A workshop is just about the manliest thing ever, and every guy wants to have one. Nothing says, “Get ‘r done!” like your own personal sanctuary of tools, bigger tools, and makes-really-loud-noises tools. It’s a uniquely glorious place where the sacred personalization and blissful solitude of a man cave meets the testosterone-fueled fulfillment of building stuff.
Plus, we love building stuff. If I had the equipment and materials, I’d start building random chairs, longboards, and all manner of crap right now. And then I would use my creations exhaustively for their entire five-minute lifespan, before watching those hours of labor crumble pathetically into a rugged pile of iron, steel, and mahogany.
No worries though: the joy was in the creation, the building, the fashioning with my own two hands. The product isn’t the concern because that will improve inevitably with practice. And who are we kidding, if we actually wanted a proper longboard we would have just bought one. A man’s workshop is the sanctuary where this euphoria of physical creation can be experienced on a whenever-I-feel-like-it basis. I know you want one. So let’s talk about how to build one.
1) Location, Location, Location
For starters, you simply must have the proper location. And no, a spare room attached to your home will not, I repeat NOT do. That weak crap may work for a man cave, but this is a workshop we are talking about. There absolutely MUST be concrete and metal present. Plus, your wife will never let you work if she can hear the noise loudly through your home’s paper-thin walls.
A garage will work admirably in a pinch, but then where will you park your motorcycles? The ideal home for a Gladiator-level workshop is an impeccably built, solid-as-Stallone, stand-alone work shed of some nature. If you have some extra dough, go ahead and lay a concrete foundation for that bad boy. You’ll thank me later.
2) Essential Toys
Now that we have the actual building taken care of, it’s time to fill it with toys. Your first priority is accumulating the basic set of tools that every man should own. This includes items such as screwdrivers, an ax, WD-40, a rotary tool, duct tape, a cordless drill, handsaw, level, socket wrenches, a hammer, etcetera, etcetera. The next step is to purchase or create a heavy duty workbench.
Once you have acquired these necessities, it’s time to get to the good stuff, or in other words, the big stuff that makes really loud noises. Items like a chainsaw, band saw, reciprocating saw, plunge router, orbital palm sander, and many more are the workhorses that will deliver the results we aim for. Far from a basic batch of one-size fits all tools, this selection will be finely catered to your personal goals and preferences.
3) Deco & Refreshments
After we’ve accumulated our prize collection of tools, tools, and more tools, it’s time to add the finishing touches to our pride and joy. When it comes to a workshop, electronic entertainment needs to be minimized. At most, you are allowed a quality, high-volume stereo system to put some dance in your step during the tedious portions of your endeavors. Throw some minimalist decorations up to keep the place looking fresh.
Remember that the second most important part of any workshop is it’s refreshments capacity. Every workshop must have a working fridge stocked full of quality snacks and gloriously refreshing beverages. And that, my dear brothers, is all you need to build your own one-of-a-kind dream workshop. Get ‘R Done!
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Wow, Jacob, you tackled a BIG subject. And, as you say, there are so many directions to go in. I have probably every wood working tool one really needs, and some (notably routers and planes) in multiple, having dispersed an 11,000 sq ft shop in Montana a couple of years ago. (http://rwmontana.jkrack.com/).
I do want to contribute a few universal tools that any garage or shop should have (in addition to the ones you mention). If you can’t afford them all at once, just make up a schedule and buy one a week:
· Head lamp. This is also great for reading in bed when your spouse wants to sleep!
· Gloves – best all purpose try FG Firm Grip (Home Depot or Amazon)
· Ear protection – disposable plugs are great for wife or guests. Loss of hearing is
not an option.
· Eye protection – prescription glasses will not stop flying objects ejected by machinery.
· We had a man lose sight in one eye for not using provided eye protection. Make sure safety glasses have the appropriate tested wording. Even weed wackers can do
major damage. Use a face shield if necessary.
· Dust masc.For general work only, such as sanding etc. For laquers and other solvents use appropriate filtered masks. Read manufacturers’ safety sheets
· Vise Grips in a couple of sizes and shapes. Buy the original Vise-Grips. I love having at least one IRWIN 20-11SP Vise-Grip 11-Inch Locking Clamp with Swivel Pads
· Large pair of channel locks
· 10″ pipe wrench
· Small and large crescent wrench
· Side or Diagonal Cutters (wire cutters) 8″
· Knee pads – get the gel ones and try them in the store for cumfort. Save your knees for later – when you get to be my age you’ll be glad you did. Both my knees had to be miraculously healed by prayer, but you shouldn’t count on that.
· Set of combination wrenches and sockets in metric and US. Bite the bullet early and
you’ll be glad you did. I’d be ashamed to admit how long i had the assorted
wrenches in a drawer. Get a descent set fro Lowes or somewhere they guarantee
· Tape measure: 16′ for shop work, Longer for construction
· Stud Finder: get a good one like Zircon 520. Cheap ones don’t work.
· Cordless Drill and Impact Driver set. A drill without an impact driver is like a single
parent for raising children: it can be done but I wouldn’t ever want to try.
And don’t cheap out: I’ve owned Makitas by the dozen and still have batteries
and drivers that were used heavily in the shop for years. They still take a
charge and work.
· Basic set of drill bits and driver tips for above
· Center punch (for starting holes in metal)
· 3 in 1 Oil for general purpose and drilling in metal
· Allen sets in metric and fractional.
· Box knife (not snap off blades for general work)
· Wood chisel in 3/4″ or set of three. You can ream one and still have a sharp one.
· Long nose and standard pliers : go on Amazon or Lowes and buy a set for cheap that willinclude several of the pliers listed here. Better quality will last a lifetime.
· PanaVise 301 Standard PanaVise. Best purchase you’ll ever make (Amazon has them for
less) when you’re trying to work on something you can’t hang on to with Vise
Grips or fingers.
· Set of files like the Nicholson 5 Piece General
Purpose Hand File Set
Great additions This article gets a lot of organic traffic for some reason. If you’d like to turn this comment into a list article, I’d be glad to publish it here instead.
Guess I don’t know what a list article is. But sure, just hum a few bars and I’ll do it.
By the way, posting a comment is really a hastle. I wonder if my blog is the same? Can it be streamlined? I don’t think the average person wants to spend all that time.
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