Being a tradesman, handyman or diyer buying hand tools is just part and parcel of it all. Every trade has there own specific tools for the job to make life easy and across the board most have same basic tool. When you are an apprentice cant always have the all the tools for the job either but even an apprentice should have the basics regardless what trade they are in.
Read on for more information about the different types of hand tools and their pros and cons; choosing a brand; and choosing the right tool for your job. This is pointed toward mainly plumbing hand tools and power tools but can be used for a lot of different trades and services.
Basic Plumbers Hand Tools
When choosing tools that you rely on for your income try and buy the best you can afford at the time. Good quality gear saves you a head ache in the long run more so if you do remote area work away from shops that are just around the corner. Now lets go through few tool on what should be in your tool box and few extra’s as well.
Good old hammer. They come in different style, sizes and shapes but all do the same thing. They are used to deliver an impact or a striking blow to an object. Just about every trade out there has a purpose to have a hammer in there tool box. Most hammers have a harden steel head and some even have a rubber head. Depending what you are going to do with the hammer will determine the type and style to have. Some cases you might even need a couple different hammers in your kit. Steel hammers have the head or face but it’s the back part that tells them apart. Most common is the claw hammer and ball pein hammer. Handle is no days either fiberglass, timber or steel with a rubber grip on the steel and fiberglass.
Cost: Hammers range in price from $2 to $100’s depending what type and style
Hacksaws are a very versatile saw. To be used on cutting through metal pipe, screws, gutter and plastic pipe in fact there is not much a hacksaw wont cut through with the right blade in it. When using them make sure the blade is tight and not flexing around. Always carry a spare blade or two on hand as they are thin and can break easy when twisted.
Cost: Hacksaws range in price from $5 to $50
This is one of the best tools a plumber can have in there car. It’s the first tool to grab when you need to unblock sinks, tubs or a shower. There easy to use and cheap to buy and can make that blocked drain a breeze to clear. Can be used on a toilet so when do so press down and create a firm seal around the drain and then pull upward. The idea is to create a vacuum making the blockage come out, not push it deeper.
Cost: Cost of a good plunger is from $7 and up wards
Toilet Drain Plunger
Toilet plungers are different but same to a sink plunger. There made to clear a blocked drain. Having a longer handle there design more for bigger pipe size then the standard waste pipe in a sink or shower.
Cost: Toilet plungers cost range from $30
Copper Tube Cutters
Copper tube cutters come in few different brands and styles. They make cutting copper pipe easy with a nice straight clean cut. Size varies depending the size pipe you are cutting. They can also be used on cutting steel and pvc pipe.
Cost: Copper cutters range in price from $30 to $100’s depending on size and quality you purchase
This versatile tool is required for working on compression fittings supply lines and other plumbing parts that have hex-shaped nuts. When buying make sure that the jaws are tight and not loose and buying top quality helps. If the funds allow have 2 different sizes in you kit. 10″ and a 12″ be the best combo i have used so far.
Cost: These wrenchs range hugely in price often can be found starting at $2 and upwards from there.
These large can be heavy wrenches are used to tighten and loosen threaded pipes big fittings and nuts outside that the standard adjustable wrench can do. You can use two or use a set of footprints which yes is a tool and a pipe wrench either way you will need two. One for turning and one for gripping and holding. The serrated teeth help the wrench hold its grip but can damage a fixture’s finish so be careful there. When you do need protection i use a cloth wrapped around the jaws. Another name for them is stilsons pipe wrench.
Cost: They range from $10 to $100’s depending on size and quality
Plumbing can also consists of roofing. Installing new tin roofs will involve having to cut tin so tin snips will be needed. Also sheet metal works and making flashings for air-cons and alike. Above picture is of wiss snips and for me are the best for what we do as plumbers. There is a few styles from long straight snips to curved cutting around corners. Each snip has its own way of cutting.
Cost: Tin snip price range from $20 to $100’s depending on brand and style
A tape measure is a number one item with out a doubt being in the tool box. With out it you are very limited in what can be done. From roofers to laying sewer pipe and every thing in between will needing a tape measure. Come in different lengths and sizes.
Cost: Tape measures very in price depending on length of tape from $2 to $80
As you can see there are literally 100’s of different tools out there. Some are made specific for a certain job and others have a broad use. When working for a employer they will provide you with most tools you have to supply hand tools. Over time you end up buying all your own tools if you decide to go work for your self.
There’s cordless drills, screw drivers, hex keys and more. You will never own every tool but at least have the main tools you will get 90% jobs done. The basic tools you should have but not limited to are and this is good for new apprentices
- Screw drivers flat and star
- Pliers both pointy and broad nose
- Couple adjustable wrench’s 10″ and 12″ should do the trick
- Tape measure at least 8m/25′
- Carpenters pencil
- spirit level 600 mm or little torpedo level
- Hearing protection
That is just a short list you will or may need