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Old 05-25-2014, 06:57 PM   #1
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SKOOLIE - tool wishlist?

Hello, all! New here, in the early stages of planning a conversion. I tried posting this earlier but missed the notice to include "SKOOLIE" in my first post (sorry!) so it was not published.

Anyway, I was hoping for some advice on budgeting for tools and equipment for the conversion process, including which are best borrowed/rented (limited use) and which are best bought/kept (for maintenance on the road). We have a lot of basic home tools like drills, nailers, sanders, recip. saw, shop vac, dremel, etc., we don't have bigger equip. like a jigsaw or power miter box.

I'd also love some advice on whether we should seek out apprenticeships or take courses at our local technical schools to pick up skills before we buy our bus. My husband is an engineer by trade and an avid handyman around the home. He does most of our car repairs/maintenance, as well as some basic framing carpentry (closing off our porch), wiring and plumbing. For my part, I learned basic woodworking and gas welding for sculpture courses in art school, and I do a lot of home sewing including basic upholstering. We are both good with our hands and we are both quick learners. But we have never embarked on a project this big!

We're patient, meticulous planners, so we're giving ourselves one year to plan before buying our bus and two years for the conversion. We want to be as off-grid as possible so we can boondock for longer periods, so we're budgeting for that. Some of our projects-within-the-project include: roof raise, greywater recycling, large capacity fresh water tank and filtration, composting toilet, rooftop solar panels, ply furnishings and cabinets, plexi privacy/space dividers, LED lighting, solar heater, solar fridge, possibly cigarette lighter-style outlets for electronics, still deciding on oven type and how we'll do heating (not wood stove, although we like the look of them). Once we're on the road, we are also planning for a layover to convert our engine for waste veg oil (my brother does fleet conversions for a living).

We'll be traveling full-time so we'd rather not buy big equip if we can help it. On the other hand, if the equip will be used a lot, it makes sense to buy.

I would be so grateful for any input! Loving reading the inspiring stories on this forum!
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:05 AM   #2
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Re: SKOOLIE - tool wishlist?

good luck on your conversion!
best tool out there is cash.....

i have a pretty good wood shop .....but here is a partial list of tools that i did purchase for my bus conversion:

hole saw set x 2
mig welder
pex crimper and remover
knockout punch
kreg jig
die grinder
finish nailer
chop saw
lots of metal grinding /wheels
cement trowels
jig saw


and the bus has acquired its own tool box which is accumulating its own set of wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, hammers, wire crimpers

i am sure there are more. i could have used a plasma cutter a few times. there are some hvac tools i would like to measure my duct flow with.

and im not finished yet
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Old 05-27-2014, 07:51 PM   #3
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Re: SKOOLIE - tool wishlist?

Thank you, turf! How far are you into your conversion? Good luck with it!
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:07 PM   #4
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Re: SKOOLIE - tool wishlist?

Small items ....
Kreg Jig is an absolute MUST if you're planning on doing any decent looking cabinetry.
Jig saw
oscillating tool / multi-tool
finish nailer
a good sharp handsaw
a T-Square
impact driver (you'll NEVER strip a screw out again !!)
Milwaukee Ice Hardened hole saw kit
Counter-sink bit
step bits

Large items .....
MillerMatic welder (I bleed blue baby)
Metal cutting torch of some kind (Plasma or acetylene, either way)
Table Saw
Miter Saw
Drill Press comes in very handy

IMPORTANT
Buy yourself a good quality table saw as well as a good quality miter saw and you'll avoid a lot of headaches because your corners will be square and your edges will be straight.
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Old 07-01-2014, 03:52 PM   #5
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Re: SKOOLIE - tool wishlist?

And never forget the local tool rental shop. You may need a larger air compressor or pressure washer or impact wrench for seat removal. Expensive tools that you really need but may only need once or twice are what tool rental is all about. Grabbing for a well planned one day project might be better than buying.
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