Buying Tools for Your Husband
Buying tools for your husband is probably something every woman has done at one time or another. I would imagine in the Stone Age a woman gave her husband the first hammerstone, and it was probably a woman who fashioned the first fish hook out of bone and gave it to her husband. In the 1800s, it was probably Mrs. Jekyll who bought the first test tube for Dr. Jekyll. Of course, this is all fiction and conjecture, but you get the point...women have been buying men tools for ages. Where do you buy tools? What are the best places to buy tools? Lowes, Home Depot, the web, and garage sales. Be careful at garage sales, especially if you're not familiar with tools. Many places sell refurbished or reconditioned tools. This can be a bargain as the price is slashed when buying these tools over new ones. Be especially careful with power tools and check to see if there's a warranty.
Tools make a great gift for husbands, it's something they can always use, but what do you know about buying tools? Well, actually buying them is the easy part, figuring out which tools to buy is the hard part. Should you be buying hand tools or power tools? Expensive tools or cheap tools? What kind of tools will your husband use? The last question is actually the one that should be the first and where you need to start before you go out to buy a tool.
What are your husband's interests? What does he do around the house? Even if your husband isn't a handyman every house needs a basic tool kit which should include a hammer, flat head screwdriver, Phillips head screwdriver, a pair of pliers, flashlight and tape measure. Those are the absolute basics. Even that can cause a problem though if you're not familiar with tools.
What kind of hammer? There are different hammers for different uses. The most common of course is the claw hammer. You see it everywhere. Even if you decide this is the hammer you want to use when you go to buy one you'll find they come in different sizes and weights and are made out of different materials. You can get a claw hammer with a head made of steel and a handle made of fiberglass or it may have a handle made of wood or rubber even vinyl. You can also find claw head hammers with different types of 'claws'. Some have a more curved claw than others. Other types of hammers include the ball peen which is used for riveting and bending or shaping metal, a hand drilling hammer used for striking masonry nails, steel chisels and masonry drills, a soft surface hammer used for working with delicate wood such as furniture making, a tack hammer used for, what else, tacks and small nails, a brick hammer and dry wall hammer explain themselves.
Now that you've decided the best basic hammer is a claw hammer, what about the screwdrivers? You need a flat head and a Phillips head. The picture to the right shows the difference. The flat head screw driver is so named because the head or tip of the screw driver is flat while the Phillips is slotted. They are used with the corresponding nails. We've all seen those funny looking nails that a screw driver won't fit into, those are the ones that require a Phillips.
Pliers also come in many sizes and shapes for many different jobs. There are combination pliers (which are the most common type), needle nose, round nose, half round nose, flat jaw, side cutters, jump ring, split ring, and so on. For the basic toolbox, any combination is fine. You might want to throw in a pair of needle nose for those hard to reach places.
Tape measures is a measuring tape that is easier to use than a ruler. The most common one used for around the house, versus the one used for measuring and sewing, is the roll up tape. You pull the tape out to measure and just push a button to roll it up. They come in all sizes and lengths from a three foot tape measure to a on hundred foot tape measure. Most homes can suffice with a 25 foot tape measure. I have to say it pays to buy a good tape measure as the cheaper ones break or bend or twist. A nice heavy case with a smooth mechanism is your best bet.
I doubt I have to tell you about flashlights. I'm sure you can pick a good flashlight having used them for other things. The new LED flashlights are very bright and seem to last a long time. There are different types of flashlights too though for different jobs. A very small one will let you get into tight places, a large 'floodlight' type will illuminate a whole work area, and there are even little flashlights that attach to the peak of your baseball cap in case you want the light to shine in a certain spot. To round out your toolbox though, an ordinary flashlight will work fine.
Those are the basic tools, but what if your husband has other interests? From major construction jobs to a small home improvement, power tools are the way to go. You could use a small hand saw but that isn't realistic in this day and age. This is where power tools, sometimes called electrical tools, come in. If you start looking at power tools you need to know there are different ways to power them. The most common is of course electric. You plug them in and you're ready to go. Now, however there are 'cordless' tools. These are power tools that run off a battery pack that is charged when the tool is not in use. The best part of cordless is you can take them anywhere and don't have to worry if there's an electrical outlet nearby. There are also gas operated and air tools powered by a compressor. Not everyone has an air compressor but they can be very handy and helpful. (See video at the end of this article.)
