What kind of jacks should I buy, if I wish to jack my entire plane? For example, to check for loose gear legs or cracked gear brackets (or to change the donuts)?
Search strings: aircraft jacks, jacking my plane, plane jacks, buy some jacks)
Here is a link to the best jacks (price, performance, construction) for the private owner. They sell for $179 each (the Spruce jacks are over-priced).
The Sierras come with jack pads already in place. The fixed-gear planes require the use of accessory jack pads, made available by member Tony Crowe, and sold for Tony by Mike Rellihan. Do NOT jack a plane by yourself for the first time; get A&P supervision. You must also read and understand the jacking instructions in the Maintenance Manual.
You use a very heavy tail weight/stand linked to the tail tiedown ring, and then jack at the pads under the wings. As the wings come up, so does the nose gear, since the tail is being held down. The tail weight/stand serves two key purposes; it not only holds down the tail, it also stabilizes the tail so that it cannot swing around. I strongly advise against just tying down the tail, and jacking the plane outside in the wind. It is asking for a jack collapse, and the value of the resulting repairs, if they are even viable, will vastly exceed the cost of a hangar and proper tail stand/weight.
My own tail stand weighs several hundred pounds. It is made from a standard-size (big) stainless-steel beer keg, filled with cheap Reddi-Mix concrete. You take a length of 1.25″ galvanized iron pipe, and drill a pattern of holes through it about 3 ins. apart, in the top 9 in. or so. The bottom gets a