As I’ve fleshed out my garage I’ve come to really appreciate my tools. I started off with just a crate of some basics but it get’s really tough to do some things without the proper tools.
Reciprocating Saw – how else are you going to reuse all that scrap metal?
Electric drill – the chorded type have more power but of course you need an outlet around.
Big vise – I actually found it handy to bolt it to something I can move around, rather than my table, since it’s often hard to lift a 60lbs electric long wheel base recumbent onto a table. Without the vise you are going to have a problem applying force to smaller parts.
Wrenches and screw drivers and old chisels – includes a big adjustable wrench or two
Soldering iron – You’re pretty much out of luck trying to do electric stuff without one. You can use the twist on couplers for the larger wiring but the small stuff requires a soldering iron.
Scrap wood – I have a box of scrap wood that I use to shim stuff and place under things I’m drilling through
Really Nice to Have
Drill Press – easier to put pressure on those parts you can get into the press and you can actually drill straight holes through a pipe! I have a fairly small Harbor Freight type press but it made me feel like a new man. I don’t know how I lived without it before.
Dremel – I mostly use the cut off wheels on small stuff
Angle grinder – I have a 4 1/2″ Bosch. It’s not necessary but it sure is super handy for grinding off sharp bits and prepping pieces to be welded. Also removes paint quickly.
Big sturdy table – unless you want to kill your back bending over
Acetylene torch – you can probably find ways to bolt everything together, but welding can be much easier sometimes. Other times, it’s a pain. Also, the cutting torch is handy for those big pieces the reciprocating saw would chew up multiple blades to cut. And you can heat stuff up and bend it in the vise.
Arc welder – I haven’t got one but it would be really nice. The acetylene torch has a very large heat affected area and guess what, that means you are going to set all sorts of stuff on fire. Many welds (like welding under seat steering handlebars to a suspension fork) are next to impossible with just the acetylene, without ruining the parts…
Scrap plate metal – to protect rubber bits from the heat of the acetylene torch.
Clamps, assorted – good luck holding metal together until you tack weld it without these.
Magnets – haven’t got any, but when I used the shop at UC Davis these were very handy for holding steel pieces in place until tack welded