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Old 04-25-2016, 11:07 AM   #1
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Default Electrician Tools, tools that will set you apart from your peers!?

Right now I'm an apprentice of about a year and a half, but I want to start setting myself apart from the rest of the apprentices that work for my company. Just wondering what tools I should buy that you ended up using all the time and had no idea it would be so useful in the field. Or just tools in general that are lifesavers for troubleshooting or using on a day by day basis in the field. Right now I have a sawzall, impact, hammer drill, portable vacuum, and a ton of hand tools. If it is a badass tool, I don't mind investing a lot of money if it is going to help me tremendously. So putting money aside, what tools would you guys say you like the most! Thanks for your help
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Old 04-25-2016, 11:20 AM   #2
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Full 4 3/4" x 4 3/4" cut.
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Old 04-25-2016, 11:52 AM   #3
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I would say it's about how you use your tools and not what ones you have. I see guys all the time show up with a truck full of tools to do a simple job like lighting retros. They spend most of their time organizing, moving things around, looking for a tool when then one they have in their hand would do the job just fine etc. They waste more time then anything so as far as impressing me they tend to fail.

Just like if you have the best work clothes, are they kept clean so it looks like you're lazy? Or are they filthy so it looks like you hard instead of smart. It can go either way. Get what you need to do the job at hand and save your money in your bank account where it belongs.
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Old 04-25-2016, 11:55 AM   #4
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I like the band saw suggestion a whole lot. Another ''tool'' would be the Mike Holt library on DVD which if put to proper use, will pay for itself over and over.
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Old 04-25-2016, 12:00 PM   #5
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The apprentices now are lazier than they used to be.
They all need a battery bandsaw or sawzall when a hacksaw would be quicker and lighter to carry.

I am tired of the time wasted with the dead batteries and looking for somewhere to charge them.

The hacksaw is quicker unless you are cutting over 1-1/2" pipe.
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Old 04-25-2016, 01:18 PM   #6
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I've encountered a few that didn't have the best tool of all. Your mind and thought process. Simple pre task planning, visualizing the next step needed to be done before asked to do it.
It appears you have what you NEED as far as your tool bag goes. Wants can come later. Focus on that thought process.
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Old 04-25-2016, 01:24 PM   #7
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The apprentices now are lazier than they used to be.
They all need a battery bandsaw or sawzall when a hacksaw would be quicker and lighter to carry.

I am tired of the time wasted with the dead batteries and looking for somewhere to charge them.

The hacksaw is quicker unless you are cutting over 1-1/2" pipe.
I use a hacksaw for up to 2" metal and a pvc saw for up to 4" pvc.

It let's me eat a breakfast, 6 taco lunch, protien smoothie, and big dinner without getting fat.
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Old 04-25-2016, 02:29 PM   #8
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Just buy good quality tools as you need them, basic hand tools get the average electrician through his life i the trade.

Union or open shop?
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Old 04-25-2016, 02:43 PM   #9
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Just buy good quality tools as you need them, basic hand tools get the average electrician through his life i the trade.

Union or open shop?
I don't work for any union, just an open shop. I feel like I am completely set when it comes to tools for the most part. Just didn't know if there was tools out there that the average electrician doesn't have but it actually really comes in handy. Like I'm considering buying a circuit tracer, a cordless band saw, and a cordless rotary hammer. Might hold off on the band saw and rotary hammer until I am almost a journeyman, because its hard to fit all this stuff in my little car. But the circuit tracer I am probably going to buy asap.
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Old 04-25-2016, 02:57 PM   #10
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...Union or open shop?
Does every thread need to be turned into a union thread?

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Originally Posted by JasonCo View Post
I don't work for any union, just an open shop. I feel like I am completely set when it comes to tools for the most part. Just didn't know if there was tools out there that the average electrician doesn't have but it actually really comes in handy. Like I'm considering buying a circuit tracer, a cordless band saw, and a cordless rotary hammer. Might hold off on the band saw and rotary hammer until I am almost a journeyman, because its hard to fit all this stuff in my little car. But the circuit tracer I am probably going to buy asap.
Don't waste your money, these are tools that your company should supply.
If they want you to supply them, you should look for a better company.
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Old 04-25-2016, 03:22 PM   #11
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Don't waste your money, these are tools that your company should supply.
If they want you to supply them, you should look for a better company.
agreed....Save your money, not your employer's. Honestly, nobody will really care how fancy your tools are. They'll just end up being borrowed and lost!

All you need are a set of good hand tools, multimeter and cordless/impact.
The rest should be supplied by your employer.
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Old 04-25-2016, 03:34 PM   #12
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Does every thread need to be turned into a union thread?
.
If you follow any of my post you will see I am open to either side of the coin and feel where you work should be you choice. I have no issues with either side, though as a young apprentice if he could get in the union in 40-45 years he will be thankful.

BUT IF YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE TRADE AND LABOR ORGANIZATIONS YOU KNOW THAT WAS A LOGICAL QUESTION.

You start buying tools above and beyond what the union list as acceptable and the young man could find himself looking at work at McDonalds.

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Old 04-25-2016, 03:51 PM   #13
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If you follow any of my post you will see I am open to either side of the coin and feel where you work should be you choice. I have no issues with either side, though as a young apprentice if he could get in the union in 40-45 years he will be thankful.

