Have you ever had to cook dinner at a friend's kitchen only to find out they don't even own a cutting board? Not only have I had that happen for me, I've noticed this kind of thing happening in my friend's workshops. It's easy to get caught up in making things and overlook some essential tools that can really help you get things done right. I thought I'd share a few tools I use almost every time I work on a new project. Some of these are almost laughable, but I guarantee some of you are going to read through these 6 tools and think to yourself, “Oh yeah, I need one of those.”
1. A Pocket Multi-Tool
I love my Leatherman Wingman. It has pliers, knives, screwdrivers, and my favorite, a package cutting hook. I could go on and on about why you should have one of these, but the main reason is it's a small product with a many uses. I keep in my my pocket everyday. You never know when you're going to need to pull a MacGyver!
ManMade Recommended: Leatherman Wingman – $35
2. Box Beam Level
Not only can you use this tool to make sure things are level and plumb, its machined-flat edge makes a fantastic guide rail for your circular saw. You can also use this tool to check for straight cuts on the board edges. I have levels sizes ranging from 1-6 feet that I use on a regular basis.
- Stanley 43-672 72-Inch FatMax Xtreme Box Beam Level – $52
- Johnson Level & Tool 9836-HH 36-Inch Aluminum Box Beam Level w/ Hand Holes – $39
3. Painter's Multi-Tool
Man, I love this tool. Some brands claim this thing can do 17 different things and I believe it! It can scrape off old debris, pry open paint cans, cut old rags, clean off paint rollers pull out small nails, chisel out caulk and more! I keep it hanging above my work station so I can grab it whenever I need it, which is often.
ManMade Recommended: Red Devil 6251EZ 7-In-1 Multi-Purpose Painter's Tool – $10.58
4. Speed Square
I use this tool to get straight lines for most of my DIY projects. It has a flat lip on one end that will sit against an edge so you can transfer 90 and 45 degree lines to a surface. It also can help you find square in corners of boxes and frames. When you go to purchase one, inspect the edges for bumps or dips. It's important that these edges are clean to make sure you always have perfect lines.
5. Carpenter's Pencil
I love these pencils because they're flat. That means they won't roll off your workbench! This shape also allows you to make really fat lines, or rotate it 90 degrees and you can make really sharp, thin lines. To make a really sharp point, I rub flat sides on a sheet of sandpaper. These pencils are also engineered to hold up when you're making lines on rough surfaces.
ManMade Recommended: Dixon – 19972 Carpenter Pencil 12 Pack – $7
6. Hand Broom and Dustpan
This product may be a no-brainer, but when you have a small shop like mine, hauling out the ShopVac for simple dust cleanup can be a pain. I use this hand broom every day to clean off my work surfaces and gently dust off my tools. Not to mention, I like to work quietly on some projects and vacuums can be so loud!