This tool list is the result of working alongside an experienced builder, building a winterized 20'x24' barn extension from bare ground. I started with no building experience and no tools. I began by borrowing each tool as it was needed, and then immediately buying my own (usually within a few days). The build took about three months, working when we could—at the end, I had a tool set comprised only of tools that I had actually used. Over several years, this tool set proved (not surprisingly, when you think about it) to have exactly what I needed to cover a range of building and fixing projects on a small farm (chicken coop, farm stand, greenhouse, a variety of work tables, and so forth). In fact, I've purchased almost no new items, mainly replacements for things that wore out, broke or disappeared.
Tool quality: There are cheap tools, mid-priced tools good for medium duty, and hardcore contractor tools, and the difference in price and performance is huge. A quick search at Home Depot (US) turns up single cordless drills from $35 to over $250, and 25' tape measures from $7 to $25, with recognizable brand names (Stanley, Milwaukee, etc) at all price points. In a nutshell: The most expensive tools are generally built for heavy continuous use, the ones in the middle of the price range are solid but not up to long periods of continuous use, and the cheap end generally hits its limit when you go beyond replacing a screw or hanging a picture. In practical terms:
Bottom line: Get good quality for the job. Since you're not a contractor, buying the best is really a waste of money, while buying cheap is at best going to lead sooner or later to frustration, wasted time, and replacement. A good basic strategy is:
The tool list itself is coming up… (:
Materials you'll need, by category (in progress)…