM PST
Ray French says:
Is that because Ducatti's break down often? (couldn't resist) =)

Posted on Nov 17, 2010 11:14:44 AM PST
Ezra says:
R Manning,
Are you still reading these posts? It is like 6+ months later and people are still posting here, it is pretty amazing.

By now you have probably read alot of suggestions, and maybe have started your tool set, as others have suggested, you can start small and eventually you can grow a set as large as you need it to be.

Check my wish list for home improvement tools, there are a few low buck options there, which you can get on amazon. Black and Decker tools are inexpensive, but I will tell you that I have not had one fail on me yet, I have to replace them about every 3 to 5 years because someone misappropriates them (ex-gfs tend to keep them) also I can tell you that they last a long time (I still have my first 18V B&D Firestorm from 2002 when I worked in a stereo install shop).

If you have endless means, then you can buy the more expensive options from Sears Craftsman, or Snapon, or Matco, or any of the big name brands, but if you are like me and just want quality that you will not have to replace time and time again, shop Harbor Freight. Oh, and buy a good pair of lambskin gloves while you are there, then it will not matter if the screwdriver handle is not comfortable because you will have a soft durable glove to protect your delicate hands (I have added these to my toolkit for each time I have had to replace it ex's again here).

The B&D cordless screwdriver tool is great for small household projects like assembling cabinets and tv stands and beds and such. The Denali tool bag has all the items that I would spend hours collecting at harbor freight and cost alot less. I am not sure of the warranty but they have good reviews on amazon. You can even just print out the list of included tools and price them at Sears(craftsman) or Walmart. If you do buy from wally world, only get the Stanley brand hand tools, since they can be exchanged for warranty anywhere Stanley is sold.

I agree with the Home Depot classes. They help alot if you have the free time.

Personally, I have a large mix of tool brands (Craftsman, Stanley, Klein, Mac, Matco, Harbor Freight, and of course, Black and Decker), since my tool kit for work and home are separate, I have learned to get a cheap kit of tools for the house, since they get lost, misplaced etc... and my work kit stays in the garage in the big toolbox.

Like others have said, here is a list from my household tool kit,
1-12 oz. framing hammer with fiberglass handle and rust free stainless steel head
1-Stanley 25' tape measure
1-9" Stanley torpedo level with magnetic base
1- 8" Adjustable wrench
1-10" Adjustable wrench
1-12" Adjustable wrench
1-10" Channel locks
1-8" Aluminum pipe wrench
1-10" Aluminum pipe wrench
1- B&D 6volt cordless screwdriver
1- set of bits and drill bits for screwdriver
1- set of allen keys folding type, sae
1- set of allen keys folding type, metric
1- set of Torx bit keys, folding type
1- set of 8 screwdriver set flat and phillips from Harbor Freight

All these tools can be purchased at HF and you dont have to get them all at once, if you dont have a HF in your area you can buy online and check their sales fliers, you can find them quite inexpensively. for example that 8 pc screwdriver set i picked up was only 7.99 and they have a lifetime warranty.

Posted on Nov 17, 2010 2:48:57 PM PST
This thread is so old that the lady is probably already re-married. I am sure Amazon's entire inventory of tools has been listed by now.

Posted on Nov 17, 2010 9:19:39 PM PST
Get a small machinist's vise, bolt it (bolts facing up) to a board and clamp the board to a table. Many jobs can't be done without a vise.
Amazon has the Pony 24545 for $ 34.95
Adjustable Clamp 24545 Pony Light-Duty Bench Vise with Swivel Base

Posted on Nov 18, 2010 7:52:15 AM PST
Roxy says:
Hi all,

I'm still reading these posts. I've been delighted at the wonderful suggestions people have posted. I've been purchasing tools as I need them - more affordable inthe short term. And, I've been so touched at all the well-wishes from so many of you. Also, at the humor - boy do I wish Blind Eye lived nearby since I make a mean chocolate chip cookie!
I'm hoping this thread is helpful to many other people, not just me, because there is some good info in here!

Posted on Nov 21, 2010 2:37:52 PM PST
Tsiri 2006 says:
I'm just joining this thread, so you may have a tool set already. I am part of the ranks of widow. I began with what tools I could afford, then as money allowed and projects demanded, obtained better tools. A handyman at my church turned me on to pawn shops as a source for good, cheap working tools, including power tools.

I recommend the book, "Home Improvement 1-2-3" from Home Depot. Plain, easy, clear instructions for just about everything. I can only guess at the tens of thousands of dollars in repair bills I've saved over the years with this book.

You can do it.

Posted on Nov 21, 2010 8:53:28 PM PST
JohnnyD says:
Hi R. Manning I just saw your post but I do not have time to read all of the posts. Sorry to hear about your separation.

I have over 30 yrs of experience from Commercial building maintenance to building a residential home. I add that little tidbit to tell you that I do not know how to do everything and it takes time to get the confidence to do some of the more difficult projects. One of the hardest things to deal with is, knowing your limitations and when to call a professional. The main reason I am posting is to tell you that I find searching YouTube for videos of people repairing/building all sorts of things, to be very helpful. But keep in mind that some people do not do things the proper way or to the level of detail that you do things. So you may have to watch more than one video on a subject sometimes to get a good idea of the proper way to do something. There are many people that have multiple or a series of videos that you can look for repeatedly and trust them.

