What is a Tool Library?

tool library(source)

If you take the time to think about it, the concept of a library is quite clever. Simply renting a book to read for a short period of time saves you both money and the hassle required if you were to purchase the book for yourself. The basic idea behind a library is often applied to a variety of other items, including companies that let you rent designer dresses for weddings or Redbox, which allows you to rent movies for a single viewing.

A that has just been brought to my attention are tool libraries. Much like a library where you rent books, these stores or set-up shops allow residents to rent tools from their inventory. These tools can include a wide variety, such as automotive tools, woodworking items, electrical tools, home maintenance tools and much more. The majority of the tools are donated from people who are done using them or use them very infrequently.

Not everyone who owns a home needs to spend their money on a full set of tools or hardware, especially with the high cost of certain products. Tool libraries help residents stay on their budget and cut unnecessary spending costs. Usually, the tools are rented by a “pay-what-you-can” cost or small membership fee, although each community has different rules and guidelines. You will also save money in the long run by fixing or updating an item with the tools instead of throwing it away and buying a new one. More often than not, doing-it-yourself is the best way to go.

Tool libraries come in handy specifically for those random, one-time home projects that we all deal with. For example, there's no need to spend the money on a pressure washer when you end up using it once every few years. These items just take up space, collect dust and waste your money.

These tool libraries not only help the residents with their home remodeling projects, they also are great for the environment. Re-using products helps to reduce our carbon footprint on the Earth by saving resources and energy. Think of all the gas you'll be saving by walking down the block to rent a tool than driving to Home Depot to look for one yourself. Think of all the materials that can be saved when you borrow a paint sprayer instead of purchasing one.

These community libraries also encourage others to become more familiar with the different types of tools, as well as using them properly. Some communities provide workshops or educational guides along with the tool libraries, which can be helpful for those of us who aren't contractors or repair men.

To find a tool library near you, this is a good starting list. Try searching online or speaking to your local representative to find out if your area has a tool library. If not, why not volunteer your time and help create one? This website has some helpful tips.

A Guide to Clamps

Clamps are a popular tool used by many hardware experts and novices alike. Their basic function is to hold or secure objects together to prevent movement. Whether you are working on a home repair project involving wood, metal or another material, you may often need to use a clamp. However, choosing the proper clamp is very important. Here is a short guide to clamps for your next hardware project.

bar clamp

Bar clamps. Bar clamps, which are sometimes also known as “F-clamps”,  are usually used in woodworking projects where a permanent attachment is being made. They also are used for metalworking projects  including welding or bolting. They have a wider opening capacity compared to other clamps, which comes in handy for certain projects. The jaw is mounted on a flat bar and the large screw on the bottom lets you tighten and release the clamp to your pleasing.

toggle clamp

Toggle Clamps. Toggle clamps are different than the basic clamps in that they operate with a pivot and a lever, handle or another push/pull mechanism. The handle controls the device and the holding bar grips the work piece. These clamps are very secure since once the toggle clamp is locked on the pivot points, it will not release until  the lever is moved. Toggle clamps are very common in the areas of woodworking, carpentry, construction and even metalworking. They are popular for welding, milling and drilling.

pipe clamp

Pipe Clamps. Pipe clamps are commonly used in piping, cabinet or other woodworking projects. You will often see them used for gluing edges of wood together or assembling boxes or cabinets. They are made from clamp heads that are mounted on a common pipe. One clamp head is fixed (which features the screw for tightening), while the other slides on the opposite end of the pipe. Pipe clamps are similar to the bar clamps mentioned above. They actually are usually less expensive and seem to be a bit more versatile in terms of the length of the pipe.

spring clamp

Spring Clamps. Spring clamps are ideal for small work and light pressure projects. They typically are used to hold two or more objects together, such as corners or oddly-shaped objects. If you are gluing two pieces of wood together, for example, a spring clamp would be the ideal tool to use to apply pressure and hold them in place as they adhere to one another. Spring clamps are often used for woodworking, so if that's what you are planning to use them for, try to find spring clamps that are specifically made for working with wood (you don't want the clamp to crush the wood and ruin your project).

10 Tools for Your Kitchen Remodel

For most kitchen remodels, homeowners or renters decided to try to do some of the work themselves. While hiring a contractor would be the easiest choice, sometimes you can save money by doing small projects yourself. Or if you only want to remodel one or two aspects compared to your entire kitchen, doing it yourself may be a better idea. When remodeling your kitchen, there are a variety of common tools you will most likely need to use. While each of these doesn't apply to every home remodel, they apply to the majority of kitchen remodeling projects.

  1. Hammer– Chances are, you will need a hammer at one point in your home remodel. Whether it’s for hammering in nails, tapping countertops into place or positioning tiles, it will come in handy. The best part is that you probably already own a hammer or two, so you might not need to invest in a new one for the remodel.
  2. Screwdriver– Much like the hammer, this is a commonly used tool in remodels. To save time and space, a multi-function screwdriver or drill will do the trick.
  3. Box cutter– Whether you’re using one to open boxes of supplies or to cut tile, a heavy-duty box cutter can help.
  4. Safety products- Depending on what aspects you are remodeling, you may need the following safety items: goggles, earplugs, respirators, a dust mask, work gloves, proper footwear, a first aid kit and even a hard hat.
  5. Measuring tools- A ruler, tape measure and level are all necessities for getting accurate measurements for your remodel.
  6. Ladder- Chances are you may be doing something about your lighting fixtures or cabinets during your remodel- both of which are high in terms of height. A ladder is the best way to reach these items.
  7. Vacuum- After a long day’s work, there is bound to be debris all over the floor and counters. A high-volt vacuum can make cleanup easy and quick.
  8. Area light- You need to be able to see everything that you are doing, and an area light will make sure that happens. Some kitchens can be poorly lit, so this tool helps solve this problem.
  9. Saw- Power saws, table saws and hand saws are three of the common options for a remodel. Each one helps with a different task- cutting wood, molding, cabinets, etc.
  10. Pen and paper- There will be so many instances where you need to jot down measurements, phone numbers and new ideas, so it’s best to be prepared with a notepad and pen.