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“How many times do I have to tell you, the right tool for the right job!”

–Scotty from Star Trek —

The right tool can make all the difference in the world. It can take a very difficult job and make it manageable. Back in the caveman days, I’m sure the caveman who discovered he could haul water around in a dinosaur bladder, or bang things with big rocks like a hammer, was revered as some sort of technological genius. Suddenly you could have water in your cave, or easily break open pterodactyl eggs. The point is, tools make our lives and jobs easier, and the right tools make our lives and jobs better.

If all you have is a picture-hammer and a utility-knife, installing molding will be a nightmare, yet with a little education, and a small initial investment, your molding projects have the potential of being easier than you may have ever suspected.

I’ve broken the following list down into two sections, the “Bare Minimum” and “Like a Pro”. The “Bare Minimum” explores the least expensive and most essential tools needed to do the job right. “Like a Pro” on the other hand, is an offering of the best tools to get the job done in the easiest and most professional way. if you have the money, I highly recommend that you do this like a pro.

As Scotty once yelled in his quirky Scottish way “the right tool for the right job!” A sentiment that may be more true for molding installation than it ever was for deep space warp engine repair.

Bare Minimum

Multi-Purpose Finish Carpentry Hammer
Sporting a lightweight head and a curved claw for pulling nails, If you only own a single hammer this should be it. Often used for general duties like hanging pictures, the finish hammer is designed to drive in small nails without damaging the surrounding area.

Nailset or Nail-Punch
A nailset looks kind of like an industrial icepick. By placing the nailset on top of the nail you can drive the finish nail in without disturbing or damaging the surface of your material. Another use for the nailset/nail-punch is to drive the nail below the surface so that you may fill the hole with caulk making it virtually undetectable.

Tape Measure or Measuring tape
This is a pivotal tool and should take up permanent residence within your toolbox arsenal. A sturdy 25’ tape measure cannot be easily replaced.

Miter-box
Simply a guide for your saw that makes cutting 45° and 90° angles easier. If you don’t have the cash to rent or purchase a power miter-saw than a miter-box is an absolute must have.

Backsaw
If you’re going to use a miter-box then you will need this saw. A backsaw has a stiffening rib on the edge opposite the cutting edge, which allows for better control and a more precise cut than with other types of saws.

Caulking Gun
I’ll admit that this is not exactly a required tool for a molding installation. You could fill the nail holes using your finger and a wet towel. You could just skip caulking the seam. It wouldn’t look as nice, but you could do it. If you want the job to have a professional touch though, I highly suggest getting yourself a caulking gun.

Like a Pro

Miter-saw
This circular power saw has a fixed vertical pivot and a rotating cutting table allowing horizontally angled cuts while the blade remains vertical. It makes mitering easy and fast. If you don’t want to buy one of these bad-boys, visit your local big-box hardware store for a 3 day rental.

Nail gun
The nail gun has pretty much replaced the hammer where construction is concerned. By adjusting the pressure of the gun you can send a nail deep below the surface, perfectly flush, or protruding out. Very few tools will improve the speed of your molding project than a good nail gun. Plus, you get to own a nail gun.

Angle finder
If you seek perfection, may I introduce you to the almighty Angle Finder. It turns out all corners are not created equal. 45° angles are ideal, but rarely do they exist in real life. Sometimes it’s a bit more, others a bit less, but with an angle finder you will always know for sure. Yes, I know that this is nowhere near a must have, but I think it’s worth an honorable mention at the very least .

Written by Guest Blogger Shawn Swanson

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