Okay, so you may not be the quintessential tool guy. In fact, you may not be a guy at all. But whatever your sex or level of skill in the workshop, we remain reasonably sure of one thing: you will derive immense satisfaction from the completion of a DIY or home repair job that makes your friends and family go “Nice one!” or “Cool!” (never underestimate the emotional impact of colloquialisms).

We’re back this year with some familiar features – most notably, our latest selection of the best tools to suit your budget – plus some hands-on advice on the best use of tools. We also take a look at a revolutionary building system than can be tackled by just about anyone, and introduce you to three people who wax eloquent on the subject of their favourite tools, explaining why they can’t imagine life without them.

Personally, we think the stepladder (preferably the aluminium folding type) is among the most useful pieces of equipment in the workshop. Without it, you can’t replace ceiling lights, repair gutters, paint windows or install pelmets. Using a ladder does, however, require a degree of caution. One of our editors has vivid memories of his first home improvement project, an apparently simple job involving the installation of a curtain rail. Many years later, his spouse still rolls her eyes when she recalls the toppled ladder, broken lampshade, gouged floorboards and bloodstained bedspread. (She attributed the accident to carelessness; he blamed gravity.)

Finally, a heartfelt appeal: if you’re among those lost souls who instinctively reach for the Yellow Pages when something stops working, or when you need to put up a shelf in the kitchen, please consider joining the DIY fraternity. Our tools, methods and DIY-speak may be a little daunting at first, but you’d be surprised how quickly you pick up the basics. Once hooked, you won’t be afraid of anything.

The Editors