Acquiring Tools




Introduction: Acquiring Tools

After living with my parents, I have grown accustomed to using my fathers tools when I am working on my projects. Since I have moved out, I realized how important it is to have tools in a house. I will try to compile a small guide on acquiring some tools, please take note that this is a basic guide and will by no means be complete.

The tools you need always depend on what kind of projects you work on. For example, If you work alot on electronics, a basic kit would be composed of a Soldering iron, wire strippers etc... If you enjoy fixing cars, wrenches and a socket set would be more appropriate. I will try to list as many tools I can possibly think of, If I miss anything or you have other suggestions don't hesitate to write a comment and I will add them to the list.

Step 1: Budget / Where to Acquire

It's always better to invest into a few good tools than randomly buying things just to fill up your inventory. Start buying tools you would see yourself often using. Once you have all the essentials, then you could go ahead and buy more specialized tools or stuff you would use less often.

Keep your eyes peeled for sales, this is when you can find good deals, multi-packs and clearance items that will last you forever at a fraction of the cost. This technique is the one that i am currently using. I am trying to spend the least amount of money as possible and making small purchases over a period of weeks.

If you need a specialized tool that you do not own, ask around, maybe a relative could lend you theirs for a short while, trade schools, high schools and small businesses around your neighborhood might be willing to lend them to you. If all else fails, you could even rent some power tools and scaffolding at certain tool rental companies.

Step 2: Storage

First off you will need some sort of place to store all the tools. If you live in an apartment, you might not have enough space to set up a work bench or shop area so you would be stuck storing all your tools in your car or in a toolbox.

Im currently Storing my tools in Toolboxes, I have one of those red metal lunchbox-like ones, a big bulky plastic case with a handle and also a medium sized contractors bag. Mechanics drawers are also a good but expensive option

Here are some links to other instructables on tool storage.

No room:
Tool Box that doubles as a bench!
A 5 Gal Bucket and a pair of jeans for tool storage/
Shopping Cart transformed into a tool cart

If you have room:
Peg Board tool cart
Magnetic tool rack
Build a Work table for your shop
Tank tough Workbench

Step 3: The List.

This is a brief list of tools that i have come up with that one would need for a basic to intermediate collection of tools. Remember that you might not need some tools, so don't get them. Whats the point of buying tools that you will never use. If you think of anything else, don't be afraid to comment and i will add them.

Ear Protection
Steel Toed Boots
Face shield
Welding helmet
Respirator (w/ appropriate cartridges)

-Electricians tools

Soldering iron
Desoldering braid
Iron Holder
Heatshrink tubing
Wire strippers
Side Cutters
Circuit tester / Voltmeter
Flux Brush

-Hand Tools
Staple Gun
Bubble Level
Stud Finder
Ball Peen Hammer
Claw Hammer
Bolt cutters
Bench vise
Utility knife
Socket set
Measuring tape
Hand saw
Mallet (wooden or rubber)
X-acto Knife
Wrenches (Metric and SAE)
Crescent Wrench
Locking Pliers (Vise Grips)
Screwdriver sets
Allen Keys
Pliers ( Needle Nosed, Cutters, Side snips)
Pipe Cutters
Chalk Reel
Angle finders
Hole saw kit
Steel square

-Basic Power tools

Sander- Orbit /Belt/Reciprocating
CIrcular saw (SKIL)
Drill (corded or Cordless)
Hole saw kit
Drill bits
Screw Bits
Compound miter saw
Sawzall or Reciprocating saw
Angle Grinder
Dremel (rotary tool)
Impact wrench
Die grinder
Electric Planer
Regular chop saw (for metal)

-Shop Power tools

Drill Press
Scroll saw
Table saw
Shop Vac
MIG Welder
Arc welder
TIG welder

-Air tools
Staple gun
Brad Nailer
Air hose
Impact wrenches

Step 4: Useful Links

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    61 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Great help, Thank you So much


    10 years ago on Step 4

    dang no love for Sears or Craftsman? ... I always recommend American made tools regardless of brand =)