BUT IF YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE TRADE AND LABOR ORGANIZATIONS YOU KNOW THAT WAS A LOGICAL QUESTION.

You start buying tools above and beyond what the union list as acceptable and the young man could find himself looking at work at McDonalds.

Get off your high horse. I know more about the trade and unions than you will ever know.

You union guys push your union rhetoric and don't want to hear any other opinions.
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Old 04-25-2016, 04:06 PM   #14
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I don't work for any union, just an open shop. I feel like I am completely set when it comes to tools for the most part. Just didn't know if there was tools out there that the average electrician doesn't have but it actually really comes in handy. Like I'm considering buying a circuit tracer, a cordless band saw, and a cordless rotary hammer. Might hold off on the band saw and rotary hammer until I am almost a journeyman, because its hard to fit all this stuff in my little car. But the circuit tracer I am probably going to buy asap.
A GOOD commercial/industrial circuit tracer is pricey, and is your bosses responsibility to purchase. If you get into a lot of commercial remodeling, they're priceless. I purchased an AMRPOBE tracer 18 years ago, and it still works great.
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Old 04-25-2016, 04:19 PM   #15
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I agree with others above you don't want to go too far with this as a way of standing out, you sound like you're bringing more than adequate gear.

One that I'll suggest just because it seems like fewer people are carrying them, a Knopp K-60 solenoid type tester. It's a real good tool, keeps you safe, and may occasionally help troubleshooting if nobody else has a solenoid tester or lowZ meter to see if some oddball voltage is the dreaded phantom voltage.

If you want to stand out in a way that EVERYONE will respect, try to master the ART, and it is an art, of being the guy that has what he needs on him when it's needed as much as possible. I haven't mastered it myself, it's impossible to know just what you're going to need sometimes.

But if you keep

pencil
paper
sharpie
knife
flashlight
pliers
9-in-1
tape
ticker

ON YOUR PERSON AT ALL TIMES you're way ahead of the average cat around here.
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Old 04-25-2016, 05:02 PM   #16
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The thing about my company, is that they will supply power tools to us like the band saw and rotary hammer, or like a grinder. Things like that, but! and let me tell you... its a HUGE BUT... They are corded tools. There is nothing I hate more than lugging around extension cords all day every day! Sometimes I'll be in a place that doesn't even have power yet!! So I rather just buy the damn cordless ones, those corded tools are very time consuming and just an all around hassle.

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One that I'll suggest just because it seems like fewer people are carrying them, a Knopp K-60 solenoid type tester. It's a real good tool, keeps you safe, and may occasionally help troubleshooting if nobody else has a solenoid tester or lowZ meter to see if some oddball voltage is the dreaded phantom voltage.
I looked up this tester, won't it serve the same purpose as a regular multimeter? Which is what I have now

Last edited by JasonCo; 04-25-2016 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 04-25-2016, 05:07 PM   #17
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The thing about my company, is that they will supply power tools to us like the band saw and rotary hammer, or like a grinder. Things like that, but! and let me tell you... its a HUGE BUT... They are corded tools. There is nothing I hate more than lugging around extension cords all day every day! Sometimes I'll be in a place that doesn't even have power yet!! So I rather just buy the damn cordless ones, those corded tools are very time consuming and just an all around hassle.
So no power for corded tools but power for chargers?
It don't add up.
Still sounds like lazy to me.
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Old 04-25-2016, 05:10 PM   #18
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dont forget, at the end of the day you are still compensated for that unproductive time spent hooking up extensions cords "all day every day"

I feel that unproductive time is more for the employer to worry about lol. I wouldn't sweat it.
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Old 04-25-2016, 05:10 PM   #19
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So no power for corded tools but power for chargers?
It don't add up.
Still sounds like lazy to me.
Well usually the places we work at has power, just stating that there might be scenarios where there isn't power around. But, I always make sure my batteries are charged before going to work every day. I have the new 5.0 milwaukee batteries and they seam to always get me through the day. Also, the faster you are in my company the more impressive and more work you will get.

This will sound a bit off the wall though, but I just want to be the best haha, plain and simple. I am very competitive, my goal is to basically just be the best electrician at my company. It's not like I act this way or anything at work, but just deep down my personal goal is to be this way.

I'm not saying that corded tools will hold you back from being the best, because A LOTTTT of things go into being a good electrician. But, just little small things like that personally get to me, and I feel like I need to just buy the cordless ones and be done with any struggling with cords. I hate cords...

Last edited by JasonCo; 04-25-2016 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 04-25-2016, 05:30 PM   #20
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I looked up this tester, won't it serve the same purpose as a regular multimeter? Which is what I have now
Not quite. Most meters are not low-impedance, which means they put virtually no load on the circuit, which means little whisps of induced voltage which are nothing can look leave you scratching your head thinking there's a problem when there's not. So if nobody else keeps one on hand, when these problems come up, you could

Another useful small thing, you can test hot to ground with the solenoid tester and see if a gfci trips as it should.

It's also more failsafe and foolproof, requires no batteries, to me that's a big plus for a device that you rely on for safety.

Also, a solenoid tester is more compact, cheaper, durable, and easier to carry around than the DMM, which goes back to what I was saying before, which one are you more likely to have on your person / within reach, when you need it?

Last edited by splatz; 04-25-2016 at 05:33 PM.
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