It may be a bit subjective to call most of these tools, but whatever you call them they are certainly essential items. There are plenty of power tools to spend the big bucks on, but it takes a lot of little things to get the job done right. This post arose out of a recent job I did building custom closets in three rooms of my house. Naturally whenever I was upstairs in one closet my level or my square was in a closet downstairs. Or in the garage.
For years my siblings and I would complain that we never knew what to get dad for his birthday or Christmas, and he would always say “Just get me a tool!” We would point out that he already had more tools than we knew existed and he would say “So, I need one for each location.” Dad’s tools are more mechanically oriented, and yet I finally understand what he was saying now. I’m fairly certain my husband and I own about five tape measures, and each one is floating around a different part of the house. We could always use another tape measure.
Whether you are building up your own shop or trying to decide what to get for that difficult to buy for person, here are some great budget ideas.
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Workshop Must Have Tools for Under $16
I love how durable these gloves are. We work mostly with reclaimed wood and these things are not just a luxury, they are a necessity. Unless you like splinters, of course.
This is an incredibly useful tool for making sure your cuts are dead on. It’s the go to simple tool for short 90 and 45 degree lines, but it’s well worth the time to familiarize yourself with how to use other angles as well. We use this one so much it is rarely if ever hung back up on the peg board.
3. A level
Unless you are going with a Dr. Seuss theme, use one of these.
4. Drill bits
These definitely fall in the it’s-best-to-own-a-lot-of-them category.
Not only are these just one of those things it is easy to loose, they can also break over time.
I use this the most for two tasks: checking adjustments on the miter saw and leveling areas where the larger level will not fit. There are a lot of other uses.
7. Pry Bars
This is one of those things that I cannot even name all the uses for. Just, strangely, there is this frequent need for them. Like for removing baseboard, or hard to reach nails, or for wedging pallets apart…
Good paintbrushes are worth every penny. Wooster brushes are my go to favorite.
9. Kreg Jig
The Kreg Mini jig is particularly great for repairs and for tough to reach areas that cannot fit in the regular Kreg tool.
I buy this stuff in the gallon size. It is awesome.
Perfect for working with stains, epoxy, or any number of other things that you really don’t want all over your hands.
Maybe rags are not exactly a tool, but they are definitely a shop essential. From cleanups to wiping stains to wiping off the detritus of woodworking and home improvement products, these will spell salvation for your good towels.
13. Tape Measure
Seriously, I own like five. And I think I know where maybe two are right now.
There is nothing more satisfying than checking your work and having it all come out true. Squares make magic happen.
Clamps come in many different sizes. And you need every single one of them. Yes, you do.
16. Caulking Gun
Want to make your home improvement job look truly professional? Caulking is the not-so-secret secret.
There you have it. 16 easy on the wallet ideas to improve your workshop or to gift to someone you love. Because nothing says love like a bag of rags, right?! Now, if you will excuse me. I need to go hunt down a tape measure…