Many people forget that they may need to buy some new tools in order to fit their new kitchen or bedroom. Whilst this guide will try to include as much information as possible it is by no means the definitive guide. You could own the entire inventory of Screwfix and still discover that you need something else!
Unlike many kitchen companies, the owners of The Kitchen Workshop have many years practical experience in actually installing the products that they sell, starting way back in 1984. It is hoped that this guide is usefull to you.
First of all we need to look at the issue of cost versus quality. Cheap tools are exactly that, cheap. If you have to purchase new tools think about how you are going to use them. If you are a keen DIYer then it will be beneficial to spend a little more on the items, they'll last a good few years. If you feel that after the installation that you are never going to look at a screwdriver again, then buying cheap tools and throwing them away after you've used them is sort of acceptable. In any case, you should always buy the best equipment that you can afford, but this doesn't mean buying a £700 DeWalt radial arm saw just to cut 3 pieces of cornice.
To build your units you'll need some basic tools. Basic tools include a set of assorted screwdrivers that include both flat and posi-drive heads of various sizes. A claw hammer and a club hammer, bolster and chisel. A Stanley knife (or similar) and blades. A fine tooth handsaw and a hacksaw. Pliers, adjustable grips and wrench. A good spirit level of at least 1m in length. Pencils. A set of wood chisels. A mitre saw.
Power tools will be a neccessity, a cordless screwdriver with a spare battery and at charger of at least 1 hour tops this list, some people may put this at the top of their basic tool list. An electric hammer drill and a set of drill bits. In our experience a fairly cheap set of drill bits in a case from the hardware store is the best buy as even the most expensive drill bits can snap and become blunt. The best sets will contain a variety of items, screwdriver bits, hole saws, masonary and wood bits etc. and can cost from around £35. A jigsaw with some good blades, Bosch blades seem to resist twisting more than other makes. A circular saw with a good blade with at least 20 teeth on it. An electric planer is good for skimming the backs of worktops.
Other power tools that you could consider are a table saw and a router. The router is essential for machining worktop joints, but a decent 1/2 inch machine and the relevent worktop cutting jig will cost quite a lot of money. A cross cut saw will cut the cornice, pelmets and plinth faster and more accurately that a hand mitre saw but a good quality saw can cost a lot.
A pair of saw horses can be very handy, you can buy a plastic set quite cheaply. If you are going to do your own plumbing you will need a pipecutter and possibly some type of pipe bender. Modern push fittings have eliminated the need for a blowlamp. Never attempt to alter the gas supply. If you plan to alter the electrics you will need to be very careful, new legislation has made many alterations in the kitchen illegal for non registered persons to carry out. In any case you'll need the proper insulated tools. It is always recommended that gas and elecrical works are entrusted to registered trades people.
Along with these tools you'll need an assortment of screws and wall plugs, plenty of spare time and a lot of patience. And of course the Great British builders favourite, lots of steaming hot tea.