Ted's Aircraft Shop
Essential and Useful Tools
1. Hand and Manual Tools

If you are a true builder at heart, you love tools.  Your hands drape around the handles, feel the weight and balance, and generally know by feel how the tools work.  Every tool has a special feel, and I can use most of them without even taking a look.  They just feel right.  People ask me what tools are really necessary for building an aircraft. I have never given it any thought until I decided to compile a list for the reader.  But two cautions are in order.  First, not all of these tools are necessary, certainly not when starting a project.  I just acquire them as I learn of their special utility (and find a use for them).  Second, the tools came into the shop only as they were needed.  I certainly do not recommend going out and buying all of these tools at the beginning of a project.  For one thing, some tools should be of the highest quality and will be more expensive than what you can get at the local Ace, Tractor Supply, or Home Depot.  I always give them much thought. Some tools can be cheap as they serve a very special purpose, often for only a few times.  Among other sources I get these tools from Harbor Freight, Northern Tool, or the local hardware store.   (For reasons that will become evident when getting into a project, the wrenches most often used come in the sizes of 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, and 9/16.  A wider assortment of wrenches is not all that useful.)  I have several closed and open box wrench sets.  The best ones I have gotten from Harbor Freight. They come in handy carry trays and are much less expensive that the large wrench sets advertised by the hardware stores during the Christmas season.  The best flat head and Phillips screwdrivers in the world

are Sears Craftsman tools.  They come in distinctive colors and last a long time.  I have many of them but I never have enough screwdrivers, pliers, or clamps.  Some of my favorite tools come from specialized sources, such as Avery Tools, Aircraft Tool Supply, Cleaveland Tools, or other specialized stores.  I have an edge forming tool for bending the edges of aluminum plates and fairings from Cleaveland Tools.  It is the only tool in the world that will do the job with ease and quality.  I have a number of similar tools from other sources that are clumsy and difficult to use.  That edge forming tool is worth its special price, but I expect never to put more than an hour of use on it.  Included here are some tables of tools I use.  The lists are incomplete, lacking some little used tools.  (The order does not signify priority or value.)
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