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Old 08-01-2019, 01:13 PM   #1
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Question My Current Tools. What else should I buy?

Hi.



I am in the process of being an Apprentice Electrician. I have acquired some tools throughout the years and was wondering what else is needed in the eyes of a Journey Man for an Apprentice.



These is my current Tools:


Milwaukee Impact Driver
Hitachi Hammer Drill
Klein RMS Clamp Meter
Craftsmen Multimeter

Milwaukee STUD 25Ft Tape Measure


This is what I am planning to buy...


Wera 347900 VBE Insulated Screwdriver Set


Knipex 7 piece insulated Pliers and Screwdriver Tool Set.


Would the above be enough for an Apprentice from a Journey Man's point of view?



Cheers!





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Old 08-01-2019, 01:34 PM   #2
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You forgot six and eight foot step ladder, pickup truck with cap and ladder rack
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Old 08-01-2019, 01:51 PM   #3
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You need very basic handtools. The company that you work for sets the tool list, or the union if you get into a union.

The tape measure is good. Other basic tools:
Hammer
lineman pliers
diagonal pliers
needlenose pliers
small channel locks (420 or 430)
medium channel locks (440)
larger straight screwdriver
medium straight screwdriver
small straight screwdriver
#2 phillips screwdriver
torpedo level
keyhole saw
small allen keys
utility knife
flashlight

Instead of a digital meter you should have a solenoid type tester. None of your tools should be insulated.

The tools above will get you thru most stuff until you find out which others tools you will need. Don't go crazy buying tools now because you will soon find that they weren't exactly what you needed and will be wasted.
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Old 08-01-2019, 02:10 PM   #4
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Keep in mind you're most likely to use the contractor supplied broom and shovel more than anything for a while

If you were going into a union apprenticeship they'd have a tool list for you, if you aren't, you can still google "IBEW tool list" you'll find the lists that various locals require.

If there's no such list, opinions vary a lot with this topic, I'd just show up with a minimal set and see what they want you to bring. Set aside some money so you can buy what they want you to bring.

I'd bring a few things, just so you're not coming empty handed

carpenter's pencil and / or sharpie and pocket sized note pad (to take down your instructions)
utility knife (even if it's only to open boxes)
small flashlight (you'll be working / crawling places where there's no lights - yet)

The first on that list above is the most important.

As for real tool tools, I'd just bring a multi-tip screwdriver, linemans pliers, and a small tool pouch to carry them. If you already have them, maybe you might as well bring but leave in the car

wire stripper
diagonal pliers
channellock pliers
hammer
tape measure and / or folding stick ruler
big heavy duty slotted screwdriver
other screwdrivers

Power tools will be especially controversial

Insulated tools are not for apprentices, although I hear they're all anyone uses in Europe, but certainly not for your first day on the job in the US.
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Old 08-01-2019, 02:51 PM   #5
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PPE -- Personal Protective Equipment has to be FIRST on your priority list.

By which I mean GLOVES. You want a couple of pair. These should be nice ones that are comfortable. I know of no firm that ever supplies personal gloves.

I get most use out of tip-less gloves.

You'll want comfort gloves because your first duties will consist of broom and shovel and package shifting. That gets hard on the hands right from the first.

You'll want very comfortable boots. A poor selection will have you crawling on all fours by the next day.

Next: knee pads// or overalls with foam insert knee pads. Electricians take it in the knees.

Most PPE will typically be employer supplied: hard hat, hearing, face mask// eye goggles....

You'll want a carpenter's square pencil because office pencils simply roll out of sight// break.

You'll still want a pocket sized note pad -- as you'll be flooded with detail -- names being at the top of the list. Write everyone's name down as soon as possible after learning it. This will go a LONG ways towards making you a member of the crew. No-one likes to be forgotten.

While on the job -- stay the heck away from your cell phone. Let everything go to voice mail. Jabbering on the phone will soon have you pushed out the door -- permanently.

EVERY EC I've ever known has a tools-required-list. Wait to see it before jumping off.
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Old 08-01-2019, 03:41 PM   #6
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The last thing you need is insulated tools at this stage of your career.

Carry the most basic tools.

Think health and safety and make sure you have good boots and other PPE.

Try and get a Union apprenticeship, in your area it's the absolute best way to go.
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Old 08-01-2019, 04:06 PM   #7
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I cannot thank you enough for sharing the knowledge!


If I am reading between the lines correctly, the last thing I should do is roll in with a lot of top tier tools for some workers will give me the evil eye. I do have a bunch of old tools (20 years – 30 years old) that I can bring so I won't stand out from the crowd in a negative way.


I have explored my local union but, it appears to be a 3 year wait. So chances are, I will be exploring non-union options until the waiting period is over.


Cheers!
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Old 08-01-2019, 05:59 PM   #8
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KC Tool has that Wera screwdriver set at a real good price, $85.00. But like everyone has said you should not be working on anything live. The thing I don't like about buying the German screwdriver sets is, their sizes are to small. Out of that set the biggest flat head screwdriver is good for putting on plates. there's probably three screwdrivers in that set that you would use everyday. The small ones are invaluable if your doing a lot of small work like controls or fire alarm, you just don't need that many sizes. at least not at first.


