How to Season Your Cast Iron Pans

cast iron fry pans

For camping and emergency gear, you can never have too many cast iron pans. Some of them come preseasoned, but factory finishes eventually strip. Whether you buy the pans unseasoned or preseasoned, it’s good to know how to season your cast iron pans so they can remain non-stick, easy to clean and stored for long periods of time without threat of rusting. A well-seasoned pan can give you a lifetime of faithful service.

Before you start, if your pan is used, scrub any rust and gunk out of it with fine steel wool. If that doesn’t work, stick it in your self-cleaning oven for the shortest time period and wipe clean. If you don’t have a self-cleaning oven, spray it with oven cleaner, stick it in a plastic bag overnight and wipe clean the next day.

The process of seasoning is pretty simple. First, spread oil or fat on the inside of your pans, not a lot, with a paper towel. There’s some debate as to what kind of coating to put on, particularly when you factor in the non-meat eaters who lobby for vegetable oil.  What we have found, however, is that animal fat does the best job. So you could fry up a big batch of bacon (ooohhh, yeah…) and then leave the grease in there to harden and then spread around. Or, you could just grab some lard.

cast iron pan lard

Set your oven for 450° and spread a sheet of aluminum foil on the lower shelf. Set the greased pan on the upper shelf upside-down, so the foil can catch the excess drips. It would probably be a good idea at this point to open the windows and turn on the exhaust fan, ’cause the place is gonna get smoky  real soon. Bake the pan for 2 hours.

When the time is up, turn off the oven and leave the pan in there, leaving the oven door open a crack. The cast iron pan needs to cool slowly; a sudden change from hot to cool temperature might cause it to crack.

cast iron pans seasoned

The end result should be a nice, even, black finish. You may have to do it a few times in a row to get the desired result.

DO NOT WASH! When the pan has cooled enough to handle, take it out and wipe it down with a kitchen “J-cloth” or sturdy paper towel, making sure it’s dry to prevent rusting. And for future cleaning, don’t scrub it too hard or you’ll ruin the finish– and don’t use soap or detergent! Just hot water and a plastic scrub brush should do the trick.

And that’s it! Over time you’ll want to repeat the seasoning process to keep your pans in prime shape, and you’ll find they cook more evenly and last longer than the other pots and pans.

Harbor Freight has an extremely affordable, quality 3-piece set of Cast Iron Frying Pans #44707, ready to go along on your family trips and excursions! They also have a nice 12″ Cast Iron Dutch Oven #44705 for your camping trip Mountain Man breakfasts, stews and cherry cobblers!

dutch oven tailgate

5 Tools: Build the Perfect Lemonade Stand With Your Kids

lemonade stand

You’ve heard the old saying, “Build a Better Mousetrap.” You can certainly apply that to a lemonade stand, ’cause as much as your heart goes out to the kids hawking their punch in hundred-degree weather, if they’re standing behind a card table with a flapping poster board taped to the front, you’re probably going to be less apt to pull over and buy a cup. If you want your progeny to get a taste of making something of themselves in the world, at least give them a fighting chance. Here’s a great way to not just show them how to run a business, but how to build a business! Building a lemonade stand is fun way for them to learn some basics about construction. And if you take the time to build a sturdy Lemonade Stand, they could also use it down the road as a puppet theater, a “fishing game” stand at a fundraiser, or even as the “register” at a yard sale.

The 5 Tools

Another great reason to build a lemonade stand is, you probably already have the tools to make it. Here are the five things you’ll need:

lemonade stand 2

Detailed steps on how to build the perfect lemonade stand- including illustrations!- can be found on Instructables.com. It even provides extra steps if you want to convert the stand to a home garden “wishing well!”

Projects such as this are easy and fun for all the family. Even more, they build memories that can last a lifetime. And the tools to make them happen can be found for extremely low prices at Harbor Freight Tools!

