A. Electric drill, cordless or corded A drill with
a variety of screwdriver tips and drill bits may
well be your most frequently used power tool. In
the Barrage Garage, where I have power outlets
everywhere, I appreciate the lightness and torque
of a corded drill. But many people appreciate the
flexibility of a cordless model. The higher the top
voltage (e.g., 14. 4 or 18 volts) of a cordless drill, the
greater its torque and the more it weighs.
B. Files and brushes Flat and round bastard files
and a wire brush. (A bastard file refers to one with
an intermediate tooth size.)
C. Cutters You’ll want diagonal cutters, a utility knife,
tinsnips, a wire cutter/crimper/stripper, and a good
pair of scissors. You’ll find a self-healing cutting mat
to be a great help; buy one at any fabric store.
L. Screwdrivers Choose an assortment of high-quality Phillips and flat-headed (and possibly Torx)
screwdrivers in a variety of sizes.
M. Scale A triple beam balance or electronic
scale is a necessity for chemistry projects and
N. Belt sander
O. Drill press I simply can’t live without my drill
press, because it provides far more accuracy than
a hand drill ever could.
P. Cut-off saw
D. Mixing and volume-measuring equipment
Sturdy plastic bowls in different sizes, disposable
spoons, measuring cups, and measuring spoons.
E. Hacksaw For those occasions that require
cutting through something harder than wood.
F. Handsaw Most often, you’ll likely be cutting
dimensional lumber ( 2×4s, 2×6s, etc.) to size,
so choose a saw with crosscut instead of
G. Linear measuring gear Tape measure, protractor,
and combination square.
Beyond these basics, there are hundreds, if not
thousands, of tools available, all of which may
be useful depending on the project. In regard to
stationary power tools, it’s a tough call. Because
they’re expensive and require a lot of shop real
estate, it really depends on what you’re going to do
most. I use my table saw all the time. But I know
people who consider a band saw an absolute necessity and others who say a scroll saw is their number
one power saw priority.
Soldering iron Choose a variable-temperature
model with changeable tips.
H. Socket and wrench set If you work on things
mechanical, you’ll appreciate the quality of a
good socket set. Spend the money and get
English and metric sockets, as well as Allen
wrenches (hex keys).
Magnifying lens You’ll find a swing-arm magnifier
with a light a very helpful addition to your shop. It
mounts directly to your workbench and swings out
of the way when not in use. It’s great for everything
from threading needles to examining surface finishes.
I. Pliers come in a variety of shapes. At a minimum, Safety equipment Safety glasses, hearing protec-you should have standard, needlenose, and vise-grips. tion, a fire extinguisher, goggles, a dust mask, and
gloves are very important.
All safety glasses, even inexpensive ones, must
conform to government regulations, so they all
provide adequate protection. However, more
expensive ones are more comfortable and look better,
making you more inclined to always use them. (See
MAKE, Volume 12, page 44, “The Safe Workshop.”)
J. Hammers Start with a claw hammer for nailing
and a rubber mallet for knocking things apart.
K. Digital multimeter If you do any electronics
work, a volt-ohm meter with several types of probes
and clips will be indispensable.
42 Make: Volume 13