Hand Tools: A thru P
Hand Tools: Hand Tools are all tools that are NOT battery, electrically, pneumatically, or gas powered. ( Garden Hand Tools are found in a separate Category.) Some Hand Tools, such as pliers, hammers, saws, etc., come in a variety of specific types. These specific types are indented, and listed below their applicable general category. Types of Hand Tools are as follows:
Brooms: Brooms are a necessary tool for cleaning up sawdust, metal shavings, etc. There are three common types:
Push Broom: Push Brooms are useful for sweeping up large areas quickly. Usually a 24 inch size is perfect for the home. Useful inside and outside.
Straw/Corn Broom: The Straw or Corn Broom is great for sweeping up smaller messes, both inside and out.
Whisk Broom: The Whisk Broom is a small handheld version of the regular long handled broom. The perfect broom for cleaning up the workbench, or any smaller mess.
Brushes & Sponges: Tools generally used for cleaning or scrubbing.
Caulk Gun: A Tool used in conjunction with tubes of caulk and/or adhesives, and used to apply these materials more evenly by the use of a trigger.
Chalk Line: A String covered in chalk dust which when held taught and snapped provides a straight line which is easily removed. It is generally used for marking larger areas which need to be cut.
Chisels: A Chisel is a tool with a characteristically shaped cutting blade on its end, for carving or cutting a hard material such as wood or stone by hand, struck with a mallet or hammer. Typical Chisels are as follows:
Flooring Chisel: Cuts and lifts flooring materials for removal and repair; ideal for tongue-and-groove flooring.
Masonry Chisel: Typically heavy, with a relatively dull head that wedges and breaks, rather than cuts. Normally used as a demolition tool.
Mortise Chisel: A thick, rigid blade with straight cutting edge and deep, slightly tapered sides to make mortises and similar joints.
Skew Chisel: Has a 60 degree cutting angle and is used for trimming and finishing.
Clamps: Clamps are useful for temporarily holding a workpiece in place while cutting, gluing, and sometimes even measuring. They come in a variety of styles and sizes. The most common ones used in Home Repair are as follows:
Bar Clamp: Has a clamping device built on a flat bar, which is usually made of steel, while the clamping jaws are usually rubber to prevent marring surfaces. Bar Clamps are used for clamping large objects.
C-Clamp: The most common type of clamp—consists of a C-shaped frame, made of either forged steel or cast iron, into which an adjustable screw is assembled to change the jaw opening. Most range in jaw capacity from 2” to 10”. Also important is depth of throat, the distance from the center line of the screw to the inside edge of the frame. C-Clamps range from 3/4″ to 14″.
Spring Clamp: Similar to a clothes pin, this clamp consists of two metal jaws to which clamping pressure is applied by use of a steel spring. They are designed for use with thin materials. They typically come with 1 inch, 2 inch or 3 inch jaw openings.
Drywall Tools and Supplies: Drywall Tools are specialized tools for applying and sanding spackle and joint compound (mud) to joints, holes, and indentations in drywall in preparation for paint or other textures. They include various putty knives (or taping knives) used for applying the mud. These vary in sizes, usually from 1 1/4 inches to 12 inches wide. The types of Drywall Tools and Supplies are as follows:
Drywall Circle Cutter: Used to score wallboard in a perfect circle, usually used when installing pot lights.
Drywall Hawk: A square platform, usually about 13 inches square, with a handle to hold a small mound of joint compound to facilitate keeping enough joint compound close to the work area.
Drywall Mud Pan: A narrow rectangular pan, usually about 12 inches long, used to hold water for rinsing the putty knives.
Drywall Sander: Various types of sanding blocks used for holding sandpaper for dry sanding drywall. Can be hand held or pole mounted for sanding ceiling joints. Also includes sanding rasps for heavier removal.
Drywall Saw: (see: Saws)
Drywall Tape: Special paper or fiberglass tape used to cover wallboard seams (joints) before applying joint compound.
Othello Sponges: Sponges used to wipe wallboard of excess joint compound, smears, and dust.
Premixed All-Purpose Drywall Joint Compound: Usually a 4-5 gallon bucket of compound, used for covering wallboard joints.
Right-Angle Joint Knife: (sometimes called a Corner Knife) Allows you to apply joint compound to inside corners where walls meet. The handle is offset to allow clearance for fingers.
Sanding Sponge: A wet/dry sponge used for sanding spackle and joint compound flush. When used wet (damp), it eliminates all of the wallboard dust usually created during sanding.
Spackle: A lightweight joint compound designed for patching small holes or indentations in drywall. Usually used for patching nail holes and the like.
Spackle Knife: A smaller putty knife used for patching small holes.
