Toys! I mean, tools.

I’ve been collecting a few tools as I go, working out what I need that weekend and picking it up from Bunnings, mostly. You do need some basics to get started, but like with everything, until you know specifically what you need it’s a bit overwhelming to just think, ‘Right! I better get some tools.’

My purchases have gone in stages. Something a bit like this:

Stage one

  • Tool belt!

Even this was a hard choice, ha. How do you know how many holes for tools you’ll need when you don’t have any tools yet? And what shaped holes? And what material is best for the belt? In the end I went for something that looked vaguely sturdy but not very expensive in case I changed my mind. Now that I’ve spent a few months trying to shove tools in various holes and realising what would work better, I’d probably choose differently. But it’s a lesson you might have to just learn the hard way I think! This was a proud day nonetheless. I don’t think Tom was very impressed with the styling choice (pink tights) or lack of tools when I sent him this picture, but I was pretty chuffed.


Stage two

  • Measuring tape
  • Stanley knife
  • Ear muffs
  • Builders pencil
  • Gloves

These probably don’t need much explaining, I use them every day now. Well, except the gloves. Either my hands are getting tougher or the work is less stabby, but I don’t seem to get cut up by bits of tin or splintered quite so often anymore.

Stage three

  • Square edge
  • Hammer
  • Clamp
  • Level
  • Tin snips
  • Drill and drill bits (actually I’ve managed to get away with borrowing Dad’s drill so far. Winning!)
  • Ladders – I also haven’t had to purchase one of these yet, lucky! If I was going to get one, I’d look at an extendable A frame one. They’re not cheap, but super handy.

Another month in and I was snipping flashings, screwing tin on and pre-drilling holes for rivets. It took me a little while to get the hang of the drill, there’s a few settings and instructions that are useful with these tricksters. Get someone who knows their stuff to step you through how to change bits and what settings do what. The level is handy for ruling lines as well, a nice long one makes it easier.

Stage four

  • Circular saw
  • Plane
  • Jigsaw
  • Caulk gun (I’ve also just borrowed Noel’s, but between the constant no-more-gapping and the liquid nails and the silicone and every other substance you can squeeze into a crack, they’re pretty priceless)
  • Paint brushes


I was lucky enough to score some second hand tools from Tom at a bargain price, the circular saw and I are fast becoming best friends. I won’t say anything about my accuracy with straight lines – the damn things are hard enough to draw let alone cut! But I’m getting better. Something currently lacking from my shopping list that may well be a good investment is some kind of work bench – most of my measuring and cutting takes place on the floor at the moment. There is room outside to lay things on a work horse and cut when I need to, but the floor does help when I’m a pair of hands short for holding/catching offcuts etc. I should also note that all the tools I now have were complimented greatly by the huge stash of equipment Tom brought with him during the bulk of the build. One more excellent bonus of having some professional help! However, you can’t rely on someone else’s tools forever. There comes a time to bite the bullet and dive in the deep end. Also known as:

Stage five

  • Nail gun, baby!


The benefit of this gun over others, for me at least, was the inbuilt air compressor. When you run power tools like a nun gun, stapler or anything that requires some kick, you can usually run them off an air compressor or gas canisters. The pressure from either of these forces air through the tools at such a rate that they can punch out whatever nail or material you’re using. Gas canisters are light weight and a convenient option, but you can burn through them pretty quickly and they’re not the cheapest or most efficient option if you’ve got lots to build. The compressor option makes sense…unless you can bypass it altogether by having it happen straight in the tool, right? This was the best choice for me at the moment anyway, I don’t have anything else to run on a compressor and the gun was a pretty decent price anyway so I went with it.

I do have the advantage of being able to borrow bits and bobs from Noel’s shed when I need to – if you’re reading this, THANKS NOEL! But for the most part, the above list has gotten me through the last month pretty well. A drop saw might be a handy addition, at times it would be nice not to have to worry quite so much about the straight lines and the fiddlyness of the circular saw, but I’m managing. I’m sure I’ll need more hand tools as things progress as well, but for now I’m feeling pretty well set up.

The best advice I have is to shop as you go and work out exactly what you need for each stage of the build. Going slowly gives you a good chance to get to know the tools as well and work out how best to use them. It’s still a work in progress for me, confidence with the tools is a big part of it too. Fake it till you make it, I say! At least I’ve got the pout sorted.