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Author Topic: Tools?  (Read 1552 times)
Rev. Jade
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« on: September 24, 2011, 09:51:05 pm »

Good afternoon everybody!
So, I finally live in a house that has a garage!  Grin
I want to turn said garage into a workshop so that I can actually have a place to make nifty little things so I don't have to leave them laying half-completed on the kitchen table, thus upsetting the wife. My only problem is, I have no idea where to begin. What kind of tools are essential? I know that I want to do woodworking but I also want a saw that can cut through thin metals, like brass and copper sheeting.
I think I should probably get a band saw, a mitre saw, a table saw, and possibly a drill press, but there are just so many products out there and I have no idea where to start. What brands and models do you folks use? Are you happy with them? I don't really need anything "professional quality," but at the same time I don't want something that will be difficult to use or fall apart after 3 days. Any suggestions or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2011, 02:24:42 am »

Were I in your position, I would start with a band saw and a drill press. Choose both based on the physical dimensions of your expected projects.

A band saw will do both wood and sheet metal (and with the right blade, metal tube and bar stock as well.) It should have a mitre guide for mitre cuts and a tilting table for bevel cuts. You don't really need either a table saw or a powered mitre saw unless you're doing furniture-sized stuff, but you might look at a manual mitre box/mitre guide and back saw (hand saw) set.

Again depending on what you end up doing, you might also find a bench sander useful.

As for hand tools, your best bet would likely be to wait until you discover you need a particular tool to finish a current project, and then go out and buy it.

Hope that's of some use to you.

PS: If you dig through both the How To board and the main Tactile board, you will find a few other threads on this same topic.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2011, 02:27:54 am by von Corax » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2011, 06:16:15 pm »

No matter what projects you want to complete you will always need a good vice. Your choice of tools will (to an extent) will vary on what materials you will be working with, wood or metal.
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Rev. Jade
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2011, 10:55:58 pm »

I think that, for now, I'm just going to grab some good hand tools and save my money for a truly decent band saw, as most of the ones that are under $500 seem to no be very good.

I want to do mainly woodworking, building new cases for speakers/stereos/Xbox/computer, but I also want to be able to add brass accents with some brass sheathing, though I imagine that a pair of good tin snips would be more than acceptable for that purpose.
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2011, 11:21:16 pm »


For working brass etc it may be worth looking at jewelers tools, fortunately the basic kit if relatively inexpensive eg

-Piercing saw
-Needles files
-Emery paper
-Wet & dry paper
-gas torch, solder and flux
-a light hammer with polished faces
-a soft face mallet
-marking and measuring tools; scriber, dot and centre punches, dividers, steel rule, engineer's square.
-snips/shears

more sophisticated stuff like mandrels, polishers and various dies and formers can be improvised, made, bought or otherwise acquired as you need them. Once you;ve got a good basic set of tools it's amazing how much you can make yourself.
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2011, 11:41:54 pm »

Plan for a lathe. At some point, you'll need it, and you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.
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Rev. Jade
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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2011, 06:17:46 am »

I do have quite the extensive set of jewelers tools. I bought them to make an engagement ring, but I wasn't quite skilled enough for that. I do enjoy making jewelry though.
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Uncle Arthur
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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2011, 09:09:43 am »

To me, a bandsaw and lathe are must have items. A decent bench vise, equipped with copper or wooden soft faces(easy to make at home )is something worth it's weight in gold. One thing my Dad always told me was to buy the very best that you could afford. In the long run it's far cheaper than replacing crummy tools all the time. Depending on whether you are doing wood or metal (or both ) good hand tools always shine.
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« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2011, 09:15:17 am »

...
 One thing my Dad always told me was to buy the very best that you could afford. In the long run it's far cheaper than replacing crummy tools all the time. Depending on whether you are doing wood or metal (or both ) good hand tools always shine.

Your Dad was right on! Don't forget the frustration that you will experience using crap tools. For woodwork, antique tools are often better made and cheaper than new ones, like a nice 50 y.o Stanley plane will outlast you easily. I use my grandfather's smoothing plane still.
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« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2011, 05:36:21 am »

First project...build a good workbench and keep the top EMPTY ... like NOTHING gets stored on it.  Shelves, bins, cupboards, attics and the like are for storing,  a workbench should always be left clear for the 1 job you are doing at the time.
And if the space is small. the bandsaw and drill-press should have wheels with retractable legs or wheels that come down when needed so these things, useful as they are, can be set aside when not in use. A black-board or a Drafting table may help... always better to waste paper or chalk than it is to waste metal or wood.  Last, but not at all least,  as many others would agree, measure twice and cut once.  Nothing worse than saying "Dang,,,, I cut it twice and it's STILL to short???"   Godspeed, my friend.
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2011, 08:19:20 pm »

No matter what projects you want to complete you will always need a good vice. Your choice of tools will (to an extent) will vary on what materials you will be working with, wood or metal.