If you go the German/metric route for the screwdrivers get a 6, 8 and a 10. Those are the ones you'll use everyday. Or 6.5, 8.5, 10.5, whatever crazy sizes they come in. Most sets won't have them. That's why I bought Whia when I wanted to try the German brands. They actually had "Real Electrician" sizes. Maybe someday Ill grow into them



https://www.kctoolco.com/wiha-30898-...rewdriver-set/



Good luck with your career!
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Old 08-01-2019, 06:40 PM   #9
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Like @HackWork says buy a solenoid tester [Wiggy] but get a Knopp, you'll thank me later.
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Old 08-01-2019, 06:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 460 Delta View Post
Like @HackWork says buy a solenoid tester [Wiggy] but get a Knopp, you'll thank me later.
I think the Knopp is really nice but I got the Etcon 154, it's rugged and made in USA, has a solenoid and neon light but also has a beeper continuity tester. It would be pretty hard to give up that continuity tester now.

http://www.etcon.com/vt154.htm
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Old 08-01-2019, 07:02 PM   #11
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As an apprentice -- he ought not to be touching live circuits for quite a while.

OP: So hold off on ANYTHING in that line.

No employer is going to expect you to be journeyman equipped -- or anything like it.

Insulated tools are a waste for you. They go for a premium -- and are solely designed for work around hot circuits -- as you can't afford to beat them up during rough-in work -- which is what you'll start out doing -- with ditch work at the top of the list.

Ditch work separates the men from the nerds. The latter only want to play with circuits -- while not really getting their hands dirty actually building something.
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Old 08-01-2019, 07:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HertzHound View Post
KC Tool has that Wera screwdriver set at a real good price, $85.00. But like everyone has said you should not be working on anything live. The thing I don't like about buying the German screwdriver sets is, their sizes are to small. Out of that set the biggest flat head screwdriver is good for putting on plates. there's probably three screwdrivers in that set that you would use everyday. The small ones are invaluable if your doing a lot of small work like controls or fire alarm, you just don't need that many sizes. at least not at first.


If you go the German/metric route for the screwdrivers get a 6, 8 and a 10. Those are the ones you'll use everyday. Or 6.5, 8.5, 10.5, whatever crazy sizes they come in. Most sets won't have them. That's why I bought Whia when I wanted to try the German brands. They actually had "Real Electrician" sizes. Maybe someday Ill grow into them






Good luck with your career!

That's good to know!


I have not used a Phillips Screwdriver to fasten screws in years due to using an impact driver and/or drill with number 2 bits for drywall screws. I will pick up a set of those Wiha Screwdrivers you recommended as I completely overlooked the size requirements for a flat head Screwdriver.


Cheers!
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:19 PM   #13
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I am definitely not afraid to get my hands dirty so, a good pair of gloves should be top priority to prevent callouses... But then again, I like callouses. I will explore the Etcon 154 in addition to the Knopp Wiggy Tester. Hopefully Wiha 8 piece screwdriver set should meet all the requirements. I never even considered the importance of width size of a flat-head Screwdriver.



Cheers!
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splatz View Post
I think the Knopp is really nice but I got the Etcon 154, it's rugged and made in USA, has a solenoid and neon light but also has a beeper continuity tester. It would be pretty hard to give up that continuity tester now.

http://www.etcon.com/vt154.htm
Yeah I have an Etcon, but the size of the Knopp is the selling point to me. I had an Ideal once upon a time with the connie test, but a couple false reads on a carbon trace in a blown fuse was the end for me. The slim Knopp is an easy fit in my pocket. The Ideal was like a brick in comparison.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:25 PM   #15
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What about the Ideal 61-076 Vol-Con? How does it stand against the Etcon VT154 in addition to the Knopp 14460?
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:28 PM   #16
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You'll also need an ample supply of coffee stirrers, and one of those belt mounted change makers.
Attached Thumbnails
My Current Tools. What else should I buy?-change-maker.jpg  

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Old 08-01-2019, 08:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amperage View Post
I am definitely not afraid to get my hands dirty so, a good pair of gloves should be top priority to prevent callouses... But then again, I like callouses. I will explore the Etcon 154 in addition to the Knopp Wiggy Tester. Hopefully Wiha 8 piece screwdriver set should meet all the requirements. I never even considered the importance of width size of a flat-head Screwdriver.



Cheers!
Callouses are fine, cuts and blisters are a bad day!
A steel capped screwdriver will be a chisel, prybar, locknut tightener, and a stuck screw loosener with rapping from a smallish hammer.
A 6 or 9 in one screwdriver will be your go to screwdriver, at least for me it is.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:34 PM   #18
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If you plan on using insulated tools as your primary tool set, you are in for a nasty surprise. No matter who the manufacturer is the insulation isn’t all that sturdy and wears out quickly. Most guys keep those tools for live work only because the insulation gouges and nicks up so easily.

Second even if you do live work and I do a LOT of troubleshooting all the time you will rarely use insulated tools because it’s a recipe for disaster. OSHA specifically prohibits live work except when it’s absolutely necessary for a reason. At most you’ll maybe use insulated screwdrivers once in a while. I get a lot more use out of rubber gloves when I have to reach in somewhere or pull something out of the way than I ever have to use insulated tools. Never mind a hot stick to use a tic or pull cutouts or elbow connectors or install a ground cluster in medium voltage equipment but that’s not something most electricians deal with.

So I’d rather see you getting say a good Phillips #0 to #2, a thin 1/8” flat, 1/4” flat, and say the Dewalt impact screwdrivers, plus the other tools mentioned, then eventually maybe an insulated set plus gloves, when you start on live work and not before. By that time you should already be doing test before touch.


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Old 08-01-2019, 08:39 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amperage View Post
What about the Ideal 61-076 Vol-Con? How does it stand against the Etcon VT154 in addition to the Knopp 14460?
I had one but the leads were junk, I think the older ones may have been better, I don't think they're made in USA any more.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amperage View Post
What about the Ideal 61-076 Vol-Con? How does it stand against the Etcon VT154 in addition to the Knopp 14460?
Don't get me wrong, any of these are a great choice, but the connie feature is a non- necessity to me, and the size of the Knopp is a plus.
Whichever you choose is a great choice.
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