Read these 10 Workshop Accessories Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Tool tips and hundreds of other topics.
Rechargeable flashlights have plenty of accessories; spare bulbs, faster chargers, spare batteries in case of damage to the original, and more. But one accessory is commonly forgotten, until the lights go out. If you attach a strip of glow-in-the-dark tape to your rechargeable flashlight, it should be easily located if the power suddenly goes out in the shop. Even if you know the area where your flashlight and charger are located, being able to actually see the flashlight will help you reach it faster, and get a light source going in the shop until the power comes back.
If you are dealing with a "creeping crack" problem in a section of drywall, the repair is fairly quick and simple. You'll need a sanding sponge, drywall compound, and a can of elastic crack coating. Sand and smooth the crack area with the sponge, fill in the crack with the drywall compound, and let it dry. You'll need to sand the area smooth, then apply the elastic crack coating. Make sure the area is well-ventilated before you spray. This is one of the easiest drywall repairs to do, and a very good way to get your feet wet in home improvement tasks. Once you've gotten this under your belt, you'll feel more confident tackling more complex DIY jobs.
Aubuchon Hardware Tip: A rechargeable flashlight is much more than a convenience in the shop, it can also increase your safety margin. Getting light in your work space after sudden darkness is a major safety concern - you don't want others in the shop stumbling around in the dark, surrounded by sharp objects and power tools that might suddenly reactivate should the power come back on quickly. Your workers can stay put until rechargeable flashlights can help guide them and avoid sharp tools.
Aubuchon Hardware Tip: A magnetic sweeper handles much more than metallic trash or refuse. It can also help quickly clear up those little mishaps where a container gets overturned, spilling nuts, bolts, and other stored magnetic items onto the shop floor. You can run the magnetic sweeper to collect the contents of an overturned bolt drawer, and empty the sweeper onto a shop bench for re-sorting. Using the magnetic sweeper will save you some wear and tear on the knees and make restocking the overturned container much simpler.
When searching for shop accessories chances are you will run across several types of pick up tools. One of these is a vacuum pick up tool. This often pen-sized tool may not do much for those with woodworking or metal shops, but if your interests lie with electronic components, you should definitely give this tool a look. Many are small enough to fit in your pocket, made to pick up and safely move delicate electronic components without marring or scratching. These are static-free suction devices designed to accommodate the needs of small electronic parts. Other larger models do the same job with either a vacuum cup or suction.
Drywall is not the sturdiest of materials, and eventually you'll need to do some repair work to keep the wall looking its best. The fact that drywall is flimsier than wood also makes it cheaper and simpler to fix. You can never tell when you're going to need to patch up a hole, so it's best to assemble a drywall repair kit to avoid letting a hole linger for too long while you try to assemble what you need.
To get a decent kit started, you need are flexible knives, a screwdriver, a hammer, a drill, drywall saw, plus a knife for inside corners and a utility blade. Keep these items stored in a small tool kit or a box along with some drywall compound, paper tape (along with some mesh tape), nails made for drywall, and a box of screws.
Most everything but the tape and the compound can last for ages. Depending on the humidity in your area, the tape may need replacing if it's been sitting for a while. Drywall compound usually lasts about nine months at room temperature. If the container has no "use by date" legible, mark the date you bought it on the container in magic marker. Presto! You've got yourself a drywall repair kit!
Every shop should be equipped with a rechargeable flashlight. This accessory comes in handy for on-the-spot inspections of oil leaks under vehicles, finding lost tools under benches and racks, and can even come in handy for minor first-aid situations when removing splinters or metal shavings from a thumb or palm. But those benefits aren't the real reason to keep a rechargeable flashlight in the shop; on the day your circuit breaker trips, or there is a power outage in the shop, you'll need to know exactly where your flashlight is, and be able to use it immediately. A rechargeable flashlight sitting on its charger is easy to locate as it is in the same place every time when not being used.
Everyone knows that magnetic fields are bad for computers. When you get the urge to upgrade your components, you need a screwdriver that isn't magnetized in order to be truly safe around hard drives, lest you accidentally erase data. In the shop, magnets are quite desirable. A magnetized screwdriver blade attracts the screw to the tip, preventing it from falling and rolling out of site.
A screwdriver magnetizer/demagnetizer is a handy tool for situations where you want to use your tools around sensitive computer media, and later on for ordinary shop use. Just insert the screwdriver into the opening of the magnetizer, and it's ready for shop work. When you need to lose the magnetic field, you insert the screwdriver into a channel on the side of the tool and it's rendered safe to use for computer gear. Computers use many sizes of screws and nuts, and customized cases can be even more elaborate. For the tech-savvy workshop, the mag/demag tool is quite handy.
Try a Google search on the phrase "pick up tools" and you'll get results for everything from "arm extender" grabbers to shop vacs. What kind of pick up tools do you need in the shop? That depends on your shop. You might actually be able to use an arm extender to pluck the highest tools hanging off a wall-mounted tool rack! One handy tool definitely designed for the shop is the magnetic pick up. This is a long metal rod designed to attract nuts, bolts, and other items that can fall into hard-to-reach places. If you drop a bolt that rolls underneath a work bench, the magnetic pick up tool is your solution. There are rigid and flexible versions that can be bent to reach around corners, underneath low-lying benches and platforms and other places that otherwise would have you crawling around on your hands and knees. Some magnetic pick up tools are so strong they can lift up to three pounds, which means a socket wrench or a pair of pliers is also retrievable from anywhere the tool tip can reach.
Metal shavings, stripped out screws, and broken bolts can all wind up cluttering up your shop floor. Somehow much of this metal refuse winds up in hard-to-reach places, but a good magnetic sweeper takes care of that problem quickly. Many brands have collapsible handles which offer an extended reach underneath those tricky areas. One advantage of the magnetic sweeper is the ability to pick up sharp metal shavings, filings, or snippets without having to brush over a surface with your hands. The magnet will gather all the material up for you, and you don't expose your hand or gloves to damage from the sharp metal. Good magnetic sweepers will demagnetize or provide some other form of dumping the metal in a hands-free manner.