Thinking of doing a DIY outdoor structure and not sure if you have the correct tools? According to Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood’s character) in the movie Gran Torino, you can do half of your household chores with just three things: WD-40, a vise grip (adjustable pliers), and a roll of duct tape. This may be true but when thinking of assembling your own shed, playhouse, gazebo or pergola, one of the best tips we can give you is to make sure you start off with the proper tools. We have compiled a list of the top 10 tools required to complete your DIY structure on time, without stress, and if doing the project with your spouse, not lead to a divorce!
DIY Tool #10 – Utility Knife
A retractable utility knife that has a lock, a changeable blade and a safety guard is perfect for cutting open boxes or cutting strapping on shipping boxes. Blades are extremely sharp so always keep out of reach from children!
DIY Tool #9 – MultiTool (with Plier, knife, screwdriver)
A multitool can be a DIY’ers best friend on many occasions. Multitools come with different tool configurations but most come with a pliers, multiple screwdriver heads and a knife and file. This tool is easy to carry and can solve small problems in a hurry!
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DIY Tool #8 – Wood Clamps
A one-handed bar clamp is a no brainer for most situations. It can be tightened and released using just one hand so perfect when working alone. Each time you squeeze the handle, the sliding jaw advances along the steel bar toward the fixed jaw. Pressing the release lever unlocks the pressure.
DIY Tool #7 – Hammer
Almost everyone owns a hammer so no need to run out and buy one. However, if you do need to purchase one, try a lighter 16 ounce straight claw as it is easier to handle and will vibrates less than plastic or metal and most importantly- will be easier on your pocketbook.
DIY Tool #6 – Level
Starting with a level foundation is the single most important requirement in getting off on the right foot for almost any backyard project! A level ensures your foundation/floor is horizontally perfect. In a pinch you could use one of many mobile apps that serve as a virtual level, but a longer 3- to 4-foot metal level (which can double as a straight edge) will go a long way.
DIY Tool #5 – Saw (Hand/Cicular/Miter)
For simple cutting, a hand or circular saw may be all that is required. However, when precise cuts for trim, rafters and molding are required, a miter saw may be required. A compound 12-inch saw that swivels and tilts in both directions will do the job perfectly. Keep in mind that a miter saw will be a much safer tool than a circular saw when trying to make any type of miter cut!
DIY Tool #4 – Tape Measure
No matter what kind of backyard DIY project (shed, pergola, gazebo or playhouse) your taking on, I guarantee by the end of it, your tape measure will be your best friend. Make sure to get a good-quality 12 to 16 foot, easy-locking device that is at least 3/4-inches wide.
DIY Tool #3 – Tool Belt
I’ve yet to work with a pro who doesn’t use a tool belt when working on a DIY project. Belts are great for easy access to your tools and hardware and will save you time and frustration. The downside to wearing a tool belt is the added weight but the trade-off is the constant interruptions to fetch what you need from the other side of the yard, rather than have the tools and fasteners right there with you will quickly payoff!
DIY Tool #2 – Smart Phone
A smartphone you say? Yes – it’s as essential for DIY’er as your tape measure or cordless drill. We all know it is a powerful little communication device so it will come in handy when looking for a video or assembly directions for a DIY kit. Plus with all the new apps available, such as a level, flashlight, rafter angle calculator, it has become a practical DIY tool to help you complete the project on time! A quick text to your spouse to get your favorite refreshment ready because your almost finished is pretty cool as well!
DIY Tool #1 – Cordless Drill
Cordless drills are convenient for working anywhere. A compact, lightweight 12-volt model will have enough power for most projects. Make sure to buy a drill set with 2 batteries so you always have a battery charged. I found it handy to buy the accessory set which includes various drill bits that will be helpful in any situation. I would really consider not taking on any DIY project if you don’t have a cordless drill!
There you have it! Having the proper tools available will make your DIY project go smoothly and quickly. Be sure to take time and familiarize yourself with the safe operating procedure of each tool as required.