My wife has no problem telling me that I have many vices.  I simply choose to call the hobbies.  Smiley

I only have a small bench vise and quite a few quality hand tools.  Sure, I'd like to have lots of large shop tools, but space and funds won't allow them.  That hasn't stopped me from making any of the projects I've tackled.  It may take me longer, and may be more difficult at times, but finishing a project and ending up with something better-made than the items that can be bought in a store makes it worth the effort.

I'll mirror what has been stated earlier.  Buy the best you can afford and treat them well.  If you MUST abuse a tool, buy a cheap one that can be sacrificed.
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Jedediah Solomon
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« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2011, 12:59:27 pm »

Well put.If a tool must be altered in a way that would make it useless for other tasks than the one you alter it to do, buy a cheap one  or peruse the lawn-sale and thrift store arena. I've been  known to buy a set of cheap wrenches, simply to take one and bend it to reach around an obstacle. Snap-On sells specialty tools that can do the same but at 3 times the cost, and if I only need it once or twice, why put out half a day's wages? If, however, you are interested in tinkering, buy a really good set to start with. Havefun Smiley
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Athanor
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« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2011, 12:13:48 am »

One bit of shop kit I wouldn't be without (can't really call it a tool exactly) is a decent first aid kit. Don't bother with the kind of commercially available ready-made kits - they're usually full of stuff you virtually never need, like dozens of triangular bandages for immobilizing broken limbs(!), but don't include the one item you'll need most; bandaids! Make up your own kit: several sizes of bandaids, a packet of adhesive sutures, gauze pads and a few gauze bandages, alcohol swabs, a tube of topical antiseptic. Any injury that can't be handled with this equipment, at least sufficiently to last you to the nearest ER, probably needs professional attention.

Secondhand tools, as has been mentioned before, are often at least as good quality as the equivalent new tools (and often better) and usually cost much less. The fact that a tool has lasted 50 or 60 years means it was of good quality to begin with, and its previous owner(s) took good care of it; crappy tools either broke or wore out quickly, so never make it to the secondhand market.

Old tools will usually need some refurbishing - sharpening, at the very least, which brings up another essential piece of equipment. Get yourself the best quality India oilstone you can find, and learn how to use it (Tip: WD40 is an excellent oilstone lubricant). For more severe sharpening or reshaping, you'll probably want a bench grinder, but use it gently; it's fatally easy to wreck the temper of a tool by grinding too hard or too long.

If you spend much time rooting around secondhand stores or yard sales for old tools, you'll inevitably encounter the Old-Timer who'll tell you "You can't get steel like that nowadays". He's right, but not for the reasons he thinks. Almost all tool steel, until about WWII, would have been crucible steel; usually excellent quality, but very dependent on the skill of the steelmaker. The best modern tool steels are produced in electric-arc furnaces with very precise control over composition and temperature, and are as good as, or better than, the best crucible steel; but it's rare to find such top-grade steel in the average hardware-store tool.

Another reason for scouring the seconhand market ; industrial-quality power tools,and machines such as drill presses, are quite often sold off at not much more than scrap value - it being considered more economical to replace a worn tool rather than refurbish it; but for our purposes the secondhand industrial machine can be just the thing. Beware, though, that many industrial machine tools have 3-phase motors; unless you're lucky (or canny) enough to have 3-phase power in your shop, the cost of a new motor can negate any savings.

Happy hunting!

Athanor. 
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Rev. Jade
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« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2011, 02:31:15 am »

One bit of shop kit I wouldn't be without (can't really call it a tool exactly) is a decent first aid kit. Don't bother with the kind of commercially available ready-made kits - they're usually full of stuff you virtually never need, like dozens of triangular bandages for immobilizing broken limbs(!), but don't include the one item you'll need most; bandaids! Make up your own kit: several sizes of bandaids, a packet of adhesive sutures, gauze pads and a few gauze bandages, alcohol swabs, a tube of topical antiseptic. Any injury that can't be handled with this equipment, at least sufficiently to last you to the nearest ER, probably needs professional attention.

You forgot my favorite part of a first aid kit: superglue! I hardly ever use bandaids, but I find that superglue usually closes up a cut pretty well. It might not be the most professional way of stopping bleeding, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper than getting stitches!

