Mia Shulman, Managing Editor
Friday, February 1, 2013 5:12 PM EDT
DIY tends to imply a solo pursuit, but as anyone who's reupholstered a daybed or crafted tissue paper pom poms knows, no crafter is an island and behind every great project is a great set of tools. Stock your workspace with these five essential DIY tools and you'll always have help close at hand.
1. Glue Gun
A glue gun is to crafters what a whisk is to a chef. It's the go-to, the answer to all questions. When shopping for one, look for an option that works at a high temperature (around 380 degrees). There are options for kids at a lower temperature, but for heavy duty projects, you need heavy duty heat. Avoid a manual feed gun which requires you to push the glue stick through the gun, and opt for a trigger feed instead (keeping your second hand free!).
2. Staple Gun
In the heat of upholstering, having a good quality staple gun is of the utmost importance, and a powered staple gun is the way to go. It'll hold up under repetitive stapling for bigger upholstering projects, but is still light enough and easy to handle for simple tasks. Look for one that prevents jamming, offers rust resistance and a warranty.
3. Power Sander
For anyone who's started sanding a dining set by hand knows (ahem...), you'll quickly learn how valuable a power sander can be. It's speedy and ensures even sanding. Look for a handheld sander and try out a few different options to find one that fits your hand best. When using your sander, remember to wear safety equipment and clean your tool often!
4. Ratchet Screwdriver
When taking apart furniture, only to put it back together after a fancy new coat of paint, a ratchet screwdriver has you covered. It may not pack the power of some of your other tools, but in a tight spot, it's indispensable.
5. Jigsaw Power Tool
For projects requiring an artistic flare, a jigsaw power tool will give you the freedom you need to cut just about anything, in whatever direction you please. Consider what type of projects you'll be doing and the timing you'll need, this will determine whether you go corded or cordless, and the amps you'll need (3-4 amps for light projects, 5 and up for heavy-duty tasks).