 

DIY Book Jewelry Box

jewelry box book 4

As Mother’s Day is only a week away, if you haven’t thought about what to get Mom, now is probably a good time. As we all know, moms love to get homemade stuff for presents– and if it has some sentimental slant to it, so much the better. Here’s a great idea that takes very little time and money, and one that your mom is sure to love: A Homemade Jewelry Box Made Out of an Old Book!

So, the first thing to do is choose the old book. If you really want to get Mom excited, make it one that has significance for her. For example, if you have a lot of wonderful family memories about Oyster Bay, NY, find an old book on Oyster Bay. Or, if she loved the Anne of Green Gables or a Jane Austen book, go to the used bookstore and find an old print copy of one of those. You could also pick out a book on a particular hobby she likes, or a movie star who she’s always had an iconic appeal for. You get the idea.

Next, get the following supplies:

  • Small hobby knife set
  • Mod Podge
  • Small paint brush
  • Pencil
  • Hot glue gun
  • Decor of your choice – silk flowers, buttons, ribbon. Here are a couple of examples:
    • If the book is Julia Childs’ “The Joy of Cooking,” you could get tiny kitchen utensils.
    • If the book is “Secret Garden,” you could find little little rake, clippers, etc. A Michael’s, or similar craft store, would carry stuff like that.
    • Amazon also has good ideas.

jewelry box book 3

Steps: 
1. Open the book and draw a rectangle on the top page, leaving a 1/2-1″ border all the way around the book.
2. Next, using your sharp hobby knife, cut the rectangle using the lines already drawn. Don’t force it too hard. You will be doing this several times, depending on the thickness of the book. Also, don’t cut down to the very bottom; leave 1/4-1/2″ of pages to serve as a cushioned bottom.
3. It’s OK that the cut pages don’t line up exactly.  A little bit of roughness can really add to the vintage look.
4. Once you’ve cut as deeply as you want to go , leave the book cover up and start Mod Podging every few pages together as well as the outside of the page,s and all inside the new” box.”
5. Then using your Hot Glue Gun, you can decorate the “lid” with little kitchen tools or gardening tools, silk flowers or ribbon, bedazzle, etc.
6. Once the Mod Podge is dry, you might want to go to the thrift store and find a couple of beautiful old jewelry pieces to put in the box for added decoration!

jewelry box book

 

Harbor Freight Tools carries all sorts of great crafting tools and aids to help make your special products awesome! We also have wood burners, rotary tools, rock tumblers, airbrush kits, chisel sets, hot knives, and more!

You can find this and other fun, creative ideas on the blog, Eat. Sleep Decorate.

Portable Workbenches, Mobile Stands and Sawhorses

When working on a project for a particular space, it’s a lot easier to actually be working NEAR that space. That’s why Harbor Freight Tools has no shortage of portable work stations, tool stands, work benches, etc. , so you can forego the ol’ back-and-forth and just get the job done. We’re sure that, with all these choices, you’re going to find just what you need at a price you’ll definitely appreciate:

 

tool stand

29″ HD Tool Stand

Central-Machinery 29″ Heavy-Duty Tool Stand #95128

By adding your own bench top, this tool stand will accommodate scroll saws, band saws, miter saws, chop saws, drill presses, sanders and toolboxes up to 300 lbs.! The stand’s width extends to make room for larger tools as well. It comes in a powder coat finish to fight rust and no-mar feet to protect your floor. This sweet tool stand sets your equipment at the perfect height for work in the shop, garage or out on the patio.

 

workstation

Adjustable Height HD Workstation

 US General Adjustable Height Heavy Duty Workstation #46725

If you’ve got a saw, scraper, sander, grinder, drill press, or need a sturdy mobile workstation for your garage projects, you’re gonna love this tool table! Besides being an awesome stand for your tool-of-the-moment, it’s got magnetic strips to hold screws, bolts, etc., while you’re doing your thing, and can take up to 1,000 lbs. of tools and equipment! The workstation also has two shelves to store stuff, making this an ideal companion for any metal, wood or auto job.

