Solutions for Self-Reliance

A Community Tool Library

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Here’s a very simple tip on how to get your community moving towards resilience.

It’s a library.  But instead of books, it has all of the tools you need for construction, maintenance, and craft work.  From power tools to garden tools to woodworking tools.

Makes sense.  Why should anyone spend thousands of dollars on a power tool only to use it once a year?

But it goes deeper than that.  By building a tool library (usually built by donations, grants and volunteers like any library), you are breaking down the silos and the barriers associated with tool use.  Not only are people more likely to use the tools, they are more likely to share the knowledge required to use them well and to good effect.

Does a tool library provide a beneficial impact on personal and community resilience?  You bet.

Let’s take a look at the North Portland Tool Library.  It was formed/built by four smart and energetic volunteers (seen below) in 2004.

North Portland Tool Library

They currently run workshops on basic skills (how to drill, etc.) and on repairing tools.  Here’s a taste of the types of tools they currently have at the library.

Tool list
Carpentry & Woodworking
  • Block Plane
  • Cat’s Paw
  • Chisels: Wood
  • Clamp: Right-Angle
  • Clamps: Bar
  • Clamps: C
  • Clamps: Quick 6″
  • Coping Saw
  • Crow-Bar
  • Hammer: Finish
  • Hammer: Framing
  • Impact Driver Set w/bits
  • Level:Laser 2″
  • Level:Laser 2″
  • Level:Torpedo
  • Nail Sets
  • Nailer: Flooring
  • Plumb Bob
  • Pocket Screw Jig
  • Protractor/Angle Finder
  • Pry Bars
  • Router
  • Router Table
  • Saw: Door Jamb
  • Saw: Japanese Pull
  • Saw: Rip 24”
  • Scribe/Compass
  • Square: Framing
  • Square: Speed
  • Square: Tri
  • Stud Finder
  • Tape: 100’ Reel
  • Tape: Measure 25’
  • Trim Gauge
  • Utility Knife
  • Vernier Caliper

Garden Tools

  • Axe
  • Bar: Cutting/scraping
  • Bar: Digging 72″
  • Drain Spade
  • Edger: Electric
  • Hatchet
  • Hoe: Garden
  • Lawn Aerator
  • Lawn Mower: Electric
  • Pick: Digging
  • Pick: Mattock
  • Post Setter
  • Pruner: Lopping
  • Pruners: Hand
  • Rake: Grading
  • Rake: Leaf
  • Saw: Bow 21″
  • Saw: Branch
  • Seed Spreader
  • Shovel: Flat Point
  • Shovel: Round Point
  • Shovel: Small Garden
  • Shovel: Snow
  • Tamper: 8” x 8”
  • Tiller: Electric
  • Trimmer: Electric
  • Trimmer: Hedge (Manual).
  • Trimmer: Pole
  • Trowel: Garden
  • Turning Fork
  • Weed Puller

Power Tools

  • Angle Grinder
  • Cement Siding Shears
  • Compressor: Air
  • Demolition Hammer
  • Dremel Rotary Tool
  • Drill: ½” Hammer
  • Drill: ½” VSR
  • Drill: 3/8” VSR
  • Drill: Right Angle
  • Nailer: Brad (18 ga.)
  • Nailer: Finish (16 ga.)
  • Nailer: Framing
  • Nailer: Roofing Coil
  • Power Planer
  • Rotozip Cutting Tool
  • Sander: 18” Belt
  • Sander: 21” Belt
  • Sander: Detail
  • Sander: Orbital Palm
  • Saw: 10” Miter
  • Saw: 10” Table (Portable)
  • Saw: 14” Metal Cutoff
  • Saw: Circular
  • Saw: Jigsaw
  • Saw: Reciprocating
  • Saw: Tile
  • Stand: Mitre Saw
  • Stapler: Narrow Crown
  • Vac: 8 gal Wet/Dry

Electrical & Mechanical

  • Conduit Bender
  • Digital Multimeter
  • Hacksaws
  • Hex Key Sets
  • Nipper: 10”
  • Pliers: Fencing/Box
  • Pliers: Linesman
  • Pliers: Slotted
  • Pliers: Vice Grip
  • Screwdrivers
  • Snips: 12″ Sheet
  • Snips: Tin
  • Socket Sets
  • Tape: 100’ Fish
  • Telephone Crimping Tool
  • Tester: Circuit
  • Tester: GFI
  • Tester: Receptacle
  • Wrench: Crescent
  • Wrench: Pipe
  • Wrench: Slip

Drywall & Masonry

  • Caulking Guns Knife:
  • Corner Knife: Mud 4”
  • Knife: Taping 12”
  • Knife: Taping 8” Panel
  • Hoist
  • Sander:Hand
  • Saw: Drywall
  • Scraper 3″
  • Scraper 4″
  • Scraper: Floor
  • T-Square 48”

Other Tools

  • Drill Bits
  • Dead-Blow Hammer
  • Extension Cords
  • Flashlight, adj
  • Hand Metal Detector
  • Hand Truck
  • Heat Gun
  • Hole Saw Kit
  • Ladder: 17’ Multi
  • Ladder: 21′ Multi
  • Ladder: 6’ Fiberglass
  • Masonry Hammer Bits
  • Roofing Spade Sledge
  • Hammer 10lb Sledge
  • Hammer: 3lb
  • Spade Bit Set
  • Tile Cutter 14”
  • Tile Saw: 7” Wet
  • Wallpaper Steamer
  • Work Lights

Carpet Tools

  • Carpet Cutter
  • Knee Kicker
  • Power Stretcher
  • Seam Iron
  • Seam Roller
  • Stair Tool

Cement Tools

  • Floats Seamer
  • Trowel: Notched
  • Trowel: V
  • Trowels: Finish

Bike Tools

  • Full Set Bike Tools
  • Mechanic Stand

Want more like this?

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