One of my favorite parts of my job is meeting people from all over the world working in the trades. John and I have met face to face with dozens of plumbing and heating pros at trade shows, on job sites and at industry events but its our daily interaction on social media that puts us in contact with countless new friends annually that keeps us on our toes.
Whether on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram I get messages weekly from seasoned pros to new guys and gals just entering the trades. Some are sharing their experiences with a certain product, pictures of an install they’re proud of or something crazy they encountered on a job. Often I’m asked by the new hires the same question: What’s that one tool or few tools you just can’t be without?
I never have a solid answer, or at least the one they’re likely expecting. For me that one tool I couldn’t be without is the only tool needed to complete the job at hand. So the answer is “all of them”, I suppose.
Take this basic tubing bender. It’s as old as the hills, super simple and will outlast my career as a plumbing and heating contractor. It’s only good for about one or two things but without it what could’ve been a simple task to turn out a proper product, I’d instead be hand-bending and likely taking too long to get an offset right or simply ending up with a crappy looking bend. I don’t even use it every day, I have others for various size tubing and wouldn’t want to be without those either, no matter how infrequent they leave the truck.
The point is there are obviously a handful of essential tools but if you need to be told to never forget your tape measure then we’re not talking about the same thing. My advice is this: Pay attention to what you’re doing daily, weekly, monthly and make note of the tools you use on a regular basis. Then, buy the best available within your budget and they’ll last you a long time, like this Imperial-Eastman bender that my now retired Grandfather gave me when I started out over 20 years ago. It wasn’t new then and it’s bent at least a few thousand offsets over the years. To all the new guys and gals I say good luck and don’t hesitate to contact us!