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A basic tool kit.

The tools listed include common tools generally needed for simple household repairs. Good quality tool's are easier and safer to use. Replacement of "bargain" tools will cost wore in the long run.


A medium weight (12-13 ounce) curved claw hammer is good for general purposes.

Hold a hammer near the end of the handle for more hitting power. To start a nail, hold it in place and tap it gently a few times until it is firmly set. (Fig 1)

To remove a nail use claw end of hammer. Place a small block of wood under the head of hammer to avoid marking the wood - or to pull free long nails. (Fig 2)


This tool is used to countersink smallhead nails such as a finishing nail. It also prevents marring of material. First drive the nail with a hammer until head is slightly above the surface. Then with a nail set, sink head 1/8 inch below surface (Fig 3). Cover recessed nail head with putty for nail free finish. A larger nail can also be used instead of the nail set.


Two types of screwdrivers are needed for household repairs:

Straight blade (Fig 4) and Phillips head (Fig 5). Both come in various sizes. The blade of the screwdriver should fit the slot in the screw (Fig 6). Small and medium sizes are recommended.

It is easier to put a screw into wood if a hole is made first. Use a nail or brad awl for small screws less than No. 6 gauge. Use a drill for larger size screws. Select the proper size drill bit (Fig 11) to make a starter hole slightly smaller than the screw.

Rub wax on screw threads to make screw go in easier.

To install the screw, push against the head of the screw as you turn it (Fig 7).


The brad awl is used to punch starter holes for screws and nails (Fig 8).

To use the brad awl, twist it to make a hole slightly smaller than the nail or screw.


The hand drill is generally used to drill holes that range from 1/32 to 1/4 inch in diameter (Fig 9).

In using the hand drill, first make a pilot hole with a brad awl (Fig 8).

Apply the hand drill with light to moderate pressure, depending on the diameter size of the bit.

In selecting bits, augur bits are used for wood (Fig 10) and straight-shank twist drills for wood, metal, and plastic materials (Fig 11).


The best saw for all around use is a 24- or 26-inch crosscut saw, with 7 or 8 points per inch.

Hold the saw at a 45 [degrees] angle to the wood (Fig 12).

Applying light pressure, commence sawing with several short strokes, continue with long strokes, and finish with short, easy strokes. Let the weight of the saw do the cutting at first. If you are sawing a board, it will be easier if you support it and hold it firmly near where you're cutting.


The coping saw is used for cutting curves and circles in thin wood (Fig 13). On an interior cut, a starter hole is drilled to allow blade entry.

To use, insert blade into handle with teeth slanted toward the handle. Be sure blade is in straight.

Start sawing on the pull stroke. Use entire length of blade when sawing; short strokes will overheat the blade, causing it to break.


Slip joint pliers can be used for many jobs around the house. They accommodate both normal and wide jaw openings (Fig 14).

Use pliers or an adjustable wrench to hold a nut while you turn a bolt with a screwdriver (Fig 15).

Pliers are used to:

- Remove brads or nails. Pull the nail out at the same angle it was driven in. Use small blocks under the pliers if you need leverage (Fig 16). - Bend or cut small wire or to straighten a bent nail (Fig 17).


An adjustable open-end wrench (crescent wrench) is suitable for general use since it is designed to fit different sizes of bolt heads and nuts (fig 18). In using this wrench, pull it so that the force will be against the solid jaw.

A pipe wrench (Fig 19) has serrated jaws and is used to grip pipes and other round objects.

If a nut is difficult to loosen, apply a few drops of penetrating oil or kerosene (Fig 20). Let it soak a couple of hours or overnight. If the wrench has a tendency to slip off, try turning it over.


Levels are used to determine whether a surface is level (horizontal) or plumb (vertical). A general purpose level is no less than 24 inches long and made of metal so it will not warp. It should contain indicators, or vials, for checking both horizontals and verticals. Plastic vials are superior to glass ones as they are unbreakable and can be easily replaced. Handle a level carefully; dropping it can impair accuracy.


These are used to shape, smooth, and form wood. A block plane is used for light duty trimming of doors and window sashes, smoothing rough edges on a board, or trimming wood shelves. For larger projects, a jack plane with a longer base is recommended. It is used with two hands to size, trim, bevel, or remove high spots from long boards.

Start with the plane flat on the work. Keep the plane straight. Apply even and light to moderate pressure (Fig 22). Always plane in direction of grain to avoid chipping (Fig 23).


A file is not a tool that is used very often, but when needed it can not be replaced by something else. A common flat file, small to medium in size, is useful for removing burrs and smoothing or polishing metal and plastics, as well as or sharpening scissors, scrapers, lawn mowers and other tools. A wood rasp can often be used in place of a plane for smoothing and trimming door edges, drawers, and similar surfaces. A rasp with one flat side and one curved side is useful for inside curves.

When filing, secure object in a vise. Hold file diagonally with one hand on the handle to push the tool and the heel of the other hand on the front of the tool to guide it. Rasps and files may be pushed in any direction along or across the grain. File teeth should be kept free from filings. (Fig 24).

Files are often used to sharpen tools. The file is drawn at right angles over the work and is held perfectly flat. (Fig 25).


C-clamps come in different sizes with openings ranging from 2 to 12 inches. They are used to hold an object firmly in place (Fig 26).


Pocket knife Pencil Steel measuring tape or folding rule Sandpaper - assorted grades Furniture Glue Square Assorted screws and nails Wood putty or wood plastic Electric drill
COPYRIGHT 1986 Cornell University, Cooperative Extension
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Pamphlet by: Cornell University Cooperative Extension
Article Type:Pamphlet
Date:Jan 1, 1986
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