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Posted: 1/7/2010 2:04:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/7/2010 4:02:00 PM EDT by phlegm]
Can someone add to my list of the basic, general tools in a few categories? I'm thinking which files, not how many reamers.



Updated from below





Hand tools for repair


Brass punches


Steel punches


Steel ball-peen hammer


Brass mallet


Rubber mallet


Leather mallet

Standard and jeweler's files


Parallel jaw pliers

Honing stones

Tap and die set

Large multi-bit screwdriver set

Misc. dental tools





Essential power tools


Dremmel tool


Drill press

Belt/disc sander

Bench grinder with polishing wheels/compounds

Torch

Welder


Mill?


Lathe?





Specialty tools


?





Shop fixtures


Work bench


Vise w/ jaw pads


Work lamp

Bench mounted magnifying glass

Link Posted: 1/7/2010 2:32:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/7/2010 2:32:51 PM EDT by shrikefan]
Assorted honing stones.

Belt/disc sander
Link Posted: 1/7/2010 2:39:48 PM EDT

Required:
muti-bit screwdrivers

always use the right size bit.


Recommended :

Tap and die set.
Link Posted: 1/7/2010 2:52:35 PM EDT
For files, get a good jeweler's set & a basic assortment (flat, round, triangle, knife, etc).  You'll keep coming back to that big old bastard mill & the round one.

Good stuff to have:

Good buffing/polishing wheel with proper compounds.
Basic cold blue to repair wear marks.
Rust blue materials for small parts & receivers (no dangerous chemicals)
Barrel/Receiver bedding tools & compound.
Drills/taps & extra screws for mounting scope bases.
Scope alignment tools & bore sight.
A jeweling jig is nice to have to make a few quick bucks off of friends & associates.

Actual must have tools:

Good wood chisels,
The best damn Dremel kit you can afford,
Good quality multi-bit screwdriver set & extra cheap drivers you can grind to fit the odd screws you'll encounter,
Multi speed drill press (save a few bucks & go to harbor freight),
An arm mounted, lighted magnifying glass (office max, etc)
Optivisors (head mounted magnifying glass)
An arm mounted work light (office max, etc)
good quality brass & steel punches
small or medium ball-peen hammer
brass hammer
rubber or plastic mallet
dental tools & picks
gun cleaning supplies (surprizing how much you can make just cleaning guns)
basic stock re-finishing supplies

Big tools:

A lathe & mill are very nice to have access to but if you're space/budget limited, your local machine shop can do just about anything you need fairly cheaply (CASH) unless you start doing lots of barrel work.
Oxy/act torch rig with welding tips, flux, silver solder, steel welding rods, etc.
welding machine (TiG or MiG is best for guns due to lack of excess heat & splatter)
Oven for baking finishes & powder coats (your wife will not like it when her cookies come out tasting like paint)

And, anything else that catches your eye!

MLG
Link Posted: 1/7/2010 3:41:21 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/7/2010 4:09:30 PM EDT
It's probably best to specify the type of work and the subset of tools required for that. It's a waste to buy a bunch of stuff that won't be used.

If you're not doing barrel work or truing actions, you likely don't need a lathe. ANY shop ought to have a parts washer tank to clean the filthy, gunky guns that come in the door PRIOR to diagnosing the problem.
Link Posted: 1/7/2010 11:04:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/7/2010 11:14:09 PM EDT by ultramagbrion]
A few flat bastard cuts and a mill-smooth with smooth(no teeth) sides are sure handy at times .As well as those diamond files and stones . Save all you run across.

Lapping Compound (Clover ) in a few different grits and some No. 7 Polishing compound is nice too. Plenty of ScotchBrite pads and emery paper rolls.

Hemostats in a couple different lengths.

Old fashioned calipers and dividers (joint calipers) are cheap and plentiful .

Brass shim stock in an assortment of thicknesses.

A block of hardwood or an old cutting board , a block of plastic and a hockey puck or two as well as a sheet of leather all come in handy quite often.

A pair of V-Blocks and a mag-base post attached to a simple disc or plate of steel . A small surface plate is nice and a piece of plate glass works fine till you can get a stone model.

