The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.


Hand Tools


Hand tools Bolster

Bolsters, cold chisels and masonry chisels often featuring built in soft grip hand guards for protection. Masonry chisels are used for cutting stone brick and block. Heavy duty steel blade is held against surface and top struck with hammer. Bolsters are wide bladed chisels for cutting slabs and blocks. Cold chisels are narrow bladed - useful for chasing walls for electrical cables and removing old mortar from brickwork.

Bradawls and Countersinks

Hand tools Bradawls and Countersinks

Bradawls with hardened tempered and sharpened blade plus countersinks featuring milled blades mounted in shaped comfortable handle. A bradawl comprises a sharp tip blade which can be used to make a small indent in wood making it easier to position and start driving screws and nails. Use the small blade to cut across the wood fibres and then rotate 90 degrees to leave a small recess. Countersinks have a fluted blade designed to cut a small chamfered rebate in the top of a drilled hole in timber. This shaped recess allows countersunk screws to sit flush with the timber surface


Hand tools Bricklaying

Tools for brick laying including brick trowels, edging and gauging trowels as well as string lines and pointing tools. Bricklaying trowels are flat pointed blades mounted in a handle for spreading leveling and shaping sand and cement mortar. Brick trowels may also be used for cutting bricks. Tuck pointing trowels are used to pack mortar into joints and gauging trowel with it's rounded end is used to measure materials. Pointing tools are used to finish the mortar joints in brickwork to the required shape

Builders Tools

Hand tools Builders Tools

General building and construction tools including shovels, hole diggers and buckets as well as rubble sacks, rammers and pick axes. This section includes basic building tools. Shovels are used to move bulk materials such as sand and gravel. Post hole diggers are narrow bladed paired blades allowing deep sockets to be dug for post setting. A range of durable builders buckets is available and usually include a pouring lip. Axes rammers and ground working tools allow earth and hardcore to be worked as a suitable base for building work.

Carpenters Jigs

Hand tools Carpenters Jigs

Jigs and templates for use with cutting and jointing timber and worktops. Carpenters and worktop jigs are durable templates used in conjunction with a router to cut and form perfect joints between sections of worktop. The jig may include peninsular curve facility as well as double connecting bolt recesses. Other jigs are designed to allow cutting of all manner of worktop cut-outs including those for sinks and hobs. Using a jig will ensure accurate and clean perfectly aligned joints.


Hand tools Chisels

Wood cutting chisels including mortice chisel, firmer chisel and bevelled edge which are the most common. Wood chisels are used for shaping and cutting wood. They comprise a blade, shaft and handle. The shape of the blade determines it's use. The blade of the chisel is held against the wood and a mallet used to strike the handle to make the cut. With the bevelled edge chisel, the flat face is used for square cuts and the bevelled edge to pare out the waste

Clamps and Vices

Hand tools Clamps and Vices

From quick clamps to web and ratchet plus sash clamps and G clamps, there are a wide range of styles. Clamps, or cramps as they are sometimes referred to, are used to grip and hold items together. Common usage includes holding a glued joint together whilst it sets, holding temporary battens used as saw guides when cutting boards or timber, aligning two items while a fixing is made, and securing an item to a workbench allowing two hands free to work.


Hand tools Detectors

Detectors and identification equipment including joist and stud detectors as well as cable detectors. These detectors will enable the position of studs in walls and joists in ceilings to be located. This takes the guess work out of identifying fixing positions. Cable detectors allow electrical wiring to be found. Most units will also detect hidden pipes. Their use can prevent accident caused by drilling and fixing into walls and floors with buried or hidden service pipes and cables

Electricians Tools

Hand tools Electricians Tools

Electricians screwdrivers, pliers, multimeters and specialist tools for electrical installation work. Screwdrivers and pliers for electricians have specially insulated handles and blades for protection. Multimeters are used for testing electrical circuits - usually with various ranges including AC Volts, DC Volts, DC current, and resistance. Other electricians tools available are draw tapes for feeding cables and flexes through voids, as well as specialist testers, crimping tools and wire strippers

Files and Rasps

Hand tools Files and Rasps

Flat and rounded files as well as rasps and needle files for precision and small delicate work. Files comprise a metal blade with an abrasive surface on one or both faces. They may be used for smoothing or shaping all manner of wood, metal and stone surfaces. They come in a range of lengths and profiles. Flat, curved, round are the most common. Rasps are similar to files and are used to shape wood to create curves or rounded edges.


