Start to set up your own workshop with a few essentials

18-03-2015

You’ve just discovered the wonders of metalworking and now you want your own workshop. There are many amazing things you can make within these caves of industrious design. It’s just a matter of time before you find that setting up your workshop with the right tools is an investment, and that there are certain products that you just cannot do without.

Work smart and safe with the right tools

One of the side effects to learning about tools and working with a decent workbench is that once you’ve experienced some of the great products out there, you will also find yourself becoming something of a tool snob. You’re going to want the best workshop and tools because they last longer, allow you to do much more, and in quicker time frames.

Before you get started, it is imperative that you find a well-ventilated space to work in. Basements are not ideal as the lack of circulation means that fumes hang around, the air gets musty and there is insufficient natural light.

There are several essentials, when it comes to workshop equipment and these include:

Health & Safety

Optimum health and safety is the cardinal rule of any workshop. You never use tools when you’re sick, tired, intoxicated, new to the world of power tools, and without the proper supervision. There are some unwritten rules that are workshop law:

  • Clean up after yourself. Leaving a space full of debris is a hazard.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher handy.
  • Unplug all power tools when you’re finished using them.
  • Use earplugs as your hearing will start to be affected if you don’t take precautions.
  • Use goggles to protect your eyes because screws and drill bits do snap and fly through the air.
  • Never give anyone a fright in a workshop, particularly when they’re using tools.
  • Ensure that cords are not in the way as this can cause someone to trip, and there are many sharp bits and pieces lying around at any one time.

Workbench

Workshop with a few tools and workbenchNot enough can be said about having a reliable workbench. As much as you may think, “it’s just a table”, it’s really much more than that. A workbench will become the centrepiece of your shop and many people find that making it themselves is the best option as opposed to buying a pre-made one. It’s where you measure, cut, shape, grind, and finish everything, so you want something reliable. It’s also a great first project.

Workbenches need to be sturdy, with many engineers reinforcing their benches to ensure 100% stability. With the amount of hammering, drilling, grinding and sawing to be done on this table, it will need to have a thick and relatively wide surface area.

Storage

Workshops are a nightmare when it comes to finding what you need, when you need it now. You need to be meticulous when putting away tools, clamps, fasteners and those really small but extremely important additions, such as screws.

Make the storage accessible.

  • Put power tools back in their boxes, or place them neatly on open shelving.
  • Hand-tools can be placed in drawers or hung up on the wall.
  • Goggles, masks and gloves can be placed inside a workshop case that comes with sliding drawers; also ideal for screws, nails, hooks, cords and fasteners, etc.
  • Extension cords are used extensively in a workshop and these need to be unplugged and put away in a safe space when you’re done. This keeps them free of dust and prevents anyone tripping on them, which can be very dangerous.

Tools

If you are setting up a workshop then you know that there are few major power and hand tools you will need for your trade. Purchasing tools from a renowned supplier is important, as you want guaranteed products. You also want to have access to a team you can call on for professional assistance and advice.

You may not have the funds to completely kit out your workshop with a whole host of tools, but there are a few essentials to get you started:

  • A good angle grinder, 5” & 9” are a great combination.
  • Welder Mig or Arc, depending on your capability and training.
  • Air Compressors are always handy for running air tools and cleaning down after use.
  • A good lathe and the various complementary accessories.
  • Along with a wide range of consumables to help and aid your endeavours.

These are just a few examples of the many amazing tools on offer. Every workshop elf wants their workspace complete with the above, and more. Get a few essentials, know what you want, and then start to build your tool collection.

Enjoy the journey as you begin planning and setting up your workshop as this really is the beginning of a beautiful friendship with your tools. Have fun, be safe and most importantly, remember that your tools are an investment, much like legacy clothing; buy a power drill your grandkids will still use and appreciate fifty years down the line.