 

folding clamping workbench

Folding Clamping Workbench

US General Folding Clamping Workbench with Movable Pegs #47844

When you’re pinched for space– and green– this sturdy, low-priced workbench is the ticket. It features a protractor scale and 24″ inch ruler with SAE and metric markings, making it easy to work on jobs where measuring and marking come into play. You can easily mount bench-top tools onto the hardy birch veneer tabletop, or use it as a stand. The folding workbench also has four movable pegs and 24 very handy slots for quick access to your tools. Very light and mobile, but don’t let its under-12-lb. demeanor fool you. This is a formidable workbench for all projects that need a table.

 

roller stand

132-lb. Capacity Roller Stand

 Haul-Master 132 lb. Capacity Roller Stand #68898

Our roller support stand is the perfect companion for your portable workbench or table. It adjusts from 26-3/4″ to 42-3/4″ and comes with a heavy-duty ball bearing roller for easy handling of wide or long boards on table saws, drill presses, band saws, etc. It’s also got an extra-wide base for solid support and the steel roller won’t blemish your work pieces. Use it for wrought iron, PVC, plywood, etc. The roller stand folds and unfolds easily for quick storage, retrieval and transport. In short time you will find this roller stand pay for itself over and over, again.

folding power tool stand

Folding Power Tool Stand

Central-Machinery Mobile Folding Power Tool Stand #40612

Another solution for when you’re hurting on space or tend to move your projects around from place to place, is this Mobile Folding Power Tool Stand. DIYers with saws, sanders or the need of a mobile work table can benefit from this rugged folding tool bench. It features extension wings with rollers to stabilize any large pieces you’re working on and can support up to 550 lbs. then when you’re done, it just folds away for easy and compact storage, making it an ideal solution for any metal, wood, plumbing job or hobby enthusiast.

 

foldable adjustable sawhorse

Foldable Adjustable Sawhorse

 Central-Machinery Foldable Adjustable Sawhorse #69059

You’ll be surprised how useful and convenient these adjustable sawhorses really are. They hold up to 440 lbs. and fold down to a compact 3″ thick for economical storage in the garage– or behind a truck seat!
It’s constructed of 13-gauge steel and adjusts from 25″ to 35-1/2″ high with a spring-loaded mechanism. The foldable sawhorse also comes with a carry handle and has a non-slip rubber coating on its top surface. Get a couple of these and a flat of plywood, you could take your work outside and enjoy the weather, or bring it to the needed job for easy, close access to do the task.
sawhorse 2-set

Plastic Sawhorse 2-Set

350 Lb. Capacity Sawhorses, 2 Piece Set #47782

These rugged sawhorses weigh less than 4 pounds each, yet can sustain 350 lbs. each! With incredibly easy mobility, they fold up and transport effortlessly wherever you need them. They also fold up and store flat when not in use. And since they’re made of  injection molded PVC, they won’t rust if left outside or exposed to the elements. A great addition to your arsenal for mobile work.

So, take a stand– or a few! With so little investment and so much practical assistance, you’ll wonder why you didn’t grab them long ago. Also, visit Harbor Freight Tools for all your other shop, auto and outdoor tool needs (don’t forget the coupons!). We guarantee you’ll find something you like with every visit!

Weld with Style and the Blue Flame Welding Helmet!

While safety and eye-protection is important, sometimes you want a little style with your welding helmet on top of the basic features. At Harbor Freight, we have a few cool options that will add some style and flair to any garage or welding shop. If you’re looking to pick out a welding helmet that stands out from the rest, take a look at the Auto Darkening Welding Helmet with Blue Flame Design (Item #: 91214)!

91214_zzz_500

For just $54.99, you get all the great features you’d expect with any top-of-the-line welding helmet, plus more. As soon as you start welding, the lens on this helmet darkens in just 1/25,000th of a second for optimal protection and safety while welding. Also, you can work in comfort with an adjustable head strap and padded interior. This helmet works so well, you might forget you have it on! That is, until you hear all the compliments you’re getting about how awesome it looks on you.

