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brandonsmash
brandonsmash Reader
5/14/24 9:36 a.m.

What do  you have and use in your shop/toolkit that is the spendier version of a daily thing, or a tool that isn't absolutely necessary but feels great to use? Something that doesn't cost a ton of money -- $20, $50, maybe $100 -- but that you'd absolutely buy time and again? 

brandonsmash
brandonsmash Reader
5/14/24 9:40 a.m.

Some of mine:

Pliers: Knipex makes excellent pliers that hold up to the hype. Knipex Cobras are so good that at this point I've purchased well over a dozen pairs. I keep a full array of sizes in the garage and the workshop as well as multiples in the warehouse shop and my work vehicles. They're far better than slip-joint or tongue-and-groove pliers.

Screwdrivers: I have a couple sets of Wera screwdrivers but I find myself reaching for my full-tang, wood-handle Felo set most often. 

Anti-fatigue mats: I put mats down anywhere I'm going to be standing in one position for a while (in front of the mill and lathe, the sawing station, and the layout table).

Fixturing: Fireball Tool makes really excellent welding squares and layout tools. They greatly expedite corner joints and, while much spendier than a speed square, allow clamping directly to the fixture to hold the joint in place. 

 

ShawnG
ShawnG MegaDork
5/14/24 9:45 a.m.

Gunsmiths screwdrivers from Lee Valley Tools.

I do a lot of carburetor work. Gunsmiths screwdrivers have the tips ground parallel instead of on a taper like everything else. This means they grip screws very well and are less likely to strip the head. They're a lifesaver on small brass screws and they don't damage jets. They're not very expensive but I find them very useful.

 

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
5/14/24 9:48 a.m.

I'll second the Knipex pliers. They are worth every penny.

Second is my habit of buying specialty tools instead of renting them. Now I just walk to the back shelf and grab whichever box I need. 

But probably my favorite by far is my Milwaukee M12 Stubby Impact. It is the most used tool in my shop.

wae
wae UltimaDork
5/14/24 9:57 a.m.

A couple years ago I treated myself to a cordless 3/8" electric ratchet from Harbor Freight.  It was just about a hundred bucks and I reach for that all the time.  It doesn't have enough power to break anything loose but it also doesn't have enough power to break anything.  My only regret is that I didn't buy a second battery.  It has pretty good battery life, but I'm also pretty good at forgetting to charge it when it does run down.

clownkiller
clownkiller Dork
5/14/24 2:04 p.m.

In reply to wae :

I bought the long neck and short ratchet from HF. Very handy

The0retical
The0retical UberDork
5/14/24 3:12 p.m.

I also bought a set of Lisle exhaust hangar pliers last year. That's a tool I didn't need but man does it take the effort out of exhaust work on jackstands.

I also popped a cheap, second hand, window air conditioner in my garage. Removes a lot of my complaints about being in there when I have a job I don't really want to do.

AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter)
AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/15/24 10:01 a.m.

Good lighting! Much easier to work when you can see what you're doing. 

preach
preach UltraDork
5/15/24 4:37 p.m.

Bottle cap opener.

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/16/24 9:50 p.m.

Cheap?  6' iron pipe as a breaker bar extension. 

AMiataCalledSteve
AMiataCalledSteve HalfDork
5/17/24 7:43 a.m.

In reply to AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter) :

Good lighting was huge for me. Before I bought some cheap LED lights for the garage I was working off the single bulb in the garage door opener, which meant I needed a flashlight for almost anything. Good lighting meant I could actually enjoy working in the garage instead of stumbling around in the dark lol

camopaint0707
camopaint0707 HalfDork
5/17/24 7:44 a.m.

A toilet and couch.

Peabody
Peabody MegaDork
5/17/24 8:28 a.m.
brandonsmash said:

What do  you have and use in your shop/toolkit that is the spendier version of a daily thing, or a tool that isn't absolutely necessary but feels great to use? Something that doesn't cost a ton of money -- $20, $50, maybe $100 -- but that you'd absolutely buy time and again? 

Definitely a spendier version of a daily thing and a little more than $100, but in the big picture a bargain used, and it makes my shop a very enjoyable place to be. 

nderwater
nderwater MegaDork
5/17/24 9:17 a.m.

