Tiny House Tools: TinyHouseBuild.com Digital Workshop
Tiny house tools are perhaps the first purchase you’ll make once you’ve decided to build your own home. Of course, the phrase “tiny house tools” makes it seem like there are tools specific just to tiny houses. In reality, that’s not the case, even though there may be some specific tools for your job that you’ll need to acquire. In general, the tools you’ll use will be the same tools you would use to build a conventional house.
Knowing which tiny house tools to purchase and which to rent is important as you can easily waste money without some pre-planning. Even more important may be knowing where to find those tools. You can certainly make a trip to a store near you and buy everything brand new, but that’s probably not the best use of your money.
Rather than wasting money, I suggest you watch the first two videos in our TinyHouseBuild.com Digital Workshop series (shown below) to learn how to best find, purchase, and/or rent the right tools for your job. Read on for sure, but take the time to review the detailed information in the videos included as well. It’s time well spent to save literally thousands of dollars on your build!
What are the most important pieces of equipment for your build? Here’s a hint, although not specifically on most people’s list for tiny house tools, these items are more important than any other on the job site. If you guessed power tools, you picked an important set of tools, but not the answer I’m looking for. If you picked safety equipment, then you are well on your way to a safe and productive build. That’s right, tiny house tools may be important, but safety gear is by far the most important thing you can spend your money on for two reasons. First, it’s really not that expensive to get quality safety gear for your build. Second, the best tools in the world won’t do you any good if you’re in a hospital bed recovering from an accident that could have been prevented with the right safety gear. It may seem boring, but safety glasses, hearing protection, dust and vapor masks, and gloves just may be the best investment you can make.
For many years, I’ve had other builders ask me why I bother with hand tools at all being that power tools have clearly improved the efficiency of construction on a job site. Why then do I still include hand tools on my list of things to acquire? Because in some cases, they are far better than power tools. I can best explain this with a story (for those who know me, you know that my stories, although somewhat tangental, always get back to the point at hand!).
Many years ago, I worked under a master builder named Dick Atwell. He was my second construction mentor and, to this day, remains the most influential. He was in his early 80s when I started working with him and he had been building since he was 14. Clearly, he knew his trade. Dick, my friend and coworker Doug, and I were called out to fix a door that was sticking at a house we had completed a year earlier. Doug and I laid out the power cords, pulled out the power planer and then tried the door. When we tested it, it worked perfectly. I asked Dick what the issue was and he said he had already repaired it. During the time Doug and I were unloading the tools and power cords, Dick had fixed the door with his low-angle block plane. There is no better way to realize that you’ve “over-tooled” yourself than having an 80 year old beat you to the punch with a tool he carries in his pocket!
So which hand tools should you add to your tiny house tools list? There are obvious ones like a hammer, levels, and a utility knife, but there are less obvious tools that you may not have considered. For example, do you know the difference between a framing square and a speed square and do you know which one will better suit your needs?
Then there are tools like a cat’s paw, hammer tacker, and other job-specific tools. For example, whether you’re building a conventional house or a tiny house, you will need to consider what type of plumbing system you’ll be installing. After all, a PEX system will require different tools than a copper line system. Be sure to have a plan in place to gather the right tiny house tools, based on your specific build.
I am truly a fan of hand tools, but I’m no “old school artisan” and I have an equal love for power tools. They have simplified many aspects of construction. In fact, I can’t honestly imagine building a house without power tools, even though I know there are many who do just that. Perhaps the best such story comes from my favorite builder, Larry Haun. He and his brother framed a house faster than the crew on the next house over, even though they never used one power tool (the other crew did, and they ended up buying Larry and his brother a case of beer for their losing wager of who could frame the house faster!).
When you have the skills, you can avoid power tools, but even Larry preferred to use power tools before he passed away. By the way, if you want to check out Larry Haun’s mastery of construction, click here to see his educational books. He was a master, no doubt, and you can learn a TON from him.
There is a huge range in both price and quality to consider when buying power tools, so don’t just jump in with limited knowledge. As you may have heard in other arenas, a little bit of knowledge can be more dangerous than none at all. Consider how easy it can be to think you know which tool is best because you read a review or two. You may turn out to be right, but why leave these things to chance. Do your research and you won’t regret it!
Tiny House Tools – Consider the Details
Ideally, you’ll be a tiny house tool master by the end of the following two videos. In these two videos of our TinyHouseBuild.com Digital Workshop series, I will explore the different tools you should add to your list, where to get them, and how to save money in the process. Keep in mind that in some cases, saving money is actually the second plan of attack and buying quality is the primary focus.
Buying an inexpensive, yet crappy, tool is almost never the right approach. Similarly, you might think renting tools is the way to go, but you can actually end up spending more on the tools than if you had purchased them brand new rather than renting them! Finding the right tools, at the right price, and in the right condition is paramount to a successful build. After all, saving money on a tool that doesn’t work well is not actually money saved at all and is closer to time wasted and thus money lost.
Here’s part one-A of the video series. It includes the overall workshop introduction (this is from our 2 -day digital tiny house workshop) as well as the details of safety gear, hand tools, and some power tool details. The power tool section is continued in the second part of this first release: part one-B. That video is also included below.
Be sure to watch part 1A first as 1B is a continuation of the first video. These are not short, information devoid lessons. Rather, they present 37 minutes (17 minutes and 20 minutes respectively) of quality information for you to review, so be sure to set aside time to watch. As I mentioned above, my hope is that you’ll become a tiny house tools master by the end of these videos so that you can save thousands of dollars, or perhaps better said: so that you don’t WASTE thousands of dollars!
Stay tuned for more from the TinyHouseBuild.com Digital Workshop Series, or click HERE to purchase the entire, 2-day tiny house workshop; covering everything from tools to codes to construction details, to creating a tiny house lifestyle. With each purchase comes a FREE e-notebook for you to take notes on as you watch the footage as well as over $300 in FREE bonuses (including our hOMe Digital Total Plans Package as well as our step-by-step How to Build a Tiny House Video series.