“This helmet has a quick flash response. It works just as good as any high $$$ helmet. I work with a 125AMP MIG/Flux welder and I have no problems with the flash rate. I was very hesitant on buying this one but, boy I’m glad I did. The settings are easy to control. Definitely one of my smartest purchases.” – by Big Ed’s Harley Repair from Phoenix, AZ

“I asked my wife to get this for me for Christmas last year. I just got a chance to use it. It works perfectly! The adjustments to speed and sensitivity are perfect. As a former professional welder I was amazed that something so low cost could work so good. The suspension is a bit less than desired, but for the money? This is a GREAT DEAL. So, 5 stars is valid. Thanks Harbor Feight for another great deal on a tool.” – by gliverson from Boise, ID

“Bought the 170 amp welder earlier and just as with that, I went a step up and got this helmet. Really pleased. Adjustable darkening works great. Tension adjusters allow the helmet to stay up with no fuss. On/Off in a flash allows much better results with MIG welding. Adjustable head strap is also comfortable. No problems so far so we’ll see but am very pleased for the money.” – by Mr Beam from Windham, NH

From professional welders to beginners in the field, this welding helmet satisfies the requirements for all skill levels. Whether you’ll be using the helmet constantly or intermittently, you’ll find that it helps you get the job done right without getting in your way. However, I can’t guarantee other customers won’t get in your way when you try to grab this hot item! So get down to your local Harbor Freight store today and grab one for yourself!

A Tote-ally Awesome Tool Tote!

We all love toolboxes but sometimes they just aren’t practical (or comfortable) to carry around from job to job. If you’re looking for a tool storage alternative that features all the storage capacity you need while remaining easy to carry and durable, Harbor Freight has your solution. Check out the 19” Tool Tote (Item #: 61470) which retails for the paltry sum of $19.99! With the money you save, you could even pick up a few extra tools and accessories to start filling it with.

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And you’ll certainly be able to fit a shocking amount of tools and equipment in this handy tool tote. Aside from a huge central pocket for bigger power tools, you also get 13 outside pockets for placing hand tools or smaller accessories until you need them.  Until you do though, they’ll stay safe and protected by the durable polyester construction and a tough rubber bottom. That means the tote takes a beating while ensuring that your tools don’t! And neither does your tool budget, for that matter.

“Get rid of your metal/plastic tool boxes. Get rid of your bucket bag. GET THIS! Way easier than a tool box, fits all my pliers and screwdrivers in outside slots with sockets inside. Has multiple straps inside for drill etc. Much easier than always opening a tool box or, even worse, one with drawers that open every time you carry it. Great price….metal handle…..think you will like it.” – by DogTag from Ft. Worth, TX

“I work professionally installing hard wood floors. I need a lot of hand tools with me on the job. Don’t like a tool box where you just throw your tools all together and then have to dig for the one you need. This is perfect, it allows you to keep your tools organized and you can find what you need fast and easy. I’ve had this tool bag for about three months now and it’s held up great. Similar tool bags cost twice as much, this one is a great value.” – by Dom from Omaha, NE

Once you’ve gotten over the fact that Dom & DogTag may be the greatest unmade buddy cop action TV series ever, you’ll realize that these guys know what they’re talking about. Whether you’re a casual do-it-yourselfer or a professional contractor, the 19” Tool Tote is a great way to help organize and protect your tools while also being able to take them just about anywhere! Get to your local Harbor Freight store and grab one today!

What Holds Over Two Tons of Tools and is Red All Over?

