Getting into DIY can be a life-changing choice for many people, opening up a whole world of project possibilities that change everything from their houses to their free time. It’s fun, exciting and adventurous, but it can be hard to know where to start.
The average DIY guru’s toolbox looks like a doctor’s surgery, with tools and useful implements for just about every job on the planet, but where do you start? Which tools are absolute must-haves for anybody who is serious about their DIY, and which tools can you get by without? And what else can you do to set yourself on the path to DIY excellence? Let’s take a look.
Get the basics right
While many DIY enthusiasts have access to all kinds of exciting power tools and other gadgets, the first place to start is a solid array of basic tools that are useful for most jobs. We’d recommend making sure you have access to the following:
A multi-bit screwdriver set – ideal for when you need to quickly switch bits without the need to have lots of individual screwdrivers
Hammer, Pliers & Wrench – every DIY project needs to be hit, twisted or gripped so having these three to hand will always be helpful
Electrical Cable and Stud Detector – many a keen DIYer has come a cropper by accidentally drilling through a cable or a pipe so this handy device will help avoid a nasty shock!
Quality Screws and Nails – we’re big believers in using decent quality screws. Trying to save a few quid can often come back to haunt you when using cheaper fixings
Electric Drill – there are lots of different cordless combi-drills on the market and it’s a great bit of kit to have in your tool box. These handy tools will let you screw and drill with lots less effort and for a job that needs a bit more umph we’d recommend a decent impact driver
Hex Key Set – all our clamp orders come with the correct sized hex key included but having a decent Hex Key Set with a variety of sizes will always come in handy
Spirit Level – learning how to use a spirit level will help keep you nice and straight and vastly reduce the chances of a wonky shelf!
Aluminium Ruler and Tape Measure – it goes without saying that a tape measure will always come in handy. However, a long metal ruler is a great bit of kit when you’re measuring and marking walls.
The finishing touches
While the basics will get you quite a long way in terms of simple projects, if you want your projects to look the business you should probably have better tools on offer to help. Putting the finishing touches to your work can be anything from making sure everything is straight using a spirit level, to making sure it’s all sealed using a putty gun or a putty knife to apply sealant. While the tools you need will depend on the type of projects you’ll be doing, a pair of pliers, a putty gun, a tape measure, a hand saw and a set of different sized Allen keys are always reliable choices that will be useful frequently when you’re applying a professional finish to the projects you’re carrying out.
While there are lots of inanimate tools that you can use to do most jobs, it can be a real time saver to have a few electric power tools on hand to help save you time and effort. Here, you'll again be presented with a wide array of options that cover electric and powered versions of just about everything, but here are a few basics. The electric drill is perhaps the most iconic tradesman's tool, and it can be anything from a real time saver when screwing or unscrewing to a vital bit of kit when boring holes in wood or metal. In a similar vein, an electric sander can be a really useful bit of kit to have when you're taking on larger projects, as sanding by hand can be very time consuming. While you're at it, you'll probably also want to have an electric battery charger to hand too in order to keep your tools running, as off the shelf chargers can often be faster and more effective than the ones that come with your tools.
Create a workspace
While a bit of DIY around the house can be accomplished on the fly, serious projects often require a bit more space and time to manage. That’s why most DIY experts have their own workshop or workspace where they can be alone with their tools, and it’s not hard to create your own. Whether you have the scope and budget for your own DIY palace in your garden, or you’d just like to have a more functional garage, there are loads of options. One of the first things we’d recommend you have is decent storage, which you can construct yourself using galvanised tubes, clamps and scaffold boards available from The Metal Store. The best thing about these is that you can build just about anything you’d like and you can just clamp together constructions of any size and shape to suit your needs. From tool racks to work benches, dividers and seating areas, your workspace can come to life with just a bit of imagination.
If you’d like to go further and build up your own workshop in a garden or existing building, there are some other considerations which come into play. First of all, it’s important to make sure you have the requisite planning permission for your project if it’s needed. While some temporary structures can be built without this, just about anything with permanent foundations falls into this category, so it’s always worth checking with your local authority. Similarly, you should also plan ahead to decide what types of services you’ll need to have access to in your workshop, from water to electric and sewage. It’s a lot easier to make sure these services are in place now rather than later, when you might not want to disrupt your house or workshop, so you should plan ahead to make sure your services will be adequate if you expand your plans, for example to introduce higher wattage power tools or water cooled machinery.
How to build a home workshop
We wrote an in-depth guide on how to build the perfect workshop which you can check out here.
Free your imagination
Getting into DIY can be a great way to save money on your bills, as well as a great new hobby, but it requires a little bit of planning to make sure you have everything that you need. At The Metal Store we have a huge range of metal products on offer to make your projects easier, whether you need metal parts for your DIY projects, or if you require galvanised metal tubing to create custom safety railings to keep you safe or workspaces and storage areas that can help make your DIY dreams come true.