Workbench/Tool Box Set-ups - Page 3 - The Combine Forum
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post #21 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 03:01 PM
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With the economy the way it is there are lots of dispersals that are selling off their shop tools, compressors, welders, benches, rolling steel tables etc. etc.. When I was buying electrical boxes, breakers, lights,wire for my shop at a local auction, they had a pair of decent solid 3/4" plywood and 4x4 benches about 12' long that I bought both for $1. Had a steel top and 15" x 6" drawers under the bench and doors with 2 shelves under the drawers. A couple of doors and a drawer were missing so I got my carpenter neighbor over one cold winter day and built the missing parts. I store hammers, big wrenches, 1/2" socket set, wood working tools in some of these drawers under the bench. Between these two benches I have my 45 year old Beach top box on an older Snap On bottom box. For working on equipment in the shop I have 2 heavy steel tables about 3'x5' on castors that I move to where the job is and then accumulate the tools for the job on that table. Put the tools back into it's regular storage spot when done. Helps to spot if some tool from a set is missing before the truck/tractor gets out the door and you forget where you were using what is missing. One of the tables is really heavy for welding. 3/8" steel top(minimum for welding to be able to tack stuff to the table for fab) and a vise. The other also 1/4' steel top, has a vice on one end and a sloped extension about 20" long into a catch box about 8x8 on the other. Great for cleaning and washing parts with solvent. I have to say that with some of these new monster shops that maybe a rolling toolbox would be a good thing. But I have specialty tools quirreled away all over the shop so I would still be walking to collect what gets used for certain jobs.

Your thought of converting an old curved building may have a fit but if that makes you short on storage for something else what have you gained. A new shop is a very specific building with a lot of expensive "systems". Is it worth all that cost in a maybe less than ideal building? Are the doors big enough, in the right place? How much space do you lose along the wall because of the building curve? Will your floor always be cold because you have no insulation along the exposed edges? The list of questions is long. You are young so is it a worthwhile investment to build a modest new building and then add all the "shop" components to that new and more suitable building? A shop should be around for 50 - 100 years.

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post #22 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by bobofthenorth View Post
What he said. You simply can't make a bench too heavy. The best one I ever built was 2x4 laminated edgewise together and then planked on top with 2" lumber. That SOB was solid and heavy. I'm sure you could do something in steel but its hard to beat a really solid wooden top.

I've got a 2 post hoist in my current shop and its worth its weight in gold. Hardly a week goes by that it doesn't get used and when its idle in the winter I put a car on it so that I can park underneath it. The only mistake I made on the installation was that I didn't make it wide enough for a 102" trailer. Mine is 100" so it looks like a trailer will fit but it won't. It would be trivial to make one wider so if you're putting one in make sure its 103" at least between the posts.

As far as tools go I've got some Snap On, some Craftsman, some Ukrainian Tire and some Princess Auto. Its more about the guy pulling the wrench than about the wrench. I put a very limited selection on the wall - stuff that I use all the time - pliers, dikes, crimpers, basic screw driver set, air ratchet, impact wrenches. The rest goes in a rolling chest.
My vote as well. Build your bench heavier than anything you've ever built. But I'd say don't make it too long, as any large surface that doesn't move around tends to quickly turn into a junk gathering spot. We like ours against the wall, right by the anvil and drill press and with a good vice on it.

We've got Snap-on and Mac roll cabs, mostly because I was a mechanic before coming back to farm. I think having a large box that can move around the shop is just fantastic, especially if you're working in one area for an extended period of time. As for where to spend the premium dollars... ratchets, sockets, pliers and a box is where I'd focus. CP makes stellar and cheap air tools as other have mentioned, and CTC warranty makes almost any tool of theirs as good as the rest. Just go with what you like, and treat yourself to some nice tools!

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post #23 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-22-2019, 12:37 PM
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The past couple years I have really been researching and investing in quality tools. Spend some time on youtube and watch tool review channels. Some great ones include: AvE, Bruce Allen, ChuckE2009, Garnett-Tools, German Too Review, Hard Knocks Forge, j young, Justin Dow, JUSTIN STURGILL TRUCKING, Koon Trucking, Real Tool Reviews, The HD Perspective.

With all the info I have gleaned here is some of what I have been buying: Knipex and Channellock for pliers, Wera for screw drivers (buy impact hard cap screwdrivers, they get used that way anyways) and allen keys, Mayhew for prybars, Trusty Cook deadblow hammers, Gearwrench, Sunex impact sockets (if you have impact sockets you often do not need a chrome set), Ingersoll Rand air tools. I have Dewalt 20v power tools, I now wish I had gone Milwaukee, they seem to have more tools, options, and higher torque ratings for their impacts (I still love every Dewalt tool I own).

Many tools are often rebranded, even the tool trucks will rebrand a tool as their own often with an increased price tag, so do your research. Quality aint cheap, but there is value in quality tools. Everything does not have to come from a tool truck to be a quality tool. I buy most of my stuff from Amazon and KMS Tools. USA (and Canadian) made tools are generally considered the highest quality, but European made (specifically German), and Japanese are of equal quality. For off shore, look for Taiwanese over Chinese made tools.

