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MONDAY, MAY 7, 2007
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A tool kit perfect for Mom

By James and Morris Carey
For The Associated Press

With Motherís Day just around the corner, we thought that we might lend a hand by suggesting gifts that veer from the traditional perfume, vacuum or toaster. Something practical, yet not insulting — a tool kit for Mom.

Not all tool kits are created equal. Moms and dads really differ when it come to tools. Dads generally believe the more you have and the bigger they are, the more capable you are.

The biggest difference is that when it comes to Momís tool kit, less is more — in many ways. Moms like simplicity. Nothing would please a mom more than having one all-purpose tool. While that may be a bit ambitious, there are definitely certain basics that no mom should be without in her tool kit. Simplicity aside, weight, size, balance and comfort are especially important to women.

We offer the following ďpearlsĒ for Momís toolkit in no particular order, with suggested price range.

Hammer: Itís the foundation of most tool kits. Most women want one that is not too heavy, but tough enough to get the job done. Hammers are sold by weight in ounces. A 13- to 16-ounce hammer with a comfortable rubber grip will suit most moms just fine. Be sure the hammer has a smooth face to avoid dings; claws for pulling nails; and consider a magnetized nail groove to pick up and hold nails in place. About $15.

Screwdriver: We recommend an all-in-one, multi-bit screwdriver with a single handle and shaft, and an assortment of bits that will work with 90 percent of the screws on Earth. As with the hammer, a comfortable padded rubber ergonomic grip will make all the difference in power and safety. Give Mom one with a reversible ratchet driver and sheíll be in home-improvement heaven. About $12.

Measuring tape: A good-quality 12-foot to 16-foot tape measure is lightweight and will fit nicely in Momís hand. An oval housing and a rubber boot add comfort. About $10.

Level: A small torpedo bubble level (about 8 to 10 inches long) has always been a favorite for moms everywhere — especially for those who love to hang pictures and art. Though still popular, the torpedo level is rapidly being replaced by the laser level, which projects a straight line (vertical or horizontal) onto any surface for use when hanging pictures, chair rail, wallpaper — you name it. Torpedo level: about $8; laser level: about $30.

Pliers: There are three styles of pliers that no momís tool kit should be without. A standard pliers for general use; a long-nose pliers, super for bending and cutting wire or for holding small finish nails for hammering; and an adjustable wide-mouth, tongue-and-groove pliers, great for small household plumbing repairs. Look for padded rubber handles for added comfort and a better grip. About $10.

Wrench: A small (6-inch) adjustable wrench (also known as a Crescent wrench) is a must for assembling furniture, tightening loose nuts and changing a bicycle tire. About $15.

Putty Knife: A small (2-inch-wide blade) flexible metal putty knife is great for patching holes in walls and for scraping a rough surface. Plastic and wooden handles are out; oval padded soft-grip ergonomically designed handles are the rage. About $5.

Utility knife: A utility knife with a soft rubber grip for opening the boxes from all those new shoe deliveries. About $5.

Mini hacksaw: An all-purpose hacksaw for cutting tubing, pipe, dowels and other small items. Saves the kitchen knives big time! About $10.

Tool box: A kitchen drawer serves as a great home for Momís tool kit, but lugging that drawer around can be a pain. A soft-sided cloth tool bag is the latest and greatest in tool storage for moms. Size and compartments will dictate price. About $20.

Other small items to complete momís tool kit include:

Sandpaper: An assortment of coarse, medium, fine and extra-fine, for touching up dings and dents in furniture.

Rubber jar-opening pad: For getting a grip on things, including jar tops.

String: To tie things and make a straight line.

Glue: A small bottle of white glue to repair a damaged picture frame or kitchen chair; a tube of crazy glue for everything else.

Dark-brown shoe polish: It covers all wood flaws.

Nails and screws: A small assortment of finish nails and screws for hanging this or repairing that.

And last, but certainly not least: a small roll of duct tape. No respectable tool kit would be complete without it — even if Mom will never use it!

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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