by Paul Sanders
Many home repairs and maintenance tasks are small jobs that don't require professional power tools. Hand tools are more than adequate for hanging a picture, repairing a light fixture and other simple jobs. Here are some of the hand tools you may want to have on hand for small projects and basic home repairs.
Hammers: Your hammer is a good hand tool for driving and loosening nails as well as prying or hammering stubborn materials. A simple claw hammer or framing hammer will do for most home uses, but it never hurts to have a rubber mallet around to hammer things without leaving a mark.
Screwdrivers: It's always nice to have among your hand tools a screwdriver set with multiple lengths and head shapes. The most common screwdriver heads are flathead, cross-point and hex. With these hand tools, you'll be able to take apart and put together everything from self-assemble furniture to electronics.
Pliers: You'll be using pliers to grip, turn, pull or crimp various materials, probably while you use other hand tools on an object. You may want to have flat-nosed pliers, needle-nosed pliers, channel locks and a pair of wire cutters handy.
Wrenches and sockets: Wrenches and sockets are tools used to apply torque to turn nuts and bolts. Sockets may have either a six-point or 12-point recess and be shallow or deep. A simple socket set, an adjustable wrench and some crescent wrenches will cover a host of hand-tool odd jobs.
Chisels: You can use chisels and burs in woodworking, especially for shaping wood on a lathe. You can also use chisels to shear off pieces of metal and stone.
Cutting tools: You'll find uses for saws, axes, shears and other hand tools for cutting materials in numerous home improvement projects. The most basic hand tools for cutting are probably a simple hand saw, a set if utility knives and a hatchet.
Paintbrushes and rollers: You'll almost certainly find yourself painting at some point. Keep hand tools like a few different sizes of paintbrushes, rollers, paint trays and stirrers on hand.
Measures and levels: A tape measure is your basic hand tool for measuring. If you want to go a bit more high-tech, you can get a laser level and measure for extremely accurate measurements. A plumb line and a T-square will help you get perfect vertical lines and make sure your corners are perfect.