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Old 12-02-2019, 11:28 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
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Newbie tool question

Hello there! Brand new baby Skoolie dreamer here. We’ve jumped in and brought the bus home to the farm. Now for the years of research and peppering y’all with questions!!

Before my partner finds his way to this forum, my first question is about tools- I’m Christmas shopping and I know all he’s going to be wanting is stuff to convert this baby. Seats are already out. I honestly don’t know what he has or doesn’t have. So would you be so kind as to list the tools most helpful in your conversion projects, then I’ll go stealth mode and figure out what he needs? The ones you couldnt have lived with out, those you learned later would have been awesome to have, or those that seemed like a waste?
Thanks so much.
Here’s our first bus baby!
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:44 PM   #2
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All of them. And I'm not even halfway joking!

As far as what will be beneficial first, I say

Angle grinder
Cutoff tool
Impact wrench and cordless drill.
At least two batteries for those!

Then you're going to learn how to weld.

At a certain point you will be dealing with wood and the various slicing and dicing tools.

Add to the list when you get to the electrical and plumbing systems.

Don't forget the wrenches and sockets for all the engine work you will need to do.

I'm still tearing my bus apart but I already need to pick up a ladder to get the flashing lights off the roof.

There must be an industry opportunity to rent these tools out to skoolie builders. I used to build houses and had three vans full of equipment. Long gone now and I'm having to buy a lot of stuff again that will not come with me when I complete my build.

Welcome to the skoolie world. It's a pretty bus you got there. Building it up will be fun!
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Old 12-03-2019, 12:35 AM   #3
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Good personal Protection Equipment should be at the top of the list.

Good safety glasses with a foam gasket like these.

https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/company-...8720748&rt=rud

You’ll be cutting metal and it just takes a small flake of metal in the eye to go to the emergency room.

Some leather gloves.i like the kind with the Velcro wrist myself.

Ear protection. I’ve been lacking, but some foam buds at least

Some dust masks. Even the inexpensive ones.
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Old 12-03-2019, 01:01 AM   #4
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I agree with JDSquared about needing an angle grinder, drill, impact gun. I doNot think you need a cutoff wheel. You can make do with a circular saw. When you don’t have any tools you’ll want to figure out ways of making them multitask. For instance the circular saw can cut wood and with a metal cutting wheel it can cut sheet metal and shapes.

You’ll also want to figure out what tools can be the cheap ones and What to buy quality. I’d say doNot skimp on the cordless drill or impact gun. And when you buy these you are investing in a system because the chargers aren’t cheap and you want to interchange batteries. My choice is Milwaukee. The are leading the industry. Next is Dewalt and Makita. For corded hand tools like that circular saw you can often go cheap. I have a Ryobi that I originally got to cut a cast iron sink out of a tile counter. I ran it continuously for an hour and was so hot it couldn’t be handled without gloves and it still works great.

And don’t forget about borrowing tools. Especially the specialized ones you’ll only use once or twice . Just return them when you’re done
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:25 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thank you both so much! Youíve got me starting lists and prioritizing- I even see some good stocking stuffers my job is to try and figure out what he has so I can slowly start filling in. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:32 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Iíve seen that the newer cordless impact guns donít have as much power as a corded air one. Given where weíll be working, Iím sure the cordless would be nicer to have. Do such things matter?
I guess I should be starting by finding a step by step to see what tools are for/ you know, like how the heck to start this hahaha
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Scolleenkendrick View Post
Iíve seen that the newer cordless impact guns donít have as much power as a corded air one. Given where weíll be working, Iím sure the cordless would be nicer to have. Do such things matter?
I guess I should be starting by finding a step by step to see what tools are for/ you know, like how the heck to start this hahaha
You wonít need an air powered impact gun unless you find yourselves rebuilding g engines which I hope you dont. What we are referring to is the 1/4Ē impact gun that is used to drive screws mostly, it also has chucked drill bits available. These are usually sold as starter sets with a battery or two and a charger. Itís a good way to start a cordless set,
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Old 12-03-2019, 03:14 AM   #8
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Hand tools other than power tools. I’ve been throwing my regularly used tools in a tool box and it looks like this right now though as the tasks change to plumbing and electrical work it’s going change too.

Squares. You can’t use a level on a bus because it never will be level itself. I like a 2’ carpenters square and a speed square, though I also like a machinist square.

Measuring tape

Screw driver set

Hammer

Chalk line and or mason’s string

Carpenters pencils and sharpies

Drift/punch/nail set/center punch

Files. Just a 3/4” wide 1/2 round bastard will get most everything done

Drill bits

Cutting disks, grinding g disk, wire wheel for the angle grinder

Socket set

Combination. Wrenches

Adjustable wrench

Channel lock pliers

Wire cutters

Pry bar. The flat Super Bar is a good one.
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Old 12-03-2019, 09:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scolleenkendrick View Post
Thank you both so much! Youíve got me starting lists and prioritizing- I even see some good stocking stuffers my job is to try and figure out what he has so I can slowly start filling in. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.
If you've been on the farm any length of time I'm guessing your partner has a good selection of basic tools already.

Unless s/he doesn't like the tools already owned I would tend to stick with the same brands already owned IF for example with wrenches -- any brand with "life time warranty" it's nice to take all your broken bits in for exchange to one place...

