The monkey-wrench looks somewhat like the Stillson, but the jaws are not toothed although they are adjustable. They are used for turning bolts or nuts, or for holding a union on a pipe line against the pull of a Stillson. They are very handy for taking the bonnets off faucets or valves, and will not mar the finish as would a Stillson wrench.
One of the indispensable tools of the amateur carpenter is the square. Without this it is hard to make a rightangle or true cut across a board. When you lay one side of a square along a board, the arm of it lies at a true right-angle across the board, and you can mark and cut correctly. They are necessary to use when you square-up the end of a board or do any straight cross-cutting.
A set of end-wrenches can be bought for less than a dollar. These small tools usually come in a set of five or six pieces, and they are splendid for use on small nuts and bolts.
Cold-chisels are actually small bars of iron or steel having a flat head and a sharp beveled edge. They are used for cutting masonry or concrete work, for cutting through large nails, or for any kind of tough work. They can be kept sharp by filing down the edge occasionally. They are worth fifteen or twenty cents apiece. If you ever have occasion to cut out the mortar joint between some bricks, you most certainly cannot use a nice wood chisel or a screw-driver. The tough cold-chisel is made for exactly such jobs. Most amateur repairmen have five or six different sizes of this tool around their work-bench, and find them useful.
, Most of the people who are interested in making their own repairs live in the country or in the suburbs, and all of them know that the time-honored axe is a good implement to have on hand. For splitting logs or kindling they cannot be bettered, and of course they excel at tree work. A good axe is good for a lifetime in the average household, and the one trouble with them is that they get dull. There is nothing more dangerous than a dull axe in a person's hands. It is far more dangerous than a sharp axe, because when you swing a sharp axe at anything, the blade bites and stays there, while a dull axe may well glance off and end up in your foot. An axe can be kept beautifully sharp by filing the edge off on both sides so as to bring the edge of the blade to a paper-thin point. If you want to pass a whet-stone over the edge after that, you will produce an edge that you could almost shave with.
A sharp axe is useful to the real suburbanite or country dweller.
Before we get away from the subject of sharpening tools, we would like to say that all dull tools are dangerous. When a tool has lost its edge so that you have to put a lot of muscle behind your work, you are heading for trouble. If a tool is supposed to be sharp, it was never designed to require much effort to manipulate, because razor-edge and great strain is a combination which does not exist in the tool world.
A level is a convenient tool when you are doing jobs that necessitate an absolutely horizontal finish. Nothing else yet devised will show you whether or not your work is true. If you are making a cement platform and want to be sure that the form is level, this tool is indispensable. Levels cost from fifty cents to ten dollars, but the ten dollar elaborate level will not be one iota more accurate than the half-dollar item. There are many times when you think that something is level, but later discover that it is far from being that way. This simple tool removes all doubt, and saves you the trouble of doing the job over again.
After the homeowner has reached the point where he is more interested in perfection of workmanship, he will begin to appreciate the usefulness of other small tools, such as the nail set, which enables you to sink the head of a nail just a bit below the surface of the wood; and the gimlet, which looks like a thin corkscrew, and which will drill a small hole in wood without the necessity of using a large tool such as the brace and bit. He will probably go in for several sizes of ordinary files, and several of rasps for filing wood. He will buy small clamps to hold his assemblies together after he has glued them, and in general begin to assemble a good set of tools.
If you ever see the bench of a real amateur mechanic, you will notice that he has upon it several glass jars or cans, and in these he keeps an assortment of nails and screws, so that he always has them on hand. You will also notice that he has a jar or can full of odds and ends, such as screw-eyes and screw-hooks, bolts of numerous size, washers and nuts. He has learned that sooner or later something will crop up that calls for their use; so he discards nothing that appears to be of some value.
Modern development has naturally led to the manufacture of many different kinds of electrically operated or power tools. When you have a large amount of work to accomplish, which is all alike, they no doubt save a lot of time and labor; but for the usual run of household repair work, the old hand tools are still efficient and actually more fun to use.