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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4

    Beginner/Apprentice tools.

    I'm in the process now of finding my first HVAC job with my 1 year of school and EPA 608 certification. I was wondering what kind of tools should I be compiling to get started in this field, I would like to start collecting them as soon as possible so in a few years I'll have a broad array of them.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4
    Also which brands should I stick to for each type of tool, I'd prefer to spend more money on quality tools that last rather than something cheap that will wind up being replaced often.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    3,124
    Whatever you get, make sure it's quality stuff. Buy american made when possible. I prefer to stay away from gimmicky new designs. Good tools are not cheap, cheap tools are not good. Fluke meters and thermometers, Channel-Lock (US) and Knipex (Germany) are good brands for pliers, Klein is the standard for electrical tools. All of my adjustable wrenches are Kleins, but other guys like Irega (Spain) and Bahco (US). The old-school original Craftsman sockets, wrenches, and ratchets have served me well for a long time. Ridgid makes the best pipe wrenches anywhere.
    "There is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals."

    -Thomas Jefferson

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    In the work truck
    Posts
    3,054
    Quote Originally Posted by Tech Rob View Post
    Whatever you get, make sure it's quality stuff. Buy american made when possible. I prefer to stay away from gimmicky new designs. Good tools are not cheap, cheap tools are not good. Fluke meters and thermometers, Channel-Lock (US) and Knipex (Germany) are good brands for pliers, Klein is the standard for electrical tools. All of my adjustable wrenches are Kleins, but other guys like Irega (Spain) and Bahco (US). The old-school original Craftsman sockets, wrenches, and ratchets have served me well for a long time. Ridgid makes the best pipe wrenches anywhere.
    X2 could not have said it better myself..

    Also I used to buy a tool a week when starting out. If your have to borrow a tool from your journeyman more then once go buy it. Before you know it you'll have what you need to start doing some small jobs yourself.
    Gotta have the right tool for the job!

    Where is all the stuff MADE IN THE USA?

    "Thats what we do Troy. Incredible, Invisible, Imbelivable things. We are an Unseen, Unknown, Unvincible fraternity of craftsman.."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    south jersey
    Posts
    1,117
    Quote Originally Posted by Pascone10 View Post
    X2 could not have said it better myself..

    Also I used to buy a tool a week when starting out. If your have to borrow a tool from your journeyman more then once go buy it. Before you know it you'll have what you need to start doing some small jobs yourself.
    This is great advice. Every apprentice I have ever worked with I have given this advice to. (including our mutual buddy) Stay within a budget. Sometimes just a small hand tool and sometimes something bigger. You will accumulate tools very quickly. As far as what to get and what brands I'd say get basic hand tools and a cordless drill. Search this site and you will find some very detailed lists. Good luck and remember, as Mr Pascone says "GOTTA HAVE THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB!"
    You need to put the phone down and get back to work!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    103
    The experts on here will lead you well but in the end you have to get what fits your liking and needs. I work for a college and they will not let me use my own tools, therefore I have a large selection of tools and generally high quality. Working on different equipment every day requires a lot of different tools. good luck and all ways remember quality over quantity.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    44
    I've been doing residential installs as an apprentice for roughly a year now and this is what I have in my bag of hand tools.
    Red & green snips
    Philips & flathead screwdrivers
    Nut drivers
    Malco hole cutter
    Speed square
    Flanging pliers
    Assortment of open/box wrenches
    Linesmen
    Channel locks
    Wire strippers
    Schrader/ thermostat scredriver
    Utility knife
    Insulation staple gun
    Claw hammer
    Sheet metal hammer
    Pry bar
    Multimeter
    Tubing cutters
    Head lamp
    Flashlight
    Strap gun
    Allen set
    Impact / drill combo
    That's the stuff I pull out of my trunk and put in the work truck every morning.
    My company provides a torch, vacuum pump, right angle drill, hole saws, nitrogen tanks, etc..

    Buy the best quality you can because at the end of the day you get what you pay for, and also
    MARK EVERY TOOL YOU OWN!!! I learned the hard way that tools tend to grow legs!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Summerville SC
    Posts
    117
    I recently got a new helper for installs who went to lowes and bought kobalt tools and a bag and he pretty got most every hand tool you could need for under 200 dollars. Now that being said they are not of great quality but as far as screwdrivers and random things like that that don't really need to be dependable they work fine. As far as duct tools malco and Midwest is my preference. I have craftsmen sockets and wrenches that hold up great. Invest in a good drill/driver set. I would recommend dewalt or Makita. if you need other things as the job requires, just post a thread asking opinions or what brand or type you should get. There are plenty of members here who are quick to help and share opinions. x2 on the klein tools. wire strippers, nut drivers, side cutters, cable cutters(for large wire) and crimpers are very nice and you will not be disappointed in the investment.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Chicagoland Area
    Posts
    4,764
    I'm going to come at you from a different angle. When you first start out, it is best to just have the tools. You can buy the quality as you can afford it.If you can afford it now, all the better. Personaly, The only cheap tools I own are ones I found, but I undertand the need for some of the younger guys to budget their money. Stay away from battery operated Crafstman tools. Their batteries are garbage.
    My brand preference for hand tools are: Craftsman, Klein, Channel Lock and Crescent
    meters: Fluke
    battery and electric powertools: Milwaukee

    A meter and a 6&1 can get you started
    Officially, Down for the count

    YOU HAVE TO GET OFF YOUR ASS TO GET ON YOUR FEET

    I know enough to know, I don't know enough
    Liberalism-Ideas so good they mandate them

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Joplin,Missouri
    Posts
    310
    I agree with 2sac craftsman klien channel lock and crescent hand tools but im a fieldpiece guy when it comes to meters and i will only buy yellow jacket guages and micron gauges and scales uei makes a good dual input manometer and i love my supco megaohmmer

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,870
    Start small and build your tool collection as you can afford it.

    I started with a few Craftsman wrenches, a Craftsman socket set, some WalMart Screwdrivers that I was given for Christmas, a YJ41 manifold set and a Fluke 52.

    My current tool inventory would stock TWO trucks better than my first truck was stocked with tools and probably start stocking a third.

    A thing that I do to afford tools even today is to deposit a small amount of money each pay cycle into an account. This is my tool fund.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Fayetteville, NC
    Posts
    310
    On the first of every month I would go to Johnystone and get the circular ad. Most of my hand tools are from there. Trutech tools online have some good deals and you get them quicker sometimes that when you order from the supply houses.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    N.E. Ohio
    Posts
    136
    Another source for tools you don't need "right now" are flea markets. I've collected several Rigid pipe wrenches and other old name American made hand tools at bargain prices. Just need to know what they cost new and what they are worth to you before buying. I've seen some people overprice stuff, but I don't have to buy it if I don't want to. Good Luck in your career. John

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