Tools

We love answering your questions and the ones we receive the most are tool and shop related! We have compiled a list to answer all of your questions and to help you get started building your shop collection!  We will continue to update this list with our new favorite finds so make sure to check back often!

Getting Started: Here are the tools we recommend to get you started

Drill: You will use a drill in almost every DIY project. We suggest a battery-powered drill so that you don’t have a cord to deal with. We both use the 18V Ryobi drill. You can find it at Home Depot HERE!

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Kreg Jig: You don’t need a Kreg Jig to build furniture but we won’t build furniture without one now. The purpose of a Kreg Jig is to join two pieces of wood together using a pocket hole. The pocket holes will hide the screws and your joints will be stronger because the wood screws are drilled at an angle.  We currently have the K5 model (shown in the pic below) but have used every model. The K5 is the most user friendly jig (and our favorite) but if you are on a budget, the R3 model will get the job done! Click HERE for a video tutorial on how to use a Kreg Jig! You can find our favorite model, the K5, HERE!drill-pocket-holes

Miter Saw: You can’t build anything without a saw and this will be the most used tool in your shop! There are a wide variety of miter saws that you can purchase to get started and the type of saw that you should purchase will depend greatly on what you intend to build, how often you build and your budget. Here is a run down of the saws we use and have used!

-Handsaw and Miter Box: We both started building with a handsaw and a miter box. We don’t have any pictures of these in use because we didn’t use them long 😉 They will get the job done and fit a tight budget but they take a lot of elbow grease and time. If you are on a budget and plan to build small craft projects like picture frames and some of our small gift ideas this is a good choice. You can find it HERE!

hand-saw-miter-box

-Sliding Compound Miter Saw: If you plan to build furniture and tackle larger DIY projects, we cannot stress enough to invest in this! We both have 12″ Sliding Compound Miter saws. The sliding feature allows you to cut a board that is wider than the diameter of the blade so it is great for building pieces that use hardwood plywood like our sideboards, desks and shelves. The “Compound Miter” feature means that it will make miter and bevel cuts (great for trim work) and the 12″ blade will allow you to cut 4×4 boards (10″ saws will not). Click HERE for a video tutorial on miter saw basics!

The new Ryobi 12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw is a great buy, especially if you are on a budget. We use ours all the time and it won’t disappoint. You can find it at Home Depot HERE!ryobi-12-saw

We also have the Ridgid 12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw. The main difference of the two is the price point. The Ridgid saw also has a double bevel so it makes trim work a little bit easier because you aren’t having to flip the trim back and fourth to get the correct cut. You can find it at Home Depot HERE!make-cuts

Bottom line: You only need one miter saw so buy what works with your budget and you will be happy with either! *There are also a variety of smaller saws (i.e. 10″ sliding compound miter saw, 10″ miter saw (not sliding) that are good options if you are on a tight budget. You will be more limited to what you can cut but they will work great with the majority of DIY projects.

Adding to your tool collection: Now, you have the basic tools and you have decided that building is for you!

Corner Cat Sander: This is in our “adding” category because you can build without it but we don’t. Whether we are sanding to prep for the finish or we are distressing our finish to give our piece a vintage look, we always grab our Corner Cat Sander for the job. It’s lightweight, it doesn’t vibrate your arm while you use it and it is about $30! You can find it at Home Depot HERE!

Ryobi-Corner-Cat-Sander

Circular Saw: Even though you have a miter saw, there is a place for the circular saw. You will use this a lot to rip plywood that is wider than your miter saw can cut. This is an inexpensive tool and a must-have after your basic tool purchases! You can find it at Home Depot HERE!

Ryobi-18V-Circular-Saw

Nailer: This is another tool that you will use in so many builds! Some of our projects use only a nailer and this is hands down our go-to! The nail holes are very small so it’s perfect for attaching trim on furniture or in the home, when you are worried about it splitting and leaving large holes. This is an 18-volt, battery-powered 18 gauge brad nailer! There is no compressor or hose to lug around and it’s quiet! You will absolutely LOVE this addition and we can’t recommend it enough! You can find it at Home Depot HERE!
Back-of-headboard

Rip Cut: The Kreg Rip Cut is such a great addition to your tools! It attaches to any circular saw and it serves as a guide for making straight cuts. It is also an inexpensive buy and is easy to store. This combined with your circular saw is a great alternative to a table saw for those on a tight budget and limited work space. You can find it HERE!