The most common power tools are drills and saws. Cordless power drills come in different voltages with the higher voltage being the "stronger" tool while corded power drills come in different amps—higher amps mean more power. Getting into power tools requires a lot of research. You need to know what your husband will be using the drill for to be able to determine how powerful it should be. There's no use spending a fortune on a contractor's weight and speed drill when he'll only be using it occasionally and for small jobs. Ask around, talk to friends and research on the Internet. Usually a 24 volt cordless will be fine for the average home. If you're buying a cordless it's a good idea to also buy a spare battery so there's always one ready to go. There are many brands to choose from as well from, names like Black & Decker, Milwaukee, DeWalt, Hitachi, Bosch, and more.
Power saws also come in cordless and electric. They have the same advantages and disadvantages as drills. Cordless is more portable and, in some instances, the electric ones are more powerful. Circular power saws come in different sizes for different jobs. You can buy a circular power saw that is only 6-1/2 inches, or you can buy one that is 24 inches. There are a lot of different types of power saws from circular saws to table saws with a large variety in between. Again, it depends on the jobs you'll be using the saw for. My husband has a power miter saw, also called a compound mitre saw, he uses for woodwork. He used to have just a regular mitre saw with a mitre box but it was difficult to maneuver and took what seemed like forever to cut through at the right angle. The electric saw is more accurate, quicker, and makes a neater cut. If you're doing a home remodel or your husband makes things that require a lot of angles the electric mitre saw is a must. Jig saws are popular power saws. They are usually used smaller than circular saws and can cut through wood and light metal.
If you're husband does any kind of wood working, an electric sander is the way to go. You can get a palm sander, orbit sander, or belt sander depending on the size of the job. Whichever one you get, they get the job done a lot faster than hand sanding!
You can get into more specialized tools depending on what your husband likes to do. Does he repaint your walls frequently? If so you must have a 12-inch roller and pan but did you know you can now buy an 18-inch roller and pan that covers more area and gets the job done faster? What about a nice corner brush, angles to get in the corners the roller won't reach. Of course, if your husband is going to be painting a lot of windows, a sash brush or window brush is a handy tool to have. There are so many brushes to choose from all of course depending on the type of paint you're using—oil-based or latex. Natural bristles are always best for oil based paint while synthetic bristles are okay for latex. Paint brushes are one item that the more you pay the better the quality. As with everything else, don't be afraid to shop around for the best deal but the better quality brushes will cost more. You can buy corner rollers and edgers for help with ceiling and wall painting. Edgers keep you from transferring the wall paint to the ceiling or vice versa. Scrapers are handy for removing old paint or paint from windows or glass.
How about gardening? There are more types of gardening tools than there are gardeners. You have simple hand and digging tools, short handled tools, long handled tools, axes, knee pads and more. Pruning sheers alone could take you a week to research. They come in different sizes and lengths from bypass pruning sheers to bypass loppers and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Weeding is always a nightmare. Fiskars is now selling a lawn and garden weeding tool that looks like it's going to save a lot of work and backache. I think it's well worth looking into if your husband is a gardener or lawn fanatic. Any type of shovel is handy in the garden from flat bottom spades to round point shovels of various sizes.
Did I say tip of the iceberg? I don't even think I've managed to touch the tip of the iceberg where tools are concerned but I hope I've been able to give you something to think about. Buying tools for your husband is no easy feat. The best advice is research and ask friends. You can't ever be over prepared with information when you shop for tools. Be wary of in-store advice. Salespeople are often looking to unload a poor selling tool. Poor selling can mean it's not a good tool. However, if they steer you toward an out of date model that might not be a bad idea. It's just an older version of the tool you want. If the price different is substantial it may be something to think about, if the difference is only a few dollars opt for the newer one as it may have improvements. If you have a brother, brother-in-law or male neighbor that knows about tools, bring him with you! Happy hunting.
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© 2012 Mary Craig