Best Shop Tips
I love magnets. I covered a cabinet in sheet metal so I could use magnets to stick all kinds of tools on it. Almost all my machines have magnets on them too. I use them to keep my drill chuck key on my drill press, my blades and blade change tools on my table saw, hex keys on my bandsaw.. you get the idea.
2. Mobile Bases on Everything
This is pretty self explanatory. It’s hard to move big heavy things, wheels make that easier. Whether it’s rearranging the shop, shuffling to clean, or just need to make space for a big project - and then putting everything back - wheels are dead useful.
3. Buy Consumables in Bulk
I buy wood screws by the 1000 from boltdepot.com (not sponsored). Last time I ordered a 1000 screws was about $20, compared to the $6 my local stores charge per 100.
Same with sandpaper. I buy from Klingspor and it’s way cheaper than the big box stuff, and seems to last a lot longer too.
Ditto for glue, wood. Pretty much any consumable that can be bought in bulk, if you can afford it, there’s savings to be had in bulk.
4. Store Tools Where They Are Used
My old strategy was group all like items. Power tools go together, same for all drill bits, hand tools, glues, etc.. I found myself often running across the shop to grab what I needed and not putting things away.
The new strategy is keeping things stored where they’re used. So my drill, driver, and brad nailer stay at the bench. My jig saw and routers go in a drawer. The bit set I use the most stays at my bench, the rest of my collection I seldom use is stored in drawer bank.
5. Have A Cleaning Routine
Find what works for you. For me, I clean at the end of every project. Or if it’s a long project, I start the week off by straightening up on Monday. Whether it’s daily, before or after projects, or at the beginning or end of the weekend if you’re a weekend warrior - just find what works for you to keep the shop from becoming unmanageable.
6. Lots of Good Lighting - LED is best
Again, pretty self explanatory. As a content creator that does a lot of video, I’m a little pickier about my lighting.
Whether you video or not, I recommend using LED lights. I have SUNCO lights in my shop. LEDs are cheaper to run, need to be replaced less often, don’t create much heat (important here in the south!), instantly go to full power, and are brighter!
7. Keep Machines Tuned Up and Calibrated
Spending a lot of money on a machine doesn’t mean you’ll get perfect results without any work. But it does mean once they’re set up properly, they’ll stay set up longer! Pretty much every tool has a variety of adjusts to make sure that it’s cutting things flat, straight, square, or just safely.
If you don’t know how to set up your stuff, I’ve done a few videos on it. Or, you can search “how to set up MYTOOLMODEL.” If no-one has covered yours yet, then search for your tools owners manual, it’ll tell you.
8. Don’t Let Better Stop Best
Even being conscious of it, this one gets me sometimes. Don’t want to have everything you think you need to start making improvements. If you think a rearrange and new furniture will help your shop, go ahead and rearrange if you can.
It’s impossible to know if something will work as well as we think, until we try it. So try to implement your ideas as early as possible to validate them before spend a lot of time and money trying to make it “perfect” only to realize it still needs improvement. And in the same vein, when you know there’s something you can do that’ll make things better, make as much of the improvement as you can so you can enjoy it sooner. Even if some will come later.