Start picking up all the small , plastic , divided boxes you find when you see them on sale and at garage  sales and such .
It seems you can never have enough of them ....as well as shelves to store them on.

Whenever you run across an old typewriter (pre-electric) for cheap or free......scoff it up .
Toss it in a corner till a rainy day when you can strip it down for the multitude of small machine screws the they are built with and start saving them . You WILL use them over the years , and many are very pretty , and well constructed , especially for use on trim parts . (Use caution when using them where strength is an issue)

A small toolmakers vice (if you havent one already) ........a Panavise (ball-swivel-locking) is really handy when mounted to a block of wood.
In fact , I've found you can almost never have enough vices
And be sure to make some soft jaws from different materials .....and a set from aluminum or brass with a vee milled into them (in both 'X' and 'Z' ) are VERY handy.
Link Posted: 1/8/2010 12:53:37 AM EDT
Holding out to see exactly how far you intend to go,  but in addition to the basics that everyone posted

A  bench vice with a good set of soft jaws  (I have smooth steel jaws that I stuck 3/16th inch thick rubber onto)
A couple magnetic trays for putting parts in
plenty of light.  
Dial Calipers
Link Posted: 1/8/2010 12:57:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/8/2010 12:59:42 AM EDT by Magurgle]
A barrel spinner is pretty awesome, polish a barrel from draw filing to 500grit or so in 5 minutes

A good set of micrometers, at least a 1" and 2" and a depth micrometer
Link Posted: 1/8/2010 10:47:05 AM EDT
20 ton press
Link Posted: 1/8/2010 1:02:08 PM EDT
A tapping block (easy to make)
Link Posted: 1/9/2010 6:18:30 AM EDT
What tools are needed for black guns won't be needed for pistols, revolvers, rifles, well you get the idea.

Safe files are needed. A good vise and nice over head light is needed. Proper hammers and punches. A block to lay parts on to work on. A nice mat. Proper jigs and fixtures for holding sub assemblies. Camera might be needed if you go to unknown territories.

Proper screwdrivers for gunsmithing.
Link Posted: 1/9/2010 6:50:39 AM EDT
It's spelled "VISE"



Spelling nazi out...
Link Posted: 5/6/2010 11:05:39 AM EDT
Seaking of vise.......I suffered aloung with cheap vises for years,and years. finaly got sick of them and bought myself a good one, that I highly recomend to any smith as we clamp a lot of tapers, on a daily basis, I don't want to sound like an informercial, so Ill gife you the price up front...$1029.99, as of the last catalog that I have, Yep thats the price , and I still recomemd it.

This is a bench vise, Starrettt model 646, it is a precision 6" vise with a swiviling back jaw, with a taper pin to lock it at 90degree if you are doing square work, or hold any angle, encluding square without.

The swiveling back jaw allows the vise to evenly grab almost anything......evenly, always.........boring.....perfect..... I keep my back jaw pin in my tool box.

I know, I know it's pricey!    But it is unique, and I think it is worth it as a (retired) gunsmith who has spent several years at his vise. It's a gun grabbin bitch.


Another thing.....Don't bother with a dremmel tool, get a Foredom tool, and hang it right over your vise (with a foot controol), and get good with it.

Screw drivers : to each his own, but I can't stand the removable tip type- too much flex, I just bought a few––3- sets of Bonzas and re ground for the most part.....This gets more important when you are working on high grade stuff........

Get yourself a good stable of files, clean them with flattned cartrige cases

Get a good set of stones, keep them wet....50/50 mix  mineral spirets/ WD40 has worked welll for me.

Make yourself a set of polishing sticks, and get a cheap-ass paper cutter to cut emory parer stirips

As time go's on you will accunulate far more.........
Link Posted: 5/6/2010 12:35:37 PM EDT
One item that is often overlooked and some would say isn't a tool.....

BOOKS  lot's and lot's of books.