    Reply 6 years ago on Step 4

    I like American made tools too, but they are very hard to find these days, unless you know a Snap-on dealer. Even Craftsman tools are mostly made overseas now. I like supporting ChannelLock because they are still made in Pennsylvania, but they make mostly pliers and a few specialty tools. American made tools I bought about 12 years ago like Vise Grips and Quick Grip clamps have since been bought up by Irwin for the name and the domestic factories were shut down and shipped overseas. Lately, I like to buy antiques with forgotten domestic brand names like Millers Falls drills and Bailey planes.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Not all Craftsman tools are American made.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I know...sadly most of the newer tools they come out with are Made in China...I tried out one set of wrenches that were made in China and they kept slipping off of rusty nuts on my truck, so I took them back and exchanged them for an American made set...Haven't had a chance to use the new set so hopefully they hold up better than the old ones. A lot of older Craftsman tools are Made in America and they seem to last forever..I know that my Grandfather has tools that his Father and Grandfather gave to him and they still work...of course they weigh a ton...but they still work perfectly.

    puma b32
    puma b32

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    My construction teacher says the same thing. Old American or West German Tools are the best, at that time they took pride in their product. The best way to find them is to go to old garage sales and refurbish them


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    A true craftsman never blames their tools :) I get adequate performance out of cheap Chinese wrenches.


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 4

    I have lost a lot of blood using cheap tools. I am not saying you need $100 set of open end wrenches but something of decent quality is worth the extra price. But then again I make a living with my tools so I expect more out of them then the average homeowner.


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 4

    I'm likely a better mechanic than you.


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 4

    First off I did not intend to imply you were a homeowner just that I expect more out of my tools then the average homeowner and am willing to pay a little more for them. I have no idea who you are or where you work. But how would you know how good of a mechanic I am, and why would it matter as to the decision of buying good tools.


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 4

    I don't think you really want to know how I know what I know. But if you really do want to know then I suggest you read everything you have posted and think what all of it may mean to someone else who actually is reading what you're posting. Because right now I'm not so sure you're reading your own words. OK Buster Knuckles? That is only one clue as you've made several telling statements that lead me to the conclusion I arrived at. In a word your entire premise is flawed. Which is to say I've run into your type all too often and here we meet yet again, though for you I'm sure it is the very first time.

    So if you'll excuse me I must beg out of this tired matter.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    All to true. keep track of your old craftsman tools.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    from what ive heard craftsman quality is starting to go south. but the ones i got are pretty good, but then again theyre kinda old,


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    That is very true, their new product does seem to lack some quality. I know I recently purchased a scroll saw but I didn't buy a brand new one...I purchased an older solid one and it works great.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Being an electrician for 8 years and dabbling in electronics and other DIY, I myself have acquired a good collection of tools. I tend to shoot for good quality and durable for the tools I use a lot. For good linesman pliers and side-cutters my favorite are Klein's journeyman 2000 series. They're good for cutting staples and the occasional screw without worrying about the cutting surface being nicked. For wire strippers I've been liking Ideal's Kinetic Reflex T-Stripper, they're comfortable and have a nice slide-lock good for going in and out of a tool pouch. Not very good for cutting 8-32/6-32 screws though (broke a pair doing that), for that Klein's combination (1010) strippers are good which also has most the crimp edges you'll need. Estwing for hammers, ridgid for screw guns. If you buy from home depot or lowes you'll most likely overpay by at least a few bucks, amazon is pretty good for finding deals. Anything from Harbor Freight is going to be junk that is pretty much guaranteed not to last. For this reason I'll only go there for tools I'll only use a few times. For soldering irons Radioshack's junk is okay if you're only going to use it a few times. After going through a few cheap ones I finally did the research and got a Hakko FX-888 adjustable temperature soldering station (discontinued now, the FX-888D is an updated version with a digital temp display). The difference is night and day, gets to soldering temperature within seconds and retains its heat really well, even made me better at soldering. So if you do a lot of soldering it's the way to go.

    Look for estate sales. I have equipped my shop, so far, entirely from estate sales, including a sizeable stash of wood. Many of the older generation of wood workers are passing away, and their families often don't want or need grandpa's old tools, or piles of lumber. Think of it as rescuing tools from the dumpster.
    Many estate sales nowadays are posted online with lots of photos, so you can usually tell what is in the house. Get there early, take a number, and get in line, because you may not be the only one looking for tools.


    7 years ago on Step 3

    Impact wrench, Dremel(rotary tool), and spicific clamps (C,F,Spring ect.)


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 4

    Harbor Freight is the American pronunciation of Princess Auto.
    Toy's 'R Us for DIY'ers