If you don't have the right tool and you're in a hurry, you might ask yourself, "What have I got that I could use instead?" Using the wrong tool might result in a less than perfect result or it might just send you to the emergency room.

Colored Screwdriver handles arranged in a row.

Get the Right Tool

Photo by Darren Hester

There's an old cliche that states every new project requires a new tool. There's another axiom that states, "Use the right tool for the job".

It often seems that every new project results in three or four trips to the hardware store and invariably, one of those trips will result in a new tool. Many times, the tool required might look very similar to one already found in your toolbox, belt, or hanging on the pegboard.

If you're going to do the job right, use the right tool. That goes double if there's any chance you'll need that tool again in the future. Having the right tool also helps prevent injuries. By the same token, cheap tools may break easily and injure you or someone else in the process.

Especially when it comes to safety, the right tools will always pay for themselves even if you don't realize what you saved.

When it comes to safety, there is no substitute for using the right safety gear. Safety goggles, safety glasses, face shiels, dust masks, respirtators, and leather gloves are just a beginning. Many jobs have their own safety requirements and you should know what they are before you begin.

Using the right tool can mean the difference between a great or mediocre result. Sometimes, using the wrong tool is dangerous. Kind of like using a lawnmower to trim your beard...

A homeowner was finishing his basement and hiring the cheapest help he could find. Cherry picking various quotes resulted in hiring different contractors to do the job in pieces while he attempted to bargain his own labor in exchange for a lower fee in order to save money.

While he helped to install the suspended tile ceiling, another contractor working on an unrelated task pointed out that he should wear safety goggles. The ceiling installer, who wasn't wearing eye protection either, pointed at some safety glasses and the homeowner put them on. The other contractor told him that glasses weren't the right protection, but the homeowner was impatient and sharply told him the glasses were good enough.

Safety glasses are very good at protecting the eyes from flying objects. Goggles on the other hand will seal the eyes from dust and debris that may fall from above or come from other directions.

Within minutes of the exchange, the homeowner took a new tile from the stack and lifted it into place. A flurry of dust and debris fell off the tile when he turned it over and a chunk of gypsum fell into his eye. He ended up in the emergency room to remove it and his cornea was badly scratched.

In the end, the homeowner paid far more for his mistakes than he would have paid a good, safety conscious contractor.

It was a lesson in using the right tool for the job—in this case safety equipment. The homeowner paid the deductible for the ER visit, plus the deductible for a visit to his eye doctor, plus the prescription eye drops. On top of that, because the guy who did the framing and put up the drywall cut a lot of corners, the ceiling installer charged almost sixty percent over the orginal quote because even with the homeowner helping, it took much longer to attach the wall angle that supports the grid.