I'm definitely going to be hitting the antique/junk shops around town. There are quite a few, so hopefully I can find the tools and things I need to get started out.
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« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2011, 10:20:34 pm »

Besides all of the wonderful suggestions, I recommend Duct Tape and Scotch (the liquid, temper cooling stuff, not the tape)  Cheesy
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Athanor
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« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2011, 05:40:37 am »

Plan for a lathe. At some point, you'll need it, and you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.

I agree 100%. A wood lathe is handy, but a machinist's lathe - the biggest you have space for/can afford - is the quintessential gadgeteer's tool and, with suitable attachments, can be made to do just about anything. I've used mine for working wood, plastics, metals - even soapstone. Again, if your cash resources are tight, secondhand may be the way to go. I got super-lucky - doesn't often happen, but you never know - mine was given to me by a friend-of-a-friend, more or less as scrap metal - an antique almost, a 1934 Southbend. I scraped about 15lbs of congealed dust, rust, swarf and fossilized grease out of it, fettled it - it runs at least as well as anything you could purchase new. Save your pennies - you'll never regret it if you're serious about making things.

Athanor
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« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2011, 10:16:29 pm »

I have to  second all  the comments about getting the best quality you can afford  if your planning to  seriously develop  a hobby.  Cheap  tools are fine if you just want to  experiment a little.

My list would be:
Jewellers saw and  plenty  of blades.
Set  of  large 8" files
Set  of good  needle files
Good quality engineers square
Gas torch with  large and small  heads for hard and soft soldering
Good tin snips/aviation snips and  jewellers snips (round & curved)
Plenty  of  wet/dry emory paper in various grades
Drill Press.  (makes drilling holes a pleasure not a chore)
Micromotor with hand-piece or microdrill/dremel  with  plenty  of  fraziers/burs etc. (so  cheap  now their disposable)
Drawing board & drawing tools


Secondary  items to  aim for later.  Lathe (best you can afford  is  best), Guiloteen for sheet cutting, bandswa,  milling machine, Gas/airtorch, Pickle pot, doming blocks, rolling mill.... the list would just go  on.
PS.  old tools have  generally softer steel  than  modern which  take longer to  put a decent edge to  them,  but go  blunt less quickly because  of the flexability  of the cutting edge.
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Jedediah Solomon
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« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2011, 02:29:19 pm »

I suppose it goes without saying,  a Jacob's  Ladder,  Laser, a Wimshurst machine, I would assume you have these already... otherwise what do you use to keep Air Kraken at bay?A few Whimsies and a handful of wolfbane may do in a pinch.
Well,  Someone had to add the lighthearted silliness that is bound to rear it's head on the thread sooner or later..... who better than a Mad Tinkerer suffering from sleep deprivation.   Got to go, the villagers are pounding on my door with their torches and pitchforks. Wait.... never mind! It's my daughter wanting help with her homework.  nnnnNNNNOOOOOOOooooooo!!!!
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« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2011, 09:47:00 am »

I would recommend as a must:
Table saw
bench vice
Bench grinder
hand held belt sander (can mount in vise if you need it stationary)
a drill
hand held circular saw

nice to have tools:
compound miter saw. I love it, but theres nothing this tool can do that I can not do with either my table saw, circular saw, or both. this tool just makes it faster.
Drill press.  again, speed and connivance.  I can drill those holes with a hand held drill, but I know my angles will be accurate and repeatable with a drill press. sadly, mine burned up.
Band saw. not an absolute need, but it is amazing to work with.  other options that would work are a table top jigsaw, or a hand held scroll saw. the jg saw can't do stuff as heavy as the band saw, and the scroll saw doesn't quite have the same tight turn radius as a band saw can have.

torches, but standard propane soldering torch and a micro torch.
files, files and even more files! flat, round, half round, diamond, rat-tail, from the roughest to the smoothest. I'll use them all.  keep the metal and wood files separate.

people keep telling me I need to start using routers, but I won't touch them, not after that accident a few years ago. but a router IS possible the single most versatile tool a woodsmith can have.

list of other generic hand tools here. if you have them, you will use them.
 
 
 I've found that lately, outside of wood work, the tools I've been using the most are a set of calipers, needle nose pliers, tin snips, metal hole punch, plain screw driver and files. 
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« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2011, 12:54:46 am »

Last summer I bought this band saw from Sears, and really could not work without it. While I have scroll blades, I keep a metal cutting blade on it, and just cut wood with that. It cuts through metal plate and tubing like butter.

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00921400000P?sid=IDx01192011x000001&srccode=cii_17588969&cpncode=18-104097806-2
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