That would be the 72”, 18 Drawer Glossy Red Industrial Roller Cabinet (Item #: 61656) from U.S. General at Harbor Freight Tools! But it’s no riddle as to why these heavy duty tool chests are so popular. Not only does it provide superior tool storage, but it is also easily maneuverable to wherever you need it to be in your shop or garage thanks to rugged, smooth-rolling 6” casters. This tough, super-sized unit is the perfect combination of security and accessibility for anyone who is serious about tools.

image_25096

With this monster roller cabinet in your garage, you can load up 4,600 lbs. worth of tools, equipment, and accessories for organization and safe-keeping. If you’re looking for the top-of-the-line in tool storage and organization, you’ve found it. And it comes with:

  • Ball bearing slides on all drawers. Getting to your tools is quick and easy
  • Powder coated glossy finish. This cabinet isn’t just stylish, it’s built to last too.
  • Lockable drawers. Your tools stay organized and also secure from nosy neighbors or kids.
  • Non-slip liners in all drawers. Your tools will stay right where they’re supposed to.

“I have not had a new tool cabinet since 1970. I am an avid DIY’er and tinkerer…. When I saw this cabinet I knew it would be the great place to put over 40 years of hand tool accumulation and now I want the side boxes too. It is very heavily built, has the double slides, comes with drawer liners and even labels for the drawer fronts, so far it’s everything that an owner could want.” – by Fuzzyjets from Iowa

“Needed something for the home with a lot of storage space. This fit the bill perfectly. Some people may knock it for not being one of the “Big Brand” tool boxes. To them I say this… Does it fit my needs – Yes. Is it reasonable quality when compared to the “Big Brand” – Yes. Did it come with a payment book – No. Let’s face it it’s not a 10 thousand buck box but it certainly is rugged and sure to give years of service. And I can buy a bunch of them for what the other’s cost so who is ahead of the game?” – by Vinmar from Connecticut

“I use this box every day in an agricultural dealership. Stepped up from a big name toolbox and I am so satisfied. I do not have to roll the box around as it is used at my bay. I truly love the fact that the deep drawers have 4 roller bearing tracks. Of all the other boxes I looked at this is the one aspect that really set it apart for me. A very similar box on the weekly “Tool Truck” sold for $3995.00 and did not have the dual tracks on the deep drawers. This HFT cabinet is HUGE and the absolute best money I have ever spent on a tool storage unit. I now have a little more money to spend on the tools to go into this box, and that’s what helps me make money!” – by Sarge from North Carolina

From the casual handyman to the professional contractor, this Industrial Roller Cabinet fulfills the needs of nearly anyone who needs a place to store their tools. This unit isn’t just a place to put your stuff though, it’s a home for your tools where they will be safe, organized, and ready to go when you need them. So get down to your local Harbor Freight store today and grab one. Your tools will thank you.

A Hex-ceptional Hex Key Set!

Fasteners come in different shapes and sizes and you never know what style of hex key you’ll need to get a project completed. Luckily, you can solve all of your hex key woes with one quick purchase from Harbor Freight Tools. The 3 Piece SAE/Metrix/Torx Folding Hex Key Set (Item #: 94905) contains three hex key wrench sets for the low price of just $6.49. That means you can now handle SAE, metric, and star fasteners in a variety of sizes with ease.

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Not only are these hex keys conveniently color coded for easy identification, they’re also comfortable to use thanks to rubberized handles. Plus, with a rust-resistant black oxide finish, they’re built to last so you can rely on these hex key wrenches for many projects to come. Whether it’s building furniture or handling certain automotive repairs, this hex key set is a fantastic addition to any handyman’s toolbox. Don’t be caught without the correct hex key!

“Used these a few times for your everyday job. Then I was replacing a tire rod and had to use this for some funky set up. I cranked this hard. I though the plastic would break for sure. Nothing to lose since there’s a lifetime guarantee, but it held up and still works fine.” – by Greg P from Boston, MA

“Another quality product from our friends at HF. Yes they are a little bulky, but the comfort of the grip is totally worth the tiny bit of extra space taken up in your tool box.” – by Dokey Man from Boulder Creek, CA

Compact and reliable, these hex key wrenches fit in your pocket just as easily as your tool box or tool belt. And they’ll likely fit just about any hex key fastener you come across. So get over to your local Harbor Freight and pick this set up today!

