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An experienced eye can spot a master craft worker from a run-of-the-mill mechanic by one simple observation. Pay attention to the quality and condition of his tools.

A master craft worker treasures his tools as much as a musician does his instrument or an artist his paints and brushes. As with anything else, you’ll get the quality you are willing to pay for. Employers may provide expensive electronic and material handling devices, but most trade workers own their own hand tools, some manual, some electrically operated. A good set of hand tools for most trades will cost hundreds of dollars and possibly into the thousands, depending on how extensive your collection may be.

These tools will stay with you job after job, employer after employer. You will be well served to find out which brands names are the best, and keep them oiled, sharpened, protected against the elements and safely stored when not in use.

Because tools are so valuable, tool thievery is a problem on some job sites. Be sure to put your name on your tools. Some craftsmen also like to paint a distinctive color on at least a portion of their personal tools for easy identification.

A good set of tools will make you more productive and capable of producing top-notch work. High-quality tools make all the difference in the world. You may have noticed this doing simple repairs around the house. Ever try sawing with a worn blade? How about trying to pound big nails with an undersized hammer, or loosening old nuts with the wrong size wrench?

Treasure your tools of the trade. And, let your loved ones know that certain tools would make a great choice for your next birthday or Christmas gift.