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What DIY Tools Are Essential & Why?

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Lex DeVille

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I want to build a shop with tools to make whatever I want (including large items) mostly using wood, acrylic and non-metal products. What do you consider essential tools for a starter DIY shop? Doesn't matter if they're power tools or not. I just want to get a straight answer from experienced people.
 

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Gerrald

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I want to build a shop with tools to make whatever I want (including large items) mostly using wood, acrylic and non-metal products. What do you consider essential tools for a starter DIY shop? Doesn't matter if they're power tools or not. I just want to get a straight answer from experienced people.
Hi Lex,
I've got a dutch affiliate website where I cover DIY tools. Maybe electric (crosscut) saws are a good starting point? People are also looking for (cordless) drills and multitools!

Good luck on your journey!
 

Andy Black

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All I have is a hammer, and everything does indeed look like a nail.


(Sorry @Lex DeVille ... I couldn’t resist.)
 

AubreyJ

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Electric Drill, Electric Ratchet (May not use a whole lot for wood, but if you ever need one you will be happy you have one) a variety of clamps, circular saw, a variety of drill bits, sander, and the basics like screwdrivers and hammers. I'd also say plenty of storage!

This is a timely post on my end because my neighbor has an incredible DIY shop in his garage and I was just talking to him about this over the weekend.
 

Odysseus M Jones

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I want to build a shop with tools to make whatever I want (including large items) mostly using wood, acrylic and non-metal products. What do you consider essential tools for a starter DIY shop? Doesn't matter if they're power tools or not. I just want to get a straight answer from experienced people.
A sturdy workbench with vice (unless you're an octopus) is a must.
A table saw with accurate fence.
Router & its smaller cousin the trimmer.
Chisels
Electric & small manual planes.
A cross cut/mitre saw
A band saw
A drill press

Start a project & you'll quickly find out what you need.

Be careful of the hardware store it becomes addictive.

And when you go on Saturday just to chat with other DIY guys, seek help.
 

RazorCut

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Tools cost a lot. At least decent ones do, and the old adage of buy cheap buy twice is bang on. I probably have between 15 and 20k worth. Some I haven't used in years. So I would say narrow it down to exactly what you want to accomplish. Buy what you need as you need it then you don't have $1000's invested in tools that hardly see the light of day. Having said that getting started would require...

Basics hand tools:

Drill/driver
Jigsaw
Small router
Hand Plane
Hand saw
Chisel set (Narex or Irwin Marples will serve you well without costing the earth)
Diamond Sharpening stone
Hammer
Screwdriver set
Socket set
Spanner set
A range of Pliers
Assorted Clamps
Combination Square
A few decent square like a builders square and speed square
Tape measures

Plus if you are working with sheet material then a track saw would be a big advantage. Otherwise just a circular saw.

Pick a brand like Milwalkee, Makita, Dewalt etc. and stick with that brand so you have continuity regarding batteries. It saves money buying them in kit form like this.

Larger kit:

A decent workbench or at least a MFT style top (plenty of youtube video's available on making one)
Table Saw
Band Saw
Pillar Drill
Router table
 

Andy Black

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Allen keys. I always seem to need the one that's missing from the set.
 

Sheens

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Saw horses and bar clamps would be great additions!

Storage in a tool box like the Knaack, Jobox, Snap-On, or others so it can all be locked up if needed. They generally hold some value so may be able to buy used and sell at a reasonable price any time in the future.
 

RazorCut

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Probably the first big project will be a shed/shop.
Awesome. If it’s going to be wooden construction then:

Speed square, framing square, Combination Square. Mitre Saw. Circular Saw (or Track-Saw if you can justify one). Impact Driver. Drill/Driver. If you are considering getting any air tools in the future get a compressor and nail gun for the build. Personally I would buy a used nail gun plus a staple gun from a good brand like Bostitch, Porter Cable, Hitachi etc..
 