Warranty is important to consider, but when you're in a rural location without multiple mechanics working in one shop, you are not likely to see a tool truck pull into your yard on a regular basis.

For a tool box, I bought a Styrke box a year ago and I have been 95% happy with it. It is built by a Red Deer mechanic/farmer, he gets the sheet metal done in China (by the same factory that I think he said Matco boxes are done in) and then assembles them in Red Deer. Search for Styrke Industries on Facebook and Kijiji (Styrke is Danish for Strength). I bought it for the price of a smaller used Snapon box (72" vs 54"). The only things I don't like about my box is the drawers do not open to reveal the back 1", and the way the stainless top is attached.
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post #24 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-22-2019, 01:30 PM
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Look up McTavish Steelworks.
Great stuff.
They are in Rosenort.
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post #25 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 08:58 PM
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You do realize that there are different levels of quality even within the merchandise on the Cdn. Tire shelves? I agree that the little blue and red tool boxes are too light and poorly built, but the larger black boxes will hold up well in the average farm shop. If you watch the sales you can pick them up at very reasonable prices. Ditto for the wrenches. Often you can pick up the polished Professional Series for the same money as the cheaper brands and they are a decent wrench. That being said, I use Snap-On wrenches (3/8 to 7/8), sockets and ratchets for 1/4" to 3/8" work. Once you get up into 1/2" territory the sockets are thicker (less likely to break if used properly) so I use S/K's for the 12 pts and Gear Wrench for the 6 points (I've just got these and I really like them). For 1/2" I hate most ratchets, but the Jet is about as close to Snap On as you'll find for a fraction of the money. For 3/4" standard I use S/K and P/A for metric. The point I am trying to make is that you need high quality for the smaller, more delicate jobs that you will do a lot of, while larger cheaper tools will suffice when you get into the larger and clutzier jobs. As noted, all the shelf space in the world won't help if you can't work on it, so parts storage and neatness becomes a large part of keeping a shop organized and useful.
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post #26 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-25-2019, 12:30 AM
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TeenageFarmer, what type of air compressor do you currently have and is it suiting your needs or is lacking. I realize some have gone to battery operated impacts and so forth but I still think air is really important, the obvious one is filling tires and the blow gun, but air hammers, die grinders and heavy duty impact guns etc that are air driven and really no alternatives that replace them and they require a lot of air volume at pressure.

Which brings me to whatever shop, new or existing building you use that you bring a heavy enough service to it so your hands are not tied with being able to run what you need to, compressor, welder, plasma etc that take the higher demand loads.
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post #27 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 12:21 AM
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If you're still looking into tool boxes it would be worth checking out Upland Manufacturing. They're built on a colony somewhere in Manitoba. Fit and finish isn't quite as good as Mac or Snap on but the drawers can handle a ridiculous amount of weight and they're pretty reasonably priced.
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post #28 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 09:19 AM
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Built my workbench out of heavy wood and had a custom formed steel top made. It is ~10' x 4', with a reinforced section for my big vice. Seems to be ok as it has been around for 8 years now.

As far as tools I always suggest tools that you use everyday should be of high quality, (i.e. 3/8 ratchets, sockets wrench sets, etc), other minimal use items can be lessr quality like o-ring picks, etc. When it comes to tool boxes consider if you get one will it move around the shop lots, will you overfill it. These 2 items can destroy a lesser quality box in a few years and you will be looking again. This doesn't mean get a 10k Mac/Snap on box but be aware that some so called cheaper boxes cost more than the big 2. I priced out a higher end Westward unit few years back vs a similar sized Snapon cabinet. All specs like drawer weight and wheel loads were the same. The Westward box came in 2k more. Not saying buy top end but check pricing if you go that route, it may suprise you.

Last of all be sure to put a realistic value on what you have and get it insured. Most shop policies do not cover hand tools, they need a separate premium. And take inventory of tools every year and adjust premium as needed, you will be surprised on what you buy and how your tool cost increases as you get all the stuff you want. Buying tools is like farming....a lifelong obsession.
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post #29 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 09:45 AM
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I used to do concrete flatwork. Boss had dewalt in out trailer and makita in the other. His tools were abused more than one would like to think. Think of new guys who never held a tool in their life and just toss it in gravel/concrete dust even water every day all summer long. The dewalt looked like **** but ran every single day. New makitas every year. The nicad batteries are horrible. Not sure why they are even still sold. I bought a set of dewalt 20v li ion and they did the same thing. Dust and gravel before I started full time farming. They're 6 years old and dont skip a beat. A guy I worked for also likes his Milwaukee stuff. They're 1/2 impact is supposed to be unreal.
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post #30 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 10:30 AM
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If you are in Regina area or visiting farm progress show that day, JD Industrial tools has a one day sale on Milwaukee products June 20th at their store. They don't know what the deals will be but last year said they had things like buy a 1/2" impact and get free m18 grease gun, half price batteries, etc. Last year said they did $450,000 in sales that day.

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