You’ve got a great show. I’m starting to jump into some home renovations lately. I’ve been picking up and borrowing some tools here and there but I’d like to hear what you think are the top squares, levels and protractors are that I should have in my belt. It’s confusing looking at a wall of speed squares, combination squares, 6 inch to 4 foot levels etc., to know which ones are really important to have.
Thanks, look forward to seeing more of your shows.
Answer: This is a language I speak fluently! For me, walking through the tool department is like a five year old getting a tour of the North Pole. There are definitely a lot of toys to choose from, but like Mom and Dad always said, you don’t need everything. (Let’s just pretend for a minute they were right.)
Choosing the right set of tools obviously depends on a number of things – how often do you use them, what type of projects are you planning, and how much you want to spend. For the average homeowner, a small speed square will do the trick – they make measuring, marking studs and finding angles a snap. If you’re planning on building stairs or cutting rafters, you’ll want to add a framing square to the arsenal.
When you buy a square – take the time to read the manual that comes with them, you’ll be amazed what you can do with such a simple tool. When it comes to levels, longer is better – unless it’s too long for the job you’re planning. For plumbing or tiling, I use a 12…#157; bullet level. For installing doors, I like to use a 2’ for the sills, and a 4’ for the frames. For framing walls, a 6’ level is the most accurate and versatile. The 2’ level is probably the most versatile for basic work around the house. Protractors are a great tool for crown moulding and other trim to ensure your corners are bang on – if you plan on using it frequently, spend a few more dollars and get a metal one that will last. Basic rule of thumb when it comes to hand tools – buy quality so they’ll last for life. Or at least until you have kids.
(PS – Mom and Dad were wrong!)