Hand tools Flooring

Hand tools for flooring including laying carpet and sheet vinyl. Carpet stretchers allow carpets to be laid so that they are properly stretched between gripper rods and lay flat. Stair tools are similar to bolsters and allow the carpet to be properly gripped between treads and risers. There are also specialist tools for working carpet seams so that joins are firmly secured. This section also includes floor scrapers and scotia cutters


Hand tools Glass

Straight and curved glass cutters plus suction lifters for handling sheet glass. The small cutting wheel of a glass cutter is drawn across the surface of glass to score it and allow the glass to be snap cut along this line. Circular glass cutters allow cut-outs for items such as extractor fans. Suction lifters are placed on the surface of glass (or marble etc) and with the gripping pads secured in position, the glass can be lifted safely. Glass suction lifters may have two, three or four gripping pads.


Hand tools Hacksaws

Hacksaws either full size or "junior hacksaws" used for cutting pipes and other metalwork. Hacksaws are specifically designed for cutting metals. They comprise a frame and handle with a replaceable blade spanning the frame. The teeth are very small and fine. Smaller versions or "junior hacksaws" as they are known are available and are a really handy addition to any toolbox.

Hammers and Axes

Hand tools Hammers and Axes

Range of hammers including claw hammer, peen hammer and axes. Hammers are fairly multipurpose - they're used for driving in nails and other fixings, dismantling, and assembling components. The weight and shape of each type lends itself to a specific task. Axes are used for chopping and cutting logs. The larger club hammer is generally used with a bolster or cold chisel for cutting brick and masonry. Sledgehammers are used for demolition work


Hand tools Irrigation

From hose pipes to watering equipment as well as accessories and connectors for irrigation. This section includes all manner of watering equipment for the garden. Hoses and connection pieces allow water to be fed from an external tap. Be sure to use matching couplings when connecting hoses and keep the hose on a reel when not in use to avoid damage.


Hand tools Knives

Hobby knife and craft knives as well as specialist application knives. Either fixed blade or retractable blade knifes, these are used for a range of cutting jobs. Blades should be kept protected to avoid accidents and prevent them becoming dull or blunt. Simple and inexpensive retractable knives with "snap-off" blades are an ideal all rounder to keep in the tool box


Hand tools Landscaping

Forks, shovels, trowels and spades for general landscape work. A wide range of landscaping hand tools is available. From forks for aerating and turning soil to bow saws for cutting branches. This section also includes rakes, lawn edgers and shears - tools for landscaping as well as for maintaining and tidying the garden

Levels and Lasers

Hand tools Levels and Lasers

Small and large spirit levels for all levelling work plus laser levels where accuracy is paramount. Levels are usually made of metal or plastic and a wide range of sizes is available. Within the housing, two or more liquid filled vials are set. When the bubble rests exactly between these two markers you know that it is perfectly horizontal or vertical depending on which vial you are reading. A simple laser level has a laser light mounted in the end which can be switched on to project a beam of light which can be used to set out or mark items so that they are level.

Load Handling

Hand tools Load Handling

Wheelbarrows, ropes, lifting shackles and flexi tubs for all manner of materials handling and moving. This section includes equipment designed to make the handling of building materials easier and safer. Whether its a barrow for moving sand and gravel of shackles and ropes for lifting equipment and materials on site, you'll find all load handling tools here


Hand tools Measuring

Tape measures, steel rules, laser and ultrasonic measuring equipment as well as measuring wheels. Tape measures comprise a thin steel tape wound round on itself and mounted inside a metal or plastic case. For longer measurement, a larger reel of tape usually made of fibre, is mounted inside a larger round case. A number of higher tech measuring tools are available and vary in price according to functions and accuracy. They provide a very quick method for measuring up

Multi Tools

Hand tools Multi Tools

Range of multi tools which house a number of different tools in one unit. Multi tools are very handy and versatile tools to keep in your toolbox. With the number of tools offered in each one, prices vary. Simple multi tools will have a basic screwdriver, knife, pliers and scissors. More expensive models may have upwards of a dozen different tools built in.


Hand tools Planes

Smoothing planes, jack and block planes as well as specialist planes for specific planing jobs. Planes are used for resurfacing edges of wood to create a perfectly flat surface, and for taking off small thicknesses such as when trimming a door to fit an opening. Hand planes have a flat base plate through which a wide blade protrudes slightly.The jack plane is the heavy duty hand plane and is used for resurfacing an edge. The block plane is the smallest of the common planes it is generally used for very fine shaving of a surface and is also useful for trimming the end grain on an edge


Hand tools Plastering

Plasterers tools including float trowels, metal and plastic hawks as well as darbys corner trowels and details tools. Plaster trowels or steel floats are used to apply the plaster to the surface and finish the surface. A plasterers hawk is used for holding the plaster whilst working, ready to be scooped onto the trowel ready for application. A polycarbonate trowel is used for finishing render. Many details trowels and tools are available for finishing corners and other awkward areas.