Make Drain Cleaning a DIY Adventure!

For any home owner (and some renters), the pain and hassle of a clogged drain is all too familiar. Not to mention, the expense of calling out a plumber to handle the situation. But now, you can easily tackle those problems yourself with the 50 Ft. Commercial Power-Feed Drain Cleaner with GFCI (Item #: 68284) from Harbor Freight Tools! With this motorized drain cleaner, you can clear out, clean out, and unclog bathroom sinks, toilets, and pipes between 2 and 4 inches to your heart’s content without having to pay someone else to do it. Thus, saving yourself plenty of money as well as embarrassment from roommates and significant others who may judge you for requiring assistance with the plumbing in your own house.

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With this handy drain cleaner ready to go, you’ll almost beg for clogged drains, just so you can show it off. The “power-feed” means you won’t have to get messy by pulling out the drain snake yourself, and extra-large wheels allow for easy mobility to wherever you need the unit to be. As for the GFCI, that stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. This safety feature automatically shuts the drain cleaner off if necessary, saving you and others from possibly getting shocked. One thing that is guaranteed to shock you however is the low price on this heavy duty drain cleaner. For just $399.99, you won’t have to worry about calling in a plumber for clogged drains again.

“I’ve used commercial machines before that I have rented & the only thing I can find different is the fact that this one is much lighter & more user friendly! It paid for itself on the first use! I really shopped around & even looked at the lesser model, but for the difference in price & features, this is the better deal! I would recommend this one VERY highly! The people at Harbor Freight in Independence, Mo were very helpful in explaining the feature differences that helped me decide. No pressure just good facts!” – by Doc the Plumber from Independence, MO

“I bought this in the last week since plumbers have priced themselves out of sight! I thought it would be larger than the unit the last plumber used and it was! I have to admit I was skeptical but I was amazed at the ease of use and the strength of this unit. I had a clog in a 3 inch pipe and I had to go to the roof vent to hit it. After 30 plus feet the front bathroom sink and back bathroom shower were flowing better than three years ago when the plumber did this! I didn’t just go until I hit the first clog and call it done but went further and found whatever was knocked loose had just moved down stream and clogged again. This unit has the power and length I needed to do a great job and clean up afterwards was a breeze.” – by Randy M. from De Moines, IA

For cleaning pipes at home or on the job, this is the ideal DIY tool! If you need further proof, or just a visual demonstration, check out the video by YouTube user megalodon1 here:

THE 12 MOST IMPORTANT TOOLS IN YOUR TOOLBOX

handy andy tool set

So, up until now you haven’t had much call to for bunch of tools (and you’re sticking to that story). But then things start happening. The bathroom faucet is dripping. The Mrs. decides it’s time to install new light fixtures. It’s the night before a birthday and you need to put a bike together. The cute divorcée next door needs a pair of big, strong hands. It’s time to be self-reliant. With just a handful of tools– and some elemental know-how that you can pick up from your dad or YouTube– believe it or not, you can personally handle most of the basic household projects that speed bump into your personal time. So, as you embark on this new journey of self-reliance, we’re here to share with you you the 12 simple-yet-powerful tools you need to have in your arsenal. No doubt, others will chime in with suggestions of their own because, well, that’s what tool guys do. The great thing about these tools is, they’re all affordable, so you can be all locked and loaded after one quick trip to Harbor freight. Here they are:

 

claw hammer

Claw Hammer

Claw Hammer

The hammer could be your favorite go-to tool. From driving in nails (or yanking them out), to starting screws and aligning holes, to full-scale demolition detail, the 16-ounce claw hammer packs just the right punch you need for the job. In fact, you’ll probably find yourself pulling it out for projects you don’t even need it for. You know, just in case. Instead of the “old school” wooden handle, we recommend you go with a fiberglass one: they absorb impact a heckuva lot better and they don’t crack or splinter. Also, when you go buy one, try a few different hammers out and feel the heft and balance in your hand. Like a bat or a bowling ball, if it feels good, it makes all the difference. Just watch out for passing patrons when you start swinging it in the store.

