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 In Tricks of the Trade

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When buying supplies for my shop, I often visit a store where stuff costs around $1. Many items sell for much more at a home improvement store, so I save a pile of money. You never know what you’re going to find in a $1 store, but here’s a list of things to look for:

  1. Plastic drawer organizers, 3 to a pack. They’re perfect for small parts, finishes, or for mixing epoxy.
  2. 100 cable ties for binding cords, dowels, or anything that needs bundling.
  3. Shelf liner for use as a sanding or routing pad. It’s labeled “Crisper Liner” at my store.
  4. Micro-fiber cloths. They work better than tack cloths for removing dust, and you can wash and re-use them.
  5. LED lights. Stick them in cabinets, under cabinets, or wherever you need a little extra light.
  6. A small tripod for a lightweight digital camera. Useful for remembering a setup weeks later.
  7. Paintbrushes.
  8. Dust masks.
  9. Popsicle sticks for mixing epoxy, stirring finish, using as small shims, filling stripped-out screw holes, etc.
  10. Latex gloves for finishing.
  11. Plastic funnels for pouring finishes.
  12. Spray bottles for solvents or water.
  13. Toothbrushes for cleaning a spray gun or machine parts. They’re a must for restoring rusty old tools.
  14. Small paper cups for glue and small amounts of finish.
  15. Zip-Loc bags. Store your foam brush in one of these if you’re applying multiple coats of finish. It’ll stay usable for a day or two.
  16. Big wall clock.
  17. Over-the-door hooks to hang finished parts for drying.
  18. Cotton swabs. I use these to clean the rim on paint, poly and stain cans.
  19. Plastic measuring cups. I use these for finishing materials when I’m following or writing a recipe.
  20. Wind-up 60-minute timer.
  21. Heavy duty shop towels.
  22. WD-40.
  23. Hand cleaner.
  24. Wire whisk. Chuck it in your drill to stir paint.
  25. 2” blue painter’s tape. I mark parts by placing a piece of tape on them, then write on the tape. It’s easier to peel off the tape than it is to erase pencil marks on the wood.
  26. 2” putty knife.
  27. Painter’s 5-in-1 tool. This makes a great pry-bar, glue scraper, putty-knife cleaner, etc.
  28. Toothpicks for dabbing glue or repairing stripped-out screw holes.
  29. Wax paper for keeping glued-up parts from sticking to wooden supports. It’s also good for waxing tool tables and miter gauge bars.
  30. Elastic bandages. Enough said.
  31. Big plastic dustpan.

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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