Pliers and Cutters

Hand tools Pliers and Cutters

Pliers , pincers as well as crimpers, snips and cutters. Pliers have a toothed jaw for gripping fixings. There is usually also a curved jaw on the side for gripping objects. Pincers are primarily for gripping fixings and enabling them to be removed - some have a small claw at the end of the handle giving additional leverage on fixings. Tin snips and cutters are available for cutting and trimming specific materials including metals.


Hand tools Plumbing

Tools for plumbing work include pipe wrenches, pipe cutters and pipe benders as well as drain rods and plumbing plugs and keys. Pipe cutters come in a range of sizes - compact versions are ideal for cutting copper pipe in confined spaces. Pipe benders allow pipes to be bent to accurate angles without damaging. Adjustable wrenches can be used on pipe work and fittings. Specific plumbing application wrenches are available for tap connections under basins and sinks as well as those for pumps. Flexible drain rods generally include worm screw and plunger heads for unblocking and clearing drains

Punches and Markers

Hand tools Punches and Markers

Nail punches and other marking devices. Nail punches can be used to drive nail heads below the surface. They are also used to minimise the chance of damage from hammer blows where good quality joinery is required. Other punches may be used to make a small indent in a surface - for example to prevent a drill spinning off. Markers can be used to score a wood surface to mark cutting lines.

Roofing Tools

Hand tools Roofing Tools

Roofing tools include slaters rippers and roofing torches as well as slate cutters and specialist tools. Slate rippers are fed between slates and their hooked cutting edge enables slate fixings to be removed. Roofing torches are used to heat hot rolled felt as it is laid. Slate cutters are guillotine like tools for trimming cutting and shaping slates.

Saw Guides

Hand tools Saw Guides

Saw guides including mitre box and angle guides. Mitre boxes are a simple but effective tool to aid cutting mitres. They are designed with 45 degree slots (cut in both directions) as well as a 90 degree slot. Other saw guides include cove mitre blocks allowing for accurate corners to be cut in cornices. For sections such as skirting boards, a mitre saw with it's greater depth will allow for accurate cuts


Hand tools Saws

Standard panel saws, crosscut saws, back saws and tenon saws including hardpoint and economic contractors saws for general purpose sawing. There are a number of different types of hand saw and each is designed for a specific purpose. The basic principle of the hand saw is that a long blade with teeth along one edge is drawn across the wood to cut it. Crosscut saws are designed primarily for cutting timber across the grain. The teeth of the saw are set differently so that the blade will cut through the grain without tearing. Universal saws or panel saws are similar to the crosscut, but are designed to cope with most materials.


Hand tools Screwdrivers

Flat head screwdrivers , philips screwdrivers, and pozidriv models. There are three main types of screwdriver and each comes in a range of sizes to suit the different screws available. Flat head screwdrivers are for driving slotted screws. The tip size should suit the slot. Pozidriv and Philips screwdrivers are for use on the appropriate cross head screws. Again,, the tip should be matched to the screw size to prevent damaging the head. Good quality drivers will be more durable and worth the additional cost over cheap screwdrivers.

Sharpening Stones

Hand tools Sharpening Stones

Sharpening stones sold loose or in case as well as honing guides for sharpening tools. Sharpening stones are generally made of silicone carbide and usually have a coarse face one side and a fine face on the other. For dulled or blunt tools, initial sharpening and re-honing on the coarse side of the stone may be needed before finishing off on the fine stone. Honing guides allow tools to be held at a specific angle to the sharpening stone allowing accurate sharpening

Sockets and Hex Keys

Hand tools Sockets and Hex Keys

Socket wrenches, ratchets and socket sets as well as hex or Allen keys. Socket sets contain a wrench or ratchet with interchangeable socket heads. These ratchets allow controlled force to be applied and can be set to work either clockwise or anticlockwise for fast tightening and loosening of nuts and bolts. Hex and Allen keys are designed for use with hexagonal headed bolts and screws.


Hand tools Soldering

Lead free solder, soldering irons, butane gas torches and soldering sundries such as flux. Solder is melted so that it flows into the joint between two items. This is assisted by the use of flux. Soldering irons are electrically operated hand tools - gas torches generally use replaceable butane cylinders. Soldering is most commonly used to join copper pipes with end feed fittings.