 

pro screwdriver 8 pc set blog

Flathead & Phillips Screwdriver Set

Screwdriver Set

Contrary to popular belief, the slotted flathead screwdriver is not dead, not yet. Therefore, it’s inevitable that you’ll need both flathead and Phillips screwdrivers in your journeys. Start out with a basic set of both. Besides slotted screws, the flathead screwdriver is also excellent for lifting the lids off paint cans, scraping off old paint and epoxy, nudging things and emancipating personal items locked in briefcases with lost keys. The Phillips screwdriver has gained more popularity, though, because it’s designed to give a user more torque than is possible with a flathead screwdriver, so when possible, go with Phillips screws.

stripped screwAlso, the last thing you want to have in the middle of a project, is a screwdriver or a screw that starts stripping before you can loosen or tighten, so make sure the following things are true:

  • Make sure the pilot hole is approximately the same size as the inside diameter of the screw threads.
  • Make sure the screwdriver head fits the screw nicely.
  • Put some weight into it when you’re turning the screw, so that it holds its place and isn’t tempted to slip its grip.
  • Make sure the screwdriver is in line with the screw as you turn. Coming at it from an angle is a sure method of stripping.

This Pittsburgh Pro screwdriver set is an excellent starting point for your tool arsenal. As jobs come your way, you may need to acquire either a larger or smaller one, but these will tackle most household projects.

 

tape measure blog

Tape Measure

Tape Measure

Whether you’re building a workbench, seeing if a big screen TV will fit on a wall, verifying the diameter of a pipe, or measuring a room, a trusty 25′ retractable tape measure is a must. In fact, since they’re so inexpensive, we’d go as far as to say buy four: one for the toolbox, one for upstairs, one for downstairs, and one for the car. I mean, who likes fetching a tape measure on the other side of the house? It also goes without saying, throw a pencil in the box as well. If you’re grabbing the tape measure, you’ll probably be grabbing one of those, too.

 

crescent wrench set blog

Adjustable Wrench Set

Adjustable Wrench

Of all the tools in your arsenal, besides your hammer, this baby will probably see the most action. Because one adjustable wrench can handle different sized nuts and bolts, it’s like having 50 wrenches in one. So you could literally be walking around the place, tightening your kid’s trike wheels, the BBQ’s frame, the microwave cart and the Gatling gun tripod without ever going back to the toolbox. When using an adjustable wrench, adjust the jaws to fit precisely over the nut, rocking the wrench slightly as you tighten, to help secure a firm fit. Also, for added strength, make sure the nut is positioned as deep as it will go into the throat of the adjustable wrench. As with the aforementioned screwdriver set, the crescent wrench set shown could take on most of whatever your honey-do list can throw at it. There may an occasion to get a bigger one along the way, but those kind of jobs are rare and far between.

 

socket set blog

Socket Set

 Socket Set

If you’re dealing with a lot of nut-n-bolt action– usually on an engine or other machinery– then it’s time to put aside the crescent wrench and pull out the “big guns”– the socket set. Socket sets can exponentially speed up a project like an ordinary crescent wrench never could. They’re so convenient and effective, in fact, you’ll actually get giddy over the chance to pull it out. This is because of the ratchet that comes with it, a mechanism that eliminates the need to remove and refit the socket on every stroke. Also, because the tool will turn the bolt when swinging in one direction, but won’t pull it back when returning.  A good basic household socket set with about a dozen or so sockets, a ratchet and an extension will prove almost always sufficient for household jobs, such as driving in lag bolts, tightening bolts or other occasional repairs, builds or tasks. Like all guys, you will love your ratchet, and will probably look for excuses to buy several. Which brings us to the Husband’s Litmus Test: If she says, “But, you already have a ratchet,” then you know, she doesn’t understand you.

