If you’ve ever walked into a hardware store and looked at the racks of nails and wondered which is right for your project, you could use The All New Illustrated Guide to Everything Sold in Hardware Stores (Cool Springs Press, digital galley), by Steve Ettlinger and Phil Schmidt. This is a good book for new home buyers or those interested in tackling projects around the home who need help making sense of the myriad or projects on store shelves.
The book is full of color photos so you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for at the hardware store and each item has a description and an explanation of its common uses. The book goes beyond simply listing items and descriptions, and has basic instructions for many projects and includes “use tips” that will let you know if you need to buy anything else, such as pipe dope for a threaded plumbing fitting.
When it comes to plumbing, the book has an extensive section and describes the major components for toilets and faucets. If you’re looking for parts to fix your leaky toilet bowl or leaky toilet tank, the book has illustrations to show you exactly what you’re shopping for and gives some basic instructions. Beyond general plumbing repairs, the book also provides useful information on the large variety of pipes and fittings a homeowner might come across both inside and outside the house.
The book includes chapters on general hardware (nails, screws, anchors), general materials, wall and floor repairs; plumbing supplies and electrical supplies. The one down-side of the book is that it doesn’t include more information. I would have liked to see more information, for instance, on the various types of tools that could be used for home projects. But, if nothing else, the book will help you talk intelligently to hardware store staff and use correct terminology when discussing products and projects.