Strap on your tool belt! Here are some common tools everyone should recognize and which every self-respecting do-it-yourselfer will know exactly how to use.
Humans have been making tools since prehistoric times. In fact, researchers credit the making and use of tools with playing a major role in our evolution. Some of the earliest types of tools, such as axes, are still in use today, holding their own against the advent of their powered counterparts.
Over time, tools have become specialized in their uses, and it is not uncommon to find that there are many varieties of the same tool. For instance, do you know how each of the various wrenches functions differently from the others? There are several of them in this quiz which we know you will spot in an instant.
Some tools are ingeniously designed to cover more than just one function - like the combination square, for example. We tend to put it to just a couple of uses, but there is so much more that baby can do. We're willing to bet you know just how to use it to its full potential - just like all the other tools in this quiz!
Whether you're a professional home improvement guru or a do-it-yourself weekend warrior, each of these tools and its use should be familiar to you. Come strut your stuff - take this quiz and show just how well you measure up!
A level helps you to determine if a line is really straight - whether up and down, side to side or diagonally. A level is an essential tool when putting up a mantle over a fireplace, hanging a picture or doing any other jobs where “crooked” won’t be “chic.”
Pick up a pickax if your task is breaking up rocky ground or any other hard surfaces. The handle of a pickax is generally made from wood while the head is metal and features one pointed and one chiseled end.
A power chisel makes light work of whatever jobs you would normally use a manual woodworking chisel to do. They are typically safe, easy to use and (best of all) they don’t require all that hammering!
A lug wrench is used for loosening and tightening the lug nuts on a vehicle’s wheels. Lug wrenches are a type of socket wrench, and some lug wrenches (called spider lug wrenches) are built in a cross design with four different-sized sockets – one on each end.
A hand cultivator does double duty when you’re hard at work in your garden. Its sharp prongs will help you to turn over the soil in preparation for seed planting and will also help you to dig up and remove pesky weeds.
Mill files are the most common type of file around, perhaps due to their multipurpose uses. They can sharpen flat knife blades of any size, as well as even out the teeth of a handsaw prior to sharpening it.
The best window washers are designed to give a streak-free shine to architectural glass, whether it is a window or a sliding door, up high or down low. Window washers range from simple car windshield wiper types to the more efficient (and much less messy) vacuuming variety.
A lawn aerator is a handy device to have if you want to keep your lawn looking its very best. The manual rolling lawn aerator will break up the soil, allowing more air and water to penetrate deeper into the ground.
A gutter flusher takes much of the hard work and griminess out of cleaning gutters. They are typically designed long enough to give you sufficient reach, so all you need to do is connect your garden hose and blast away!
A good wire stripper takes all the frustration out of removing electrical insulation from electrical wires. A wire stripper is an indispensable tool for a professional electrician, but homeowners with a knack for “do it yourself” jobs find them pretty handy, too.
Zip ties may just be the very definition of “multipurpose!” They are put to a myriad of uses aside from their more official use of holding electrical cables in place. They also go by a variety of names, including: cable ties, wire ties, hose ties and zip straps.
A pair of locking pliers (a.k.a. vise grips, mole wrench) contain a sliding pivot which allows its jaws to be locked in place. Locking pliers make it much easier to grasp, turn and pull nuts and bolts.
A pocket hole jig makes it super easy for you to drill angled holes (also called pocket holes) into a material. Many woodworkers prefer to use pocket holes when joining pieces of an item together, since pocket holes keep the screws neatly out of sight.
Every home repair “do-it-yourselfer” knows that cutting ceramic tile is one of the most daunting jobs to take on – if you don’t have the right tool. A snap tile cutter takes all of the stress and badly broken wasted tiles out of working with ceramic tiles.
A stripped-screw remover or screw extractor is a real lifesaver when it comes to removing a rusted screw or one with a damaged head. Your trusty screwdriver simply won’t get the job done, but the right-sized screw extractor most definitely will.
A winch uses a cable wrapped around a spool and turned by a crank (manual) or motor (automatic) to lift and haul objects. It can also provide the required muscle for helping to free a stuck vehicle.
Trowels come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to suit the particular job a mason needs to get done. For example, there are different trowels for applying cement, plaster or mortar. Aside from the ones used in masonry work, there are also those designed for use in the garden.
Also called a G-clamp, the C-clamp’s basic use is for holding a workpiece in place. It gets used in many other ways, however, including providing a firm grip when transporting heavy material.
A tire pressure gauge is a must-have safety tool for every automobile owner, since proper inflation helps tires to perform at their best. It is recommended that you check the air pressure in your tires at least once a month.
The ratchet extender fits in-between the socket and the wrench so as to increase the reach of the wrench. It’s very useful for getting at nuts and bolts in hard-to-reach areas.
The adze is somewhat similar to an ax but with some variations in design and use. One major difference is that the head of the adze is set on one side of the handle, whereas the head of an ax goes across the handle.
Undercut saws are typically used to cut the underside of doors and door jambs to make room for newly laid flooring. For this reason, they are also known as jamb saws or door jamb saws.
