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Building A Tool Box

Q. I am 16 years old and have started to collect a tool set. Right now I have 3/8" drive sockets and accessories, combination wrenches, screwdrivers, assorted pliers, ball peen and cross peen hammer, hex key sets, and some punches.

I wanted to get some more sockets. I have 3/8" drive only right now. My 9 SAE sockets range from 3/8" - 7/8". And my 9 Metric range from 6 - 19mm.

I was considering either buying 1/4" or 1/2" drive. But I'm not sure which would be more useful. I was looking at a set of eleven 1/2" sockets but there are only 4 sizes that I don't have that come in it. And its about the same with the 1/4" sets.

What do you think would be best to get?

A. If you read my articles on Tools.. Part 1 and Tools.. Part 2 I explain what would make up a nice tool box. There is a section on ratchets and sockets in Part 2.

I think in your case, a 1/4" drive set would be more useful than the 1/2" drive set. You will certainly want to add a 1/2" drive set later on.

A good range of 1/4" sockets would be from 1/4" to 9/16" SAE and 4mm to 14mm in metric. Don't balk at the fact that sockets are duplicated in the three sets. There is always over lap. As you gain experience, you will see there is a difference between a 1/2" nut you would use 1/4" drive on and a 1/2" nut where you would use a 3/8" drive. Most 1/2" drive socket sets start out at 1/2" and go up to about 1 1/16". Again, because there are situations where you would need a 1/2" socket on a 1/2" drive ratchet.

There is one thing about buying tools, once you start, you never stop. I bought my first 3/8" drive set 30 years ago and I'm still buying tools today.

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