Toolbox for daughter

Eldest daughter is about to depart for University to read Engineering and, as well as the usual crockery/cutlery/bedding/etc., I’d like to send her off with the beginnings of a (literal) toolkit for future life. There’s no point over-equipping her at this point; I just want to set her off in the right direction with some useful basics that are reasonably likely to come in handy. Here’s a list I’ve just thrown together - all constructive thoughts and recommendations welcome.

  • Claw hammer
  • Small nails/panel pins
  • Screwdrivers (slot and cross, one small one large of each)
  • Selection of screws
  • Glasspaper
  • Plug fuses (3/5/13A)
  • Stanley knife
  • Tape: gaffa, insulating
  • Pliers - needlenose?
  • Wire cutters
  • Set of Allen keys
  • WD40
  • 3-in-1 oil
  • Measuring tape (5 metre?)
  • Tool box (metal)




Great idea for your daughter :slight_smile:

I think a small spirit level of some sort would also be useful.


Adjustable spanner(s)?

I’d skip the panel pins and small nails - as, IME, these aren’t relevant nowadays, as you need to consider the right fixings for the job (and it’s rarely these).

Will the screws be useful without a drill?..and if providing screws, suggests some matching 'plugs too?

Include some picture rail clips?

If providing wire cutters, then suggest getting decent ones with the stripping holes too?

And I wouldn’t use a ‘sharp-edged’ metal tool box but a plastic storage box with handles and a sealable lid would be better.

Stanley knife to be of retractable variety?

Roll of masking tape?


Thinking of the tools I use most often and not on your list:
Small flat file
Mole grips

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Regarding the cross head screwdrivers, I suspect Pozidrive size 2 would be most useful. Phillips screws tend mostly to be used in electrical applications.

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All good thoughts - predictably, I thought of an adjustable wrench just after pressing send. I’ll give her a small chisel too. Good shout on the spirit level, bradawl, file and wire strippers.

Retractable stanley knife, yes. I’m amazed they still make the non-retractable sort!

I was thinking the screws would be useful with the screwdrivers. She can buy her own drill if/when she wants one.

I went for a metal toolbox because my plastic one has had a few holes bashed in it over the years and wanted hers to be sturdier. The one I was specifically looking at was Screwfix’s Metal Cantilever Tool Box 17" (no commercial links allowed here, just google it!).

Keep 'em coming,


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What a great idea. A simple Multimeter is always useful in a toolbox.


Telephone number of local mr fixit, Dad’s credit card.


A battery power drill, with screwdriver bits and drill bits.


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I’d add:
A 12" / 30cm metal straight edge (‘ruler’) always useful to help when cutting with a knife.
Couple of smallish ratchet clamps (Wolfcraft good ) ditto bar clamps (Irwin good) for holding things in place…

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Good suggestions already, I would go for a good quality plastic toolbox much lighter

Regarding screwdrivers I would recommend a kit as pictured it will cover about any day to day fixings you are likely to encounter and can be added to with individual screwdrivers as needed.

For engineering a digital vernier caliper is a must.

Having spent forty years plus in the Transport Industry starting on the spanner’s so to speak, quality over quantity is the best option, good qulitity hand tools if looked after will last a lifetime. I recently sold my Snap On Tool Kit some of it over thirty years old but like new.

I wish your daughter all the best in her chosen career path and hopes she enjoys as much as I did.


Gaffer tape.

That got me through uni. :+1:


I’ve never found that the cantilever metal boxes to hold and present the tools well - just a personal preference perhaps. I find it easier to sort through a box. And getting tagged in the shins by an open metal cantilever box ain’t funny IME - add in a box of plasters!

Instead of a set of screwdrivers, as @pcd has posted one of those interchangeable ratchet 'driver sets would save a lot of space and using the correct head is highly recommended nowadays, given how many screws (esp in electrical fittings) are soft and tend to strip their heads easily.

A small torch should also be a given.


Indeed - great to hear she’s off to study Engineering.


Wife’s ex husband once bought her similar and topped it off with a soldering iron as a birthday present. I’ve no idea what possessed him and nor she. It was a low point which eventually led to divorce.

This is a great idea on paper but the thing which seeks lacking is that conversation where you ask her what she might want.

A set of Allen keys and cross head screwdrivers in all the IKEA standard sizes.

And it’s not as daft as it sounds……daughter 1 took a basic kit (I think it was a Draper) to uni, and in the second year had cause to use it (together with Dad’s sash clamp and wood glue that I dropped off at the College Porter’s Lodge on my way to a business meeting ), as the chest of drawers in her hall was falling apart (that’s Oxford for you - great dinners, 18th century accommodation…LOL). She glued up the chest and had no problems for the rest of the year!

I trust she’s doing Electronics Engineering? (No bias here, honest :smiley: )

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Not forgetting the fork lift to carry it all. :joy::joy:

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As well as most of the above, a small screwdriver set, I’m thinking of those fiddly screws used to hold battery covers on.
A junior hacksaw.
A square or marking gauge of some sort, Wolfcraft do a plastic one that as well as 90 and 45 degrees, has a rule, holes placed so as to ascribe lines at 1mm intervals from an edge.
Pencils, a sharpie pen.
A toothbrush for cleaning threads, a paintbrush for the obvious, but also dusting.
Strangely some of the high street chains such as Wilkinsons, Home Bargains and Poundland have useful stuff of reasonable quality at low prices. I am thinking od a 600mm steel rule in Poundland, superglue in any of them.

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What about a couple of adjustable spanners

Digital vernier! I know what you mean, but get a vernier and learn how to read it. Digital is for when your eyes are too hold!