Are you are a serious do-it-yourselfer who plans on building your home from the ground up? Or just a weekend DIYer wanting to work on projects or routine home repairs? Having the right tools in your workshop is the first step to getting the job done right. While there are several options, not all of them may be the right choice in the long run.
Here are some of the best tools and equipment to buy, and suggestions on how to turn your garage into the perfect workshop.
Safety and Storage
Having a garage workshop that is safe to work in should be your first priority. That includes making sure you have adequate electrical outlets to avoid running extension cords that could be a tripping hazard. Consider having an electrician install additional outlets either in the walls at just above cabinet height or on the fronts of cabinets.
You also want to be sure you have sufficient work surfaces for all your needs. When looking at storage options for your tools and equipment, consider what you will be working on in each section of your garage. If you will be using a rolling saw cabinet, leave room to store it against the wall and be able to use it in the middle of the garage without being too far from an electrical outlet.
Safety should also include finding ways to make your floor less slippery. One way is to paint your cement floor with a paint designed specifically for concrete. Another is to add silica sand to the paint to create a floor with some abrasion. Making sure you have cleaning supplies, such as a broom or a wet/dry vacuum, is also a good idea. That way any sawdust, wood or metal shavings, or other debris can be cleaned up as you work to prevent slips.
Good lighting is also a safety suggestion so that you can see any hazards, not just on the floor, but on any waist height or overhead cabinets. If you will be using a lot of overhead cabinets, consider getting light strips or puck lights to put on the bottom of the cabinets. These will light up your workspace and make it easier to stay safe.
From the smallest ratchet to the largest vice grip, there are basic tools every workshop needs. While investing in larger tools and equipment may seem logical, buying quality hand tools is also a good choice. These are tools you will be probably be using much more often than your larger tools or equipment, and you want them to last just as well.
Having a place to store those tools is also important. A tool chest is recommended since it will keep your tools organized and protected from the elements. Even in a closed garage, there is still the risk of moisture from any humidity in the air. For tools that you use frequently, you can use a pegboard mounted to a wall with outlines showing where each tool should go to help stay organized.
If you plan on using a hammer for all your woodworking projects that need nails, you should either find a good orthopedic surgeon who will fix your aching shoulders in a few years or invest in a pneumatic nail gun. It will be less expensive to buy an air compressor and nail gun. When investing in an air compressor, make sure that it will meet all your needs.
Air compressors are used to power multiple types of nail guns and also for spray guns to make painting faster. If you use your workshop for auto repairs, having an air ratchet will help to remove tight bolts without spending a lot of time trying to do it by hand. There are a variety tools you will find can be used with an air compressor to make your projects faster and easier. Chisels, hammers, sanders, drills and wrenches are just a few you can use with an air compressor.
Large Tools and Equipment
Renting equipment may seem practical for a one-time project, but you don’t have any idea how it was used before, or whether or not it was cared for correctly. Buying something spur of the moment usually winds up being more expensive when you find out it doesn’t work like you need or it breaks quickly. Purchasing quality tools and equipment is investing in a job well done, and you’ll get tools you will be able to use again and again.
As with any large tools or equipment, make sure you understand how to use it safely. Some home improvement stores offer advice and lessons on equipment, and how to do various repairs and projects. There are also videos you can find online for almost any tool or project. Once you find the equipment you need, go out and start your DIY project. And best of luck building out your workshop!