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Being Your Own Home Handyman - Part 3

    If you’re just starting out to undertake home handyman duties and you are going to invest in some tools up front, be wary of tool packages that advertise 150 tools in a carrying case at one low price. In most cases the 150 tools consist of a large number of allen keys and/or hacksaw blades and/or screwdriver bits and/or drill bits. The tools are usually of low quality and will break, bend or be damaged after limited use – once. As well, 75% of the tools will probably never be of any use. There are exceptions, just make sure you look at the tools and what they are, before you buy.

    I also recommend that the electric drill that you purchase, if and when you need one, be a drill that plugs into the wall, not cordless! Are you surprised? Batteries in cordless drills need to be charged (they will lose their charge while they are stored and not in use), that takes time, so unless you remember to charge the battery the night before, you won’t be able to start your project when you want. As well, if you need the drill for an emergency repair, it won’t be available. Third, you can count on the battery running out of power while you are in the middle of the project.

    A drill that plugs into the wall may not be quite as convenient as you will most likely need an extension cord, but it will work on a moment’s notice, and never run out of power.

    For the starting home handyman I recommend a 1/4 inch, variable speed, reversing drill. This tool can be used to drive screws, as well as drill holes. The reversing feature allows you to back out drill bits that may get jammed when drilling and to back out screws.

    When you purchase your first drill, buy a set of reasonable quality drill bits. Remember that drill bits and blades do not last forever; they become dull and must be replaced from time to time. Do not work with dull blades or drill bits! Dull blades and drill bits will lead to frustration and frustration leads to disasters.

    Remember that paint rollers and brushes are tools. If you buy a 99¢ paint brush, you will see brush strokes. If you buy a 99¢ paint roller, you will be continually picking pieces of roller out of the paint. It makes little sense to buy expensive paint and cheap application tools.

    A list of basic home handyman tools.

  • Ladders and Step Stools:
  • Buy a descent ladder or step stool if the repairs or installs that you are going to do mean that you need some added elevation.

    Do not stand on chairs or stacks of books (yes, people actually do stand on stacks of books), on table tops or anything else that was not designed to increase your height. A proper ladder or step stool is a basic safety tool and if you are not worried that your stack of books will give way underneath you, it will be easier and more comfortable for you to work on the project.

  • Safety:
  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions for all products and materials.

    Use safety goggles, gloves, face masks or respirators and safety shoes as required to keep you safe and avoid injury.

Be Prepared For The Unexpected:

The unexpected will happen. It happens to professionals.

You are replacing the toilet fill valve assembly, a simple task. All you have to do is turn the water valve off at the toilet and disconnect the flexible pipe that is connected to the bottom of the toilet fill valve assembly, remove one unit, install the new unit, connect the flexible pipe and turn the water valve back on.

When you turn the water back on, water begins to drip from the flexible pipe connection to the toilet fill valve assembly. The connection is tight, you try to tighten it even more and it is still dripping.

Don’t let frustration take over!

Think the situation out, calmly and rationally. In this case a leaky connection, it can only be one of two things. The connector at the end of the flexible hose is damaged or there is dirt on the threads or the threading at the end of the toilet fill valve is damaged or there is dirt on the threads. It can’t be anything else.

It doesn’t have to be something as messy or frustrating as a leaky pipe connection. It can be even more simplistic.

You are hanging a shelf on the wall. There are two brackets, one on either end. You install the first one by drilling a 3/16 inch hole in the drywall, inserting a plastic wall anchor and then use a screw to affix the bracket to the wall through the plastic wall anchor. When you drill the 3/16 inch hole for the other bracket, you hit a wall stud. Think about it, don’t panic, the world has not come to an end. In this case it doesn’t really matter, although you didn’t need the plastic anchor, you have drilled the hole, so use it. Problem, which was not really a problem, is solved.

Being prepared is the best way to avoid frustration. That includes collecting all the tools you will need, before you start the project, there is nothing much more frustrating than spending an hour searching for a tool in the garage in the middle of the project.


Yes, being perfect and having every project you work on in your home completed to perfection is a wonderful goal, however it is not realistic. Professional tradesmen do not do work to a level of perfection.

You will always see flaws in your workmanship, but to others they will most likely not be noticeable.

Practice Makes Perfect:

It’s and old saying but true. The more handyman repairs and installs you do the better you will get.

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