The JB Wood series of dissassembly guides, Brownells Gunsmith Kinks, Gun parts catalog is great for exploded views, etc....
Link Posted: 5/21/2010 7:33:42 PM EDT
Tap and die set
punch block
variety of Nicholson files big and small for both steel and aluminum.
wood files and rasps
hack saw w/ quality blade.
variety of cutting bits, sanding drums, and polishing head for your dremil.
1" micrometer
dial calipers
inside, outside, & pointed calipers
stones for polishing
sanding mandrills for hand drill (a rod with a slot in it to put strips on sand paper in, then wrap the paper to desired diameter, remove excess and sand inside round holes)
hand drill
dovetailing files
large multi-head screwdrivers. magna tip from brownells is as good as it gets. wheeler is shit in my opinion.
needle noise pliers (large and small)
pocket magnet
pocket level
scribe
good quality tool chest for storing and maintaining tools
square

MATERIALS
various diameter drill rod for making pins
Kroil penetrating oil is an absolute must
dewy rod for cleaning (DON'T USE METAL RODS THAT SCREW TOGETHER!!! [at least not on good guns, beaters its fine])
a bottle of your favorite gun cleaning solvent (i like hopes #9)
did i mention kroil?
locktie
dykem layout fluid

Thats all i can think of off the top of my head. there are defiantly a lot of specialized tools for specific jobs that you may or may not want to have also. but i consider just a bout every thing on this list a needed item.

Link Posted: 6/12/2011 6:12:07 PM EDT

Let's back way up and start at the most basic requirement: a well-lit, well-ventilated, secure, warm, dry, cool and easily accessible shop building.

With a flat, level concrete floor, nine-foot ceiling (min.), indoor plumbing, 200-AMP electrical service, (preferably 3-phase), and calenders of half-nekkid wimmens on the wall.

Link Posted: 6/15/2011 8:02:46 AM EDT
Originally Posted By machinisttx:
It's probably best to specify the type of work and the subset of tools required for that. It's a waste to buy a bunch of stuff that won't be used.

If you're not doing barrel work or truing actions, you likely don't need a lathe. ANY shop ought to have a parts washer tank to clean the filthy, gunky guns that come in the door PRIOR to diagnosing the problem.


True that !

The quickest ROI of any tool you'll buy. It can pay for itself in less than a day when you have just a few guns to clean.

Link Posted: 6/16/2011 9:27:34 AM EDT
Originally Posted By phlegm:
Can someone add to my list of the basic, general tools in a few categories? I'm thinking which files, not how many reamers.

Updated from below

Hand tools for repair
Brass punches
Steel punches
Steel ball-peen hammer
Brass mallet
Rubber mallet
Leather mallet
Standard and jeweler's files
Parallel jaw pliers
Honing stones
Tap and die set
Large multi-bit screwdriver set
Misc. dental tools

Essential power tools
Dremmel tool
Drill press
Belt/disc sander
Bench grinder with polishing wheels/compounds
Torch
Welder
Mill?
Lathe?

Specialty tools
?

Shop fixtures
Work bench
Vise w/ jaw pads
Work lamp
Bench mounted magnifying glass


I have nothing to add to this thread, but I love your avatar, I laugh my tail off every time I see it, priceless.

Link Posted: 6/16/2011 2:33:58 PM EDT
Originally Posted By mlg123:
For files, get a good jeweler's set & a basic assortment (flat, round, triangle, knife, etc).

MLG


Link Posted: 6/16/2011 3:21:06 PM EDT
Is this a professional set up where people may bring you all sorts of odd thing to work on or for personal use? Lots of guns need special tools (ie AR action wrench) so what type of stuff you are working on can add or subtract from you list. A tap and die set (with properly matched quality drill bits) is very useful along with thread pitch gauges (be aware many firearms screws are not typical sizes you will find at Home Depot). A welding set up can be very useful if you know how to use it. An air compressor and glass bead/abrasive blasting set up is also nice, especially if you are doing any refinishing. A hard rubber/plastic head hammer can be useful. Definately calipers/micrometers, I prefer digital. You didn't specifically mention in the "punches" category roll pin and cup head punches as well as a center punch. Magnetic pick up tool, you will drop or launch thing
Link Posted: 11/17/2012 4:27:54 PM EDT
LED headlamp. Even with good lighting on the work bench it can help to have light on exactly what your eyes are looking at without any shadows.  
 
