Have you ever seen anything more beautiful than a workshop full of tools? Everything in their place, the cords neatly tucked in small loops, battery packs directly below their appropriate instrument—it’s a sight every working individual can’t help but love. Working with one’s hands is an international pastime. Men and women, since the dawn of time, have been obsessed with tools. They’re extensions of our senses and capabilities. With tools, we can make anything. That’s the beauty of human ingenuity and the power of the right set of tools.
If you’re just starting your workshop, or you’re looking to upgrade your current set, here are the top 10 tools that you must have in your workshop.
Chances are, you’ve looked up and down the hardware store, looking for the perfect wood. Sometimes, all the options around you are oddly brittle. Maybe you want to start your project au naturel. Whatever your reasons are, starting big and carving your way down to workable pieces is what workshopping is all about. But to do this you need a good chainsaw. Chainsaws don’t have to be complicated. They just have to be reliable. Do some research online. The chainsaws at Workshopedia do just fine. Going down the selections, your main focus should be on warranty and safety. If it has good safety features, less moving parts, and a solid reputation on quality, go ahead and buy it.
A good hammer is A jewel. Sure, there’s a lot of different kinds, but a solid, all-around, blunt tool is surprisingly difficult. How many hammers have you gone through in your life? Chances are, countless. The first thing you have to take into account is the weight. If you’re Macho Man Randy Savage, you would probably need the heaviest one you can find. But for the rest of us, a solid 16-20 ounce hammer is more than enough. We need to be able to transfer force comfortably over long projects, not wack nails with a single swing, and call it a day.
Allen Wrench Set
Everybody needs an Allen wrench. It’s also the most strangely elusive tool in a good workshop. We can find screwdrivers and monkey wrenches in a flash. But the right Allen wrench? We’ll be spending all day looking for the thing. Keep a complete set right in the middle of your plane of view so you always know where they are. Don’t have it sitting, loose and out of place, at the bottom of a toolbox. Most furniture pieces rely on Allen wrenches to secure joints and moving parts. You’re going to need to know where they are.
Workshops aren’t just about cutting and smashing and loud noises. They’re about getting the right piece into the right shape to fulfill a function. To do this, you need to plan, and, more importantly draft. You might be a regular Bobby Fisher and have the idea all in your head. For the rest of us, drafting is an important tool to make sure we have all our plans right before initiating the project. Sure, the kitchen table can double as a “drafting board” but with the kids’ homework and leftover pizza sauce all over it, do you want to be in creative mode? A dating board is just the thing to get you into that state to make your masterpiece.
Speaking of flat surfaces, a cutting mat is a builder’s best friend. It’s where your projects come to life. Used often by cobblers and leather-workers, a cutting mat assures that you’ve got the right edge, the right measurements, and the right grain of every material you one across. When it comes to building, “eyeballing” it doesn’t work. You’ve got to know, for sure, the exact numbers, lest you come out with a lopsided chair.
Now, we’re getting into the heavy-duty stuff. A lathe is the most useful timesaver while woodworking. If you’re not familiar with a lathe, it’s a tool that rotates a piece of wood along an axis, while a precision piece allows for shaving while the piece rotates. It’s perfect for baseball bats, chair legs, and any sort of biaxial shape you’re moulding down. It makes sure that you’ve got an even cut all around.
If you’re working with power and pneumatic tools, an air compressor is a must. Yes, you can get pre-filled tanks and such. But if you’re serious about your workshop, you’d eventually build up to having a self-sufficient unit to work with. That’s what an air compressor can provide. You don’t have to stop your work to do anything just because you’re out of compressed air. You can get a compressor and continue the job until it’s done.
Much like the air compressor and the lathe, the table saw is an invaluable tool that speeds up the process of any project. Sure, you can cut large pieces by hand, but why would you do that? Having a table saw speeds up the production of any project by at least 100 fold. Imagine having to sew everything by hand. It would be a nightmare.
A drill press is essentially a hand drill on a fixed vertical axis. It goes up and down. That’s it. The beauty of a tool as simple as a drill press is that it can be used to drill precision holes without much of an afterthought. You can keep your eye on the next task because you know the drill press is going to take care of all the holes. It’s much like how shifting gears get after you’ve been driving for a while. Easy, smooth, and the definition of functional.
Last, but not least, the tape measure is the single most important tool to have on your belt and in your workshop. Nothing works unless you know the numbers. Engineers and builders don’t work on loose estimations. Also, this is the most lost piece of equipment next to the Alan wrench. Keep it on your hip at all times.
The best tools were built to increase efficiency and speed up production time. With this top 10 set, you’ll be sure to hit your deadlines with accuracy, precision, and repeatability. What more could you ask for