• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.
  • Untitled 1

    As promised, a formal announcement has been made regarding recent changes in the administrative staff here at H-M.

    Please take a few moments to go to our home page and review that announcement.

[4]

What is your must have shop tool??

[10] Like what you see?
Click here to donate to this forum and upgrade your account!

jpfabricator

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2012
Messages
3,042
Likes
698
#1
What is your most used or must have tool or accessories, that you have made, or purchased that make shop time easier, or more enjoyable??
Maby your idea can help other members!

My "helper" is a shop stool and a horse stall mat. The bar stool has served as everything from a saw horse to an assembly table! I got the horse mat from work, it was a freebie. Many "farm and ranch" stores sell them as pre cut, or by the foot off of a roll. You mite find them at your local feed stores also. I
havent had it down long, but it shur has helped to reduce foot and leg fatigue already! mat.jpg

mat.jpg
 

Jeff in Pa

Active User
Active Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Messages
183
Likes
3
#2
I have a couple pieces of plywood down in front of my lathe and mill. Easy to clean chips off of and keeps my feet from hurting.
 

Hawkeye

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2011
Messages
1,773
Likes
411
#3
I hadn't thought of the rubber mats as an essential shop tool, but you're right. I have the kind with holes all over them in front of three of my main machines, and pieces of conveyor belt out in the garage. Wouldn't be without them.
 

eac67gt

Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2012
Messages
557
Likes
0
#4
Although I do not have mats down I would have to agree with you guys.
My idea of my most important tool is my lighting. If you can't see correctly you can't do most all functions in the shop. Most of my lights are fluorescent but I have LED lights I madebuilt into the mill, over my mail workbench and have a lot of other LED ideas to come. One of the most important ones is definitely my magnifying light. The eys just aren't what they use to be.
Have a great day!
Ed
 

Ray C

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 16, 2012
Messages
4,426
Likes
72
#6
Interesting question but in my mind, it gets flipped around to "what is my least useful tool" because everything in the shop (except 1 thing) is purposeful. The one thing I have but has never been used is a large set of adjustable hand reamers from Harbor Freight. They have this big set of reamers ranging from about 3/8" to over an inch (if memory serves). I bought them because the box was damaged and were marked down to 45 bucks so, what the heck, I bought them. -Haven't used them once! Maybe some day...

Everything else in the shop was thoughtfully chosen and serves a good purpose. Aside from that, things go in spurts depending on the job and as I use the tools I find myself thinking "how could anyone live without this stuff ?"...

Ray
 

USNFC

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2013
Messages
133
Likes
100
#8
I'd have to say my shop build 2 X 72 belt grinder...I use this thing every day! belt grinder.JPG

belt grinder.JPG
 

Motopreserve

Active User
Active Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2013
Messages
40
Likes
0
#9
I have to agree that the floor mats definitely help with fatigue, especially if you are on cold, hard concrete for long days. But I would have to say that eac67gt is spot on - most important "tool" in the shop is lighting. While the legs and back can get sore from lack of floor padding, the frustration level (and possible mistakes too) that arises from lack of good light is even worse!
 

canerodscom

Active User
Active Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2011
Messages
98
Likes
3
#10
I can't find a picture, but since I am in Louisiana, the most important tool in my shop may well be a window unit air conditioner. Not only does it keep the shop relatively comfortable as far as temperatures, it also removes plenty of moisture from the air giving me a fighting chance to keep things from rusting over almost instantly.

Harry
 

Ray C

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 16, 2012
Messages
4,426
Likes
72
#11
All this talk of heat and A/C... You're dead-on! My little 20K BTU blue-flame propane heater is what enables all my winter fun. I don't have A/C and that might have to change because last year, I was working in the shop while it was 103. I'm thinking a window would be nice too. Sometimes I feel like a shut-in.


