What to Pack in Your Journeyman Tool Bag: The Essential Guide
Just a couple of months ago, we plumbed the depths of our experience and not-so-secret society of electrical Pros to bring you the Top 10 Tools Every Electrician Needs as part of our Training The Apprentice series. But who are we kidding? That’s an eternity in the toolosphere, so we’re back to take a different approach and expand our preparedness for the next job. The Top 10 Tools might be essential, but there are certainly more that the Journeyman Electrician will want to have to make work (and life) much easier. So pull up a chair, see what some of the other guys are doing, and join in the conversation in the comments below as we discuss What to Pack in Your Journeyman Tool Bag.
But first, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane to talk about those Top 10 Tools. The Pros know they always need a Multimeter, Voltage Tester, Circuit Finder, Diagonal Cutting Pliers, Side Cutting Linesmans, Long Nose Pliers, Wire Strippers, Fish Tape, Knife, and Driver Set.
Now, let’s talk about the tools that will really complete a Journeyman’s bag and let him be ready for much more.
I’m Forever Yours, Electrically (Journeyman)
1. Tool Belt
Sometimes it’s just not enough to have a good tool bag or box. You need the tools on you because you’re up a ladder, moving around the jobsite, or called to do some other task and you need to stay organized. You’ll want the tools at hand and so you’ll want to have a good tool belt in your bag.
Some jobs will require you to drill into masonry, so it’s a good idea to have a powerful drill with a hammer function to get the job done.
Invariably, you’ll run into older work or work that hasn’t been done to code. In the case of outlets near a water source, they need to be GFCI outlets. It’s wise to carry a few with you to save you a trip to the store.
For safety’s sake, old breakers should be replaced with arc fault breakers that detect electrical slow leaks. Have some of these handy, too.
If you’ll be doing an installation in addition to service work, you’ll need a knockout punch along the way to prepare cans. Don’t worry, it’s not nearly as painful as it sounds.
6. Tape Measure
Hey, because you can’t just eyeball it!
Every tradesman needs to be sure each step of his work is level, plumb, and square to make sure the guy after him can do his job well and to ensure an excellent result. Choose one with rare-earth magnets and, if you want bonus points, with a light.
In a perfect world, we could install wires before the walls and floors were sealed up. Good luck with that! For installation behind existing surfaces, bring along a wire pulling system.
Don’t be a hero, protect the things that make your living by slipping on some good work gloves that give protection but allow dexterity.
Frankly, you will probably need a bigger tool bag. But if yours is big enough, consider the king of metal cutting: the cordless band saw.
Epilogue: What to Pack in Your Journeyman Tool Bag
Between the Top 10 Tools and this article, the Journeyman will be well on his way to having everything needed to get the job done without running to the store – or even running around the jobsite, for that matter. If you’re an apprentice, we hope you’re more knowledgeable on what to pack in your Journeyman tool bag. If you’re a Pro and you have electrical tool tips, add them in the comments below or hit us up on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!