Dust Pan: Useful for sweeping up sawdust, metal shavings, etc. A metal Dust Pan is best, although some of the plastic versions will work well also.
Electrical Testers: These tools test electrical circuits in different ways. (3) common Electrical Testers and their specific usages are as follows:
Circuit Tester: This is the most reliable tool to tell if a circuit is complete. When you touch a live hot wire (black or any other color except green and white) with one lead and a neutral (white) or ground (green or bare copper) with the other, the neon test lamp should light. It confirms that the power is on and that you have a complete (good) circuit. If the light doesn’t come on, either the power is off or you have a bad circuit.
Continuity Tester: This is a safe tool that allows you to trace wiring and test switches. It’s difficult and dangerous to trace the routes of various wires with circuits turned on. A Continuity Tester does it simply and safely with the circuits turned off. It has a probe, which contains a battery and a light bulb, and a wire lead. When you touch the ends to any continuous conductive path, usually a wire, with both the probe and the lead, a circuit will be complete and the bulb will light. In fact, to test the bulb to make sure it’s working, simply touch the lead to the probe.
Non-Contact Voltage Tester: This is the safest tool to confirm that electrical power is off, even before you touch a wire. With this tool, you don’t even have to touch a bare wire. The Tester will flash and/or chirp whenever it comes close to a hot wire. It will even detect voltage (a hot wire) through the wire’s plastic Insulation. However, it is NOT reliable when testing wires covered by metal conduit or metal sheathing.
Files: Files are essentially long pieces of hardened steel with parallel rows of cutting teeth. They are abrading tools, used to grind away excess material and to smooth the work surface. They are differentiated by their shape and tooth configuration.
Tooth configuration refers to whether a File is single-cut or double-cut. Single-Cut Files have rows of teeth cut in one direction only — usually at a 65-degree angle to the center line. Double-Cut Files have teeth that crisscross at opposing angles. The teeth form a diamond pattern across the face of the tool. Double-Cut Files clear material faster than the single-cut Files, but they create a rough surface that must be smoothed with the single-cut File.
A File will be either coarse or smooth, depending upon the number of teeth per inch and the spacing between rows of teeth. Files are generally graded in three categories of coarseness: smooth, second cut or medium-smooth, and bastard cut or medium-coarse. Smooth Files have 60 teeth per inch, second-cut Files 36 teeth per inch, and bastard Files 26 teeth per inch.
Files are available in different shapes. This allows them to adapt to the work surface, or change it, if necessary. Common Files usually used in Home Repair include: flat, round, mill, half-round, and rasp Files. A variety of Files in your toolbox will serve you well over the years.
Fish Tape: A long strip of spring steel used for pulling wires and cables through conduit or enclosed wall, ceiling or floor cavities.
Garden Hoses & Spray Nozzles: Hoses are used to carry water from the spicket to the area where it will be dispensed. Spray Nozzles allow the water to be sprayed in many different fashions, from light mist to a heavy concentration.
Hammers: A Hammer is a tool that delivers a blow (a sudden impact) to an object. Most Hammers are used to drive nails, fit parts, forge metal, and break apart objects. Hammers vary in shape, size, and structure, depending on their purposes.
Baby Sledgehammer: (sometimes know as an Engineering / Drilling Hammer) Is usually used for heavy hammering, such as pounding in stakes or demolition work. Has a shorter handle than regular sledgehammer.
Ball-Peen Hammer: Has a regular hammer head on one end, and a ball-type head on the other. The Ball-Peen Hammer is useful for striking punches and chisels, and/or recessing nail heads and holes in wallboard to help facilitate the patching process. It is typical to use a claw hammer along with a Ball-Peen Hammer for greater accuracy, by placing the ball head of the Ball-Peen Hammer on the object to be struck, and hitting the hammer head of the Ball-Peen Hammer with a standard claw hammer.
Bricklayer’s / Tilesetter’s Hammer: Used for setting or cutting brick or tile.
Curved Claw hammer: Primarily used for pounding nails into, or extracting nails from, some other object, although it is unwise to use a Claw Hammer to extract large nails or difficult to remove nails, since this is very stressful on the handle.
Drywall Hammer: May have a serrated face for better grip on nail heads and hatchet-shaped back for cutting drywall.
Framing Hammer: Often heavier than ripping or curved claw hammers, and usually having a longer handle.
Plastic Hammer: Won’t spark or mark. They are a great tool for a variety of jobs that require a gentle touch.
Rip Claw Hammer: Straight claw designed for ripping out boards.
Rubber Mallet: Used for assembling fragile pieces. Most have non-marring, bounce-resistant (dead blow) heads in black or white.
