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See also Building & DIY tools part 1 >

More hand tools


Bow saw

Hacksaw - large and small

Wood saw (crosscut saw)

Cheap, use and throw away (builders) or sharpen (impossible but 'green'). Western ones cut both ways (directions of stroke), Japanese ones on pull stroke. Includes felling saws and buck saws.

Also has a 90 degree stock which is useful for right angled lines if set square not to hand.

See mitre box below.

Coping saw

Circular saw (danger!)

Can be used for wood, and with nail-cutting blade, demolition; abrasive blade, can saw through metal and masonry.

Angle grinder (danger!)

As above, hand held.

Craft or utility knife (Stanley knife)

Ultra useful.

Putty Knife

Flat knife

For bits of plaster and filling jobs.



Needle-nose pliers

Electrical stripper pliers

Has a cut-in groove to enable easy stripping of sheath from wire

Tongue-and-Groove Pliers

Has grooves to aid grip

Adjustable wrench

Mole grip (locking pliers) Pipe wrench

Socket wrench set


Hand drill

Drill bits


For levelling edges or surfaces of wood.



Wood chisels, get a good set

Cold chisel

Heavier model for busting through things.

Crowbar (wrecking bar)

Large for generally smashing up things

Pry bar

Smaller for skirting boards and trim etc.

Allen key set

Get a big one as it is always the one you don't have that you need

Chalk line

String and chalk. Draws straight lines

Larger items





Extension ladder

Aluminium are light and strong

Step ladder

Portable scaffold set or rig

Small set for painting outside and ceilings


Paint brushes

Also solvent cleaners and thinners etc.

Wallpaper brushes

Wallpaper smoother

Wide soft brush to get air out of newly laid wallpaper. Don't forget enough wallpaper paste.

Essential gadgets

Spirit level - long and short

1 metre and 9 inches. (Yes I know that is mixed units)

A long spirit level also comes in handy as a drawing rule, with a built-in set square.

Spray lubricants

WD40, oils etc, electrical cleaner etc.

Measuring tape

Rigid rule

Scale rule

Extendable tape (lockable)

Speed square

Has angles and is useful.

Mitre box (miter box)

3 sided open topped box with cuts in for 90 and 45 degrees for cutting skirting boards, planks etc at correct angle. Slots are saw blade sized. Some have clamps. Often made of strong moulded plastic.

Shooting board

Wood panel used on a woodworking bench (specialist work bench) to trim and square edges of boards and wood panels.


Not what you turn to, but a gripping devices that acts as extra arms, very strong.

Clean up and accessories

Gaffa tape

Masking tape

Electrical insulation tape - various colours

Sellotape (clear tape) - just in case Keep a large supply of these (5 reels) as tends to run out just when shop shuts.

Brush and pan

Hand brush

Rubber electrostatic brush

These are excellent for fine particles and general use.

Professional wet / dry vacuum cleaner

Henry (the one with the face) is a good make and very tough. Useful for all sorts of things including clearing floods (yes has been used for that!)

Dust sheets

Protective sheeting. Large sheets to place over floors, furniture, they can be attached to ceilings to section off a room to prevent mess spreading etc. Can be muslin, cloth or plastic, various sizes. Floor sheets are harder plastic which can be run over by wheel barrows etc without damage.

Essential for a professional job, to prevent clients and family going mad about the mess.

Bucket and mop, clothes, sponges

See above.

Electrical volt and amp meter

Extension cable, cord and 4 way (or similar)

Electrical mains cables, often on a reel. Multiple outlets at end, or in a block, with individual switches with indicators.

All-in-one tools

Those weird things you get for Christmas. Contain fold-outable (extensible) screwdrivers, pliers, ear pickers etc. Keep around for fun.

See also

Garden tool storage sheds general advice >

Furniture & patio furniture - how to build >

Furniture making tips >

Driveways build & driveway repair >

Build barbecues, brick barbecues >

Location of barbecue in garden and fuel >

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