DIY Toolbox: Assembly Tools

When it comes time to put it all together, a few multipurpose tools will serve you well.

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    Ratcheting Screwdriver

    This single compact tool from Kobalt replaces a whole drawer of old-fashioned screwdrivers. Various types and sizes of bits store inside the handle where you can't lose them, and they slip into the business end of the tool to drive slotted, Phillips-head, square-drive, and other types of fasteners. A ratcheting feature allows you to drive screws all the way in or out without removing the driver's tip from the screw head, speeding your work.

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    Socket Wrench

    Sold in sets consisting of a ratcheting wrench handle and a collection of sockets sized to fit various hex nuts and bolts, a socket wrench is the fast way to tighten and loosen fasteners on everything from furniture to cars, offering a secure grip on the hex head. A 3/8-inch drive set such as this Task Force model is a good place to start. Smaller 1/4-inch drive sets are handy for small fasteners in tight spots; larger 1/2-inch drive sets are mostly for heavy mechanical work.

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    Adjustable Wrenches

    With a jaw that adjusts to various size bolts, this wrench serves the same function as a set of nonadjustable, open-ended wrenches. While the largest adjustable wrench can grip a small nut, the large head and long handle can render this tool useless in tight quarters. Small wrenches with their short handles don't allow enough leverage to loosen big fasteners. A set of three of varying sizes, such as this one from Kobalt, offers a good range.

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    Wood Glue

    Suitable for all kinds of woodworking, wood glue is strong, quick-setting, easy to use, and weatherproof, allowing you to create projects that will hold up to outdoor exposure. The glue, when clamped or screwed, forms a bond that's almost invisible and often stronger than the wood it joins.

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    Rivet Gun

    This tool lets you join pieces of metal too thin to screw together, and it also works when you can't reach the back of your project to fasten a nut on a bolt.

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