You know the toolbox basics: claw hammer, Phillips head screwdriver, and a tape measure. But getting into more complex projects requires more complex tools. No one expects you to become an expert craftsman overnight, but it can be frustrating feeling like the only novice in the group.
To help you graduate from DIY beginner to building pro, we’ve compiled a list of need-to-know toolbox terms that may have gone over your head. Throw these tools in your bag to get the job done more efficiently and impress the boys at your next gathering with your toolbox knowledge, and your dream garage.
Tools for the True Craftsman
An auger is a drilling device, or drill bit, that has been around for centuries. The tool has a helical screw blade that makes it the perfect tool for drilling a hole and pulling out the excess material.
Auger drills are used by large machines, called “earth augers,” to drill holes in the ground. They are also used as attachable drill bits for electric drills and as hand-powered tools. Small augers can be used for everything from gardening to ice fishing to drilling holes in maple trees for syrup.
2. Awl (Bradawl)
You’ve probably seen a bradawl before and didn’t even know it! An awl is a simple, pointed device, similar to a nail without the head. When you attach that metal end to a handle, it’s called a bradawl.
The bradawl is mostly used in woodworking to prepare the wood for a nail or screw. By poking a small hole into the wood before applying the nail or screw, you lessen the possibility of splitting the wood along the grain.
A nibbler is a tool for cutting sheet metal with minimal distortion. There are two types of nibblers. One that operates like a punch and die, with a blade that moves in a linear fashion against a fixed die, and another that shears the sheet along two parallel tracks.
Nibblers can either be manual or powered. If you don’t know how much need you’ll have for a nibbler, you can get an electric drill attachment.
4. Piano Hinge
Think about what holds a door to the frame. Those are called piano hinges. They are very common on doors, as well as boxes, panels, and, famously, a piano lid.
As a savvy craftsman trying to organize tools, this is just one of those small details that will distinguish you from the rest. And every time you walk through a door, you can exercise your craftsman’s knowledge.
5. Plumb Bob
A plumb bob, or plummet, is a weight with a pointed tip on the bottom. Usually, the weight is suspended from a long string, which is used as a vertical reference line (or plumb line). It has been used since ancient Egypt to ensure that buildings are vertical.
Today, even with all of the advanced technology available, plumb bobs are still a popular tool for quickly and easily establishing vertical angles. If you look in many cathedral spires, domes and towers, you can sometimes see brass datum marks inlaid in the floor to signify the center of the structure above.
6. Ratcheting Tap Wrench
This is a useful tool that combines two tool designs into one. First, a tap wrench is a t-shaped wrench that is inserted into another tool and then tightened down against the tool to secure it. A ratchet is the round end of a basic wrench that has grooves for tightening nuts and bolts.
A ratcheting tap wrench combines these features so the straight end of the tap wrench has a ratchet. This gives you ultimate leverage when securing nuts and bolts. When looking for a tap wrench, keep in mind that you want the smallest size possible that will accommodate the tool head in order to reduce the risk of breakage from excessive force.
A trowel is a versatile tool that you may find many uses for over the years. It’s a hand tool that comes in various shapes and sizes and can be used to dig, smooth, or move around material. For example, trowels are popular tools for gardening, painting, and masonry.
In masonry, trowels have multiple uses, such as spreading and shaping cement, plaster, or mortar. Keeping a trowel in your toolbox makes it easy for you to put a clean finish on any project involving those or similar materials.
Growing your toolbox should be about more than carrying around the latest gadgets, it should be about understanding your craft on a deeper level. With that, comes understanding the tools and terminology that will make all of your projects realities.
And remember, a tool is useless if you can’t find it. Use Flow Wall to plan your garage and help organize your tools and workstation so you can get the job done that much better.