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Assembling a collection of tools is the act of an individual, based on their needs and tempered by their desire.  How much impulse can you control? You may want to buy a tool merely to have one, and keeping the tool in your tool chest is a waste. Having the tool handy to accomplish the proper job is a goal. I have discovered that it may be difficult for some decisions due to the enormous variety of tools and their intended use. One important note is finding the right tool for the proper job, also consider the durability (quality) of the tool. You want it to last. Than again with power tools, a new and improved version is always upcoming. Tool maintenance and proper us is a key part of the arts.

Here listed below are my personal tools in my tool chest.  By providing this list, it is not to say these are the tools you must have. The list is to help identify a tool with a brief description on how it may be used and maintained. I hope this will help you in finding what you need. 

If you are looking to buy tools I don't sell them, but I have some links to good reliable suppliers.   TOOL STORES

My Tools Chest
Design tools Bench Tools Power Tools Wish List






Design Tools


CAD Programs

CAD Programs - (Computer Assisted Drafting) come in a variety of formats. Some capable of 3D modeling and other 2D.  It all depend on what the pocket book allows you to spend. You might find some FREE software that can do the job by searching the WEB for CAD or DRAFTING TOOLS.

The catch is with full size drawings larger than 81/2 x 11sheets are not achievable with your standard printers, so you may need to find a print shop that will plot the file for you.   Many of the print shop will be able to plot the file, however you may want to find out what CAD programs they are supporting before you go and download or buy a CAD program.

My native program is AutoCAD, however this tools is far more the tool needed.

More on the topic click here.

Measuring tools

Everything we do require some form of measuring. An old cliché "measure twice cut once" This lend itself to enforce the fact we need to measure something in order to built it. It is important to have the right tool to do the right job, and there are many types of measuring tool for specific jobs. This is my humble list, and I am more likely going to expand on this when the next requirement occurs.

  • 6" steel Machinist Ruler - is very useful for those small measurements down to the 64th of an inch and also comes with Metric increments. With mine a handy conversion table is listed on the back.

  • Assorted Metal Rulers - The reason for metal rulers is that they can be used as a straight edge for cutting, and that edge will not wear down easily from repeated use.

  • Vernier Caliper - This tool is invaluable with ship building and machines. I have two, one made of plastic (cheap, cheap) and the other of steel. My recommendation is the steel one, it will last longer and not stick much. The Vernier caliper is an extremely precise measuring instrument; the reading error is 1/20 mm = 0.05 mm. Some insight on how to use it or how to read it.

  • Mini triangle - This tool is made of metal 2"x4". This helps me with setting-up thing square.

  • Gauges - Typically a hole gauge, Helps me identify the dowel size and also doubles up as a dowel maker. Also the screw gauge, it helps me identify the threading.

  • Steel Protractor - The one I use is like a miniature T-square, but it is adjustable to the angles.

  • Tape Ruler -  Typically used to measure larger items beyond my rulers length.

  • Compass Set - is used to accomplish complex radius on layouts

Scribes & Pens

  • Mechanical Pen - In my opinion they are the best pencil money can buy. To sharpen them all you need is 120 sand paper.

  • Felt Pen - I use them because they will mark-up just about anything. My preference is Sharpie, like the name they have sharp tips. they now have a double ended permanent marker called Sharpie twin tip. Check it out.

  • Tungsten tip Scriber

  • Carbide Point

  • Automatic Center Punch  - is a spring loaded center punch. No hammer is required. It's main function is to mark the surface of the metal by creating a crater for the drill bit to find the center of the hole to be. This tools also double up as a counter sinker for pin mails when building ships. This is something I discovered building the INDEPENDENCE (1775). I came very handy and easy to use, also did a very fine job. With this smaller model the tip is fine enough to use as a cribber.


Lamps are an important part of any hobby. They enable us to work on our subjects more effectively. The better the lighting the better the detailing. :>)   Bad lighting can cause back problems, I'm no sure how, but it does. So provide yourself with proper lighting at your work space. There are a variety of lamps you can use. The key is to have it accessible where needed. If you have permanent workbench set-up or work shop, florescent lighting may be the way to go, however for some people florescent lighting is irritating because they are sensitive to this type of lighting.

  • Desk Lamps - are most commonly used because they are affordable and they can be placed where you need them. My preference for a desk lamp is the boom type. I have several of them, they are relics from my profession as a Draftsman, from the days when paper and pen where used to draw with and the desk lamp was a very important part of my tool set. Now not needed with CAD.

  • Floor Lamp - allow to place lighting where needed without table surface to mount on.

  • Goose Neck Lamp - My experience has taught me that these are best suited for power tools like drill press, scroll saw, band saw and other tools alike. You will find some are designed for this purpose.

Power Utilities

  • Shop Power Block - this power supply bar is special mainly because it allows me to plug in those transformers that take up room.  Nice to have but not necessary.

  • Power bar - always need them, be sure to get it with a built in breaker.



  • Micro Tip - I find these to be most appropriate for detailing object.

  • Small Metal Shears - For the rough cut with sheet metal and ideal for cutting fiberglass cloth.



