Homeowner's Ultimate Tool Guide

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by: Sandor Nagyszalanczy

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Book Description -- If you have the proper tools, you have a much better chance of getting every home improvement job done right. With this essential guide by tool expert Sandor Nagyszalanczy, homeowners can find out exactly what tool they need, how to ask for it at the hardware store - and how to use it when they get home. The Homeowner's Ultimate Tool Guide features 14 tool kits - including suggestions for plumbing, electrical, carpentry, painting, and car repair. It offers professional advice on how to choose tools and how to use them for better results, features over 400 color photos, and is an invaluable reference for any homeowner - especially those who are assembling tool kits for the first time.

From Publishers Weekly -- Nagyszalanczy, a former editor at Fine Woodworking magazine and author and photographer of several books (including The Art of Fine Tools), assists homeowners in selecting tools for every job. Dividing his book into such sections as "Tools that Grab," "Tools that Shape & Shave" and "Tools that Drill & Drive," the Hungarian-born toolmaster further breaks each section into accessible categories. For instance, in "Tools that Saw," he offers a subdivision on handsaws (including hacksaw and dovetail saws) and another on portable power saws (e.g., jigsaws and chainsaws). Large, detailed color photos accompany each clearly explained entry ("A hammer drill not only rotates its bit but also applies a rapid pounding action that helps the bit break through concrete, brick and tile much faster than with rotary action alone"). With a "pros and cons" explanation for each tool, as well as "pro tip" boxes, this book is essential for any homeowner wanting to make the most of his or her toolbox. Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.

If you have the proper tools, you have a much better chance of getting every home improvement job done right. With this essential guide, you'll find out exactly what tool you need, how to ask for it at the hardware store, and what to do with it when you get home.
The Homeowner's Ultimate Tool Guide shows you how you can easily assemble a tool kit for any home improvement job -- including suggestions for plumbing, electrical, carpentry, painting, tiling -- even car repair. In addition to providing a guide to dizzying array of tool options available, veteran woodworker and tool enthusiast Sandor Nagyszalanczy offers advice on using tools smarter. For example, you'll discover how to hammer all day without fatigue, and you'll get the finer points of using unfamiliar tools like a line level or a roof framing square. The Homeowner's Ultimate Tool Guide is:
A complete practical reference for the homeowner
Chock-full of pro tips, how-to sidebars, and sensible advice on choosing the right tools A great gift for any homeowner and especially for new or first-time homeowners
Looking for tool-buying advice for woodworking and homebuilding enthusiasts and professionals? Check out Taunton's first annual 2004 Tool Guide, a buyer's companion with reviews of more than 225 tools tested by our editors.


About the author -- Sandor Nagyszalanczy of Bonny Doon, California, is a professional furniture designer and freelance, writer, photographer, and consultant. With nearly 25 years of experience building custom furniture, he is a former senior editor of Fine Woodworking magazine and has appeared on The History Channel's "Modern Marvels" and ABC Television's "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings." Sandor has written and photographed seven books published by The Taunton Press: Woodshop Jigs and Fixtures -- Fixing and Avoiding Woodworking Mistakes -- Woodshop Dust Control -- The Wood Sanding Book -- The Art of Fine Tools -- Setting Up Shop -- Power Tools --

Choosing the right tool for every home-improvement job Introduction

Home Maintenance & Repair

Clamps and Vises

Planing and Scraping Tools
Chisels and Carving Tools
Wood Lathes
Files and Rasps
Reaming and Resurfacing Tools

Portable Power Saws
Stationary Power Saws

Shearing Tools
Cutters and Nibblers
Wire and Cable Strippers
Multipurpose Knives
Axes, Hatchets, and Mauls
Threading Tools

Electric Drills
Braces and Hand Drills
Powered Screwdrivers and Screw Guns
Nut Drivers

Claw Hammers
Specialized Hammers
Nail Sets and Punches
Wrecking Bars, Pry Bars, and Nail Pullers

Portable Power Sanders
Grinders and Buffers
Hand-Sharpening Tools
Specialized Sharpeners

Measuring Tools
Marking and Layout Tools
Levels and Plumb Bobs
Electrical Testers and Meters

Mechanical Fasteners
Soldering and Brazing
Glue Applicators and Guns

Brushes, Paint Pads, and Rollers
Powered Painting Devices
Spreading Tools
Finish Removal Tools

Safety Eyewear
Ear Protection
Respiratory Protection
Hand Protection
Body Protection
First-Aid Kit

