Cheap (or inexpensive) tools that are a must!

Also I have two of these counter sink/ driver reversible bits and I love them. Especially if you only have one drill, or a drill and no impact driver. You can countersink and predill, then flip the bit and drive the screw without having to change out your bits. Very quick and handy. Also very easy to switch out the drill bit if it snaps or get dull.

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Just bought a set of those clamps!..look awfully handy!


Got a ton of them…especially the torx…from t70 all the way down to T2…pain in the butt to find but im a tool junkie!

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Speed square for pretty much any wood working, especially a 12" or larger one. There are plenty to choose from but here is one that certainly seems like a good price.

I have been using them for years for marking, measuring and to get right angle cuts with circular and jig saws. Only recently I have also started using them to mark out angles other than 45 and 90 and well as keeping things at 90 during assembly, acting as a temporary ‘foot’ for something standing vertically and so on.

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I agree on a good speed square. I have a metal one from when I was framing houses. For the shop I mostly prefer my combination square, as I love being able to adjust the ruler for measuring depths of dados or rabbets, or setting the height of the blade on the table saw. It is also really handy for marking lines a set distance from the edge or end of a board.

I think this might be the model I have.

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Cheap Harbor Freight wrenches to cut and weld to make custom wrenches…especially 32mm. Lol

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Utility knife. In my world a good utility knife has a few must have characteristics.

The first characteristic is there must be NO WAY that the stored blades can sneak out. Yes, I’ve run across utility knives without a “lip” in the two halves, which allowed the blades to sneak out and slice the heck out of the user’s palm. Fortunately, I noticed it before it sliced my hand. Such knives immediately have all blades removed on the way to the nearest trash can.

Second characteristic: Bright colors. I want to be able to find the damn things when I set them down/drop them.

Third characteristic: Retractable. This, of course, is personal preference. Some folks like the fixed blades. Not me.

Fourth characteristic: Easy blade change. Preferably not involving a slotted screwdriver.

Fifth: Comfortable in the hand, no slip.

Currently, my go to utility knives are made by DeWalt and Milwaukee. Less than $10 each.

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This is a good addition to the list. I personally love my Milwuakee Fastback 2 utility knife. The bearing folding mechanism is very smooth, I even used this as my EDC for a short while.

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Acetate handle flathead screwdriver.
Many uses other than driving flathead screws on the jobsite.
5 dollar ones will have a long life of being beat with hammers. I saw an elcheapo ones handle explode sending shrapnel all over a bathroom while another plumber was attempting to split a halfway cut piece of castiron pipe with it. I’ve avoided those ones like the plague ever since.

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Any full tank 3/4" chisel, use for beating the crap out of, pry, scrape, wedge, even nail setting. From time to time I use an angle grinder to put an edge back on. Also a “5-1” painters tool… never used one for painting but so handy to have in my tool belt and use it for everything except what it was made for.

I have 5 of these got em on sale for $2.99 ea

Just picked up 3 packs I cant wait to brake em!!!

Have had one of these in the toolbox for decades. Get used all the time for all sorts of small jobs.

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I have a couple of the previous model. Good action and very comfortable handle. Perhaps the best of this type of utility knife.

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+1 on Milwuakee Fastback 2 utility knife, I recently got one and it is very useful.

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I don’t have the Fastback 2 yet, but have a few of the originals plus one compact one. It’s time to replace the blade in the one I’ve been carrying daily, though, so it would be nice to have on-board blade storage…

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I have several, mostly because I can’t afford non-cheap tools.

One are those cheap plastic snap-knives from Home Depot and elsewhere.

They are sharp, they weigh nothing, they lock reasonably securely, and the blades are quick to deploy. I use them as marking knives for furniture building. The line superior to a pencil line, thinner but indelible. The only issue is that the blades rust in humid environments.

Another is largish masonry nails.

They use tougher, harder steel than ordinary nails. A masonry nail about three inches long makes a great cheap nail set. They can also be ground into driver bits. To take apart a vacuum cleaner once, I needed a triangular bit (not a tri-tip). I made one quickly from a masonry nail with my dremel tool, and it worked perfectly.

Another is bamboo chopsticks.

They are strong, resilient, and splinter-free. They make great stirrers and pokers, and can be used as dowels or wooden nails. But they have to be bamboo. The even cheaper white wood ones are splintery and fragile.

Another is a largish hunk of thickish plate glass. (no image) I got mine from a broken coffee table somebody was throwing out. I ran an old belt sander belt over the edges to blunt them. It is about 12" x 5". It isn’t as flat as an engineer’s granite block, but it is pretty close. I use it as a flattening plate for my waterstones. I hear people use them with wet-or-dry sandpaper as sharpening stones. Simple water makes the paper stick. (I heard of one guy using a piece of slate from a discarded pool table that way too.)

Baling wire, or any relatively thin steel wire, is pretty much essential.

It can be used for fastening, bundling, clamping, repairing, etc. It is much stronger than string or cord, and doesn’t stretch. Use stainless steel wire for outdoors. Note: simply twisting the two ends together will not make a secure connection. Look on YouTube for videos on how to use it.

Lastly, old hard drives have impressively powerful magnets inside. You will need a set of small Torx bits to take them apart. The magnets are usually attached to a thickish steel plate that can be removed, with difficulty. I usually leave the plate on. Sometimes I cut off some of it with a dremel tool.


These look great! I also never thought of using it on wood.

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While “float glass” is about as flat as glass gets - maybe closer to a machinist’s granite surface block - a granite 12x12 tile from HD or Lowes - some spray adhesive if you want to adhere the sandpaper more permanently than with water, and some sandpaper can set you up for sharpening pretty well too.

Cheap small “hole saws” can be made from steel roll pins that you file/grind so that it has an angled tooth Roll pins come in different sizes - and the resultant tool can be chucked in a drill and used something like these:

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Excellent suggestions. +1 on the strength of bamboo chopsticks and the glass plate (i do use for waterstones, and with silicon carbide paper for flattening the soles of new planes, also handy when setting the knives of a jointer). I’m going to grab some masonry nails :slight_smile:

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