Shop and Machine Tools

The cornerstone of your garage workshop

If you're planning to turn your garage into a fully equipped workshop, then you'll need to invest in some machine tools. Machine tools are large, self-contained woodworking tools or metalworking tools. Each performs a function necessary for turning raw materials into useable pieces for your project.

If you're planning to do any woodworking - for example, building furniture, cutting baseboards or crown molding, or creating accents like picture frames - investing in some common woodworking tools is probably a wise idea. A table saw is the most common piece of woodworking equipment for home workshops. It is very versatile and will allow you to cut everything from large boards to smaller detail pieces. The circular blade is embedded in a platform, which provides support for the material being cut.

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If you prefer to be in control of the saw rather than the material you are cutting, you may want to try a radial arm saw. On this saw, the circular blade is mounted on an "arm" that users can move around their projects, which lie stationary on the platform.

For smaller projects, you may want to invest in a band saw. Much like other machine tools, band saws sit on large pedestals. Their blades are thin and narrow, but are capable of cutting thick, dense pieces of wood. To use a band saw, you place your wood on the table and push it into the blade, maneuvering the item so the saw cuts it into the proper shape. Band saws are ideal for quick cuts and projects – they can cut a piece of wood in half moments after being turned on. They are also perfect for small details, like edging and corners.

Better yet, if you find yourself working on lots of small details, you may want to look into adding a scroll saw to your home workshop. Scroll saws are similar to band saws, but their blades move in a classic up and down motion rather than in a continuous loop. A scroll saw will allow you to focus on more intricate details.

A wood lathe is another way to add more detail to your projects. A lathe spins the wood, allowing you to sand, shape or carve it by holding the appropriate tool against it as it turns. The same is true for a metal lathe, which should have a sharp edge to make cutting metal quick and painless.

Finally, many homeowners have power drills in their toolboxes, but not all have the power of a drill press. An extension of the power drill, a drill press is more solid. Drill presses sit on a stand, and the bit is raised and lowered with a handle. Unlike a hand drill, the drill press is stationary, so the object being drilled is moved in order to correctly position the hole. A drill press allows users to drill large, solid items more easily and accurately because less effort is required and the item can be clamped to the platform to prevent slipping.