Basic Tools

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2007-09-11 Rev. , 2008-05-31

Glossary of Machine Shop Tools and when they are used
Glossary Center

"If you're moving into a first home, first apartment, or even first residence hall, it's time to assemble your first toolkit.
Everyone needs tools to handle basic home maintenance and upgrades from hanging a picture to tightening a loose knob to patching holes in walls.  What should you pay for a tool? Most home owners don't need top-of-the-line tools, but don't buy the cheapest one at the store."* Some tools are really prone to problems when the cheapest is purchased while others are much less so. One of the former is an adjustable open end wrench (Crescent wrench) which in cheap versions with loose adjuster, slips every time it is removed from the nut, requiring opening to replace it then closing to fit. In the latter category are fiberglass handled hammers.


THE BASIC TOOLKIT - Starting with a reference list grouped by type and use, with details below.
End use tools Screwdrivers, Chisels, Shovels, Wedges, Crowbars, Drills, Scribes, Punches, Pencils, Markers Cut, dig or lift by pushing away from the user.
Side use tools Saws, Files, Rasps, Knives, Razor Blades, Axes Cut by moving sideways.
Pull tools Rake, Hoe, Draw Knife Cut on pull stroke
Grip tools Wrenches, Pliers, Clamps Close down to grip or clamp
Hitting tools Hammers, Axe, Mall, Mallet Many varieties for banging on things to shape for fasten
Lifting tools Crowbars, Jacks Use leverage or hydraulics to raise or move items
Moving tools Hand trucks, Dollies, Puts wheels under items to move, aid in picking up.
Fastening tools Staplers, Pop Rivets, Welding, Soldering Handle fasteners or melt materials to join parts.
Measuring Tapes, Rulers, Compasses, Protractors, Squares, Levels, Apply or find numeric values or transfer values by spacing
Scraping & Sanding Painters tool, sandpaper, scraper, Removing paint or wood by a sharp edge or grit on paper backing.
Gluing and Taping   Fasten with fluids and sticky flat tape
Protection Gloves, Drop cloths, Goggles, Protect body parts and rooms
First Aid   Repair damaged skin
Plumbing Monkey wrench, tubing cutting & flaring, pipe threading Work with pipe and tubing


