My name is Bryson and I have a problem. Whenever I find myself in a hardware store I have a list and I have a second list. On that second, unwritten list, are the things I always tell myself I need for my shop and I inevitably walk out with a bag full of it. I'm always telling myself “Well, ya can't have too many of these!” Here's my short list of seven things I just can't seem to live without and for good reason.
I can’t get enough of this blue stuff. I use it for all kinds of random things. Labeling, highly visible line marking and temporary holds of random things. I use this tape the most as temporary joinery when I build boxes. Take all four sides and tape the ends together and roll up into a box shape. It’s the best way to see if my joints are cut perfectly.
Note: another tape I love is gaffer’s tape. It’s used heavily in the entertainment industry for it’s strength and adhesive that doesn’t leave residue. Think of it like better duct tape—Yea, I sad it.
A lot of people use drywall screws as their everyday use fasteners, but I’ve found the threads to be too sharp and have cut myself several times digging into my pocket for a screw. I pay a little more for self-tapping ones too, no drill bits required! I finish projects faster and the tan color blends in better than black.
It goes without saying, really, that you can’t have enough clamps. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked up a storm in the shop with 3 random things on the gluing table and I get a wild idea to start on another project that takes 5 more clamps. Go ahead and just budget each month for clamps of all sizes and shapes.
I really don’t toss out any scraps, call me a hoarder if you will, but I certainly don’t toss out plywood scraps. I use them to comp out new ideas, as notepads to write on and perhaps the most important use, to make jigs. All of my templates and jigs are made from Frankensteined plywood pieces.
Got a bunch of old shirts you don’t want anymore? Then you got yourself a new bucket of shop rags. I keep a running pile in a box that I toss any rag or blanket or shirt I’m through with in the house. You can even divide them up in sections, flannels for buffing a nice finish, t-shirts for stain application and towels for mess clean up. I only recommend sorting if you have tons of space, unlike me.
I keep 4 kinds of glue on hand (but not on my hands) in my shop. Wood glue, super glue, epoxy resin and pasty super glue. Each of them works well for their respective projects. It’s never fun when you get started on a project, need glue, and are completely out. Whenever I’m getting low, I double restock.
Ear and Eye Protection
This one seems pretty obvious. The main reason I keep a large pack of the ear plugs is for my friends that like to come over and pitch in! Most of them aren't as into building as I am, so they usually don't bring anything with them. Having extra protection handy is always a good thing.
There you have it, these are the things I hoard like a doomsday prepper. So far, my wife hasn't said anything about it. haha! What items do you keep stocked in your workshop pantry?