You may have lots of tools in your bag, but are they all necessary? Here’s my selection of those I just can’t leave the dock without.
It seems that you can never have too many tools. I have hundreds that I’ve collected over the years, but there are some seemingly simple tools that have gotten me out of a jam more times than I care to remember. If I had to whittle the list down to just 10 that I couldn’t do without, these would be on it. The majority of these tools can be bought from online retailers for just a few dollars. Buy good quality tools because they last longer and will be cheaper in the long run.
1. Magnetizer/Demagnetizer: This enables you to quickly magnetize your screwdriver so that it’ll hold ferrous screws. It also enables you to demagnetize it.
2. Locking Forceps: The perfect tool for reaching into tight places to retrieve or insert small nuts, bolts, circlips, and O-rings. Also good for clamping small hoses.
3. Block Of Wood: Use as backup for hammering, screwing, drilling, cutting and gluing, and as a cushion for tapping jobs.
4. Old Inner Tube: Cut one to make temporary gaskets and insulation. Also useful to give hands extra grip for torque. You can probably get one of these for free from a tire shop.
5. Good Mechanics Gloves: Protect your hands, but also increase grip when you need to undo things like spin-on filters. Try them for size before you buy, as they should fit, well, like a glove.
6. Plastic-coated Wire Coat Hanger: Bends to innumerable shapes and are perfect for clearing drains and hooking dropped objects. You can most likely find one for free, on the floor of your closet, behind all the clothes.
7. Oscillating Tool: Mine is a Rockwell, but there are other makes. Will cut directly into surfaces, including fiberglass. With the right adaptor can also be used as a detail sander, reefing tool for teak decks, or power scraper.
8. Quality LED Headlamp: I like the swiveling type so that you can adjust it to suit your work. Far safer, and way more comfortable, than holding a flashlight in your teeth.
9. Mechanic’s Stethoscope: Invaluable for diagnosis, use one to familiarize yourself with component sounds now, so that you’ll recognize abnormalities later.
10. Stainless Wire Brushes: For cleaning threads and terminals, removing rust, surface prep, and much more.