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Top tools for do-it-yourselfers

News editor

Everyone isn’t going to tackle a major home remodeling job themselves. Maybe they lack the expertise, perhaps they don’t have the time, or it could be that they don’t have or don’t know how to use the necessary tools.

Nevertheless, there are still plenty of small projects people can do around the house to save time and money.

Marion Ace Hardware’s Dennis Krause and The Lumberyard’s Cory Maddux may work at different places, but they’re of one mind when it comes to three tools they recommend any homeowner have on hand: A rechargeable cordless drill, a general-use hammer, and a circular saw.

“Probably your most useful tool is your rechargeable drill,” Krause said. “It’s multipurpose. It works as either a drill or you can use it as a screwdriver.”

Maddux agreed.

“I can’t even begin to count the number of times I use my drill on a monthly basis,” he said. “Hanging picture frames and putting up accessories, even doing things for my kids, I find myself drilling holes.”

Both touted the variety of accessories that make rechargeable drills versatile tools, from screwdriver bits and socket attachments to wire brushes and buffers.

“You can’t take apart a tractor with it, but for small projects it’s great,” Krause said.

“It’s an absolute necessity,” Maddux said.

A general-purpose hammer with a curved claw was next on each of their lists.

“You can’t replace a hammer with a power unit,” Krause said. “A curved hook on it would give you more leverage to pull nails and for prying things.”

Maddux said a hammer should feel comfortable, and that he prefers one with a wooden handle.

“I’ve got a smooth-faced hickory-handled hammer I like, it’s really good for the small projects. My daughter’s bookcase came apart and I just threw a couple of nails into it. I seem to grab that hammer more than anything.”

Krause said he leans toward hammers with metal handles because of their added durability.

A 7¼-inch circular saw was the third item do-it-yourselfers should have in their tool arsenal, edging out reciprocating and jig saws.

“You want something to cut things when you’re doing do-it-yourself projects,” Maddux said, “like working on framing in your basement. Those three things, a nice cordless drill with a long battery life, a good hammer, and a saw you’re comfortable running will take you a long way.”

Sticking with small projects a person feels comfortable with can build confidence for tackling larger projects, Maddux said.

“Start small, start where you feel you’ll have some success, then branch off from there,” he said.

Underestimating preparation and jumping into something without planning are common errors that can get do-it-yourselfers into trouble.

“Never plug ahead on your own unless you know what you’re doing will fix the problem rather than perpetuating it,” Maddux said. “I have a pretty old house that I went through a full remodel on. I found about one in every three projects I got into took longer than I expected.”

While plans and advice are abundant on the Internet, Maddux said it’s good to have a person to consult who is familiar with the skills needed for a particular project.

“That’s where a lumberyard or a friend can be handy, to get honest advice,” he said.

Last modified May 4, 2016

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