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Electrical Work XIX: The Tools

May 6, 2010

I thought since I’ve been doing so much posting about my electrical work that I might show you some of the tools that I use for all that work.  Most of my tools fit in a tool belt that I wear around when working on the electricity (unless I’m crawling through the attic, that is).

My tool belt, all loaded up.

There are a few things, however, that don’t fit.  I’ve already showed you my conduit bender.

Conduit bender.

Then there is also the new hammer drill that I got on my ill-fated trip to the Home Depot and BJ’s.

The new hammer drill, as well as the bits that it eats for breakfast (and lunch and dinner and frequent snacks, too).

When I’m measuring out wires to fit in conduit, I carry around a measuring tape (on a “Craig-rigged” hook hanging from my tool belt).

Measuring tape and "Craig-rigged" wire spindle holder.

My tool belt also holds 3 screwdrivers.

Square, 7-in-1 and regular screwdrivers.

Many of the screws that I drive in my electrical work are combination square or regular screws, so I went ahead and got myself a ratcheting screwdriver with square head, and it really is great.  The middle screwdriver has a standard 6-in-1 interchangeable head, but the handle is insulated and has a receptacle that drives wire nuts.  The screwdriver on the right is just a bog-standard regular screwdriver that gets used largely for hammering out the knockouts on junction boxes.

Next up as we move around the tool belt are my steel tape measure, ripper and box cutter.

Tape, ripper and box cutter.

I use this tape measure for things like helping me decide where I want to cut a hole in the wall; the ripper is what is used to cut the outer rubber sheathing on a cable without damaging the insulation on the individual wires inside it;  and the box cutter is just for general purposes (though I don’t think I’ve cut any boxes with it).

I also carry a multitude of plier-like tools in my belt.

Pliers, combination tool and wire cutters.

The standard pliers see quite a bit of use pulling on and bending wires.  The combination tool can act as a wire cutter or regular pliers (though its often better to just use those tools instead), it strips the insulation off individual wires in an assortment of sizes, has a loop bender (for bending a wire to be attached to a screw) and crimps screw terminals to wires in an assortment of sizes.  The wire cutters (shockingly enough) cut wires, but they also get used for cutting ripped sheathing off cables and the occasional nail that is sticking out where it shouldn’t be.

As we continue on around the tool belt, we come to the big, main pouch.

Sharpies, a pencil and assorted electrical tape.

I always tend to have sharpies for marking conduit and labeling things, a pencil for walls and various other things that are to be cut and assorted electrical tape for temporary wire fastening and marking wires for a purpose contrary to what is indicated by their color.  Depending on what I happen to be doing, a plethora of other odds and ends (nails, wire nuts, conduit-to-electrical-box connectors, wire labeling stickers, screws, washers, etc.) can also be found in my tool belt’s pouch.

Then there are the always useful (when working on electricity, usually without electricity and often in the few-windowed basement or windowless attic) flashlights.

Flashlight and headlight.

And, no, I don’t actually carry the headlight around in my tool belt, this just seemed like an opportune time to show it to you as well.

And finally, perhaps even most importantly, I also have my camera’s case on my tool belt.

The camera: most frequently used home improvement tool?

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