Basic Tool Kit – Remodeling Guy Essentials

by Tim Layton on January 29, 2009 Google+

in Tools

RemodGuy Essentials

 Basics First

Tool Pouch

I’m having a hard time keeping a straight face! That is so funny! RemodelingGuy:Essentials! It’s killin’ me!

However, let’s try and be serious for a moment! Tools are serious business!

Before we start anything, it is important to be sure you have the basics.

Tool Pouch

You don’t need anything fancy. You don’t need a big giant tool belt with fifty compartments. You do need something to hold the tools that you use frequently. A simple nail apron will work, but a pouch like this one above is what I suggest. It has a place for each of the following:



It’s important to get a decent Hammer! I don’t want anyone sending me pictures showing one of those tiny little housewife hammers. I’ve used them…I’m not too proud to admit it. Personally, I wouldn’t be caught dead with one of those things.

Get one just like this picture:

A claw hammer, with a curve to the claw so you can pull out nails or grab something you can’t quite reach! It works for demolition and good old fashioned nailing.

Tape Measure

Tape Measure

Sorry to depart from the color of the day on these last two. Stanley makes good tools and as far as I know, no pink tape measures.

It’s worth the extra few bucks for a good tape measure! These don’t break down when you try and extend them out more than a few feet.

If you don’t know how to read one, I just found a great video turorial here.

Utility Knife

Razor Knife

While we’re here, if we could please refrain from calling this a “box cutter” I would really appreciate it.

You can call it a Razor Knife if you want to sound like an old pro.

This tool gets very heavy use in most projects and you’ll find it to be much better than a pocket knife or, worse, a kitchen knife.

The cheap, simple one like I show here is best. No need for anything fancy. The blade is changed by removing the screw. FYI.

Speed Square

Speed Square

When you start working with any wood that needs to be cut, it needs to be marked first!

A speed square has many functions, but for basic use, it’s just to help mark lines either square, or on a perfect 45 degree angle.

If you’re bored, or planning to become a full-time carpenter, memorize the little book. Otherwise, you can discard that!

Carpenter’s Pencil’s

Carpenters Pencil

There is so much I need to tell you about carpenters pencils!

No, not really. The bottom line is that you can go with these or with a regular pencil. I often use a regular pencil because it makes a cleaner line.

The hard-core guys say that these don’t break as easy, are easier to sharpen with the box-cutter and ???


Don’t forget the safety items. You really should have eye protection at all times. Gloves are good for demolition and material handling. I bet you could find some pink work boots if you look, for foot protection!

Just a Start

These tools are obviously very basic. But as I read through the comments and emails I realize that many of you really want to tackle some of this work yourselves and you’re looking for some help.

I can provide that and I’ll get into some tutorials involving the more complex tools. Soon I’ll be talking about how to install some wood trimwork like you see in my recent post on trim.

When we get to that point, I just want to be sure we’re equipped with the basics. You can run up to Home Depot or somewhere similar and get all of this. If you prefer to get it on-line, I’ve provided some links below, or just by clicking on the items.

Girlgear Industries 68 Pink Tool Pouch

Stanley 33-725 25-Foot Fat Max Tape Measure

Stanley 51-621 16-Ounce Curve Claw Fiberglass Hammer

C. H. Hanson 206 Carpenter’s Combo Pencil And Sharpener

Swanson Tool SO101 7-inch Speed Square

Mark Two Way Adjustable Safety Glasses – Pink

Stanley 10-189 5-5/8-Inch Self-Retracting Utility Knife

I’m reading every comment and paying close attention to what you’re telling me you need. So please continue to let me know in the comments or by email. Happy Remodeling!

Article by Tim Layton


1 Carmen January 29, 2009 at 8:20 am

While I think it is great to have a guide to good basic tools to have..why do you have the thought in your head that that they need to be pink? (Take this with a grain of salt as I know many women are tickled at the thought of having a pink tool set…but sheesh, I’d love it if we all moved past that a little bit.) As a woman who has a degree in construction management and has been working on minor remodeling projects since I could hold a hammer, it’s not uncommon for the topic of using tools (especially of the power variety) to come up in my conversations with other gals. I have found that many just need a little encouragement that, yes, this IS something that YOU can do…I’m glad to see a site that provides that encouragement and direction.

