One of the most important, and popular, tools in my house is my All-In-One Tool, also called a Multi-Tool. Even though I have 400 square feet, in a separate building, dedicated to tool storage, and at last count, 57 different screwdrivers, this is the tool I use on a daily basis. A good multi-tool will contain: pliers, wire cutters, slotted and Phillips screwdrivers, cutting blades, awl, and a can/bottle opener.
The advantage of this ingenious invention is that you don’t have to search different places for all your basic hand tools. I actually have two of these wonders; I keep another one in the car, like a mini tool box it’s always ready to go. If only to open that damn plastic blister packaging that encases almost everything these days, or to clip the wire ties that attach every toy to it's box. Moms and Dads, this is a tool you should not ever be without!
- Do not purchase an inexpensive knock-off of the original designs. These cheap imitations can often be found, blister packed, hanging in the camping sections of local discount stores, priced between $10 and $20. You will not be happy with the quality, and these tools can actually be unsafe due to their poor construction. One thing to look for is a “lock-back” feature. This prevents the tool from closing when in use. Something that could be very dangerous when using the sharp blade fold out. The less expensive units, more often than not, do not have this feature. It’s another one of those “you get what you pay for” things.
Remember Tool Rule #1: A tool that's never used is sad and lonely... and a waste of money!
I’ve had my original tool for seven years now and use it on a daily basis. I paid $47 and it’s more than paid for itself.
The two manufacturers I recommend for Multi-Tools are GERBER and SCHRADE. I use the SCHRADE ST1, a great all around multi-tool. Though, Gerber has a much larger selection, and has tools designed for different purposes.
I would never discount the wonders of WD-40; I’m more a fan of Solder Seal Gunk’s Silicone Spray Lubricant. While WD-40 certainly has its place (to be used mainly with metal parts, though you can download the 2000 uses for WD-40 at its website) a Silicone Spray works with all types of materials. It’s especially good for rubber, plastic, and nylon parts, but can be used on metal as well.
One big advantage, that I have found, is silicone spray does not evaporate as fast as petroleum based sprays. This makes those annoying squeaks stop for longer periods. Also, petroleum based sprays tend to attract more dirt and dust, often causing bigger problems in the future. There’s also the issue of flammability. While both sprays are flammable, petroleum based sprays have a lower flash point making them a second choice when contact with heat is needed (i.e. used as a coolant for drill bits when drilling into metal.)
The next time you have a squeaky door hinge, noisy office chair or stubborn kitchen drawer slide try some silicone instead of the “blue” can stuff. You’ll be pleasantly surprised, I’m sure of it.
- Avoid over spraying any kind of spray lubricant, most will stain fabrics, woods, and plastics. Also, use disposable paper towels for clean up. Cloth rags that have been soaked with a spray lubricant are a fire hazard.