10 July 2012

Four Favorite Builder Tools - jb Bartkowiak of BuildingMoxie.com

I spend a lot of time on social media and jb Bartkowiak of BuilderMoxie.com is one of the wonderfully witty souls I've met in this corner of the Internet.  He was also one of the first folks I asked to share his four favorites for my month-long Gold Notes fourth anniversary celebration.  Tools was the topic that sprang first to mind and jb gamely agreed to tackle it.  I do love a man with tools!


I am very honored to be here talking my four favorite builder tools but…I have a lot of tools I really like, and well, actually, there are a lot of tools I would consider favorites. I mean, the right tool at the right time instantly becomes a fave! 

So I have to pick and prune, and I have chosen a few . . . I picked a category of sorts.  See if you can guess what my theme is here for My Four Favorite Builder Tools… 

Brad Nailer

As the name implies, the brad nailer is a tool that shoots slender nails, or brads, into place. While typically considered a power tool, (often pneumatically operated), I myself own a muscle-powered staple gun that also shoots brads. I own a Porter-Cable, which I like, but for this post I include the Bostitch BT1855. I use a brad nailer for fastener trim or really for any other application that requires minimal hold and a smaller nail head. 

Bostitch's BT1855K

Allen Wrench (aka a Hex Key)  

The most basic of Allen wrenches are simple hexagonal (six-sided) shafts bent to 90 degrees. The Allen wrench is designed to manually drive bolts or screws that have a hexagonal slot. No, they are not called “Ikea Wrenches!” Allen, Allen! I own a Husky Allen Wrench Set that combines both the metric and SAE models. I also have individually-packaged metric and SAE folding versions by Lufkin, but included here a set by Pittsburgh Tools with a T –handle.  I frequently use them in putting together items I use in construction. 

Pittsburgh Tools'  18-piece-ball-point-and-hex-key-set(sold at HarborFreight.com)

Plumb Bob 

Without a doubt, and in any discussion on tools, the plumb bob has got to be on my list. Why? Do I use it frequently? Not really… Is it for the name? OK, maybe a little, but rather it’s how the plumb bob works. While I have a 12 oz steel and nickel-plated version, I find the brass version much sexier. Pictured, (via CPOtools.com), is the CST/berger 16 oz in Brass. While they are frequently used for setting stairs, I have more commonly used them, (almost in reverse), for finding the exact center location of landmarks like wiring in construction lighting – for example, over a proposed and not yet installed island. 

CST-berger's 11-552-16oz-brass 


A jackhammer is pneumatically-powered chisel. It is often used to break rock, concrete or pavement. Jackhammers are sometimes known now as breakers, as pictured – the Bosch Tools’ New Brute Breaker Hammer. 

Bosch Tools' New-Brute 

And that’s my four faves.  Thanks go out to Jamie and feel free to call out “My Category” in the comment section below… (JG:  I got it, guys!  Do you?)  


One time construction manager and always handyman, jb Bartkowiak is Editor of BuildingMoxie.com a site dedicated to the do together of DIY and Pro Home Improvement.


  1. jb, LOVE your theme - very clever! A jackhammer could only make my top four UNfavourites list!

  2. Especially when it's outside your window at o'dark hundred! Thanks for your feedback, Jean.


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