 

vice grips blog

Locking Pliers

Locking Pliers

Locking pliers are designed to provide maximum locking force and come in handy when you need an extra hand to work with. Then, when the job is done, a quick release disengages the tool for the next step. Extremely versatile, you can employ this multitasking tool as pliers, a pipe wrench, an adjustable wrench, wire cutters, a ratchet, or a clamp. The three shown here can take care of most stuff around the house and garage.

 

needle nose pliers blog

Needle Nose Pliers

Needle Nose Pliers

An valuable tool for electrical work, this little guy can be a lifesaver for projects that require you to cut, bend, re-position, grip or strip wire. They’re also used for crafts, jewelry making, computer repairs, bomb defusing and other functions . Because of their long and skinny shape, they’re particularly useful for getting into tight spots. You can also use them to pinch your bratty nephew.

 

cordless drill blog

Cordless Drill

Cordless Drill

Power tools are awesome, but most are unnecessary for the garden-variety shtuff around the house. That said, a cordless drill is a must-have component in your toolbox arsenal. It can be used for drilling holes into sheet rock and driving screws into a 2×4. So, if you’re “earthquake-proofing” furniture, installing towel bars or sawing holes in the back of your entertainment center, this is the go-to tool . When choosing a cordless drill, you want one with lots of power, which is measured by the amount of voltage in its battery. An 18v is a good size for home use, and make sure it’s got variable speeds for different jobs, and is reversible. The reversible feature will come in handy if you need to take some screws out when you realize the outhouse door needs to swing out, not in.

 

toolbox saw blog

Hand Saw

Hand Saw

Now, let’s turn to Old School. A great misconception is the idea that you need an electric saw to make cuts. All you really need is a simple hand saw in your toolkit. You don’t have to run an extension cord, you don’t have to recharge a battery, and you can catch yourself alot faster if the cut’s going awry.The image of a wooden-grip hand saw has long been the iconic symbol of the DIY craftsman. A good general-purpose hand saw is the go-to tool for trimming branches or cutting lumber for a DIY project. It’s also the one tool you want to make sure you’ve got a good pair of work gloves to wear while using.

 

magnetic torpedo level blog

Magnetic Torpedo level

Level

Whether you’re hanging pictures, putting up a curtain rod,  or affixing shelves to a wall, a straight line is absolutely crucial. You don’t want to put a bunch of nails in the wall, only to step back and see your family portraits are all askew. To get the job done right the first time, you need a level. There are some hoity-toity laser levels out there, but you can’t beat the sweet satisfaction of getting that bubble in the middle. Of course, if you enjoy getting the stinkeye from certain cohabitants,  go ahead and just keep doing it by eye. ‘Cause you’re so good at it. Seriously, get this tool, you’ll be happy you did. On the level.

 

utility knife blog

Utility Knife

Utility Knife

This tool might not put out the sexy like other tools, but we bet it’ll never gather dust at the bottom of your toolbox. You’ll find the utility knife to be a stupendous sidekick with every project: Stripping wire, cutting rope, rubber hose or plastic strapping, snipping the sealed tips off epoxy tubes, scraping paint… you get the point. When nothing else in the arsenal can help, the utility knife steps up to the plate.

 

toolbox blog

Toolbox

Toolbox

Well, duh. As time goes on, you’ll probably graduate to a tool cart, then a tool cabinet, and maybe even a wall of tool chests. In the meantime, the humble shlep-around toolbox is the perfect receptacle for carrying your basic tools to any household project. Keep it simple and solid, and it’ll never leave you, even when you need more storage.

 

No doubt, some of you think we overlooked some items you think are crucial to the ensemble. Duct tape. WD-40. The InSinkErator tool. Everyone’s needs could slightly deviate based on their home situations, but we’re standing by this list. So? Go thou, get thee tools and be useless no more.