My wife and I just moved into our 1923 renovation project.

>A good half mask respirator has been my ****en purchase
>My ripping bar and small metal mallet has had a lot of use.
>So has my wet/dry vac. (make sure to get one that has a wide diameter hose. I have a small diameter hose on a Ridgid *on sale* and it gets clogged quite a bit)

Nice tools cost money but I have found that you can pick up really nice tools for good prices at pawn shops. Just make sure you plug in the equipment and test it before you walk out the door. I have also made friends with contractors who know people that need to sell extra tools. This has been very helpful in getting quality tools that do not cost an arm and a leg.