Ryobi-Circular-Saw-and-Kreg-Rip-Cut

Jigsaw: You will use a jigsaw for scrollwork cutting stencils, and adding decorative patterns to a project. We LOVE the 18-volt Ryobi Jigsaw and again, there is no cord to work around! You can find it at Home Depot HERE!

rip-corners-of-plywood

Impact Driver: We use our impact drivers to attach 2x and larger boards together, to drill into studs and when we are hanging things on interior walls as well as stone and brick walls. It hammers while it is drilling, making it more powerful than a standard drill. This is our go-to and it is also cordless! You can find it at Home Depot HERE!

Ryobi-Impact-Driver-2

Stapler: We use our Airstirke Staplers when we are attaching backing to furniture pieces and bottoms to drawers, when we are doing a wall treatment and they are also great for upholstery work! You can find it at Home Depot HERE!

Ryobi-AirStrike-Staple-Gun

Finish Nailer: The finish nailer is a more heavy duty nailer vs. the 18 gauge. It will leave larger nail holes than the 18 gauge so we use it to attach boards when building furniture and to install crown molding, casing and baseboards. You can find it at Home Depot HERE!

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Job Plus: This is a multi-tool that has attachments that we cut all types of material with (i.e., wood, drywall, metal) and it has a detail sanding attachment that is great to sand hard-to-reach spots when we are prepping for finish and distressing our finishes! You can find it at Home Depot HERE!

distress-edges

Accessories: The must-have supplies we use every day to build but don’t talk about much!

Clamps: These are like extra hands while you are building!

-Kreg Face Clamp: We use the Kreg Face Clamps when we are planking for table, desk and dresser tops. We use inexpensive wood that is often, not perfectly straight. The face clamps help to keep the boards level with each other while we are driving pocket hole screws to attach them. You can find it HERE!

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-Kreg Right-angle Clamps: We use these when we are joining two boards (that form a right angle) with pocket holes. One side of the clamp slides into a pocket hole while the other serves as a face clamp. You can find it HERE!

Kreg-Jig-Right-Angle-Clamp

Kreg Bar Clamps: We use these clamps as extra hands especially when we are nailing two boards together. The come in a lot of different sizes, they are easy to adjust and they make building a piece so much easier! You can find it HERE!

Clamp-top-to-sides

Irwin One Handed Bar Clamp/Spreader: We use these bar clamps when we need a lot of pressure on a joint or when we need to hold a large piece of lumber in place. We also use them to flush up face frames and trim to a piece when the boards aren’t exactly straight. They are easy to use with one hand while you balance the boards with your other hand. They are also ratcheting which makes them very easy to tighten to full pressure. These clamps come in many different sizes. You can find it HERE!

Irwin-Bar-Clamp

Tool belts: We always build with our tool belts and have them filled with everything that we might need while we are building. This makes us build faster because we aren’t having to stop and find a supply, they are always in our tool bags. These are our favorite tool bags because they aren’t big and bulky and they still have lots of pockets. You can wear them on the side of your hip and they never get in the way when you are bending down from the saw to the floor while you are building! We sometimes forget they are on and end up with them on at school pick-ups 😉 You can find them HERE.

tool-belts

Safety Glasses: We ALWAYS wear safety glasses when we build. There are so many out there and we both have a favorite 🙂 These are super comfy and they are cute, which is most important right? We found them HERE on Amazon!

safety-glasses

Magnetic Pouch: These pouches clip right on to our tool belts and they are magnetic so we can keep our screws in them, while we are building, and they don’t fall out! They are an inexpensive must have accessory and you can find them at Home Depot HERE!

nail-pouch

Work Gloves: We always have a pair of work gloves handy and use them when we are loading and unloading lumber, working with metal sheets and other sharp materials and sanding projects (to protect our manicures). They are also great to have when it’s cold in the shop! We have tried so many and it’s hard to find a heavy duty pair that fit our small hands! Here are our top picks 🙂

You can find Ashley’s Gloves HERE!

gloves

You can find Whitney’s Gloves HERE!

