Where would man - and woman - be without tools and a spot of DIY? The short answer is nowhere. A better answer would be that we’d probably still be living in caves, feeding off scraps of animal carcasses and generally acting like the primitive species we once were. Ok, maybe we exaggerate a touch…
However, put bluntly (we’ll get to sharpening tools in a bit), tools not only acted as a catalyst for civilization, they were integral to it. Tools have shaped human history; from our earliest beginnings when the forebears of today’s finely-honed hammers, saws and knives enabled us to defend ourselves, feed ourselves and take shelter, to the present day and our obsession with assembling shelves, mending squeaky floorboards and fixing that leaking tap.
Many of the tools we use today were commonplace (or rudimentary versions) in Egyptian, Greek and Roman times. Indeed, the Smithsonian Institution’s venerable National Museum of Natural History* in Washington DC believes the first human tools date back an incredible 2.6 million years ago.
Since then, as humans have evolved, so have tools. The cost of a comprehensive tool kit in 1797 was £15.10.4d which was approximately a year’s wages for a skilled handyman back then. Tools were precious things, which is why so many old tools have initials on them. You didn’t want to lose them. They were also passed down from generation to generation, like a craftsman’s heirloom.
Leading high street retailer Robert Dyas also believes that DIY has been fundamental to human development. And this is doubly important in these cost-conscious times. Even the most basic bit of DIY can add value to your home and with budget-savvy UK enthusiasts planning on spending 20-30 per cent less on home improvements this year, this is the perfect time to brush up on those DIY skills.
Of course, for the novice embarking on a DIY project for the first time it might seem daunting. However, its Robert Dyas’s Buying Manager and DIY champion Andrew Georgiou’s belief that with the right advice and armed with some handy tips anyone can do it. Moreover, it’s never too late to learn.
He says, “DIY is really about the basics. Get these essentials right and you’ll be hanging pictures, putting up shelves and fixing cracked tiles in no time.”
To that end, Andrew Georgiou and his team have compiled a list of DIY essentials - from some failsafe basics and top DIY hacks to indispensable tools and professional advice - to suit all budgets.
1. Plan. Plan. And then plan some more. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Think the job through. Ensure you have all the right tools to complete the task before you start any project. A lack of prior preparation is probably accountable for most DIY disasters. A whopping 48% of the 18-34 age group admit to making DIY mistakes in the past. Was a lack of planning the main cause?
2. Safety comes first. The Eyecare Trust has estimated that 30,000 eye injuries every year are a result of DIY. These can be avoided. Always ensure you wear adequate protection for your eyes and hands before taking on any DIY project.
3. When using a drill, always ensure you use the correct drill bit. The charity Electrical Safety First urges those drilling to begin by applying light, steady pressure to push the bit into the material. If you have to press hard, you’re probably using the wrong bit. If drilling into a wall always check for any pipes or wires first.
4. Between coats don't wash the brushes and rollers just wrap them tightly in clingfilm and they will stay moist and ready for the next coat.
5. Don't replace old radiators, freshen them up at a fraction of the cost of buying a new one with a coat of heatproof paint/radiator paint. Ensure the radiator is completely cold before starting and clean it thoroughly, removing all dust and grease. And don’t forget the dust sheets!
6. To get a straight line always use a spirit level or digital laser level. After all, no one wants that priceless wedding photo/graduation certificate/antique vase sliding off a wonky shelf.
7. If in doubt always seek help from a qualified professional. It’s estimated that professionals put right £3.3m-worth of botched DIY jobs every year.
8. Psychologists stress the pleasure and satisfaction from the results of DIY. If you want to show your partner you care for them, why not offer to improve their home…and watch the relationship blossom?
Robert Dyas’ Essential Tools Guide
Everyone needs a tool kit, and this Rolson 30-Piece Tool Kit (£17.99) is a cracking all-rounder. With everything you need to tackle your household chores, this tool kit comes complete with a handy bag and is a basic essential for any home. The tools come complete with a choice of screwdriver bits, hex keys and pliers to suit many tasks.
Next up, a screwdriver. This Draper 3.6V Screwdriver with 50 bits (£22.49) is another comprehensive winner. This is another piece of kit that takes no prisoners and will give beginners the confidence to take on any job!
The inexpensive Hilka 6-Piece Screwdriver Set (£4.99) comes with three crosshead screwdrivers and three flat head screwdrivers. Perfect for every job.
Other must-have basics include the Draper Tubular Steel Claw Hammer (£6.99) and the iconic Stanley 5m Tape Measure (£6.49). Carry these and everyone will recognise a fellow pro!
A Draper Venom 500mm Hard Point Handsaw (£5.99) and a Draper Junior Hacksaw (£2.99) will adding sawing power and precision. The handsaw is great for wood, plastic and plasterboard, while the hacksaw will give you precise cutting action. To round off the saws, this Draper Venom Toolbox Saw (£5.99) has been hardened, tempered, straightened and stress relieved to ensure strength and optimum rigidity.
A utility knife and a set of pliers are more great additions to a DIY beginner’s arsenal. This Stanley 99E Retractable Blade Knife (£4.49) is a proven winner from a trusted manufacturer. The Draper 3-Piece Plier Set (£7.99) consists of a combination plier, diagonal side cutter and a long nose plier.
Once you start embracing DIY, thoughts soon turn to a drill. The Pro-Craft 18V Drill +89pce Accessory Set (£44.99) comes with everything you will ever need for the majority of drilling jobs.
Safety is of course paramount when tackling any job. These Draper Expert Anti-Mist Safety Spectacles with UV Protection (£8.99) will protect your eyes and enable you to look on proudly at all of your handiwork. With that in mind, ensure shelves aren’t wonky with this Stanley 600mm 3 vial Spirit Level (£9.99).
Finally, somewhere to store all your new tools. This Stanley 16” Essential Toolbox (£9.99) not only looks the part, but will give you ample room to gather all your tools and screws in one place.
Prices are correct to the time the press release was issued.
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About Robert Dyas:
Robert Dyas, a man of notable character and remarkable determination, founded the company in 1872. He had a vision to provide customers with the best products, service and advice possible – a tradition that continues to be the focus of the company to this day. In 2012, successful businessman and star of BBC TV’s Dragons Den, Theo Paphitis, bought the company.
Theo Paphitis is one of the UK’s most high-profile businessmen with an empire spanning retail, property and finance. Theo, through his staff at the Theo Paphitis Retail Group (TPRG), has continued the Robert Dyas tradition of excellent customer service.
Robert Dyas offers an extensive range of household products. The range includes smart home technology, DIY solutions, small and domestic appliances, homeware, bakeware and kitchenware, outdoor and garden, utility, gifts, textiles plus Christmas trees and gifts.
The company has 94 stores, ranging from 1,250 to 9,000 square feet (116 to 836 square meters) and operates online and in the South of England. The most western store is in Yeovil, the most eastern store in Colchester, the most northern store in Solihull and the store furthest south is in Eastbourne. The company’s head office is now based in Wimbledon.
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/94365/
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