Good luck,


In reply to an earlier post on Nov 22, 2010 5:07:14 AM PST
cecile dixon says:
Hi, As a single woman for thirty some odd years, I have had lots of experience with minor (and some not so minor) home repairs and improvements. The handiest tool I own is my cordless screwdriver. It is much easier on the hands than mannuel. I have an assortment of drills, but most jobs can be done with the scewdriver. A cheap lightweight hammer is next, then add a cheap socket set with various sizes sockets and a rachet with an extention. As you go add things as needed. My collection now includes an off arm radial saw that intimidates me, but impresses all my neighbors when they stop by my garage. LOL. Congradulations on your new independence.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2010 8:21:04 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 24, 2010 8:23:11 AM PST]

Posted on Nov 26, 2010 10:06:28 PM PST
reddawg60 says:
Hi Roxy,

I wont bother to tell you how much experience I have nor how much I know, but I will wish you an early Merry Christmas (we are still allowed to say that right ? hasn't been outlawed yet) :) and a Happy New Year !!!! Heres to another year of tools !!! Gotta love em.
Be good !


Posted on Nov 26, 2010 10:11:44 PM PST
Gary says:
Wearable Clip-on Dry Erase Notepad Board

Saw your post for tool ideas and check this out you got to get one of these I use it all the time working around the house!!! I am giving as gifts too.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2010 7:31:15 PM PST
Randy T. says:
A quality vibrator if you don't already have one and rechargeable batteries.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2010 1:12:38 AM PST
W. Lambert says:

Posted on Dec 1, 2010 11:01:15 PM PST
George W says:
I tend to disagree with many of the opinions above. If you are only going to do minor repairs then I really don't think you have to be bothered with top quality tools (read expensive). However, the cheap ones do tend to break faster but I find people often lose tools before they get a chance to wear them out. In fact the nicer they are the faster they tend to disappear (into someones pocket usually)? That's not to say that you should buy something that's gonna break at its first use and possibly injure you, safety should always be your first concern. One of those Home Depot or Lowes carpenter starter kits will suit most tasks that you will find yourself involved in. Unless you plan on doing major renovations to your house I don't think you need to buy many items at all. The classes are a great idea and a good book, I am rather fond of "Reader's Digest, the complete do it yourself manual". Beyond that you can find a great many bargains on tools in yard sales. I don't think you'll need many power tools for basic home repairs beyond two cordless drills, one for driving screws (12volts) and the other for drilling (18volts), along with a set of bits and screw heads. Beyond that I think every homeowner or hobby enthusiast should own a Dremel power with an assortment of bits and attachments again. I work in construction (my whole life) and I have several friends who have invested hundreds of dollars in power tools that they never use and have no room for; as well as the very best (most expensive) hand tools. I don't think this is necessary for the average homeowner doing minor repairs in my humble opinion. Lastly, the only two things that I have not seen mentioned are a good A frame ladder (6' 0r 8') and a tool bench (which you can make) or a work table if you have room in your basement/garage/shed with some sort of vise. Best of luck and remember the best way to learn is by doing.

Posted on Dec 4, 2010 2:20:57 PM PST
Wayne says:
First of all, there's no need to overdo it and get things before you have a need. Good quality tools are a better deal and less frustrating than ones that don't do the job right but leave you thinking it might be your fault that the tool stripped or broke.

As others pointed out, Craftsman tools are good quality, and if one breaks you can have a replacement handed to you before you finish your sentence. Somebody recommended Harbor Freight. If they have a store near you, keep in mind that they have a good selection of reasonable quality tools and a good selection of inexpensive tools that are barely more than garbage. There are times when the latter might be good enough, but you would be better off seeking advice on a tool by tool basis rather than getting a drill that groans, vibrates, and burns up, or with a battery that is dead the third time you use it and never recovers. And there are times when a $10 tool that you may never use again is the best thing for the job. I buy a lot of things at HF, and have many more tools that I would rather trust to other MFGRs/stores.

A recent post suggested a Dremel, which is a great thing to own and very versatile. But you don't need to get one before you need one, and HF has their generic version that might be on sale for under $7 or something that ridiculously low. Personally, I'd go for the Dremel and keep the HF around in case I need to give a gift to somebody like you with an ad-hoc need, since I got them at a good sale once. Also, a great all around general purpose tool, once you get past good drills, wrenches, and screwdrivers, is something like a Rockwell RK5101K SoniCrafter Tool Kit, 37-Piece. But HF sells their generic equivalent, and I'd put their multi-speed version up there with the more expensive competition, even though at their best sale prices you'd be tempted to dismiss it as junk. Even their cheaper model is good for more than occasional use. But there are others tools that are so frustrating that you would never want to make a mistake by staying away from the name brand. The Rockwell might be a good example of something where a cheaper substitute would work, but you would not go wrong with the more expensive one either.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2010 10:57:13 PM PST
Rich in SLO says:
I read a lot of posts on tools but only two I saw suggested books. I have to second George's suggestion on the Readers Digest home improvement book. It is really good. It helped me re plumb my house, re wire my house and do many other repairs. I bought mine like about 30 years ago.
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