Hand tools Spanners

Open and ring spanners, adjustable spanners plus slip-joint pliers and mole grips. Two types of basic spanner are made. One is open ended the other is a ring. Ring spanners offer more grip and are less likely to slip as they hold around the entire nut. Open spanners allow easier access and can also be used in more restricted areas or where a ring spanner cannot be fitted over the nut. Adjustable spanners have one fixed and one movable jaw allowing you to work on pretty much any size fitting you come across. Slip-joint pliers can quickly be “slipped” from one notch to the next

Specialist Saws

Hand tools Specialist Saws

Saws for specific purposes include pull saws, concrete saws and drywall saws. Apart from standard saws there are a range of specialist saws available for cutting different materials as well as using different cut methods. Some are designed to cut on the pull and push stroke. Others have unique blade designs such as the double edged pull saw used for sawing the bottom of a binding door without removing it from it's hinges


Hand tools Squares

Try squares and carpenters squares to combination squares as well as folding and roofing squares. The basic uses of a square is to check that two surfaces are at right angles to one another and to mark cut lines which are precisely "square" to the edge. The accuracy and durability of a try square will depend on the way it is made. The steel blade of a combination square is usually calibrated and can slide back and forth in the handle allowing different lengths of blade to be used.

Staplers and Riveters

Hand tools Staplers and Riveters

Staplers, hammer tackers, riveters and staple removing tools. Staplers and tackers are used to fix materials using "U" shaped staples. The cartridge holds a row of staples and these are "fired" using a spring mechanism. Staplers are usually designed so that the staple is fired when the top handle is depressed. Tackers - as used by carpet fitters for underlay - are used with a hammer like action. As the tacker hits the surface, the staple is fired

Taps and Dies

Hand tools Taps and Dies

Taps and dyes for creating screw threads. A tap is the tool used to cut the inner or female thread. The thread on a nut is an example of this type. A dye is the tool used to create the outer or male thread - the thread of a bolt would be an example. The tap or dye is worked with a rotational action to gradually cut the thread in the surface.


Hand tools Tiling

Tools for tiling include notched trowels, grout spreaders and squeegees as well as tile nippers, scorers and grout removers. Notched trowels allow tile adhesive to be spread as a notched bed which makes tile bedding easier. Good quality grout spreaders enable large areas of grouting to be carried out quickly and efficiently by sweeping grout over the whole surface and filling the joints as you go. Tile nippers are pincer like tools designed for cutting and shaping tiles where irregular cuts are needed and for awkward trimming.

Tool Bags and Belts

Hand tools Tool Bags and Belts

Bags and belts for storing and carrying tools. Canvas tool bags usually contain inner pockets enabling you to keep tools organised. Tool belts are a real help when working with several tools. Keeping pliers, screwdrivers and the like in the belt means they are all to hand when you need them and keeps both hands free for working. Belts vary in design but good quality ones will have multiple pockets and pouches for a variety of different trades

Tool Kits

Hand tools Tool Kits

Tool kits often containing a wide variety of basic tools pre packed in a small toolbox. Tool kits are a great way to get started with collecting a basic set of tools for home improvement and DIY. These kits usually work out far cheaper than buying tools separately. More expensive kits will usually contain better quality tools than cheap tool kits


Hand tools Toolboxes

Toolboxes and other storage for tools. Decent toolboxes are a worthwhile investment and allow you to keep tools well organised as well as in good condition. Many will incorporate trays and divided sections for different tools, screws, nails and other fixings. Blade covers should be kept on tools when stored in toolboxes to prevent accident and save them from damage. Smaller screw and nail organisers are essential for basic DIY kits

Workbenches and Tressles

Hand tools Workbenches and Tressles

Portable workbenches or "Workmates plus saw horses, trestles and fixed workbenches. A fixed or portable workbench will enable you to keep the work piece properly supported and secured and allow you to have both hands free. Heavy and awkward items such as doors and boards can be held firmly while you work. Saw horses and trestles can be used to support long lengths of timber and large sheet materials. Portable workbenches are extremely handy and because they can be folded away they are easy to transport

Wrecking Bars

Hand tools Wrecking Bars

Wrecking bars have various other names - pry bar, crowbar and jimmy. These metal bars are curved at either end with flat sections usually containing a slot. The wrecking bar is designed for demolition work, removing nails from timber and for prising items apart. Examples might include stripping sheet material from timber joists or ripping up old floorboards. The claw at the end can usually be worked between the surfaces and a good deal of leverage applied due to the crowbars shape.


Hand tools Wrenches

Stillson, adjustable and other wrenches. A wrench is designed to provide turning force on an object whilst also gripping it securely. The handle length will increase the available torque or turning force. The adjustable wrench such as "Stillsons" usually have a serrated jaw and is heavier duty than a simple adjustable spanner. It's jaws can grip round as well as shaped items. As pressure is applied, the jaws tighten increasing the grip