Is application tool similar to knife a thin blade without a sharp edge. They come in various shapes for to accommodate the mode of applying the substance for the job. This could be filler where the texture may be like a putty, therefore a stiffer blade would be more appropriate. Thinner blades provide better as spreaders. I have use these to apply fillers and glues. Some of these are hard to find.

  • Painters Spatulas - make for good spreaders

  • Miniature Putty Knives - are ideal for applying putties and fillers into small places. They are also a harder tool to find.


This probably the most widely used tool in all hobbies. The sharper the better the result. Sharp tools make the job go faster and with less strain. There are no perfect tool for the job. the only perfection is the hand that guide it. If it doesn't feel right then change the blade. The harder the material the sharper the cutting edge should be. When you are working with hand tools (blades) you will slice your work not attempt to push the edge through. crushing the material ahead is not cutting and dulls the blade faster. Perceptively their is little difference between a blade and a saw by drawing it across the material you would be slicing the material.

  • Precision Cutting Knives

  • Xacto No. 11 - This is my favorite detailing blade for almost all applications. I buy my blades in a box of hundred, it is cheaper this way.

  • Craft utility knife - Will serve all general purposes to larger jobs.

  • Industrial Razor Blades - is for the large jobs. I cut boards with this.

  • Wood Strip Cutter - Sometime I forget to buy strip stock, so I make my own using this tool. It's adjustable up to an inch.

  • Carving Knives - on occasions I carve, and the right tool make the job easier.


  • Steel brush - are essential for cleaning and maintaining other tools. e.g. files.

  • Pin brush

  • Fine Nylon Brushes

  • Ultra Detailer Brushes



  • Plastic Model Cement

  • Epoxy Glues

  • Glue Applicators

  • White Glue

  • Yellow Glue

  • Squeeze Bottle

Containers & Storage

  • Rotary Tray Organizer

  • Hardware Organizer

  • Mini Containers

  • Magnetic Part Tray

  • Storage systems


Bench Tools



  • Jeweler's Anvil

  • Machined metal bar




  • Quick Grip Bar Clamp

  • 3" clamps

  • Surgical Hemostats

  • Sliding Bar Clamps

  • Mini 4 Corner Clamps

  • Micro Mini Clamps

  • Miniature Clamps

  • Steel Spring Clamps

  • Vacuum Vice


  • Tool maker 3" Vice

  • PanaVice

  • 6" vice

  • Pin Vice

  • Third Hand Vice


  • Magnetic Gluing Jig

Probes - Picks

  • Micro Manipulators

Machine Angle

  • Toolmaker's Angle

  • Steel Machines Squares





  • Swiss Style Watchmakers

  • Cross Locking

  • 10" Straight

  • 8" Straight

  • 6" Straight

  • 6" Curve

  • Heat sink Tweezers

  • Decal Tweezers


  • Small Needle Nose

  • Small Flat Nose

  • Small Side Cutters

  • Small End Nippers

  • Small needle nose vice grips

  • Small Vice grips

  • Large needle nose

  • Large flat nose

  • Large cutters

  • Box joint Wire

  • Wire Loop

Screw & Nut drivers

  • Hex key set

  • Jeweler's Philips Screw

  • Jeweler's Stnd Screw

  • Jeweler's Nut

  • Micro Open End Wrench

Files & Rasps

Files & rasps remove material in segments. The trick is to remember to push off the material. Files and rasps don't cut on the return trip. Bare down on the push and lift up on the return, his will prevent clog age. Maintenance is required on occasions by using a file brush and a pick or sharp pointy object like an XACTO No.11 blade to remove the clog material where the file brush was unable. This can be arduous and slow, patience is required.

  • Micro Needle Files

  • Micro Needle Rasp Files

  • Flex-I-File (Sander)

  • File Brush

  • 6" Mill File

  • 8" Mill File

  • 3/16" Chainsaw File

  • Four-in-Hand

  • 8" rasp Half-Rd


  • Lightweight Hammer

  • Ship's Push Hammer


  • Jeweler's saw

  • Miter Box and Saw

  • Mini Hack Saw

  • Razor Saw

  • Flush Cutting Saw

  • Hobby Saw

  • Coping Saw 


  • Small Palm Plane


  • 1/2"

  • Carving Set 

Metal Cutters

  • Mini Tube Cutter

  • Nibblers

Sanding tools

  • Micro sanding Wand

  • Carbide sanding sticks

  • Sanding Block

  • T-Bar Sanders


  • Drill Press

  • Hand drills

  • Pin Vice drill

  • Drill bits

  • Micro Drill Bits

  • Dill Chuck Center Locater

Tap & Die Set

  • Micro Drill & tap set

  • 10-30 tap & die

  • 8-24 Tap & die

  • 6-40 Tap & die

  • 4-40 Tap & die


  • 70 W Soldering Iron

  • 30 W Soldering Iron

  • Pen torch 


Power Tools


  • Multi Pro

  • Chuck for rotary tools 


  • Drum Sander

  • Table Sander & Disk

Drill Press


Band Saw


Scroll Saw


Foam Cutting Tools

  • Power Supply

  • Nicrome Hot Wire


  • Miniature Vacuum Kit

Air Brush Tools

  • Compressor

  • Air Brush

  • Cordless Mixer

  • Miniature Finders for Ship Models

  • Moister trap


Wish List

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This WEB page was last updated: 2008 03 04.