Adjustable wrench*
Open on one end to grip nuts, adjusted by roller that moves one jaw $12. Cheap ones are a real nuisance to use as jaw slips slightly on removal, requiring opening and closing for replacement.
Allen wrenches*
Hex shaped rods that fit in matching holes, L shaped or with T handles in sets $4-$12. You'll use these to adjust the disposer when it gets jammed and to assemble do-it-yourself flat-packed furniture.
Hold things together while the glue dries. Spring like large clothes pin or C shaped threaded rod across opening or bar clamps that slide for big projects $1.98 for the kind you squeeze open with your hand or $15 and more for bar clamps.
Two points or a point and a pencil adjustable for marking out arcs or circles or transferring measurements.  Most often two straight arms pivoted at one end, may also be trammel points mounted on a ruler or beam.
Coping Saw
An open saw shaped like a big letter P with the blade on the flat back of the loop in line with the handle as the stem.  Blade is very thin with the teeth pointing at the handle for fine curved sawing and easily removable for inserting in a small hole in the work to cut inside holes.  A smaller version with an even finer blade is a jewelers saw. Originally designed for a trick of fitting moldings called coping. 2008-05-31
Cordless drill driver*
A battery powered tool for turning drill bits, nut drivers, and screwdriver bits to make holes, add/remove nuts, or add/remove screws. $25 to $200 or more.
5-in-l painter's tool*
Flat piece steel with sharp edges of various shapes flat, curved, pointed Performs a host of scraping, lifting, scoring, spreading, patching and paint removal functions. This Old House magazine likes the Hyde 5-in-l for $7 or so.
Duct tape*
A flat piece of plastic covered fabric, sticky on one side, sold by the roll.  $2.98 for a 55-yard roll.
Hammer - Tack hammer*
a lightweight tool for hammering picture hangers, tacks, brads: $8. .
Rubber Gloves, Work gloves
Work gloves*
Leather palmed, canvas backed gloves protect hands from sharp, hard and dirty, some heat $10.
24-inch level*
A shaped beam for stiffness with flat sides and bubble (or digital) displays to show level or vertical for upright construction. $10.
Flat pry bar*
Spring steel with fairly sharp ends and notches for nails with an abrupt curve at one end and a slightly angled other end. $10-$15. For lifting and prying up molding, siding, flooring, baseboards. --
Sandpaper* Emery cloth
Paper or cloth with grit glued to it.  Grit may be coarse sand or fine material.  For removing wood and rust, for smoothing surfaces and edges.  Often used with a holder for a flat surface or spinning disk. $2 a box and up.
Four-in-hand file/rasp*
A metal bar with sharp grooves and cutting tips carved in it. 4 sections consist of flat file and rasp and curved file and rasp.  A rasp looks like someone took a sharp point and raised splinters a fraction of an inch apart. 8-inch, $8. Use this for coarse and fine shaping of wood, rounding off a rough corner or sharp edge.
Wood glue*
$4.88 for 8 ounces.  White costs less than Yellow, but is not water resistant.
A bow saw with a fine tooth replaceable blade normally used for cutting metal.  The bow is not large (3") so it is used for bar stock, not sheet metal.  In a tool kit, the Junior saves a lot of space and both can be used for wood although the fine teeth increase the cutting time and the bow limits the length of cut. 2008-05-31
Handsaw* Rip saw Crosscut Saw
Wood cutting saw with wide flat blade for straight cuts. American saws cut on push stroke. Rip has wide set teeth to go down grain, cross cut has narrower for cuts across grain, Japanese cut on pull stroke, very thin blade.  20-inch blade, $12-$18.
Junior hacksaw*
Has handle wrapped around blade for small size. To cut through metal and vinyl (such as plumbing or irrigation piping), $3.98.
Locking pliers*
Pliers with an adjustment nut in one handle and a release lever on other, clamp and lock after being adjusted to size. Vise-Grip and RoboGrip are a few brands. $12 and up. Very handy for putting a handle on things and hanging on while other pliers or tools are brought into play.
Needle-nose pliers*
Pliers with tapering end for fine work, picking up small items, making small wire loops $6. For working in narrow areas.
Pipe wrench*
Heavy handled tool with jaws opening to side at one end adjusted with roller, designed to clamp harder as pulled. $16-$30. To loosen and tighten plumbing pipes, hoses. Never use a pipe wrench on plastic piping, may scar or crush it.
Plastic putty knife*
Flat wide blade for working putty into place. $3 and up.
Plunger*  Plumbing
Wood handle with large suction cup for moving waste blockage in toilet and basin. $3.98 for a basic model. More for improved shapes that fit better or apply more force.
Rasp Plane*
They have replaceable blades like a cheese grater. Easy to use to plane down a sticking door or drawer. $7-$10.
Razor-blade scraper*
Holds single edged razor blade for leverage and protection. $2.
Razor knife* Box cutter
Replaceable razor sharp blade in end of handle. $4-$10. Get one with a retractable blade; it's safer. May have snap off tips to resharpen.  May be heavy or light weight.
Rubber Gloves
Soft latex one use or thicker black rubber protect hands from harsh chemicals, stains, soaps.
Flat piece of steel or wood with inch or meter markings to make straight line measures A set of three stainless steel rulers, 6 inches, 12 inches and 18 inches, for $37.50 at
Slip-joint pliers*
Traditional pliers with a figure 8 shaped hole that allows two pivot points for smaller and larger objects.  $5. To hold, turn, tighten, loosen round or odd-shaped things, and to bend things. Never use them on nuts and bolts.
And ChannelLock brand and style which use grooves to hold pivot postion, allowing more choices where jaws are nearly parallel.
Tape measure*
Metal tape with Inch (and Metric) markings rolled up by a spring into a square case.  Various widths and lengths. Wider ones will stay straight when extended to reach up or out.  May also be cloth. $7 and up for a 25-foot tape.
Safety goggles*  Safety mask
Clear or colored lens plastic covers or eyes or whole face to protect against flying hard bits, liquid spatter and glare. $8.
Screwdriver* Phillips, Flat, Torx, Square Drive
 with a variety of flat (slotted) and Phillips (x-shaped) heads. Good starter a ratcheting screwdriver with multiple bits stored in the handle, like the Kobalt 13-in-1 ratcheting screwdriver at Lowe's for $9.98.
Staple gun*
Use it to attach insulation or weather stripping, to fasten plastic sheeting over a window or attach fabric when you reupholster a chair seat. $15-$25.
* By JUDY STARK St. Petersburg Times Newspaper article.
SOURCES: Al Heavens, Philadelphia Inquirer, Tim Carter, "Ask the Builder" columnist; Reader's Digest Complete Do-lt-Yourseif Manual (Reader's Digest, $35); Do-it-yourself Home Improvement A Step-by-Step Guide (DK Publishing, $35);;

Contact Mike Firth