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Welcome to my newbie tips for home repair!

Newbies basic tools
Almost everyone agrees a first purchase would be screwdrivers. A minimum of three sizes of flat blade screwdrivers and two (a #1 & #2) Phillips drivers. -- each individually or about - each in a set. The upper line of Stanley screwdrivers are usually quite good. Klein also makes good screwdrivers -- Lowes' carries this brand. Cheap screwdrivers and wrenches may be the worst cheap tools there are. Try to resist using your good screwdrivers as pry-bars or chisels.

An ordinary 16oz claw hammer --

Starting here opinions vary.

The next tool I'd get is a 1" wide by 25' tape measure -- . A bright colored case will help you find it when you lay it down in a jumble of stuff.

A flashlight -- Click here for my article on choosing a flashlight.

A utility or box knife with a retractable blade -- can't remember price but, don't get the cheapest because the blade retractor can slip suddenly and risk your hands and what you're working on. Again, a colorful one is easier to locate. My current favorite is a big yellow Stanley model 10-989 but, they're slightly more expensive.

A razor blade holder/scraper -- . These things come in handy for scraping/cleaning all kinds of things, such as, windshield stickers, paint on windows, caulk on tubs/tile, and on-and-on. Unfortunately the single-edge razor blades my kind uses have gone become completely obsolete so you have to buy them at special prices. If you have a style you think works better that mine send me a picture.

A 12" flat-jaw, arc-joint plier (tongue and grove). They're called Channelocks because that was the original and traditional brand. A problem with Channelocks is they scar up whatever you use them on. If you use them on a decorative object (such as a chrome plated faucet) they'll mar/ruin it. In theory you can wrap the object in something to protect it, but in my experience the jaws usually bite through to the metal. A strap wrench may be the answer for decorative fixtures, but I've not used one enough to know how well they work.

I used to recommend the self-adjusting style sold by Sears under the name RoboGrip, but I don't any more. Sometimes the self-adjusting feature slips, and RoboGrips won't work in as tight a space as the standard Channelock style, and it takes a bulker tool to get the same jaw opening (useful size). So, I've gone back to suggesting the regular Channelock style as a starter tool.

Others suggest an adjustable (Crescent type) wrench (10-12"), instead of a arc-joint plier. I feel if you only have one, in a pinch, the arc-joint will do almost anything a wrench will do and, will do many things the wrench won't.

Note: I should explain at this point, my philosophy is, if you are only going to buy one size of a given adjustable tool, get a larger one (not a giant). That's why, in the above case I suggested the 12" over the 9" or 7". It will usually do the smaller jobs (albeit perhaps more clumsily), thus it will get you through a wider range of jobs. Others disagree with this, saying the smaller is likely to do most jobs and is more convenient to use.

Container Gardening
To grow healthy container plants, you need to do a little research about your plants. For example, how far apart should they be? How tall will they grow? This is particularly important if you are planting a window box with a variety of plants. For example, if sunflowers need constant sun, don’t plant them with a flower that cannot endure full sun. In container gardening, you also need to ensure that plants have effective drainage and good soil. Place small rocks at the bottom of your containers so water will drain, and dampen potting soil before placing it in the pot.

Other tools suggested for purchase
A stud finder -- ? I couldn't decide whether to include this in the starter set
above or not, so I'm listing it first here. Sorry ladies, these studs are the
wooden framework/structure inside your walls. If you are going to
hang heavy objects on the wall you need attach them to studs. I have
2 Zircon units. One is their cheapest--it wasn't much good so, I bought
their better unit, the Studsensor Pro 4. It does a pretty good job. If I
were buying today I'd probably get this newer model.
A caulking gun -- Caulking around windows and doors reduces air (and bugs)
leaking into and out of your house. Painting and repairs to the outside
(and sometimes the inside) of your house often require caulking. They're
used to caulk tubs, showers, basins, sinks, etc. Construction adhesive
is applied with a caulking gun. Do not get a super cheap one. They flex
and break and frustrate you. Expect to pay in the range of -12
depending on where you buy it.
A 3M black plastic sanding block with the roll paper feeder -- ?-7 I'd get one
of these earlier if you have much sanding, but you can use sandpaper
wrapped around a wooden block.
A flat pry bar (aka WonderBar)-- For removing molding, siding and paneling,
prying up flooring and shingles, and as a lever for shifting heavy objects.
Be careful if you use it for pulling nails. The bar flexes like a spring and
when the nail comes loose the spring action can shoot it across the room
or into your eye. A common size is 12"-14".
Crescent type wrench 10" or 12" --
Combination square --
Drain auger -- ??
Torpedo level -- My experience with Stanley torpedo levels hasn't been good.
If you can find Johnson Level & Tool Co. plastic one they're cheaper
and, in my experience, better made and more accurate.
Cordless screwdriver --
Long Nose or Needle-Nose Pliers --
Putty knives 1" and 4" -- $??
A 10"curved-jaw, arc-joint plier -- This adds a second Channelock style plier to your collection
Wrenches, wrenches, wrenches -- Click Here For Too Much Explanation On Selection
Quick-Grip pistol grip clamp -- It's a third hand. I chose the 12" model 512QC.
I later added the 6" 506QC, while somewhat less versatile, it's more convenient to use.
More Rulers - Click here for Discussion of Rulers
Wood Chisel -- $??
3/4" Cold Chisel -- $??
Nailset -- $?? Used to drive finishing nails below the surface of decorative wood to hide them.
Circular Saw -- See discussion of circular saws above.
Sabre Saw/Jigsaw -- From my discusson of saws above you know I don't hold sabre/jigsaws in very
high regard. But, they do some jobs other saws can't. Today I own a Bosh 1587 sabre
saw. Most people rate them the best, but others rate the better Milwaukee best. These
high end sabre saws do a better job than the cheap ones but they're still sabre saws, with
most of the issues that come with this kind of saw..
Vaughn Bear Claw Nail Puller -- If you have tear down or renovation work this
nail puller is a great help. If there are others like it I haven't run across
them. If you find it buy it. If not, look for the ability to hit behind the jaw
with a hammer. The manufacturers of most nail pullers warn against striking
with a hammer. The Bear Claw is made for it. I have the 12" model. I'd
have probably gotten the 14 incher if the store had it when I bought.

where to shop

Drying Flowers
For best results, flowers should be dried before fully open. When drying flowers, hang them upside down in low-light (light will fade your flowers) but in a setting containing good ventilation. After they are completely dry, spray them with hair spray so they’ll keep their position.

Caring for Cut Flowers
Cut flowers from your garden in the morning for best results. Before arranging them in a vase, recut them at an angle under running water. Place them in a vase of lukewarm water, preferably with a packet of floral preservatives. You can also put 7-Up in the water, which acts as a plant food. Keep cut flowers out of direct sunlight and away from fruit.