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Must-have tools for the greenhorn??? #56921
10/03/05 11:07 AM
10/03/05 11:07 AM
slorch  Offline OP
Junior Member
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 6
Albany, NY USA
So, Christmas is coming and my nephew is slated to begin training with the IBEW early next year. I drew his name in the family Christmas drawing, and I'd like to get him something that will help him out in his new career. The kid hasn't had an easy life, and money is tight in his household.

Anyway, I'm looking for suggestions on must-have tools for the apprentice. I can afford something of decent quality that will last, and that will be one less "junk" tool he'll have to replace. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Oh, and curses to Joe T. and the rest of you photo posters! I'm a low-volt guy by trade, but I've waded through the code enough to know a blatant violation when I see one. Thanks to the photo sections, I now see them everywhere! It's addicting.


Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: Must-have tools for the greenhorn??? #56922
10/03/05 12:23 PM
10/03/05 12:23 PM
dmattox  Offline
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 265
Anaheim, CA
I've never been in the union so I don't know whats expected. But with us, its not expected for our helpers/apprentices have anything other than hand tools.

Though most of our guys quickly get a set of cordless tools, anything from ryobi to milwaukee/dewault sets. But this isnt expected or required, it just seems like our guys love tools [Linked Image]

A nice pouch would be a good gift if he doesn't have one. A pouch with a bag on each side and a cordless drill holder is what I recommend guys get. Especially if they want to borrow my cordless (lost too many from falling off ladders).

I would expect someone after a year to have at least the following (Sorted them based on the quality level I buy them at):
Linesmen Pliers
Tin snips (I like the straights)
Channel Locks
Needle nose pliers
Torpedo Level
Small and large standard and phillips screwdrivers
Tape measure (I always go cheap here, I loose too many)
Knife (I use a utility, lots of our guys like those folding utility)

If doing MCC work, MCC cutters
If doing residential a hammer

[This message has been edited by dmattox (edited 10-03-2005).]

Re: Must-have tools for the greenhorn??? #56923
10/03/05 12:24 PM
10/03/05 12:24 PM
togol  Offline
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
Hi slorch, I new here myself, nice to have company,...hahah
the JATC that your nephew is signed up in will have a list of required tools,
my local has the App. buy everything on the list at COST , and comes in a tool bag.
I don't know if his situation is the same, but perhaps you can either ask him or contact his Training Dir. and find that out.

other than that, I would suggest a really good pair of knee pads,...30 years from now ,he'll really appreciate it

Re: Must-have tools for the greenhorn??? #56924
10/03/05 12:32 PM
10/03/05 12:32 PM
DougW  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
North Chicago, IL
You might want to check out these threads...

I'd stick with Klein, Greenlee, or Ideal... most have lifetime warranties, and are "names" in the electrical field.

Klein and Ideal both offer Basic tool sets...

The Klein one contains:
one side-cutting pliers,
one long-nose pliers,
one diagonal-cutting pliers,
one pump pliers,
one phillips-tip screwdriver,
one wire-bending screwdriver,
three cabinet-tip screwdrivers,
one power-return rule,
one wire stripper/cutter,
one protective eyewear,
one tool belt, and one 8-pocket tool pouch.
[Linked Image]

The Ideal one is similar, IIRC.

Other small tools:

Should get: 1/2" & 3/4" conduit bender (if you live in a conduit area), and a conduit de-burring screwdriver.

Non-contact voltage detector (you can get them that will also provide voltage readings and continuity detection)


A "10-in-1" type interchangeable tip screwdriver.

A good set of leather "driver" style gloves, and copmfortable kneepads!

BTW, if you really want to spoil him, get the Klein "journeyman" series (cushy handles)!

Tell him good luck for us, and welcome to the field!

Re: Must-have tools for the greenhorn??? #56925
10/03/05 07:59 PM
10/03/05 07:59 PM
russ m  Offline
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 169
Buy him some carhartt bibs, and, or a carhartt coat. If money is tight in his house, chances are he'll never buy them him self. The tools might have to bought from or supplied by the union.

[This message has been edited by russ m (edited 10-03-2005).]

Re: Must-have tools for the greenhorn??? #56926
10/03/05 08:05 PM
10/03/05 08:05 PM
russ m  Offline
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 169
Good thinsulated, water proof boots like some of the redwing brand, are worthy top of the list items.

Re: Must-have tools for the greenhorn??? #56927
10/03/05 08:11 PM
10/03/05 08:11 PM
LK  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
New Jersey
"Buy him some carhart bibs, and, or a carhart coat."

Yup that's a good one, i just came back from a retired electrician home, we were in the basement looking at a water damaged panel, when i noticed his carhart hanging there, he said " i have had that carhart since i started in the trade", with all the wear, and tear, it looked to be in pretty good shape, an excellant investment.

Re: Must-have tools for the greenhorn??? #56928
10/03/05 11:57 PM
10/03/05 11:57 PM
skingusmc  Offline
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 116
Simi Valley, CA USA
Slorch -

The Klein "10-in1 Screwdriver/Nutdriver" is a great tool to have IMHO and a good price as well.


Re: Must-have tools for the greenhorn??? #56929
10/04/05 06:47 AM
10/04/05 06:47 AM
georgestolz  Offline
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 91
Fort Collins, CO, US
Slorch, also see this thread . [Linked Image]

Re: Must-have tools for the greenhorn??? #56930
10/04/05 03:39 PM
10/04/05 03:39 PM
Tesla  Offline
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273
Sacramento, CA
russ m

You are so right. Get the internal knee pads too.

The bibs will save him a ton of money and his knees.

Until experienced, their endurance relative to the competition is impossible to get across.

You know he'll use them for sure.

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