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The right tool for the job is a well-maintained one

Any DIY enthusiast will know how important it is to keep tools maintained properly. There is little point in spending good money on high quality tools and then find it is effectively been wasted because poor maintenance causes them to rust, break or simply not work. Buying cheap tools is also not very cost effective, especially if they break due to poor design or quality.

The best way to make sure that tools provide many years of service is to look after them. Taking a little time for checking and maintenance will save money and annoyance if something breaks in the middle of a job. Good tools may not be cheap, but they are well worth the investment, especially for devotees of DIY.

The well-stocked toolshed

No matter how small the job or how experienced one is at DIY, a good range of tools means that there should be something at hand, whatever the task. There is nothing more annoying than finding that the only screwdriver available has the wrong head for the type of screw being used.

Hand tools should include a number of different-sized screwdrivers; small ones for some types of electrical work, medium size for jobs such as putting up shelves or putting together furniture and larger ones for heavier jobs where screws may be quite long and require a good purchase. Usually, having tips that can deal with slotted screws and Phillips screws will be enough, though there are a variety of other types of screw heads, often designed for more specialist equipment or jobs.

Several hammers, again of varying sizes, will also be useful. Smaller ones are ideal for more delicate work, such as driving metal pins into wood, while larger ones will be required to tackle more robust jobs such as chiseling a piece of stone or concrete. Claw-hammers, meanwhile, are perfect when pulling out old nails from floorboards and the like and hammering in new ones.

A set of spanners needs to cope with all sizes of nuts, so having an adjustable one as well is handy and one or two pairs of pliers will ensure both delicate electrical work, such as stripping back wires, and heavier pulling and wrenching can be easily done. Handsaws and hacksaws are essential for smaller types of cutting jobs. A spirit level will help ensure that when assembling something everything will be level, while a plane and some chisels should also be considered.

The garden needs its own range of tools, especially if there is digging to be done for flowerbeds or vegetable patches. Sturdy spades and forks are essential and hoes and rakes will help keep things trim and tidy. Pruning clippers are also indispensable when it comes to cutting back plants and shrubs. For planting out seeds, bulbs or young plants, hand-trowels and forks should be added to the collection.

Power tools may not be required by everyone, but large lawns need a good electric or gas powered lawnmower as well as a trimmer to keep those edges neat. A chainsaw is useful to deal with overhanging branches or just to cut up wood and a drill or two with a good choice of different sized bits is on every DIY enthusiasts list. Depending on what other jobs need to be done any well stocked toolshed should also feature a sander, grinder and perhaps a bench saw.

Keeping tools clean

Giving tools a long life should be the aim of any thrifty DIY enthusiast, so taking that little extra time to keep everything in tip top condition after finishing a job is well worth the trouble.

Dirt and soil should always be taken off hand and garden tools. They can either be wiped down with an old bit of cloth or, where necessary, given a good wash. It’s important to dry them afterwards as moisture left behind will gradually make the metal rust.

Power tools should be dusted down and any moving parts that can be reached should be oiled regularly. Blades should be checked and cleaned and stored carefully. Moisture really is the enemy of tools, so it’s best to have toolshed organized so that everything is off the ground.

Keeping edges sharp and maintained

Sharp edges mean easier cutting, so it’s worth having a grinder or whetstone available to keep blades in fine condition; it makes high quality work much easier. Professional trades people always ensure their cutting edges are honed to perfection, using high tech methods and machines to get perfect job results.

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