Somewhere in the ethereal meadow of manliness, etched into a sheet of diamond plate exist the commandments of manhood. At least one — and most likely several of them — involve fixing and making things out of fire and steel. That’s why you need a workshop. And in it, you need tools, and it’s essential that you select the right ones because, for one thing, they’re expensive.
So, get some tools that let you fix and make lots of things, like these 10 tools:
Ratchet and Socket Set
When it comes to putting things together and taking them apart, chances are there are fasteners involved. Unless you want to spend a lot of uncomfortable hours turning box wrenches — which you should have as well — you’ll want to get a quality set of sockets and a few different sized ratchets.
Sometimes, the commandments of manhood demand that you perform a task without using the tool that was meant to do it because that tool costs $69.99 and you’ve got to put that money towards ordering the UFC fight that’s on in four hours. So, instead, you use a crescent wrench, which is like one wrench that can be several wrenches. While it may strip bolts, it gets the job done.
Back to the commandment about making things. Making things requires measuring. If you leave out this critical step, the things you make will look awkward, and function worse. Get a tape measure and learn to live by the motto of, “measure twice, cut once.”
Speaking of measuring twice, cutting once, you’ll be putting that philosophy to use when ripping lumber on your circular saw. This power-activated saw is an essential tool for do-it-yourself (DIY) carpentry and framing projects. Learn to use the guides on the saw and select the right type of blade for the job, plus practice safety, so you don’t slice your hand off.
This tool really shouldn’t take all that much explaining. Don’t buy a ridiculously cheap hammer that will break when you go to pull a nail out. Instead, get a solid claw hammer with enough weight in it to drive a nail in a single swing. Any more is just emasculating.
Sometimes you need to dislodge a snagged pipe fitting or clamp two items together while you install fasteners. Channel-lock pliers or “vice grips” are your best friends in this situation and can make the process of unthreading and tightening awkward parts hassle-free.
Is that painting hung straight? Are the Simpson ties you’re installing for your new set of cabinets mounted square? You could eyeball these jobs, but you’d never know if the installation was actually level — and going back and fixing those mistakes can be a pain, so get a level.
This tool might come in one of several forms, but the point is to have a sharp blade around when you need to remove tough material. And don’t go for a once-and-done one either — get a knife that takes replaceable razor blades so that when you slice open 60 feet of rubber hose and dull your blade, you can swap it out for a new one.
Sliding the battery pack into the bottom of your Black & Decker, Ryobi, Dewalt or Makita power drill is the workshop equivalent of slamming a magazine into your waterproof Glock. Either way, you kind of feel like John Wick. Most good cordless drills come with a driver bit, and specialty drill bits for jobs that require drilling through metal are relatively cheap and easy to find.
Perhaps you’ve spent years putting a thick layer of protective callus on your hands — that’s no small feat — but a metal splinter or nasty cut can still penetrate your pride, and skin, putting an end to productivity. Get a pair of sturdy leather gloves. They’re comfortable, and you’ll be able to work confidently all day long in them.
That’s it. All you need to bring the world of craftsmanship to its proverbial knees. Ok, so maybe you could benefit from a few more tools, but these are the staple items of a well-rounded workshop. Guard them well, and they will see you through many projects and manly undertakings.
The role of men is changing in the 21st century. Want to keep up?
Feature photo provided by the author.