Similar to others above, my cordless impact is the tool that gets the most use and lighting is the easiest upgrade that makes a huge quality of life difference.

Chris Tropea
Chris Tropea Associate Editor
5/17/24 9:29 a.m.

My Craftsman 1/4-in and 3/8-in 120-tooth ratchets, I found them on clearance at my Lowes and decided to give them a shot. Now they are the ones I reach for every time I am working on something. 

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue SuperDork
5/18/24 1:07 a.m.

In reply to ShawnG :

Oh, man. Hollow-ground screwdrivers could be a lifesaver. Good call.

I really like Vessel screwdrivers. Nice quality feel, not expensive, and they seem to have the elusive just-right fit in Japanese Phillips(ish) screws.

Wright combination wrenches are my favorite. Again, not expensive, but also not on every tool truck, so you kind of have to look for them, and it feels like kind of a luxury to use them, like you are in on some kind of secret nobody else knows about.

Most of my luxuries are things I could never afford to buy new, but lucked into somehow. A couple of examples are the Wilton vise a friend gave me and the 20-ton hydraulic press that was too cheap to pass up at a yard sale.

I think this mat is my favorite luxury. It has saved my knees so many times it just isn't even close to funny. Worth every penny!

Puddy46
Puddy46 Reader
5/18/24 1:48 p.m.

A chair.  Sometimes I need to stop and look something up, read directions, or just noodle on something.  It has helped with that part of the garage day.

Peabody
Peabody MegaDork
5/19/24 9:16 a.m.
Puddy46 said:

A chair.  Sometimes I need to stop and look something up, read directions, or just noodle on something.  It has helped with that part of the garage day.

I saw a pretty good looking office chair with a FREE sign on it at the side of the road one day on my way home from work. I thought it would fit nicely in the shop, and sits right in the listening sweet spot of the shop system. I use it for the same thing but every time I sit down shop kitty thinks it's cuddle time and I don't get anything done.

dan0
dan0 Dork
5/19/24 11:55 a.m.

Well I don't have it yet... BUT when I can it will be my own tire machine.

I've mounted and dismounted some tires at home, but have held back on some swaps because of the PITA for me or the cost to do so.

Like I have a set of good tires on a set of wheels. I want those tires to go on another vehicle. But on a different set of wheels than either vehicle. But I need the TPMS sensors. So at minimum I'm dismounting 12 tires and remounting 4. That would be kinda pricy in shop labor / time / effort to load up all the wheel sets. Would be nice to just do it myself. 

Cyclone03
Cyclone03 New Reader
5/21/24 12:04 a.m.

Well I got a two post lift last month,a little more than a few bucks but I love it as much as I knew I would.

 

But my latest "what took me so long" ICON switch blade light from HF,they are $39 but last over 8 hours. I've been using one as my welding helper light.

burdickjp
burdickjp Reader
6/14/24 6:28 a.m.

Another vote for lighting, both in general and task lighting.

 

A goofy one for me are my Gearwrench X-beam wrenches:

https://www.gearwrench.com/all-tools/wrenches/ratcheting/85888-12-piece-72-tooth-12-point-xl-x-beamtm-ratcheting-combination-metric-wrench-set

 

They're comfortable. They're strong. They're well made. My only complaint is that the ratcheting box end is 12 point. It should be 6 point!

gixxeropa
gixxeropa HalfDork
6/14/24 8:39 a.m.

knipex pliers wrench. they're like adjustable wrenches that actually work

A tv so I can put something on to watch while I take a breather

AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter)
AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter) UberDork
6/14/24 2:08 p.m.
gixxeropa said:

knipex pliers wrench. they're like adjustable wrenches that actually work

Yes! They are impressive!

chiquito1228
chiquito1228 Reader
6/20/24 9:08 a.m.

Living in the Midwest. Having a heater has been a game changer for me.

gixxeropa
gixxeropa HalfDork
6/20/24 9:22 a.m.

Just bought a portable air conditioner for the shed I do my composites stuff in. Leaving it on for an hour before I start working brings it from the high 90s down to about 80, which is much more tolerable. Definitely a nice little luxury

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