Super-heroes are cool. Flying is cool. Fixing your own home and surroundings is also cool. With no regard to the good citizens of Remodelburg, I am about to reveal what I, as (insert blaring trumpets here): BUILD-IT BOY (loud thunder) carry on my super builder utility belt that is pretty standard stuff. Granted–I can’t shoot a level line out of my eyes, but since I didn’t eat galvanized nails as a kid, I just have not been able to develop any viable super powers. My secret utility belt will have to do.
The Belt: Professionally, I used fairly standard, heavy-duty leather carpenter bags. For just around the house-these are pretty bulky, and if you end up lying around (naps are a must) your tools, fasteners, and grappling hook can fall out. Annoying at best, potentially evil if your chalk box leaks all over.
I suggest something that clips to a belt, but yet has enough room for all your goodies. I’ve never found I don’t have enough room with Occidental Leather’s clip on pouch. Of course the one on their site is an upgrade to mine. I can only assume Occidental is reading this and will immediately send us ten new ones out of their intense gratitude. You can find The Occidental Clip-On Pouch here.
Utility Knife: Pretty standard stuff. However, I do not recommend for any reason ever using a locked blade knife. There are plenty of models available that will lock the blade into place, and unless you actually are the Incredible Hulk—there should be no way you will retract it by force. Having a good sharp blade is a good way to have the tool perform well, and keep you safe. A dull blade is a dangerous blade. Tetanus shots suck too.
Screwdriver: Less tools. Less weight. Any super hero knows that. How else can you grapple up skyscrapers? A good Six in One screwdriver is the perfect sidekick. By this I mean: A screwdriver with Standard on one end, Phillips on the other. You’re asking me why it’s Six in One? At ease. The Six just means you have two sizes of Standard, and Phillips. Simply pull the shaft (OF YOUR SCREWDRIVER) flip, and voilà. You now have whatever bit you need. (Advanced Super Hero Tip: Drill bits from a cordless drill will also fit in the screwdriver giving you the option for Torx, square drive, or some other type of screw I’ve never heard of).
Level: I don’t know about you—but I will wander around my house noticing pictures, shelves, dogs—anything that catches my eye as being out of level is a personal affront to me. I carry a small 8’’ torpedo level for just such occasions. The vials on my level will find: Level, Plumb, 45, and 30 degrees. Overkill? Yes. I am a super hero. Level and plumb will do for most small projects.
Pencil: I know, I know. You’re not silly enough to not have a pencil. But hear me out. A nice pencil with a soft lead and eraser is perfect for marking on finished or textured drywall. You can make your marks, measure, and measure again—find out you are off 11 feet and erase them! Poof! Plus, pencils are the ultimate DIYer fashion accessory sticking out of a hat, or on your ear. Handy Smurf was before his time.
Tape Measure: For my in-house tape measure I have a 16’ tape that has increments to 1/32nd of an inch. When I am in the tool store—I also like to see the “stand-out” of my tape. Meaning: how far will it go horizontally in the air before shattering in a yellow heap? For small inside projects, I like a stand out of at least 6-8’. This way I can measure most areas by myself. My tape is also light, small, has a locking mechanism, and by Batman: I can find the size of a room to the 32nd. Booya.
Stud Finder: Ah—the never ending fun that can be the stud finder. Some of these can be quite expensive—and essentially serve the same function. Finding studs. If you are a gadget hound, by all means, get the one that will triangulate satellites. In my bag? A simple Zircon Stud sensor. (Pro tip: Hold the stud sensor to one side of your sternum. Simply press the button and begin to slide toward your sternum…green light! You are officially a stud! Congratulations)!
But wait BUILD-IT BOY! What about my hammer? Where do I put that? What should I use? Hammers, more so than any other tool, in my opinion are highly personal. It is what feels comfortable in your hand, your swing, and your control with it. I cannot count the number of times a new carpenter/laborer would walk onto a job with a hammer stolen from Dad’s tool box that was rusty, dangerous, and just a pain in the rear to swing. I prefer a 16oz. finish hammer with a straight pulling claw, and a straight wood handle. You can find the exact hammer I use here: the Dalluge Trim Hammer. Carrying my hammer is just a part of my wardrobe. I think I have two pairs of pants that do not have a hammer loop. My pajamas have a hammer loop—and I use it. Cape optional.
So, put that perfect utility belt together, and get to ridding the world (or your house at least) of those unsightly unfinished projects!
To the BuildCave!