Ray
 

Jeff in Pa

Active User
Active Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Messages
183
Likes
3
#12
All this talk of heat and A/C... ....................
I am so glad most of my machines are in my walk in basement. AC in the summer plus warm in the winter. Of course welding is done out of the house along with chop saw use but the comfort level in house is nice.

Lighting is important too. I was able to get some decent lighting for cheap at the local electrical supply. Used is fine for my use.
 

fastback

Active User
Active Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Messages
488
Likes
13
#13
My shop is not as large as some and to me lighting, heat and air conditioning are the most important ancillary equipment in the shop, only the toosl are more important. I have a number of fluorescent lights in the ceiling as well as lighting at each machine. My heat is from a 4K electric hanging shop heater. The shop walls and ceiling are well insulated and is connected to the house which makes it very comfortable. At this point, I open the door to the house for air conditioning. I do have a 12k unit (brand new) I intend on inserting in the wall. When we built this addition I had it pre framed for the AC. If I have time I'll install it this summer, but only after I paint the house.


Right now the only other thing I need to address is mats for the floor. I agree with others this is a very important addition. In addition to comfort I also want the mats to reduce the wear to the floor paint. When I finished the basement addition I used an epoxy two part pant, while I like the paint I am have problem with the chips scratching the floor where I am standing wearing the paint down. Mats would be the only cure I can think of. The only problem is i will have to move the mats each time I was the floor. Oh well..
 

GK1918

Active User
Active Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2010
Messages
1,589
Likes
110
#14
I gotta vote for floor mats. One I have 4x8 by 1 inch thick the kind with all those 3/4 holes all rubber
and when I caught the dropsie disease I simply pick up the mat and find that little screw.
 

Ray C

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 16, 2012
Messages
4,426
Likes
72
#15
Oh, I do have good lighting... Early this spring, I revamped the shop and installed about 8 ceiling lights to supplement the 3 or 4 I already had. -And I use spot lighting as needed but I always forget to turn-off the halogen lights on the lathe and mill. Man, those little buggers are expensive and hard to find.

I am so glad most of my machines are in my walk in basement. AC in the summer plus warm in the winter. Of course welding is done out of the house along with chop saw use but the comfort level in house is nice.

Lighting is important too. I was able to get some decent lighting for cheap at the local electrical supply. Used is fine for my use.
 

OldMachinist

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
Messages
1,019
Likes
62
#16
I think that good lighting and anti-fatique mats are good to have but I think the most important item in the shop is eye protection.

You can walk with a prosthetic leg
And you can chew with false teeth
But you can't see with a glass eye
 

lindse34

Active User
Active Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Messages
41
Likes
19
#17
Anybody know the medical reason why there is less fatigue working on mats vs. on concrete? On the surface one would think if your just standing there, concrete would be no different than standing on feathers. Reality of course is much different. I just never heard why this is the case.

I vote for good lighting. Poor lighting is a recipe for mistakes and not safe in my opinion.

-Matt
 

Ray C

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 16, 2012
Messages
4,426
Likes
72
#18
I can't say this is a proven answer but, standing on hard floors put much more impact on your feet every time you take a step. That sends shocks in your ankles, knees, hips etc and by the end of the day, you've taken thousands of steps and your joints get beat up. The pain sneaks up on you because it's gradual. Simple as that I tend to think. Also, on cold floors, the feet get cold on concrete but have insulation with mats. Cold feet are never any good for you.


Anybody know the medical reason why there is less fatigue working on mats vs. on concrete? On the surface one would think if your just standing there, concrete would be no different than standing on feathers. Reality of course is much different. I just never heard why this is the case.

I vote for good lighting. Poor lighting is a recipe for mistakes and not safe in my opinion.

-Matt
 

Vince_O

Active User
Active Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2012
Messages
240
Likes
0
#19
For me as a small eng mechanic, its my snap on 3/8 elec impact. I use that thing for everything! I run head bolts off, on pre torque blower housings, blades wheels you name it I use it. Ive had it about 3 yrs and its getting a new anvil on it right now and I miss it working here at the house till the season starts back up.