IF s/he already owns cordless tools -- figure out which brand AND voltage size -- very likely already has drill, but ľ" impact driver, jigsaw, sawzall, circular saw are tools I use nearly every day for DIY projects.
Just figure out which ones aren't already owned...

Figure out if your bus is SAE or Metric and do you already have the basic wrenches/sockets for that flavor?

I'm lucky in that working on old 4x4's has been a hobby for decades -- the only tool I've needed to buy for my bus maintenance was a good strap wrench to remove the big diesel engine's fuel, and oil filters.
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Old 12-03-2019, 09:22 AM   #10
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To piggyback on the post above mine... If he has old cordless tools it may not be a good choice to buy more of the same series. If you're not seeing 18v lithium on it, you should circle back. I can say I would much rather have a christmas present that wasn't a surprise than a christmas present that sucks... And a 10 year old 12v Dewalt NiMH drill might still work great today but that platform shouldn't be your target for new tools.

The tool manufacturers rope you in with the batteries. If you buy one cordless tool, it's far more convenient (and ultimately cost effective) to buy other tools that share the same battery and charger. Nobody wants a different incompatible charger and battery for each tool. Milwaukee's M18 Fuel series is my favorite right now, they have a bunch of tools that use the same packs. I've got Bosch stuff right now and it's good too but I'd go with Milwaukee if I were buying today.
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Old 12-03-2019, 09:51 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
To piggyback on the post above mine... If he has old cordless tools it may not be a good choice to buy more of the same series. If you're not seeing 18v lithium on it, you should circle back. I can say I would much rather have a christmas present that wasn't a surprise than a christmas present that sucks... And a 10 year old 12v Dewalt NiMH drill might still work great today but that platform shouldn't be your target for new tools.
SNIP...
Totally agree!
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:44 AM   #12
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Well, you must have guessed we’ve got a lot of 10-20 year old dewault lying around! So a few of the things he’ll use the most in a better brand even if different batteries is best? If budget allows it might be time for a new set. But if I can’t swing it, I want him to have the kind of things we’ve not had reason to have before. He’s the kind of guy that will find a workaround to not buy anything, and though that’s admirable I think he already underestimates the time it will take and I don’t want him to macgyver his way through. I’ll stick to missing pieces in the same sets for non corded. Thank you and thank you!
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:37 AM   #13
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There are usually combo deals on tools to really hook you. Really common for there to be a drill and impact with a charger and 2 batteries from basically any brand at a good price, and they get bigger from there.

If his existing stuff is old and crusty, the new thing should be the new standard. He 100% needs a cordless impact, if you only buy one tool it should be that one. But eventually he will want a reciprocating saw, or a circular saw, or an angle grinder, or something and you'll want to stick with that new platform.

Speaking from experience, he's almost certainly expecting to put a screw bit into his dewalt drill and all that's gonna do is strip out screw heads and make everything harder. The little cordless impacts make that job painless, as well as just about anything you'd do with a 3/8 drive ratchet.
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:37 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
Good personal Protection Equipment should be at the top of the list.

Good safety glasses with a foam gasket like these.

https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/company-...8720748&rt=rud

Youíll be cutting metal and it just takes a small flake of metal in the eye to go to the emergency room.

Some leather gloves.i like the kind with the Velcro wrist myself.

Ear protection. Iíve been lacking, but some foam buds at least

Some dust masks. Even the inexpensive ones.
X10

Safety gear first!

Good safety glasses, dust masks, hearing protection and gloves.

If you are going to paint the bus you will want an appropriate respirator.

If you are going to be welding that has it's own set of safety gear.


I take this very seriously. I came very close to losing an eye a few years ago. I swept up the shop without safety glasses on. I got something in my eye. It embedded into my eye and turned into an ulcerated sore. A month of doctors appointments, eye patches and antibiotics. I was stuck in the house with the shades drawn and lights dimmed for over two weeks.
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Old 12-03-2019, 12:07 PM   #15
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One of my most used tools is the Makita 18v impact driver. I use it enough that I bought a second one.
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:06 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
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PNW_Steve-
Holy smokes! I’m so sorry that happened to you and glad you’re alright now. I will be sure to set him up for safety stuff I’m sure he’ll scoff at- and maybe I’ll share your story!
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:12 PM   #17
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bits

A few dozen 1/4in and 3/8 inch drill bits
Several batteries, dont run them down more than 50% between charges if you want them to last a second month.
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scolleenkendrick View Post
PNW_Steve-
Holy smokes! Iím so sorry that happened to you and glad youíre alright now. I will be sure to set him up for safety stuff Iím sure heíll scoff at- and maybe Iíll share your story!
Thank you.

It was a real "eye opener".

The conversation that I had with the doctor when he told me that I should be prepared for possibly loosing my sight in that eye. It really shook me.

Thank God that I recovered. It has made me very protective of my eyes.

I should probably put warning labels on my brooms
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:41 PM   #19
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Another thought......

I cannot even guess at how many times that I have had stuff bounce off of my safety glasses and face shield.

There is another good item to have. I bought a cheap face shield and it sucked. When it became unusable I went to the local hardware store and all that they had was a $32 one from 3M. I love it! It is so much more comfortable and stays put better than the cheap ones.
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Old 12-03-2019, 05:33 PM   #20
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Ditto!

Get an adapter that can hold sockets too. You can save a ton of time instead of using a ratchet. You won't always hve all the power that you need but you can use a breaker bar to get it started then spin it off fast with the impact driver.
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