Tools #2: The really good ones!

  After working on things for a while, I am getting a good idea of my favorite tools. These are the ones I use all the time. Most of the tools on my list are good to have, but these could be considered essential!

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General Tools 6" layout ruler from Home Depot or Lowes. The perfect size for 75% of all your measuring and layouts.
Wiss Offset Snips, left cut (red handle). Don't even waste your money on Harbor Freight snips. I bought the 3 piece set a couple of years earlier and used them a little here and there. They really chew up the metal edges, and generally suck! The offset Wiss cuts VERY nicely. It leaves just a bit of roughness on the edge, and the offset design allows you to get in close to flanges on channel and keeps your hand away from the metal. $30 from Lowes.
Medium rat tail file, 1/4 " in diameter from Brown Tool Supply. Many places on the angle and channel call for a 1/8 inch radius. I cut the part short of the radius corner, then file the corner down the proper radius and location with the rat tail. Takes about 60 seconds to do perfectly. Much faster and more accurate than trying to drill a hole in the right spot to create the radius you need!
Unibits. These things are great for the larger holes called for (1/2 inch up to 1 inch diameter). You need two different ones to make this work right. Unitbit #1 1/8-1/2", and Unibit #20, 1/2-1", (allthough it is advertised as 9/16-1"). Order from Aircraft Tool Supply.
Debur Extension, Hex Shaft with Debur Cutter, PN 59010 from Avery. I started out in a cheap 7.2 cordless drill. It turned too slow and tended to cut into the metal like a countersink. So, I bought a cheap 12 volt cordless drill! It was too slow also. Then I chucked it in my air drill. Ahhhh! That is the secret. It turned fast, deburs quick, and cuts very little. Even still, 90% of the time I just spin the debure by hand.


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Updated: 26 Mar 05