Oh and my seirus radio helps too!
 

chipmaker51

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2012
Messages
16
Likes
5
#20
I'd have to say my floor model drill press is my most used tool in the shop. I drill, sand, clamp, slot, and a few other things that they don't advertise that you can do. Back when I loaded my own ammo, I used the table on this tool to clamp all of my presses on. It was adjustable so I could get it to precisely the right height for my arm. It had a light that was just right. I've always had access to a drill press since I was old enough to operate one, and I wouldn't be without one in my shop now.
 

GaryK

In Memory
Rest In Peace
Joined
Dec 13, 2012
Messages
451
Likes
3
#21
What do I use every time I enter the shop. The shop itself, while not exactly a tool, I would not be able to do any work at all without it.

I moved specifically to a place that would allow me to build my dream shop. That and high speed internet were about my only two requirements.

It keeps me warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It gives all my tools a place to live and stay safe.

My shop is my must have tool (box?).

000 - Workshop.jpg

Gary

000 - Workshop.jpg
 

Grahammon

Iron
Registered Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2013
Messages
8
Likes
3
#22
Nice workshop Gary, in the uk we have gardens the size of postage stamps.
for me the best thing in the workshop would be heat! Im Looking out of the window onto a snowy scene, so just shivering thinking about working in the garage.! propane just smells. And I'm sure not too good for you!
 

gnerdalot

Iron
Registered Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2013
Messages
15
Likes
1
#23
Drill press - before I got a drill press making things was frustrating as I could not drill a straight hole.
 

Daver

Active User
Active Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2012
Messages
139
Likes
3
#24
Ok, not to be Cliche, but I think the most important tool in the shop is the one between your ears!
Spend a day in the shop without it and it might be a long time before you are able to return (if ever!).


All that being said; My shop (small 2 car garage) is a little bit of everything so its hard to pin it down.
I will throw in this little observation though...
I bought a new tool box not too long ago (HF 44": top and bottom).
And It seems everything is slower now. Not the tool boxes fault, its a huge improvement over what I had, and great bang for the buck! But I was soooo conditioned to how I had the old ones (5 of them) organized. It just seems I have to either think before opening a drawer... or I have to open three drawers before I find what I am looking for!

(maybe some magnetic pics for the front of the drawers for a while... LOL!)
 

Motopreserve

Active User
Active Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2013
Messages
40
Likes
0
#25
To Daver's point - pegboard would be at the top of the list. Toolboxes are great, but a nicely displayed set of tools on pegboard makes the project move right along. The magnetic strips that go on the pegboard are a must too!
 

Kakagi1

Iron
Registered Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2012
Messages
8
Likes
0
#27
I always think every tool in my shop is a must have.. but without a place to store them or make things I would be in a hard spot. I agree with GaryK the shop itself is a must have. Heated and cooled even if I don't make anything, it is still nice just enjoy time in. But if I had to pick one tool I love and use the most it would be my metal lathe.

Garage Winter 4.jpg Gregs lathe.JPG
 

Ray C

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 16, 2012
Messages
4,426
Likes
72
#29
Given that the temperatures plummeted from 50 yesterday to 19 today, I'm back to thinking that the heater is pretty darn well appreciated.

Sadly though, I'm stuck in the office today and can't be in the shop right now. As a slight aside (but in keeping with the fact that I appreciate and take care of my tools) I keep the heater on in the garage 24x7 -but at reduced temperature while not in use. It's insulated and has smoke and CO detectors. I didn't like the additional expense of propane but I more disliked the heat/thaw cycle and resulting condensation when only heating while in use.

Ray
 

The_Architect_23

Swarf
Registered Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2013
Messages
4
Likes
0
#30
I think the most used tool in my shop is the dust collector.
If i didnt have her, i dont think i could work. My shop being an "indoor" deal, i have to keep clean, and my junk everywhere has to be a minimum.
 
[6]
[5] [7]