The home-improvement game is no different than the rest of life. The person who can pick the right tools for a job -- and use them most effectively -- stands a good chance of being a winner. If you consider yourself a "winner" who already knows all there is to know about tools, then you might be in for a shock. Unless you've recently spent time checking into the latest crop of tools on the market, you probably know less than you think. The reason is that most kinds of tools -- woodworking, metalworking, masonry, and finishing hand and power tools and machines -- have changed more in the past few years than they have in the previous few hundred years. In fact, the shelves of your local hardware store or home center are currently stocked with so many new and innovative tools that, to borrow a phrase from a recent auto ad, "it's no longer your father's hardware store."
Need examples? Walk in and ask a home-center clerk for a tape measure and he or she is likely to ask, "Mechanical, electronic, or laser?" Scan a hardware store's racks for a simple framing hammer, and you're likely to find dozens of choices, including antivibration, ergonomically designed, all-titanium, and convertible striking-cap models. And things don't get any less confusing when it comes to choosing among cordless drills ("Do I really need a high-voltage model with a computerized charger for around-the-house repairs?"), paint sprayers ("Is a piston-pump airless sprayer a better choice for painting my house than a power roller or HVLP system?"), or even glass cutters ("Does an oil-lubricated diamond-wheel glass cutter really cut more cleanly than an inexpensive carbide cutter?").
THE CHANGING WORLD OF TOOLS What has happened in recent times that has changed today's tools so significantly? There are a few significant areas of development that have had a profound impact on the design and construction of modern hand and power tools.
Improved manufacturing Rapid prototyping and CAD design have led to many speedy innovations in the tool field. Before, when you were designing a new tool or machine, you had to make models and physical prototypes, which were costly and only revealed so much about the final manufactured version of the tool. Now, designers create remarkable, virtual versions of their tools on the computer, using advanced software and futuristic peripheral devices, such as hard-copy machines, which can actually produce a 3-D plastic model of a tool directly from a computer file. Designers make changes and improvements to a tool in the computer, and then use it to bring the design directly into manufacturing. This process makes tool development much quicker and makes it easier for designers to incorporate the latest technological advances into their tools.
Advanced materials The latest engineered-alloy metals and fiber-reinforced plastics have made modern tools not only stronger and lighter but also safer and cheaper to manufacture than their more traditional counterparts. Space-age materials such as titanium, superhard carbide, Kevlar, vibration-absorbing gel, and carbon fiber-reinforced epoxy and polycarbonate plastics are now found in a wide range of consumer tools, from hammer handles to knee pads, chainsaw chaps to dry-cut metal saws, and screw guns to oscillating spindle sanders.
High-tech electronics and optics The computer revolution has had an impact on literally every aspect of modern life, and the contents of our toolboxes aren't exempt. Electronic innovations have improved cordless tools, through high-capacity battery packs and computerized chargers, as well as corded tools, through soft-start controllers and electronic motor feedback circuitry. Many new tools operate by advanced electronics and/or electrical-optical means, including stud finders, circuit testers, sonic distance measures, rotary lasers, and laser-actuated measuring tools.
The growth of the DIY industry What once comprised a small number of people taking on an occasional home-improvement project has burgeoned into a multibillion-dollar DIY (do-it-yourself) industry. The result is that thousands of consumer-grade tools and machines, once only available as expensive industrial items, have come to market. Examples include oscillating spindle sanders, auto-feed screw guns, specialized carbide blades and bits, and air tools. The thriving DIY market has also fostered the development of ingeniously designed tools, including patent inventions like folding layout squares, improved pry bars, and multipurpose tools such as the Leatherman.
Ergonomics Advanced studies in how we hold and use tools have led to remarkable advancements that have made newer tools safer and more pleasurable to use than ever before. New ergonomic handles on hammers, pliers, and wrenches increase user comfort while reducing vibration, stress, and fatigue, which can lead to repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Modern hand and power tools are safer than ever-the upside of living in a litigious society where companies are financially responsible for even the most inexperienced tool users. Examples include tools with built-in "on" indicator lights, which help stop you from picking up a hot soldering iron or glue gun and burning yourself; stationary and benchtop tools with locking on/off switches, which prevent unauthorized use; and electrical GFI (ground-fault interrupt) circuitry, which prevents accidental shocks. The downside of this wealth of improvement in our tools is that choosing the right tools for any particular job is more confusing than ever. This situation is bad enough for professionals and advanced amateurs who pore over the latest tool reviews and ads in magazines and catalogs. But if you're new to the tool game and have recently joined the ranks of the weekend warrior, the confusion is even worse: Do you feel intimidated by walking into the tool corral at your local home center? Have you ever failed to ask a question because you didn't want the clerk to laugh at you? Then you know exactly what I'm talking about. To stem the tide of confusion about the tools we use to build our projects and maintain, repair, and improve our homes, I've written this book that gives you all the information you need to "walk the walk" and "talk the talk." The first goal of this book is to help you build your knowledge and recognition of both traditional tools and the latest and most advanced modern tools and to help you develop the vocabulary you'll need when asking for these tools and their accessories. Second, the book will help you build a thorough understanding of just what specific tools do and which tools you need to tackle most projects around the house or workshop. ORGANIZATION OF THIS BOOK To achieve these goals, this book is organized into chapters arranged by the kinds of jobs that different tools do: pound and pry, shape and shave, drill and drive, etc. Each chapter contains sections that cover specific tools, describing in detail what the basic tool does, the tool's features and range of styles, and useful accessories for the tool. The text, photos, and a variety of features will not only help you identify tools but also learn to choose the right tools for the job. It will also help you differentiate similar-looking tools that perform different functions-for example, a drywall hammer and a roofing hatchet. You'll also find plenty of advice on how to purchase tools wisely, including recommendations on what kinds of things to buy, what not to buy, and what to rent instead of own. The opening chapter contains various tool kits, a rundown of all the tools you'll need for doing specific jobs: basic carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, drywall installation, painting, tile repair, etc. Obviously, a book of this size can't possibly describe every tool on the planet, but I've attempted to be comprehensive in my coverage of the tools that even the most ambitious home-improvement enthusiast will want for working with wood, metal, plastics, tile, glass, concrete, brick, and other masonry materials. Limited space also prohibits an extensive discussion of how every tool is used. There are, however, plenty of action photos, tips, and sidebars to give you a good idea of how a tool is used effectively and safely. Additionally, a safety chapter at the end of the book includes all the protective gear you'll need (and should always use) to work with even the most hazardous tools in safety and comfort.

