I have 40 or so tools, including sets (like a ratchet set). Since most things follow the 80/20 principle, which ones are the 20%, or 8 tools, that I use 80% of the time?
I haven’t kept notes on this, but here’s what I think I use most often, from top to bottom in the photo.
1) My Stanley narrow, snap blade, utility knife gets used the most, cutting heavy fabric, rope, green branches, sharpening a pencil, scraping stuff, and cutting anything I don’t want to cut with a nicer knife. I’ve heard these have replaced pocket knives for some tool heads because they’re always sharp, light, easy-to-use, and cheap to replace.
2) Next, I’m always measuring stuff, so my Stanley 16 foot tape gets a workout.
3) My favorite tool of all is a pair of Channellock 8″ linesmen pliers. They hold on tight, cut through thick wires, and will hammer something if called upon to do so. These are tough, I found them on the street about ten years ago so I don’t know how old they are but they show no sign of giving up.
4) A #3 Phillips head screwdriver. The majority of screw heads I run across are handled by this screwdriver.
5) An old paint scraper that gets used for scraping, lifting, and light prying along with scraping paint, which is common in the tropics.
6) An 8″ adjustable wrench that works occasionally on bikes or plumbing.
7) An old ice pick. This thing marks, probes, makes holes, and can chip ice too.
8) A standard flat blade screwdriver that’s in semi retirement, see item 4 above.
Pretty basic. Actually the first four tools on my list see the most action.
None of these tools are fancy or expensive, the priciest one is linesmen pliers. If you think about which tools you use most often, I wonder if they’d be as basic as the ones I use the most?