A couple of months ago, I was taking inventory of my workshop, which some of you have seen thanks to the "Ask Al" video series a few years back.

My sophomore-year college roommate still thinks they were hysterical, and while I was trying to be serious, I am so embarrassed by them that I will not watch them.

I was much more entertaining as "The Gadgeteer" on the Discovery Channel's Home Matters program all those years ago, which reminds me that I still need to convert all of those VCR tapes to DVDs when I leave my personal papers to one of those online universities.

The inventory was designed to see if I needed to make further donations to the ReStore, but it got me thinking about the tools I use most.

Maybe, if you are starting out or are looking to add on, it might be a help.

My tape measure (I have five, but a 25-footer that locks and unlocks easily is the handiest).

I have five circular saws and a table saw, but I sharpen the teeth of my crosscut saw regularly and prefer to use it.

On the other hand, my chop saw gets a regular workout - on average six or seven times a month, and more when I am on a construction spree.

Five hammers of various weights, right down to a tack hammer. I use all of them only because I forget where I've left the last one on a project.

I have several sets of screwdrivers of every known size, right down to the watch set my father used at Benrus' Waterbury, Conn., assembly plant in the late 1940s.

You need just one set because unless a lens in my glasses loosens, all I need is the one.

Battery-operated drill drivers are more useful, especially if the drills are sharp and you have one battery charging and one in use.

Oddly enough, although my first was a 12-volt Dewalt and drill/drivers have evolved so much in the last 20 years, I still prefer that 12-volt original and a Dewalt 18-volt model.

I replace the batteries regularly, however.

When you do, bring the used ones to the home center or an authorized collection center for recycling.

aheavens@phillynews.com or write him at Box 8263, Philadelphia 19101. Volume prohibits individual replies.