Headbands: These headbands are the BOMB! They are made with a wicking material and keep sweat from dripping in our faces when we are building in our shops. They don’t slip like other headbands we have used and you can wear them so many ways! Our mom sells them now! You can order them from her on her IG account HERE!

headbands

Hearing Protection: This is important when you are building with loud tools. These earbud bands are our favorite hearing protection. They wrap behind your neck so they don’t interfere with our safety glasses and you can hang them around your neck when you don’t need them, so you won’t lose them. These have also made appearances at school pick ups 😉 You can find them HERE!

ear-band

Super Charger: One you have collected a few tools, you will have collected a few battery chargers too. We love our Super Chargers because we don’t have to have multiple battery chargers plugged in at once. These hang from the wall so they are great space savers, they are a great place to store batteries and they will charge the batteries as they are being stored (without overcharging)! You can find it at Home Depot HERE!

super-charger

Mechanical Pencils: This may seem silly but we won’t build without them. The thin lead is perfect for marking for precise cuts and no need to sharpen. You can typically find about 10 in our tool bags and several laying around our shops at any given time 😉 We like the BIC pencils and you can find them HERE!

Shop Stuff: From work benches and tool storage to the type of coatings we have on our shop floors, this category is full of everything that makes us love building in our shops!

Work Bench: After years of building on our shop floors, we decided to give our backs and legs a break and build our own heavy duty work benches!

-Large Work Bench: This is the workbench that Whitney built for her shop. You can find the free plans to build your own HERE! This bad boy is a beast at 8’x4′ but the locking casters make moving it around so easy! If you have the room in your shop for a bench this size, this is an easy build that you will be forever happy with!

DIY-Workbench-Plans-500x618

-Narrow Work Bench: If your work space isn’t large enough for the big work bench, this is Ashley’s work bench. It is still 8′ long but only 2′ wide making it great for smaller work areas. It still has the stability of the larger bench and locking casters for easy haul around! You can get the free plans to build your own HERE! We both have our Kreg K5’s attached to the end of our workbenches and it makes drilling pocket holes so much easier!

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-Kreg Jig Storage Bench:  If both work benches are still to big for your shop or if you just need an extra work bench for storage you can build this Kreg Work Bench with the free plans HERE!

kreg_jig_workbench

-Miter Saw Bench: This is a great option if you need storage space in your shop! This bench takes the place of a miter saw stand and has storage space and wheels for easy moving! You can get the free plans to build your own HERE!

 DIY-Workbench-with-Miter-Saw-Station-500x717

Clamp Storage: Clamps are tricky to store, especially when you have a lot. We store ours on a 2×3 that we attached to the studs behind our shop wall and clamp them right there. Easy and free 🙂

clamp-storage

Lumber Storage Cart: Every shop needs good lumber storage for safety and to maximize your workspace in your shop! This cart has it all, from 8′ board and scrap board storage compartments to a peg board for tools! This is also rolling making it easy to move around your shop. You can find the free plans to build your own HERE!

Garage-Storage-Lumber-Cart

Garage Floor Coatings: We spend so much time in our shops and we love for them to look and feel nice from top to bottom! We both have floor coatings on our floors and not only do we love the way they feel and look, they are easier to clean than raw concrete!

-Rust-Oleum Epoxy Shield: We have both applied this coating to our garage floors. Ashley liked it so much in her last home that she applied it to the floor in her new shop! It is so easy to apply, looks great and we can mop it with our Swiffer mops 😉 You can find it at Home Depot HERE and see a full tutorial on applying it HERE!

Rust-Oleum-Epoxy

-Rust-Oleum Rock Solid: This is a new product! Ashley has applied the Rock Solid directly over the Epoxy Shield and loves it! It has a shiny, wet look to it and cleaning it is even easier than the Epoxy Shield! You can find it at Home Depot HERE!

rocksolid

***We will continue to add new finds to this page so make sure to check back often! We have more to come!

  • Brianne

    Does the floor epoxy coats ever make it slick? I’m paranoid about slipping and on my cement garage floor, you can slip if you’re wearing flip flops and it’s wet…just wondering if this makes it any more slippery than normal?

  • Nick Strain

    I was wondering what software you use to create and design your furniture?

  • Fio Giana

    Your projects are great and your plans super easy to follow! Quick question, do you have any go-to jigs for your table saw? Sleds or the like?

  • Jeanette M

    Thanks for all of the suggestions. I’m excited to build some furniture! I love how you monogramed your tool belts and am wondering how you did that?

  • Phran

    Hi Ladies! I need a new impact driver and was wondering if you ever forward coupons or specials from Ryobi.

  • Linda Baldock

    Terrific overview of tools, Whitney and Ashley. I especially enjoyed the section on accessories. I am inspired by all the great builds for the shop, and it was helpful to see a picture of Ashley’s when you were showing off the “Rock Solid”. Hey Whitney, how about a picture of your garage shop to demonstrate use of space. I will have to use my garage for my shop, too. Love your blog and website! Thanks for your inspiration.