TheCj

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Building a shed can require as little as a circular saw, drill, hammer, level and tape measure.

Buy what ever tools you need as you go along. Personally I just go with the cheapest priced tool from an established brand that has 4+/5 star reviews. If you don't like it can return it in the 30-90 days and get the next higher priced tool with good reviews. I'd easily recommend Bosch and Makita power tools for no worry value.

My own personal preference is choosing wired power tools. Never have to worry about batteries or sticking to one brand because of batteries.

If you do go with cordless and batteries, look out for specials that the brands put out usually with a drill. They will sell a power tool with usually 2 batteries and charger for a price that is lower than the price of a set and batteries and a charger just to get people into there brand. So if you do go for cordless can get more batteries that way.

Also look for a tool brand/store that has a great warranty/support, here in Canada Canadian Tire has basically a no questions asked replacement on a lot of there own branded tools. This mainly applies to hand tools, so look for stores/brands that stand behind there tools like that.

Can get so many tools that can make a job easier/faster just have to decide if it's worth it for you ie: doing it to enjoy the process you might prefer hand tools to carve something, vs you want to enjoy the finished project you might buy a router or even a cnc machine to produce the same thing faster.

Making sure you have the right blade for the job/material and that your drill bits are sharp will make any task go smoothly. Acrylics and non-metal work will require different less heavy duty power tools to cut and shape as well as different cutting blades etc.. So again think about what you mainly want to do and then look for the tool that will serve you best for that application.

Oh yeah build your shed as big as possible! Have fun!
 

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eliquid

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My father is a master carpenter for 40+ years. I've helped him on lots of projects.

Straight cuts are essential for any project in wood.

Based on that, a mitre saw is needed and can do a lot you will need. We call them "chop saws" but they are listed as mitre saws.

Past that, when you get into glue and nailing ( cabinets and frames ) you will need clamps, at least 4-5 at the min.

Electric drill and hammer and tape measure also needed. I would also say a level to keep things, well level.

Personally, I also would go bandsaw and then router for finishing touches.

^^^^ You can build A LOT with just those tools alone.

Anything more, just makes life EASIER... things like nail guns and such. You don't have to have those to build, they just make it easier.

The ones above the ^^^^ is for sure the basics to build.
 

Darius

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For building a shed/shop:

  • Circular Saw - I prefer battery powered
  • Speed square - to be used with a circular saw for straight cuts on lumber
  • Impact driver - I rarely ever pick up my drill and only use the impact driver. You can get drill bit attachments if you need to drill holes ( or auger / spade bits)
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • 4ft & 6ft levels
  • nails/screws
  • Reciprocating saw - this will be useful for cutting where the circular saw won't work well. I use them for demo work, cutting bottom plates, sometimes cutting out windows, cutting pipes, and more.
  • Ramset nail gun - if you're building the shop on a slab and want to attach the pressure treated bottom plates to the slab
  • Pencils/markers

And that might be all the tools you really need.

You could get a miter saw to make things slightly quicker/easier but it's not needed if you get comfortable with a circular saw and speed square
 

Andy Black

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This is like another language. This forum is amazing. So many people with so much knowledge.

I’d like to be able to put a few things together as well. I’m not handy in the slightest. Being able to make a (freestanding?) tree-house for the kids would be great.
 

Sheens

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Oh yeah build your shed as big as possible! Have fun!
Lol, definitely this!

Not sure I've ever heard anyone say that their shed is too big ... : )

I would add ladders to your list.

And a good tool belt.

Scaffolding is not essential or needed for a small shed. For larger projects (a shed the size of a garage) borrowing or renting scaffolding from a friend may be a big help.

Chalk reel for straight lines. The lasers are awesome.. not essential.

Do you have a set of plans for it?


Being able to make a (freestanding?) tree-house for the kids would be great.
Sounds like a great project to do with them!

Having a handy friend or family member to help out as well may shorten the learning curve and make it even more enjoyable!
 

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