Carmen’s last blog post..Happy Thoughts

2 Jennifer January 29, 2009 at 9:15 am

Others can move past the pink if they want. I like pink! I would love to know more about the proper way to use tools ~ I do have three wannbe be construction workers in my house. Their tools are orange, BTW. =0)
While my walls are not yet ready for trim, they one day will be, & yes I want to do it myself! So I am looking forward to the tutorials.

3 NCJill January 29, 2009 at 9:18 am

Hi Tim,
As a woman with a D- in geometry and a major in “I can sew, cook and clean(when I haveta) but don’t know much about power tools”, I appreciate ANY help in any color, especially in cutting those wonderful angles on woodwork. And hey, pink would keep the hubby out of my stuff right?!
Love today’s post and truly will read you every day. We homeschool too (12,10,4), so we may have a field trip to Lowes one of these days, okay? Everything counts, right?

4 NCJill January 29, 2009 at 9:20 am

P.S. My sweet hubby has already been recruited when we get to geometry… no worries!

5 Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam January 29, 2009 at 9:51 am

You were great at the Nesting Place – no need to have worried. She’s completely harmless. :) Wish you were in NC….we have a 1000 sq. foot third story (which we have dubbed “the attic” since it’s full of storage junk) that we want to do this year and it’s overwhelming to even think about ….we’d have you hear in a heart beat.
Thrillled for your blog opportunity. That is one that most new bloggers don’t ever have the chance at.

Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s last blog post..McDonald’s shares frugal delights

6 Cheryl January 29, 2009 at 10:10 am

The biggest argument I’ve heard in favor of the flat pencils is that they won’t roll away – though I secretly think that the reason those guys that do use them love them is to have another excuse to pull out a knife (to sharpen it). I used to have triangular ones that worked in a normal pencil sharpener – I miss them!

Cheryl’s last blog post..Swiped from Tvini.

7 Carmen January 29, 2009 at 11:48 am

No worries, I really wasn’t making a huge objection to the pink (thus the “take it with a grain of salt”…), but apparently I riled up a few people. But my main point was that I was glad for someone to get down to the basics and target women who need encouragement to tackle projects that maybe they’d like to do, but don’t know where to start or who question if they can actually do it themselves.

Carmen’s last blog post..Happy Thoughts

8 Mrs. Q January 29, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Personally, I would go for a turquoise tool belt. But then, I’m a rebel :)

Remodeling Guy, thanks for the funny comments you left on my blog. I laughed at the p’s and q’s joke out loud…lol. Thanks for the encouraging comment about my writing abilities too.

I really enjoy this blog and will be back many more times!


Mrs. Q’s last blog post..The Paradox…

9 SoBella Creations January 29, 2009 at 1:24 pm

I have lots of house projects I can’t wait to tackle. So I’m excited to see the topics you will cover. Would love to hear how to paint over different surfaces especially tile.

When I married my husband my father in law bought a tool box with tools and gave to me. I have used those tools to fix a leaky toilet to a water faucet that wouldn’t turn off.

SoBella Creations’s last blog post..Valentine’s Day Bows

10 Kimm at Reinvented January 29, 2009 at 5:23 pm

FYI, I’m not skeered of you either!! :)
Why do we have to do all of this measuring?? Can’t we just eyeball it?
Do you wear a purple tool pouch? I love it.

Kimm at Reinvented’s last blog post..Saturday Shout-Outs

11 Corey January 29, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Great idea as a place to start…perfect for someone like me! My Mom is a do-it-yourselfer, and I can’t wait to find out more about projects too. Thanks so much for sharing with us!

Corey’s last blog post..Childhood Memory Quilts

12 Stacy February 1, 2009 at 11:12 am

LOve IT, LovE iT, LOVE IT! I love this post. I was just thinking how sweet it was of you to show a pink toolbelt. Just shows you are trying to appeal to everybody out there, not all men would go around posting pink toolbelts on their blog! Also, I am getting a pink toolbelt just so my hubby will keep his paws off of it, he never puts things back where they belong! You are awesome, and I appreciate you taking the time to create this blog. I know it isn’t easy.
Thank you,

Stacy’s last blog post..I LOVE Cowhide Rugs!

13 Betty Jo May 11, 2009 at 7:50 am

Tim what do you recommend for a simple drill a novice like myself can use for putting up shelves, pictures, etc around my apartment? It’s got to be light weight. The drills I’ve looked at are so huge and heavy.

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