10 Hand Tools that Have Real Power


Utility Knife

There's a utility knife for every taste and grip preference. ©iStockphoto/Thinkstock
There's a utility knife for every taste and grip preference. ŠiStockphoto/Thinkstock

What's in your kitchen junk drawer? Among the pens, stamps and batteries many of us stash in a convenient spot is one of the most handy hand tools of all: the utility knife. And many of us only use that knife when we're opening packages, which is too bad because your utility knife has power. More power than needed to cut through a little tape or twine. For example, that knife's straight blade can be used to cut carpet and vinyl flooring (and if you swap the straight blade with a hooked blade it'll make your vinyl flooring project even easier). Use it with a T-square or a ruler to score and cut drywall [source: Mahoney].

Sharp knives are safe knives, and remember to always point the blade away from yourself as you cut.

Author's Note: 10 Hand Tools that Have Real Power

Green promotes health. Blue, calmness. White will make your living space seem bigger, but it can also seem empty. And yellow, well, it makes babies cry. I really enjoyed the look into the psychology of colors, and I love that a simple brush or sponge and a can of paint can totally transform the feeling of a living space. What I don't love, though, is taping.

Related Articles


  • Alfred, Randy. "July 14, 1868: Tape Measure Clicks In." Wired. July 14, 2009. (July 6, 2013) http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2009/07/dayintech_0714/
  • BBC. "Psychology of colour." (July 6, 2013) http://www.bbc.co.uk/homes/design/colour_psychologyofcolour.shtml
  • CarsDirect. "Crescent Wrench Set Buyer's Guide." Feb. 22, 2012. (July 6, 2013) http://www.carsdirect.com/car-repair/crescent-wrench-set-buyers-guide
  • Freeman, David. "Color Psychology: How to make Your Home Feel Good." WebMD. Sept. 21, 2010. (July 6, 2013) http://women.webmd.com/home-health-and-safety-9/color-psychology
  • Freeman, Scott; and Jon C. Herron. "Dexterity and Early Tools." Evolutionary Analysis. 1998. (July 6, 2013) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/07/4/l_074_01.html
  • Irwin Tools. "IRWIN Industrial Tools Announces Emergency Battlefield Spine Surgery Tale as Winner of 'Tell Use Your VISE-GRIP Story' Promotion." March 1, 2009. (July 6, 2013) http://www.irwin.com/press-center/press-release/03-01-2009/2
  • Lowe's. "Hand Saw Buying Guide." (July 6, 2013) http://www.lowes.com/cd_Hand+Saw+Buying+Guide_614237294_
  • Lowe's. "Hang Pictures on a Wall." (July 6, 2013) http://www.lowes.com/cd_Hang+Pictures+on+a+Wall_1304692075_
  • Lowe's. "Level Buying Guide." (July 6, 2013) http://www.lowes.com/cd_Level+Buying+Guide_288919912_
  • Pieh Tool Company, Inc. "Sledge Hammers." (July 6, 2013) http://www.piehtoolco.com/contents/en-us/d571.html
  • Quagliotto, Roberto. "Preventing Hand Injuries." QUAGturm Inc. (July 6, 2013) http://www.quagtum.com/images/Fliers/Preventing_Hand_Injuries.pdf
  • Reardon, Sara. "Stone tools helped shape human hands." New Scientist. April 11, 2013. (July 6, 2013) http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21829124.200-stone-tools-helped-shape-human-hands.html
  • Sawyers, Harry. "Claw Hammers." This Old House. (July 6, 2013) http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,1179592,00.html
  • Sawyers, Harry. "How Vise-Grips Saved My Life and Other Tales about this Toolbox Hero." Popular Mechanics. Oct. 1, 2009. (July 6, 2013) http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/reviews/4306261
  • Stanley Black & Decker. "History." (July 6, 2013) http://www.stanleytools.com/?TYPE=STATICLEFT&PAGE=history.htm&LEFT=left_history.htm
  • Taylor, Delano. "The Psychology of Colors [infographic]." Daily Infographic. Sept. 19, 2012. (July 6, 2013) http://dailyinfographic.com/the-psychology-of-colors-infographic
  • The Art of Manliness. "Toolmanship: Your Complete guide to Wrenches." March 5, 2013. (July 6, 2013) http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/03/05/toolmanship-your-complete-guide-to-wrenches/
  • The Family Handyman. "Hammers Aren't Just for Nails: 101 Ways to use a Rip Hammer." (July 6, 2013) http://www.familyhandyman.com/tools/hammers-aren-t-just-for-nails--101-ways-to-use-a-rip-hammer/view-all
  • The Home Depot. "Buying Guides: Handsaws." (July 6, 2013) http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/catalog/servlet/ContentView?pn=Hand_Saws&storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053
  • Truini, Joseph. "18 Uses for an old Favorite, the Utility Knife: DIY Guy." Popular Mechanics. Oct. 1, 2009. (July 6, 2013) http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/reviews/4302765
  • VanHemert, Kyle. "How Do You Design An Indestructible Sledgehammer?" Fast Company. Jan. 28, 2013. (July 6, 2013) http://www.fastcodesign.com/1671699/how-do-you-design-an-indestructible-sledgehammer
  • Yagid, Rob. "What's the Best Multibit." Fine Homebuilding. 2007. (July 6, 2013) http://www.finehomebuilding.com/pdf/021192080.pdf


How Jackhammers Work

How Jackhammers Work

Jackhammers offer incredible power when it comes to breaking down hard substances. Find out how these demolition marvels work.