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I have made a couple of videos over the years about tools and materials.  Neither were very good and for people wanting to get into this hobby, there needs to be more help, or so I decided.  My approach therefore is to do this more effectively, and use one of my projects as a template.  So I am taking the Nautilus SSN571 as it was a good project that used a range of techniques, and started to review my own videos, and as I do so define what the tools are that I used, the consumables such as drills, and blades, and the materials.

The simple fact is, that we use a lot of inexpensive materials, and quite a few tools, but then again not that many.  This becomes highly subjective though.  I have tools that I use for a variety of purposes and I am sure that other tools would work just as well, but I have what I have.  The test for me is that I love walking though ‘tool’ sections in shops and looking around.  I generally see all sorts of ‘desirable’ tools, and admire them a bit, but most often leave without buying anything because I don’t actually need anything.  This is a good place to be.

I must say thatcleanliness and rorder n  workshops are very much matters of choice.  I know where everything is, but not necessarily a place for everything,.  I tolerate a degree of mess as I tend to keep tools out when I use them but regularly I have to stop, and put everything away, as that is the only way to know where stuff is.  There is nothing, and I mean nothing more frustrating that not being able to put your hand on a tool you need.  With that I also have a second had vacuum cleaner.  A must.  But a warning, do not borrow the home vacuum.

So I will begin with the Nautilus and start pulling it apart, looking for tools, and at a later date, materials.  The issue about materials is that most of what I use is self explanatory, but the issue is more about ‘where’ to get them.  Do you get your stuff the expensive way, or the cheap way?

So I will start this series with tools.

A work bench is the starting point.  I have a home made bench made of 4x4 pine posts, two shelves, a thick ply top, and lots of power points.  It needs to be at least 1.8 to 2 meters long and .6 deep.  If you have less it is hard to sit a model, plus other parts on the bench such as a trusty vice.  I built mine because I could, and I wanted deluxe model, but the fact is they are better bought second hand.  The good thing about buying second hand in the workshop is not the tool, but what comes with it.  A second hand workbench often comes with a vice, but here is the rub, as I am now going to say that your choice of vice is vital. I have shelves under my bench and a series of cheap removable boxes that I use for everything.

I also use a mechanic’s drawer set, with a tool box on top and a few wall panels that I can sink nails into to hold odd tools.  The most important feature is a good set of lights over the bench so that when you stand at the bench, there is no shadow.  This is a must.

I also have made myself a small removable workbench that is 50 cm square that I can stand on my bench to use for fine work such as silver soldering, soldering or any fine project.  It is so much easier to have good access.  The top is made of standard craft wood.  When it gets damaged or worn, I throw it out and put a new piece on.  I have been through a few so it is worth making a few spares when you build it.  Yes it is a must, and your eyes and back will love it.

I use my vice all the time.  I mean all the time.  I have a big offset metal working vice, and there is no way to get one of those cheaply, as even second hand ones hold their value. It needs to be square so that when it is closed it holds your work tightly and evenly, and must be able to double as a horizontal press, which means having considerable depth.  It is my right hand. I file on mine all the time and it looks the worse for wear.  I love tools that look used however.

Another little addition is my trusty white board that you see in all my videos.  This would be there no matter what.  I write on it the dimensions of things I am making, particularly when on the lathe, and it is just plain handy.

No I won’t go into the small stuff.  I have drawer full of pencils, textors, scissors, etc etc.  A good 12 cm metal ruler, stuff for ruling and measuring circles, and an electronic vernier calliper, which is my right hand also.