When most folks think about having a complete set of tools in their home workshop, they think about having a single tool chest or cabinet, jammed full of all the hand and power tools needed for all kinds of repairs and projects around the home -- fixing a leaky faucet or a broken door, laying a new parquet floor, changing the sparkplugs on the Corvette, or building a tree fort (if your tinkering goals are more modest, perhaps you're imagining a big, tool-stuffed drawer in the utility room).

But while your big tool chest or drawer might have some of the tools you need to get you through some basic repairs or home maintenance tasks, wouldn't it be nice to have exactly the right tools you need for the job, organized and ready to go? That's the idea behind creating Tool Kits for specific kinds of jobs around the house-carpentry, roofing, electrical, painting, etc.

By organizing a collection of task-specific tools into a dedicated box, chest, tote, or bag, you'll have everything you need in a container that you can easily take with you to wherever you're working -- that means fewer trips back to the garage or workshop for tools you forgot or just discovered that you need.

The following chapter contains a dozen tool kits designed to handle most common home repair, maintenance, and improvement tasks (there's even a kit that'll help with roadside auto repairs). Each tool kit section contains a list of all the basic-and some not-so-basic-tools needed for the job. The list includes a brief description of what each tool does and a reference to the chapter and page in the book where the tool is discussed in greater detail.

Every homeowner needs at least one hammer and probably several -- for driving or pulling nails and tacks, splitting and setting brick, working with drywall, shingling, and auto-body work. In this excerpt from The Homeowner's Ultimate Tool Guide, author Sandor Nagyszalanczy shows you the important features of each tool and explains the pros and cons of different materials and designs. You'll learn how to swing a hammer and discover tips from the pros -- valuable information you can't get in most DIY books.

Hammers are only one of the many tools featured in The Homeowner's Ultimate Tool Guide. This 282-page book, illustrated with more than 400 photos, is packed with tips and advice that will help you assemble a tool kit for any home-improvement job -- basic repair, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, painting, tiling, demolition, flooring, sharpening, and more.

Tool expert Sandor Nagyszalanczy is a professional woodworker and consultant. A former senior editor of Fine Woodworking, he is the author of Woodshop Jigs and Fixtures, Woodshop Dust Control, The Art of Fine Tools, Setting Up Shop, and Power Tools. He lives in Bonny Doon, California. From The Homeowner's Ultimate Tool Guide, pp. 154-163

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