Wanna-be handyman’s guide to dogs and hand tools
By The Editors

There are two things every man should pretend to know well: dogs and tools. One bites your shin. The other one smashes your thumb.

Wanna-be handyman’s guide to dogs and hand tools


Want to impress a woman with your manly expertise?

Get the right dog for the job. And the right tool for your dog.

Lots of guys think a “tool” is an epithet for a useless jerk. They would know.

But in fact, if you’re a man and you have a dog — and what kind of man doesn’t? — your ability to grip a hand tool is what distinguishes you from your dumb but charming pal. Although there’s nothing preventing you from holding a leash between your teeth. It’s your choice. Dogs have no choice. Because they have no hands. Ergo, no hand tools.

Dogs are sweet. But pigs are smarter. And crows? Forget it. Geniuses. Crows can actually use tools.

Take the sweet seeing-eye dog in the photo below. Who’s a good boy? Don’t ask him.

Instead, ask this guy:

If a souped-up crapper doesn’t impress your honey, trying showing her you know your way around a toolshed. By taking her to the toolshed and talking tools. Har har. And sharing some tool lore. Like this:

The same four things seem always to give out on all power tools:

  • The switch breaks because you use it every time you grab the thing.
  • The power source fails; either the cord becomes cracked or frayed, especially where it enters the tool, or the battery won’t hold a charge anymore.
  • The motor brushes need replacement, because, you know, they’re brushes, always spinning, always wearing out. The good news: commutator brushes come in standard sizes and most good hardware stores stock them. The tricky part: You have to ask for commutator brushes.
  • The bearings wear out, because…see above. To save them, always avoid side loads on a power tool.  Power drills – especially when fitted with sanding disks or wire brushes – are often damaged this way.

Some rules-of-thumb, so you can feel smug:

  1. A variable-speed power tool is a better choice than a fixed-speed tool

2. Wear goggles whenever you’re around flying bits of wood or metal or plastic or earth, even though they make you look like a dork.

Household tools can be limited in number, if you choose the right ones. Here’s the handy list from the This Old House workshop:

  • Screwdriver Set.  Flat and Phillips.
  • Tape Measure.
  • Toolbox.
  • Hammer.
  • Duct Tape.
  • Flashlight.
  • Set of Pliers.
  • Utility Knife.
  • Putty knife.
  • Wood saw.
  • Adjustable wrench.

No human living in an apartment or house should be without them.

However, if you have a wife or girlfriend, you may be living in the doghouse already. If you want a good roomie who who will greet you even if you’re a tool fool, go here.