When it comes to almost any task we undertake in life, it seems like author and humorist Mark Twain has us covered. Take the world of do-it-yourself projects, for example. On the subject of using hand tools, Twain said (OK, we are paraphrasing just a bit), “The difference between the right tool and the almost right tool is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”
In plain terms, that means that if you are going to be painting the trim around your windows, maybe it would better to either buy or rent a professional quality ladder than to borrow the rickety wooden contraption with the missing bottom rung that your neighbor stashes alongside his garage.
Every DIY job, from replacing shutters to changing out a bathroom faucet, relies on just two things to achieve a successful outcome: your DIY skills, and the quality of the tools you use to get the job done.
That does not mean that you need to buy a $2,500 laser guided, steel forged miter saw to make a few 45-degree angle cuts on the inside corners of your new baseboard, of course. A $25 miter box with clamps that you can attach to your workbench is just right for small jobs.
Any tool beyond the basics is worth buying only if you’re going to use it regularly. If you want to tile your bathroom, see if you can borrow or rent a wet saw rather than buying one. There is no need to spend money on a tool that will be used once and then sit around the garage gathering dust.
Having said that, as your DIY skills increase, it can be fun to build out your basic tool kit of quality screwdrivers, pliers, hammers, etc., with a first-rate circular saw, a pro level drill, router, and maybe even a table saw. Don’t forget to purchase a top-flight tool box too.
Pablo Picasso said that a beautiful frame was the reward he gave himself for each new painting he created. So, treat yourself to a new tool when you successfully complete your next DIY project. And, when you purchase that tool, keep in mind that each tool is precisely designed for a specific purpose.
Choosing the right tool will also decrease the amount of effort required to get the job done, and it can help make the process go more smoothly and safely, too.
Just like Mark Twain told us.
Robbie Benjamin specializes in tile, wood and carpet floors at Rick Bent Flooring on Hilton Head Island. rickbentflooring.com