Most mechanics will find themselves in a situation where they need or want to take on a building project. In such a case, you’ll need to have the right tools for the job. Basic building tools are a must for all mechanics, especially since most of these tools will be used for more than just building projects. Whether you’re fixing up your house, repairing your vehicle, or simply enjoying a DIY project, you’ll want to know exactly how to assemble your building tool kit, and what should be in that kit.
If you buy a cheap, all-in-one tool kit, you’ll find that you’re purchasing exactly that: a cheap, all-in-one tool kit. Usually, pre-made kits are composed of poorly made tools that won’t last very long or that won’t do a very good job. Because of the lack of high quality in pre-assembled tool kits, most mechanics choose to assemble their own kit. When you do so, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind.
In the tool world, it’s all about quality. Otherwise, you’ll find that not only will you be buying the same tools over and over again, the actual quality and workmanship of your projects will decline. Good tools mean everything when it comes to DIY projects. Always check the ratings of tools. There are a lot of new-fangled, cool, and completely useless tools out there that look great but are really trash. Judge the years that a tool has under its belt before you put that tool in your own belt.
Unfortunately, many mechanics fall into the simple mistake of buying too much and doing too little. Often, that interesting new do-it-all tool will sit on your shelf gathering dust for your entire life if you purchase it. Think before purchasing, especially since there’s no single recipe for a building tool kit. Every mechanic has his or her own purpose for their tools. Ask yourself a few questions before purchasing a tool: Will I actually use this? What will I use it for? Could I accomplish my planned projects without using this tool?
Although we’ve already said that no mechanic’s tool kit is going to be the same, there are still a few basic tools that every mechanic should have if they plan on doing some building. Here’s a few essential tools and a few tips you should consider when buying them:
Screwdrivers - Everyone, whether mechanic or not, should have some screwdrivers. You can’t get more basic than a Phillips screwdriver. However, when you’re going to be using one for more than just occasional personal use, you’ll want to make sure you have the right types of screwdrivers. Many beginning mechanics will automatically be caught up by the entire idea of a screwdriver with interchangeable bits. On the one hand, it’s a really great idea - you’re saving both money and space. On the other hand, this type of screwdriver - one that doesn’t have a permanent bit, just a replaceable one - isn’t nearly as specialized or high quality as a screwdriver with a built-in bit. If you don’t need to worry about space and money, then buy a screwdriver kit. Better yet, buy a screwdriver with interchangeable bits along with a set of screwdrivers - that way, if you’re on the go, you can settle for the more transportable screwdriver, but you’ll have the quality screwdrivers when you’re at home.
Wrenches - There are a multitude of different wrenches that can be used in building projects. Wrenches, although not one of the main mechanic tools used in building, certainly form a core part of your tool kit. Depending on your building project, you may want to explore some of the different variety of wrenches. Of course you want your regular old monkey wrench, but take a look at some other types of wrenches: the torque wrench, a double-ended wrench, and box-end/open-end wrenches.
Hammers - Where would the mechanic be without a hammer? Although screws and screwdrivers are becoming the more popular alternative to hammers, there are still a good deal of projects that can only be assembled using a good old hammer and a handful of nails. When buying a hammer, take a good look at the quality of the tool. Hammers are pretty versatile and pretty standard, so you don’t need a lot of them, and you don’t want to spend a lot of time purchasing them. Buy several well made hammers and they’ll last you a lifetime.
Finally, it’s time to talk about maintaining your mechanic building tool kit. Make sure that you oil the tools that need it regularly, that you keep your tools clean, and that you have a good box or kit to keep all your tools in. If you spend time looking into the background of each tool that you purchase, and if you make sure you’re checking the quality of each tool, your tool kit will outlast you.