Whether you’re a hobby enthusiast or have a small craft business or home improvement company, a fully functioning workshop is a key to being able to do a proper job. If you’re still making do with the kitchen table or a makeshift arrangement in the corner of the garage, perhaps it’s time to make the commitment and go pro?
Setting up your own workshop doesn’t have to involve a great deal of expense – all you need is a suitable building and some basic tools. In this article, we show you how to fit out your workshop without robbing a bank.
First you need to convert your garage, or shed, into a proper workshop, where you can cut, saw, hammer and sand. You’ll need a workbench, shelving, boxes for storage, somewhere to hang your tools and bright fluorescent lighting to work under. If you have any old timber lying about, or your neighbours do, you can use this to make your own workbench. You could even make a workbench from old kitchen units and a kitchen worktop.
A large sheet of plywood screwed to the wall with nails strategically placed, is perfect for hanging your tools. A coat of white paint on the walls and ceiling and you’re almost done. If you’re pushed for space, shelving can go right up to the ceiling. To retain as much floor space as possible, fix a shelf unit to the wall from the ceiling to about 4-foot off the ground. This way you get storage plus valuable floor space for heavier machines, lawnmowers, bikes etc.
Essential tools and equipment
If you’re a woodworker, a circular saw is a must-have tool. Although you could use a handsaw, circular saw technology is state-of-the-art, and there’s such a wide range of models at very competitive prices that it makes sense to own one. The circular saw does everything from straight cuts to ripping, notching and even dados.
If you want to save time, and who doesn’t, a cordless power drill is another essential tool for your workshop. Power drills are reasonably priced and laughably easy to use. It makes no sense not to buy one. Power drills can do everything from traditional drilling to sanding, and can even be used as a power screwdriver – it all depends on the model and the drill bits and accessories that go with it. Because you’ll be using your power drill every day, it’s worth paying a little bit more for a quality power drill from a trusted professional brand such as Makita, Ryobi or Bosch Professional.
A vice is an important tool, so either buy a second-hand one online (eBay, Gumtree and similar sites are always a good starting point) or try a car boot sale near you. You’ll be surprised at what you can find for not much money.
Other useful tools you will need
The last thing you need when halfway through a job is to find don’t have the right tool. It’s not really very convenient to nip out to the local hardware shop midway through a job, and embarrassing to have to ask the client or a neighbour to help out with tools.
You should always carry:
- A large and small clawfoot hammer
- Long-nose pliers designed are a good idea, but a pair of common slip-joint pliers are a better choice. This all-around tool grips, twists, bends, and turns wires, and also has a bolt that can be moved into a second position, enabling the pliers’ mouth to open wider so it can grip larger objects.
- A selection of spanners is a must, as is an adjustable wrench.
- You’ll also need 2 types of screwdriver – a Phillips which has a cross-shaped tip that corresponds with the cross-shaped depression in the most popular type of screw, and a flathead screwdriver, also known as a slot head screwdriver.
- A couple of handsaws and a tape measure
- An angle grinder, especially if you’re working with masonry or metal
- A cordless universal cutter is just the job for cutting carpets, cables and pipes.
- The Bosch all-rounder kit is a fabulous piece of equipment that allows you to saw, cut, sand, scrape, and remove grout.
- A 50-piece tool set that includes wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, scissors, fasteners and more is a great investment.
- A spirit level for checking that your pictures, mirrors or shelves are hanging straight, and that posts or your brickwork are perfectly level
- Finally, keep your eyes open for second hand scaffold towers for sale. Better than ladders, these are great for all sorts of outdoor maintenance jobs including gutter and roof repairs, high level painting, hedge trimming and tree surgery.
It’s a good idea to have 2 toolboxes – a large one that stays in your workshop and is used to store the tools you’re likely to use there, and a smaller one that’s used for carrying tools like hammers, nails, screwdrivers, tape measures and so on, for jobs around the house or out on site.