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Bare necessities tool inventory for beginners.


Smoke Blower
Joined Apr 30, 2016
Seems there are lots of threads that start something like this...”I found a tank and want to make a smoker! What kind of welder should I buy?”

I don’t think I have ever run across a thread on this board (or any other) that is dedicated to identifying the basic tools an amateur builder should consider owning (or having access to) before embarking on their first build.
Not thinking this should include the “nice” stuff advanced builders tend to acquire like CNC cutting tables, commercial welders, 100 ton presses, Bridgeport mills, lathes, etc. Just the bare necessities.

Here are my suggestions:

Sidearm grinder
Cut-off wheels, flap wheels, grinding wheels
200 amp stick welder
cutting torch (gas or small plasma)
Protective gear (welding gloves, work gloves, helmet, eye protection, steel toe shoes, etc)
Wire brush
Chipping hammer
3,6&10 pound BFHs
1/2” electric drill
Set of HSS drill bits
Center punch
Steel saw horses
3/8 welded log chains
Hydraulic bottle jack
Lifting device (engine hoist, or gantry crane)
Jack stands
Tape measures
Work lights
Equipment moving dollies/casters
Marking devices (felt tip, chalk, etc)
Magnetic bubble level
Metal square
Straight edges
Bench vice
Vice grips
Welding magnets

Please feel free to add your recommendations!


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Jan 7, 2017
I like where you're headed with this thread. But I can't help it feel like your extensive list will scare off some prospective first-time builders. Even if it is the tools they should have lol.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jan 14, 2014
ya building the titanic or a smoker, just kidding it would be a nice collection to have.


Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Feb 25, 2018
If your only going to build 1 it would be about cheaper to buy 1 already made, material is crazy $$$


Smoke Blower
Joined Jul 14, 2018
Here's my two cents: For a super basic build you should have these.

1. This is the most important! Have a plan from the beginning, this will allow you act rather than piece things along saving time and money from making changes. Plan out your build, even if you have to draw it out on the floor to come up with dimensions. This I can not stress enough
2. 4 1/2" grinder with cut off wheels, a hard wheel for hogging a lot of material and doing rough grinding and flap disc to smooth things down and de-burr parts.
3. A tape measure and flat tape for laying out on a round object. (a 50' tape is fine for this)
4. 12" combo square and 24" framing square (carpenter square)
5. Sharpie marker (ultra fine and fine tips), soap stone or silver pencil for laying out on raw steel.
6. Levels 9 or 12" torpedo and a 2 or 4 foot level, which double as a straight edge for laying out longer lines
7. Some type of welder. Most people have 110V so look toward that, I would suggest a MIG as they are the easiest to learn to use (self shielded if you have to, shielded hard wire is better and doesn't possess flux which makes slag and requires more clean up between passes.

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