I remember my dad having endless tools in his shed. And not just tools, containers of nuts and bolts and washers and screws that he’d collected over time. Whenever something broke in a mower, a trailer, a bike… my dad could dig around in his shed, and find a replacement. Never was there a case of “If only I had a welder” He had 3. “If only I had a paint stripper” He had one, though we live in double brick house with brick interior. Car Lift? Yep. Grinder? 4. Drills? Hand, upright, 12 volt, 240 volt and impact. Hammers? Dozens, one for every task? Sockets? Metric, imperial, short, long, small, large.
I kind of took this treasure trove for granted till a bought my first home in my twenties and realised apart from some very basic tools; my shed was pretty empty of the stuff that makes a tool shed useful. It was downright depressing, a bit demasculating actually. Here I was, an Aussie man with a shed…. and I was embarrassed to let other guys into it. Something had to be done.
With a mortgage that I could only barely manage, buying new tools and bit and pieces was never going to be an option. I became garage sale shed man. I was at garage sales every Saturday and Sunday first thing. Not looking for furniture and abdomen exercise machines… I was after jars of nuts and bolts. Old tools. Not busted tools, just old ones. You’d be surprised the numbers of guys who get a new drill for a present, then retire the old one. Good quality tools just don’t seem to wear out and I became an ardent spotter of the dirty but good quality tools lying on the garage sale tables.
One old guy was going into a nursing home, and he was reluctantly selling the entire contents of his shed. His shed…. was a beautiful thing. He’d made his own custom wall mounts for every tool, and painted silhouettes for each one so every tool knew its place. I chatted with him for over an hour and by the end he was convinced his tools would be going to a great home if he sold them to me… i even bought his wall mounting system!
From different garage sales I got jars of wire, rolls of tape, whole socket and screwdriver kits, welding and soldering tools, grinders, drills. It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened and at a fraction of the price of new. Oh so of the bits and pieces will never likely be used, and some of things bought did not work.
I also shopped one ebay, and went to auctions. It seems plenty of people just can’t face the task of cleaning out relative’s where said relative has gone to the big shed in the sky… and lots of great stuff is just boxed up and shipped off to auction to be sold for pennies.
So if your shed lacks that tooled up feel, but your budget is small,, my recommendation is to checkout
New tools are great, but old tools at a great price are great too.