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A Beginners Guide to Tool Time for the Wannabe Handyman


A sponsored dobbernationLOVES post.

I’m a total dunce when it comes to tinkering with tools. While I spent most of my youth familiarizing myself with the tools of the kitchen I give my parents credit for doing a great job at exposing me to the handyman essentials. I was gifted a pair of knives to whittle on wood as a youngster and in my teens was regularly tasked at lending a hand in the garden with my mother and maintaining our cottage in Muskoka with my dad.

When I first moved to Toronto my father gifted me an essential homeowners tool kit featuring the basics: hammer, wrench, screwdriver, and measuring tape. For those looking to take their tool skills to the next level, wannabe handymen (and women) will find all their questions answered in The Tool Book (DK Publishing 2017).

Featuring a forward by Parks and Rec funnyman Nick Offerman (host of the new show Making It on NBC), The Tool Book salutes generations of craftsmanship, ingenuity, and know-how. Explore tools from every angle, with detailed patent drawings, exploded diagrams, and step-by-step illustrations of tools in action with the science behind the techniques.

Gallery pages display different types of hammers, spades, or chisels, while expert advice tells you what to look for when choosing a tool, and how to use it and care for it best. Discover why each tool is perfect for the job, and why it deserves a prominent spot in your shed, workshop, studio, or makerspace. It’s the perfect gift for craftsmen, makers and anyone with an interest in DIY.

In an effort to learn more about the art of tinkering I headed to Toronto’s Eglinton West to visit Alex Rosa’s bespoke furniture studio. Now in his eighth year in the custom cabinetry and furniture business, Alex first fell in love with the trades back in university, “I was 19 and working for my uncle doing home and commercial renovations. I instantly fell in love with the idea of not going into an office everyday and seeing, in person, the tangible thing I had created or finished at the end of the day. I first started out as an apprentice at a custom furniture company in Brooklyn, then worked my way up over the years to head builder at another furniture company before heading out on my own. I currently now own and operate my own custom furniture company selling my line of furniture as well as custom pieces for the interior design community. I usually meet with clients and designers to discuss design elements and engineer and fabricate their pieces using machines and tools in my workshop.”

Alex is a big fan of The Tool Book, “I’m extremely happy that The Tool Book features a lot about safety which I know is boring but is really the most important thing to know when using tools. I also loved the very detailed instructions on proper techniques for some of the tools. Not everyone has someone to instruct them one-on-one, so The Tool Book is an excellent teaching tool.”

The Tool Book is a perfect gift for a newbie hobbyist as each of the major tool families are described in detail, offering beginners fast facts on what they are, what they are used for, how to use them, and what to look for when buying them in your local hardware store. For seasoned pros, the hefty tome acts as a handy encyclopedia, a fantastic resource best stored a stones throw from your workroom, toolshed, or cottage bookcase.

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