Workbench/Tool Box Set-ups - The Combine Forum
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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Workbench/Tool Box Set-ups

We have never really had a shop and always had to work on our stuff outside, because of this my dad/grandpa never really invested in tools/toolboxes/etc. Now me and my dad are wanting to do more of the work ourselves to save money as well as be more thorough with our inspections/preventative maintenance. We gutted an old 30x30 wooden grainery and put a new floor and garage door in, this has been a really nice upgrade from the front corner of the quonset but it isn't heated and we can't really bring anything but vehicles and the skidsteer inside. Our plan is to put up a big/basic pole shed for equipment and bale storage in the next few years and then renovate our current 45x70 quonset into a proper heated shop. We've priced out the building/reno costs but what we don't know is the how to set up the shop on the inside. I would like to set ourselves up properly and invest in some higher quality tools (not just the cheap Canadian Tire/Princess Auto specials) as well as a properly set-up/functional workbench and tool box plus any other shop tools.

That leads me to this thread, I've worked in a few shops and seen some different set-ups/systems but I was wondering what you guys use and like? Do you have permanent tool storage on the wall by the bench and a small tool cart or do you have a nice big rolling tool chest? What do you recommend for tool boxes? We have a cheap Mastercraft chest, I'd like something a little higher quality but I don't want to take out another mortage to get a Snap-On box. What kind of workbenches do you have, we built our current one out of old 2x6s... do you build another one like that or do we go for a big steel bench? How big of a workbench would you go for? For welding/fabricating do you have everything on carts and tucked away in the corner when not in use or do you make a designated area for metal work? What kind of jacks do you like best? We have a 12 ton bottle jack and a 3 ton floor jack, do we go for a big air powered bottle jack or a bigger heavy-truck floor jack? Is there any kind of moveable hoist set-up that isn't horrendously expensive?

I'm also open to suggestions on the tools, I'm a little partial to SK and have a full wishlist from their catalog and would likely go that route for the hand tools but I have no idea about everything else. My buddy's in construction rant and rave about their Milwaukee power tools, are they that good? Any other brands to consider? What about air tools? We've got a basic Mastercraft set that works but isn't overly powerful. What does a guy all need and what brands would you look at? What are any other must-haves on top of the basic wrenches/ratchets/pliers/screwdrivers/impacts? Any other good tips on how to outfit a shop as practically as possible?

I know that just like the shop itself, the skies the limit for how much a guy could spend on tools/outfitting a shop. We definitely can't justify or afford going too crazy but if we're going to go through all the work I want to make sure we do it right, and both me and my dad aren't afraid to spend a little extra on quality and things that will make us more productive. We just want to make sure we have an idea of roughly how much the whole package will cost us for our budgeting and planning.


"Though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine. Though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren. Though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns lie empty. Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in the God of my salvation." Habakkuk 3:17-18
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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 08:42 PM
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Snap on box will be cheaper in the long run. I've had mine for 20 years and drawers still close like new. And it's seen hard use. CandIan tire tools and princess auto are good enough for most things. Imo. The specialty stuff get sk or snap on who ever is the closer or good tool dealer. I've good all different brands of air tools but I like CP and Ingrasol Rand they seem to last longer then snap on and still cheaper I think. As for cordless tool I'm in the process of switching over to milwalk have there big 1/2 inpact hardly ever use air one now. It wall take fairly rusted lug nuts off a tri axle trialer with no trouble. As for a work bench I have a 4x4 steel platell 1/2 thick heavy table with caster and big vise mounted on it that can be rolled wh ere you need it. Also has a angle iron drip rail all the way around it so if your working on oily stuff it just running into a pail that's hung on it. I also have benched along the wall but they just seem to collect junk. Run air lines to a few spots in the shop and put retractable hose reels up makes every thing neater. It never ends there always something that can makes a job easier. Ive been fixed stuff for 25 years and I'm still buying tools.

