11 Hand Tools for the Hard-to-Shop for DIYer
There’s nothing like a great tool – especially if it’s one you don’t have to buy for yourself. Check out these great, giftable hand tools and think about getting something for the special DIYer in your life.
Mini Pliers Wrench
If you have gear that has adjusting knobs and levers, check out the Knipex Mini Pliers Wrench.
The Knipex Mini Pliers Wrench works like an adjustable pliers but the jaws stay parallel like a wrench’s. Unlike an adjustable wrench, it doesn’t have to be perfectly dialed in, and of course it also works as a pliers. It’s a real time-saver.
A Superior Handsaw
When was the last time you used a handsaw? It was probably dull and hard to push, and chances are, you couldn’t follow a straight line to save your life. But saws are not all created equal. Irwin’s 15-in. Universal Handsaw is truly remarkable: It’s extremely sharp and easy to grip, and it cuts up to three times faster than other handsaws. The secret is in the teeth. They’re ground with three faces then hardened to stay sharp much longer than a conventional saw’s teeth. Irwin calls this a ‘universal’ saw because it performs equally well with the grain and across the grain. Keep it around to break down longer boards that don’t easily fit on your miter saw. And carry it with you to the lumberyard to cut down long lengths of wood so they fit in your car for the ride home. The teeth can’t be sharpened, but at this price, who cares?
Really, its only downside is the price, but like other Starrett tools, it’s solidly built and will last a long time.
Check out these easy tips for measuring.
M-Powertools Point 2 Point Spacing Tool
If you always have a heck of time trying to figure out equal spacing for things like coat hooks and shelf locations, check out the Point 2 Point Mk2 layout tool from M-Powertools.
The Mk2 is an accordion-like apparatus with seven adjustable marking points. Just stretch it out so the distance between the marking points (or every two or three marking points) is the proper space you need, tighten the pinch bolts and mark the locations on your project. You can also use it to space fasteners, find center points and figure out how many small boards you can cut out of a larger one.
Powerful Geared Lopper
Trimming down the garden, pruning trees and cutting down weed trees at the cabin will give you and your loppers a workout. The new PowerGear2 from Fiskars has a gear system in the hinge that takes a lot of the effort out of cutting. According to Fiskars, the loppers are three times more powerful than ordinary loppers. That means working faster, because you can use them for hardwood branches that formerly required a saw.
The handles do have to be opened wider than on regular old loppers (because of the gears), which makes them a little more difficult to get into tight spaces, but for someone with limited arm strength, these Fiskars loppers are a lifesaver.
Faster Dual-Tine Rake
Ames’s new dual-tine rake claims it does the job 45 percent faster. And there is no doubt it is faster than a regular single-tine rake.
The dual tines seemed to excel at cleaning a path with one swipe so you don’t have to go over the same area several times. And the handle is a little thicker and softer, which makes it much more comfortable to use. The Ames dual-tine rake combo comes with a detachable hand rake that is great for tight spaces and for scooping leaves into bags, too. Buy the Ames Dual-Tine Rake at a hardware store or The Home Depot.
Super Useful Right-Angle Clamp
The key to good results when putting together cabinet boxes is lining up the parts perfectly before you drive a single fastener. Using the right clamp matters. Ratcheting clamps are awkward for some assemblies. That’s where the Wolfcraft Right Angle Clamp (model No. 3415405) shines. You can use it flat on your assembly bench or move it onto a partially assembled cabinet to align shelving or braces for fastening. It’s light weight and priced right, too. Get the Wolfcraft Right Angle Clamp online or at your local woodworking store.
Diagonal Cutters Redux
Diagonal cutters have been around for decades. Now Irwin Tools has introduced a new version called the PowerSlot, also know as the VISE-GRIP Max-Leverage Pliers with PowerSlot, Diagonal Cutting, 8-inch #1902413.
Irwin engineered the mechanics so that the cutters exert twice the cutting power of conventional diagonal cutters with the same amount of hand squeeze. Couple that with super-duper hardened steel to handle all that cutting power and you have a set of diagonals worth the premium price tag.
Wrench for Hard-to-Reach Spots
There have been several variations and improvements on the old adjustable wrench, but none of them seem to solve the two problems that are encountered most: jaw capacity that’s too small and jaws that are too thick. That’s why Channellock’s new Xtra Slim Jaw WideAzz adjustable wrenches stand out.
The jaws are 40 percent thinner than on conventional adjustable wrenches. That makes them perfect for plumbing jobs where you need a thin wrench to hold the body of a compression or flare fitting while you tighten the nut with a second wrench. Also, these wrenches have an extra-large jaw capacity that works great for most household, automotive, small engine and yard equipment repairs.
Spring Clamp Upgrade
Sometimes new tool features can seem a little gimmicky. That’s the first impression of the Bandy Clamp, which is basically a spring clamp with a rubber band connecting the two jaws. However, when you put it to work in your shop, you’ll quickly learn its strengths. It’s perfect for clamping solid edging onto plywood and excels at holding stuff like electrical cords and air hoses in place. Plus, it can do everything a standard spring clamp can do, so you don’t need both kinds.
The Only Tool Set You Need
The pass-through sockets fit over protruding bolt threads and nuts mounted on studs, eliminating the need to carry deep sockets. For more grabbing power, simply replace the smooth jaw with the serrated side, and you’ve got yourself a pipe wrench, perfect for stripped bolt heads and pipes up to 1 in. You can purchase the kit at The Home Depot and other retailers.
Learn some tricks to loosen nuts, bolts and screws that are tricky.