Shingler’s Hammer: (sometimes referred to a Roofing Hammer) May have a serrated (waffled) face for better grip on nail heads and hatchet-shaped back for cutting roofing material.
Sledgehammer: Used for driving stakes, pins and wedges or performing demolition. Has a longer handle than the baby sledgehammer.
Hand Drain Rodder: Usually, a 25 foot ‘snake’ for unclogging drains, toilets, etc. Works through traps and bends in sinks, tubs, toilets, and vent pipes.
Ladders: A structure of wood, metal, or rope, commonly consisting of two sidepieces between which a series of bars or rungs are set at suitable distances, forming a means of climbing up or down. There are (2) types of Ladders most often used in Home Repair. They are: A-Frame Ladders and Extension Ladders.
Levels: An instrument designed to indicate whether a surface is level (horizontal) or plumb (vertical). Length is particularly important if you’re working with lumber, paver projects or drywall – a long Level gives a better measurement. Most Levels do double duty as a ruler or straight edge.
The types of Levels are as follows:
Cross-Check Level: A small Level used to check horizontal and vertical at the same time.
Digital Level: A battery operated Level displaying in degrees, percent, and inches / feet.
Laser Level: Finds level and plumb as well as distance. There are handheld versions for DIYers or tripod-mounted for larger jobs and jobsites.
Line Level: Designed to attach to a mason’s cord or other string to determine levelness of the string over a distance.
Plumb Bob: NOT a traditional Level with liquid-filled vials, but a tool that uses gravity to find plumb. Normally used to locate posts or align wallpaper.
Post Level: Finds level and plumb simultaneously when used to plumb posts, flag poles, water pipes, railings, and decks.
Standard / Carpenter’s / Mason’s Level: Most common type of Level, they range from 24 to 96 inches in length and are available in a wide variety of materials such as wood, aluminum or ABS (high impact resin). Can be named Box Beam or I-Beam (If viewed from the end, a Box Beam looks like a rectangular Box and an I-Beam looks like the letter “I”.) Box Beam Levels are typically stronger (if solid rather than hollow), will remain accurate longer, and usually last longer than I-Beam Levels.
Torpedo Level: Measures level / plumb / diagonal in tight spaces. Ranges from 6 to 9 inches; designed to fit in a tool belt or pocket.
Pails & Buckets: Containers usually used to hold liquids.
Painting Tools and Supplies: Painting Tools and Supplies are used for applying paint, stain, and/or poly coatings to a variety of surfaces. Common Painting Tools and Supplies include the following:
Buckets: Buckets for painting come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some even have magnets to attach to ladders for hands free usage.
Bucket Grid: This tool hangs on the inside of a 5-gallon bucket, and provides a grid type surface to wipe off excess paint from roller heads and brushes.
Drop Cloths: Used to cover floors and/or furniture to avoid paint getting on these types of surfaces when painting a room. Can also be used to cover windows, doors, lights, and shrubbery when using a power paint sprayer outside.
Mixing Tools: There are two common Paint Mixing Tools. They are:
Mixing Rod: Typically a metal rod with fan-type blades on the end, used with an electric drill for mixing paint in 5-gallon buckets.
Paint Stick: A wooden paint stir for hand mixing paint in the containers that it originally comes in.
Paint Brushes: Paint Brushes come in a variety of sizes. Some are straight edged, while others are angled edge. They are also made out of a variety of materials.
Paint Can Key: A key used to open the lids of paint cans. It has an upturned edge which helps to apply a levering motion to the crimped lip of the can lid.
Paint Can Pour Spout: A plastic spout for 1-gallon paint cans that clips on to the can to provide less spillage of paint down the side of the can when pouring into a paint tray.
Paint Rollers: Paint Rollers are made up of a frame and a roller head, and usually come in (3) different sizes: the Mini Roller, the Small Roller, and the Full Sized Roller. The Mini and the Small are usually 3 inches in width, with the Mini being a smaller diameter. Full Size Rollers are usually 9 inches wide. They also come in various nap sizes, with 3/8 inch nap being the most common. Heavier naps are used for rougher surfaces.
Paint Roller Extension Poles: Poles that are screwed into the roller frame to provide extended reach when not using a ladder.
Paint Roller Head Cleaner: A curved metal tool used to scrape against the roller head to assist in getting a lot of the paint out when cleaning.
Paint Scraper: A tool designed to scrape off flaking paint, incorporating some type of blade and a handle. There are a variety of different designs, but all serve the same purpose.
Paint Shield: Usually a hand held plastic strip with a handle for holding up against trimwork to help avoid getting paint on unwanted surfaces.
