1. Silent Paint Remover. Shaves hours off of paint stripping. It’s not for every job, but a big, flat surface like a door or wainscoting? No other way. The cost of the unit will pay for itself in the money saved from chemicals.
2. Hammer Drill. Small. Light. Makes the work that much more fun and easy.
3. Howard’s Restor-A-Finish. If you don’t know the first thing about restoring wood, no worries. This stuff is magic! Just make sure you match the color.
4. Mohawk Stains. You can pick up Minwax stain in any store, anywhere. It’s like they have a monopoly on stain. But you know what? Minwax sucks. Spend a couple of extra bucks for a good stain. You’re not even spending more because you can do it with fewer coats.
5. Epifanes Rubbed Varnish. Another magical wood sealer. Again, forget Minwax. This over Mohawk will make your wood look a like a pro did it.
6. Shellac Primer. It has the stain and odor blocking properties of oil based primer but dries quicker than latex. Goes on thin and it’s easy to use.
7. Vinegar. White vinegar cleans everything from windows to brass to wood floors. It’s always handy to have around the house.
8. WD-40. Oh man, what would we do without WD-40? The website claims over 2000 uses for this lubricant. It helped me save some rusted hand tools after Sandy. And for that, I’m thankful.
9. Tin foil and plastic bags. Did you know that scrubbing chrome with tin foil and water will eliminate rust? Well, you do now! Another great use for tin foil is to cover paint strippers such as Peel Away so they won’t dry out. For things like ceiling medallions, a light plastic bag sticks even better.
10. Staple Gun. Dare I say it’s better than duct tape? Of course an air nailer is more useful for renovations, but hey, that’s big and heavy. I can reupholster a chair with a staple gun. I can and I have. Didn’t say it looked great.