A heavy duty magnet is great for finding and retrieving metal objects. It functions very well as a stud finder when you need to locate metal studs beneath paint.
Crowfoot wrenches make it easy to reach nuts and bolts tucked into places a typical wrench cannot get in to. They are especially useful when a nut or bolt must be gripped from the side due to insufficient headroom.
A riffler file is quite often simply called a “riffler.” It is a double-ended small to medium-sized file which is ideal for working in tight spaces. Riffler files come in a variety of shapes and cross-sections to suit the space you are working in.
One of the primary functions of a combination square is measuring right (90-degree) and 45-degree angles. The “combination” in its name may be due to the fact that this tool can also be used as a ruler, a level and a scriber, as well as a way to find the center of a circular bar.
A shingle froe (or shingle and riving froe) is not the tool to reach for if you want to split a log in half. Just as its name suggests, the shingle froe is best used for splitting shingles off from a log, splitting small boards, or splitting long narrow clapboard.
Billhooks have a long history in farming and forestry, performing pretty much the same functions as a machete. Billhooks are generally sharpened only on the inside of the blade, but double-edged billhooks are also available.
The hand ice auger or hand spinner is a type of drill. It is used to create holes in ice, usually for fishing. The rotation of the blade causes material to be moved upwards and out of the hole being drilled.
It’s a good idea to reach for a nut splitter when a nut has become seized onto a bolt or other fastener. It’s a quick, easy and stress-free way to remove the stubborn nut without doing damage to bolt underneath.
The cat’s paw is a type of nail puller which is designed similarly to a crow bar but is generally smaller. Since the cat’s paw has the tendency to damage the wood around the nail it is removing, it is not recommended for use on a finished item.
The scissor jack is a common tool used to gradually raise a vehicle off the ground. It gets its name from the fact that its mechanism resembles that of a pair of scissors. One advantage of the scissor jack is that it is compact and easy to store when not in use.
A pruning saw is ideal for trimming trees and shrubs which have branches thicker than 1.5 inches in diameter. A pruning saw with a blade which folds into the handle is a good choice if you need to carry it around with you.
A needle scaler (also called a needlegun scaler) uses compressed air to drive a set of long chisel needles. It makes short work of chipping and removing rust and paint from metal surfaces.
Also called a carpenter’s brace, the brace and bit has been around for centuries. In fact, the earliest depiction of a brace and bit is seen in a 1425 painting.
A wire crimper connects two pieces of metal by squeezing them together so that one securely holds the other. Although they are sometimes referred to as “crimper pliers,” it is important to remember that ordinary pliers cannot replace wire crimpers if you want to properly crimp connectors together.
Considered a true toolbox essential, a hacksaw is a handy tool for when you need to cut metal or plastic pipes. Some hacksaws are adjustable to fit different length blades.
A dibber, dibble or dibbler is quite simple to look at (just a pointed wooden stick) but it’s really very functional. The dibber helps you to quickly make same-sized holes for planting seeds, seedlings and bulbs. Some dibbers have measurements shown on them so you know how deep the hole is that you are making.
Loppers are long-handled scissors used for pruning twigs and branches (up to about 2 inches in diameter). The handles of loppers are typically 2 to 3 feet long.
The tack puller’s V-slot tip is meant for removing tacks, small nails and staples. It often gets called a “tack puller screwdriver” because of the look of its handle and shaft.
When hammering jobs call for some real muscle, then it’s time to reach for your sledgehammer! This large, heavy hammer makes short work of demolition jobs such as knocking out exterior walls.
A torque wrench provides the precise amount of turning force required to tighten nuts and bolts. It is a crucial tool to have when the safe use of equipment depends on the how tight the fasteners are.
Wire cutters are actually a type of pliers known as diagonal pliers. They are also referred to as “dikes,” “side cutters” and “snips.”
You don’t have to be cutting a path through the jungle to make use of a bush hook. This long-handled tool with a curved blade can easily cut through thick bushes anywhere they’re found.
Using a closet auger or toilet auger may be the next step to take when a clogged toilet proves too stubborn for your trusty old plunger. The closet auger is a type of drain snake specially designed so that it will not scratch the toilet bowl.
The versatile putty knife gets put to many uses, such as applying and spreading wood filler, drywall taping compound and other filler material. Putty knives with a stiff, chiseled-edge blade are also suited to scraping away dried putty, paint and other residue.
Crowbars go by several names, including jimmy, gooseneck and pry bar. Be careful when you called it a “jimmy,” however, as that name tends to be reserved for using the crowbar for breaking and entering!
The digital multimeter has several advantages over its analog (pointer) relative. These include being self-adjusting and far more accurate. It does, however, have the downside of being more expensive.
It’s always a good idea to have a reliable set of Allen keys (a.k.a. hex keys) in your toolbox. You’re sure to come across bolts and screws with hexagonal groves in their heads if you are putting together ready-to-assemble furniture or working on a bicycle. In those cases, a regular screwdriver won’t be of much help.