My list of tools needed by a techie. Yes, in the order of my preference. Don’t forget something to hold it all in.

  • Safety Glasses
  • Gloves
  • Tape Measure (At least 16′),Adjustable Wrench (a.k.a. C-Wrench),Pocket Knife (keep it sharp)
  • Phillip’s Screw Driver (#2 w/4″ shaft)
  • Flat Screw Driver (Med size w/4″ shaft)
  • Hammer (16oz.)
  • Locking Pliers (a.k.a. Vice Grips)
  • Wire Strippers/cutters
  • Square (Combination/Carpenter’s w/level)
  • Channel Lock Pliers
  • Short Handsaw
  • small hand drill
  • Chalk line



A large assortment of hand saws. From the left: Long rip saws, a key hole saw, mid sized cross cut saws, short tool box saws, coping saws (bottom right). You can also see framing squares, carpenter squares, combination squares and a level.

Several different types of pliers: needle nose, wire cutting, standard, linesmen, locking…

The large, odd looking drill is called a BRACE. The twist bit goes into the chuck on the left side and your hand, shoulder or thigh press against the round knob on the right. A hand goes on the handle and turns. To the right of the photo are two small hand drills.

This is a chalk line. It looks and works line a fishing reel. Inside this thing is kite string and powdered chalk. We use this to create long straight lines for cutting or laying out patterns.

This is snapping the line. When you pull the line out and line it up to points at either end of the line you wish to create, you then pull the line up and let it snap down onto your work; creating your straight line. How many times have you had to draw the center line on the stage? With this tool, it’s a snap:-)

The chalk line also allows you to make quick work of creating a layout grid.

What is a layout grid? I’m glad you asked. Let’s say the designer has given you a drawing of Bugs Bunny. You are asked to make a large plywood cutout of the designer’s Bugs Bunny. It has to be seven feet tall and it must look exactly like to drawing.

First, make a copy of the drawing. We know the drawing is in 1/2″ scale. Now draw a grid of lines, each line to be 1/4″ apart, over the copy of that darn rabbit. The lines will cross each other making boxes. Each box is 6″ in scale.
Now, on your piece of cardboard or plywood, use a chalk line to make a grid of boxes. Each box is to be 6″ square, full size. After you have done this, you will be able to transfer the work easily. You may wish to number each line on both the small and the big grids.

This is sort of like playing battle ship.

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