Paint Trays (pans): Paint Trays can be made of metal or plastic, and are used to contain a given amount of paint, usually used when applying paint with a roller. There are Small Trays for the mini and small rollers, and Full Size Trays for the full size roller.
Pipe Cutters: A type of tool used to cut pipe. Besides producing a clean cut, a Pipe Cutter is often a faster, cleaner, and more convenient way of cutting pipe than using a hacksaw. There are specific types for specific materials:
Poly Tube Cutter: Used for cutting thin poly pipe and tubing, such as irrigation pipe.
PVC Cutter: Used for cutting PVC pipe.
Tube Cutter: Used for cutting copper pipes and EMT conduit piping. These come in a variety of styles. Some have handles for cutting pipe in areas that have plenty of room to swing the cutter around. Others are Mini-Cutters which are best suited for very confined spaces.
Pliers: Pliers come in a variety of styles, made for a variety of specific uses. They are all usually used for bending, compressing, crimping, cutting, or holding a wide range of materials. The jaw surfaces are typically textured rather than smooth, to minimize slipping, but there are also non-textured or smooth jaw varieties for more delicate work. The handles of most good Pliers are commonly insulated with a dip-type or shrink fit electrically-insulating material for comfort and some protection against electric shock.
Diagonal Pliers: (commonly referred to as Side-Cutters) Are generally not used to grab anything, but rather to cut. Diagonal Pliers are useful for cutting a variety of wire material types, with higher quality Side Cutters being able to cut hardened steel, such as 2 mm piano wire.
Lineman’s Pliers: A type used primarily for gripping, twisting, bending, cutting and/or stripping wire and cable. Lineman’s Pliers have a gripping joint at their snub nose and cutting edge in their craw. The gripping action of Lineman’s Pliers is also useful for pulling fish-tape ends in a long (high-friction) wire run through conduit and to pull nails and other fasteners. Top-quality pliers are typically made from higher carbon tool steel and alloyed with elements such as chrome, vanadium and molybdenum.
Locking Pliers: Sometimes referred to as Vice-Grips, a common brand name. Locking Pliers can be locked into position. One side of the handle includes a bolt that is used to adjust the spacing of the jaws, the other side of the handle (especially in larger models) often includes a lever to push the two sides of the handles apart to unlock the pliers. These are especially useful for clamping on to a screw head or bolt that is either stripped, rounded off, or rusted in place, and is difficult to unscrew using conventional pliers, screwdrivers, or wrenches.
Needle-Nose Pliers: (also known as Long-Nose Pliers) Are both cutting and holding pliers. They are useful for reaching into small areas where cables or other materials have become stuck or unreachable with fingers or other means.
Slip Joint Pliers: The most commonly used plier. Most Slip Joint Pliers use a mechanism that allows sliding the pivot point into one of two positions when the pliers are fully opened in order to comfortably accommodate the grabbing on to a variety of sizes.
Tongue-and-Groove Pliers: (sometimes called Channel-Lock Pliers after a popular brand) Tongue-and-Groove Pliers have their jaws offset from their handles and have several positions at which the lower jaw can be positioned. They are more useful than regular slip joint pliers for getting into tight spaces.
Wire Strippers: A small device used to strip the electrical insulation from electrical wires. The best types have several notches of varying size to allow the user to match the notch size to the wire size.
Although able to be purchased individually, it is often more advantageous to purchase Pliers in sets, with a variety of types being offered in a set. Having multiples of the same type of tool, such as Pliers, screwdrivers, hammers, etc., allows you to keep them handy in more than one place, since they are the type of tool that are used quite often.
Plumb Bob: A tool used in determining plumb (vertical level), which is usually a lead weight attached to a string.
Propane Torch: Small torch attached to a small propane tank, used to ‘sweat’ pipes in plumbing repairs. It can also be used to heat up rusted nuts for easier removal.
Pry bars: (also called a Wrecking Bar, Crowbar or Pinch-Bar) Is a tool consisting of a metal bar with a single curved end and flattened points, often with a small fissure on one or both ends for removing nails. Types of Pry Bars are as follows:
Crowbars: Crowbars typically have one end as a wedge and the other is a hook with a flattened fork for pulling nails. They are typically between 1 to 3 feet long.
Small Pry Bar: Typically around 15 inches long, these curved bars have a hook on one side and a flat edge on the other, both with notches for removing nails. They are great for removing trim and all sorts of nails in wood.
Wrecking Bar: This model of pry bar is the most effective for demolition of buildings and concrete. They are generally 3 to 5 feet long to provide more power and leverage. These bars can come with multiple points, but usually have a rounded hook on one end and a flattened fork on the other. They also are heavy duty and can pry apart hundreds of pounds of material with the right leverage.