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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 08:46 PM
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Getting all the tools you want and need is pretty much a life long endeavor. Tools you don't need much, it's ok to cheap out on them, but it pays to have good quality every day tools. I don't know if 30 grand would get everything a guy needs, it's retarded the cost of some things. As far as work benches, that's a preference thing. A good quality vice and anvil are worth their weight in gold, almost literally, I got an old anvil from my father in law that must be close to 100 years old, way harder than anything you will find now, comes in very handy. We just have all our tools on the bench as our shop is only 40x40 so not like we are ever too far away, but a longer shop like you are thinking, a roller cabinet would be nice.

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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 08:48 PM
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Just a comment on the tools. We have a great big shop, filled with Mastercraft, powerfist and propoint hand tools. Don't be afraid of them. If they have a lifetime warranty, they are easier to replace than Snapon. Save those dollars and put them into higher quality power and air tools.

We use Chicago Pneumatic air impacts. 2nd to none in my opinion. Jet stuff is great also. I like their impact sockets, etc. Makita grinders. They are the easiest to get parts for. Not throw away tools. Lincoln mig welder, Hypertherm plasma cutter is second to none.

We use Dewalt battery power tools. Brushless drills and impacts have been great. 20V Li-ion batteries suck though. I talked to "the battery man" and he says no system is any better for batteries, except maybe Makita. It's all to do with cheap circuit boards in batteries.
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 08:53 PM
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If your buying expensive wrenches have a set or two of cheaper ones around that you can cut/bend/weld/modify the same goes for sockets.
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 08:54 PM
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We also decided to stay with a proper stationary workbench. Heavy wood, with HD drawer slides and a formed metal top, 16ft long. And small rolling box. If the workbench moves, it's less stable, and can be as heavy. We have ours under a mezzanine for good lighting, with a bolt bin wall next to it. Keep wrenches, sockets, drivers in rolling box for if I'm working on an engine, etc.
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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 09:03 PM
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Agtalk forum setup sucks, but if you search it, you should find some threads with lots of pictures of shop interiors, work benches etc

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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 09:10 PM
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The best thing about the snap-on boxes is they are quite a bit deeper than the cheapo boxes from CDN Tire. If you want something a little more quality yet affordable look into International SHD toolboxes from Costco (Also rebranded UltraPro SHD from Napa)

Look on Kijiji for good used Snap-On boxes
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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 09:13 PM
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I went with steel workbenches. Checkout their website.
2 permanent ones along the wall and one on wheels. Plenty of storage and drawers. Did a welding bench on wheels as well. Really like them, great quality and strong. Puts a dent in the checkbook though, but you get what you pay for.

We buy most of the small tools from Canadian Tire when on sale. They have an app if you see something there you want, the app will send you a notification when it goes on sale.

When you get your shop built, chip away with what you need, don't try to do it all at once.
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 09:22 PM
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If your in a quonset along the wall is a great place for a work bench since the curved wall wont let you park anything tall close to it, wooden work benches are fine.

Get a decent shop air compressor
Imo ingersoll rand air tools are best. (Fun fact, mac air tools were, and maybe still, made by ingersoll)

I just got into Milwaukee and really like them, i was looking for the best cordless grease gun and determined they had it so have been slowly switching over.

Dont get sucked into snap on or mack tool boxes! I got a beach too box as a gift when I graduated and put it on a craftsman roller bottom a few years after... been 19 years and they're still fine. I get a kick outta guys with the big wall of tool box full of every imaginable snap on tool who still cant fix anything.... put your money into the tools, not the box.
When I got the beach box I also got a set of professional westward wrenches (the smooth polished ones) .... and guess what I still have most of them, and I've even had good luck with mastercraft wrenches.
I do have a set of snap on double open end wrenches, they are the only manufacturer with, I think 30 and 17 angle, with a regular wrench at 15 you can turn a fitting in the tightest spot with 2 wrenches.

A plasma and a 200 mig are nice but you need a torch and a stick welder will do.(get a quality auto darkening helmet, not the princess auto spectal)

As mentioned earlier a good anvil and a vice are also a necessity.

And a decent battery charger.

Keep calm and combine on....
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