The tab on the end of a tape measure—called a tang—has a little slot in the face. That hole is for hooking the tang over a nail or screw to get an accurate measurement. When measuring, if you don’t have a pencil handy you can use the tang to mark your cut line. Bonus tip: The body of a standard tape measure is 3” long. So, if you’re measuring, say, the length of a room and you have the tool butting against a wall, just add 3” to what you read on the tape.
A good quality multi-bit driver is handy for a couple more reasons than you might think. For one, you can use the bits in a power drill if you can’t find your bit set. Also, with the bits removed, the handle works as a nut driver.
Any good toolkit will have a variety of pliers in it, including needle-nose and locking (a.k.a. vice grips). In addition to their primary function, most will also have wire strippers and cutters where the jaws meet.
As the name suggests, a combination square combines multiple tools in one, primarily for marking 45-degree and 90-degree angles. But you can always remove the blade and use it as a short metal ruler or use the vial on the square to hang pictures if you don’t have a level handle. Finally, it’s got a marking scribe built in if you can’t find a pencil. Look for a little brass knob at the base of the handle and twist it to remove the scribe.
Sold under a variety of numeric names (6-in-1, 9-in-1, 15-in-1 etc.), painter’s tools are the original multi-tool, combining an array of different functions in one handy item. Common features include a scrapper, a paint can opener, a nail puller, a flat and Phillips screwdriver, and a paint roller cleaner—the latter is the half-circle built into the side of the blade.
Every self-respecting DIYer aspires to have more tools in their collection. But you may have more capabilities than you thought already at your disposal. Here are some features of common hand tools that you may have overlooked. Featured Video