Tool display at Owenhouse Ace Hardware, Bozeman, MT (Photo by Tom Egelhoff)

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Montana winters can do a lot of damage to the average home and spring repairs are just a part of life for many of us. I do a lot of things around our home to keep it in good shape.

However, there are things I don’t do around the house like plumbing or electrical stuff. There is just too much potential damage to the place and me. So those things I leave to the professionals.

For all other things I have found that small repairs and decorative things go much smoother with the right tools in the ole toolbox. Here are some things I would advise that would get you through most do-it-yourself projects.

My Favorite Tools to Have On Hand

  • Screwdriver Set: Pick up a good set of screwdrivers. Flat tip and Phillips in various sizes.
  • Vice Grips: One of the most versatile tools ever made. For holding things and griping things it has no equal.
  • Level: Putting up pictures or chair rails nothing is more disappointing than standing back and seeing how crooked they are. Cheap and essential.
  • Wire Cutters: These come in various sizes and I would suggest at least two or three sizes in your toolbox.
  • Putty Knives: For patching holes in walls or sealing windows these are much better than the kitchen knives or the spoons I used to use.
  • Power Drill: A full sized battery driven drill is a must for the handyman home remodeler. Don’t skimp. Get a good variable speed drill that can screw in three-inch screws or longer with little to no effort. You will thank me later. Don’t forget some screwdriver, wood and metal drill bits.
  • Milwaukee 12-Amp Sawzall Reciprocating Saw: This thing is great for cutting all kinds of things. It cuts wood, metal, PVC pipe, almost anything you need cut.
  • Staple Gun: We put in a bigger screen style dog door for our new mutt and nothing makes attaching screen to frame easier than a good staple gun. Worth it’s weight in gold when you need it.
  • Adjustable Wrenchs: You know the kind. They have the little wheel that changes the size. Two or three sizes of this handy tool will save you from buying a whole set of various sized wrenches. Not ideal for every situation but a good start in your basic toolbox.
  • Hammer: Hammers come in all shapes and sizes. I have a small one for things like hanging pictures or trim work around windows or doors and a larger one to power nails through 2x4’s.
  • Cross Cut Saw: Yes the old fashioned back and forth saw your grandfather used. I have an electric saw but could have the wood cut in the time it would take to get the electric one out and get it plugged in and set up. Ideally get both and use the one geared to the job.

Some Final Thoughts

It’s fun to tackle some simple jobs around the house. I built a nice frame for our fireplace with the tools listed above. Sooner or later you are going to need one or all of the things I’ve listed. The good news is they are not that expensive. Most of what’s listed about can be purchased for less than $300-$400. The power tools obviously run the most. Putting those off put you at less than $100 for most of the things I’ve listed. Spring is here. Get to work.

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