Link Posted: 3/22/2015 1:11:09 PM EDT
Probably missed seeing these above, but...

barrel vise w/varmint and standard diameter collars
action wrench

Bushnell 74-3333 boresighter/collimator   Best gunsmithing tool I ever bought, most used.  For mounting & diagnosing problems with scopes & mount setups.

Roll pin & Cup pin punches

Magnifying headset and magnifying lamp

Brass plate inserts to cover vise jaws

Eyedropper bottles for chemical application

Q-Tips and cotton flannel (by yard at fabric store)

old carpet or rubber mats to cover concrete flooring
Link Posted: 3/23/2015 7:23:20 PM EDT
Magnet.
Kneepads.
flash light.

The above are needed when parts go orbital.
Link Posted: 3/23/2015 7:46:55 PM EDT
Look up the class and tool requirements info on any of the popular schools.  Many list exact part numbers and sources.
Link Posted: 3/29/2015 12:29:57 AM EDT
a *good* bench that is well lit, and you keep it clean.

Keep everything organized.
Link Posted: 4/9/2015 7:32:36 PM EDT
Even if you are not doing barrels and chambering (yet) a small lathe is useful for making firing pins. You may find yourself doing that a lot. Then get a collet chuck setup for it.
Likewise, a small bench mill for sight dovetails.

Quite a few mentions of vises. I suggest a used milling vise for bench work. Some of the older designs (non angle-lock) are no long used by professionals, but are still very handy for benchwork.
Link Posted: 4/9/2015 8:06:14 PM EDT
Roll pin punches

Roll pin starter punches

Torque screwdriver that takes 1/4" bits



"Not really" gunsmithing tools that are handy:


Rolling floor magnet to find that spring that just launched across the room

Tiny zip lock bags (from the craft store) for small parts

Rubber jar lid grabber - great for gripping things.

Sheet lead - for mar-free clamping

Magnetic parts dish (auto parts store)

0000 steel wool

Assorted wet-o-dry emery paper

Crocus cloth

Thick glass plate for wet sanding flats and polishing
Link Posted: 4/11/2015 10:19:37 PM EDT
Tile floor.
Link Posted: 4/13/2015 2:57:13 PM EDT

This is not a complete list. I just glossed over the thread and would like to toss my two cents in.



I saw only one other post that noted files. I have a multitude of files and I find myself de-burring all kinds of stuff, in and out of the shop.



A couple of dead blow hammers (hard and soft face) help a lot.




Mills and Lathes are awesome if you're going to be making money at it. I don't recommend anything Chinese, though it's hard to avoid these days.




High quality (non-carbide) drill bits, reamers and chamfers, along with precision measuring tools are a must.




Books and a handle on trigonometry will always help.
Link Posted: 4/13/2015 4:58:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/13/2015 5:00:27 PM EDT by Imissed]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By desertmoon:
Tile floor.
View Quote



Wall to wall linoleum and or epoxy coat on a concrete pad.

Seriously though, as far as essentials:
1. Keep the shop clean.
2. Organization systems. Lots of them. Buy all of them.
3. Good wood vise.
4. A good bench.
5. A good screwdriver bit set.
6. A good allen key set.
7. Brass punches, roll pin punches, roll pin starters. Get multiples. Figure out what sized you like
8. Normal gun smith screw drivers.
9. Roll pin pliers.
10. Wooden hammer or rawhide
11. Lots of cold blue
12. Lots of oxspho blue cream
13. Lots of alumna black.
14. Enamel paint for sights.
15. a *good* sight pusher tool
16. A *good* sling swivel jig
17. needle files.
18. Wooden dowels for pushing on things like shotgun mag tubes.
Link Posted: 4/13/2015 5:23:57 PM EDT
Good shipping box and contact info for premium professional gunsmiths.
Link Posted: 4/19/2015 9:16:34 AM EDT
It's time for me to replace the various punches I've been using over the years. I want to buy a nice set that will last me as I use them very frequently. Any recommendations on a quality set of punches?
Link Posted: 4/19/2015 6:12:30 PM EDT
I have heard good things about starrett punch sets. They aren't cheap though.
Link Posted: 5/19/2015 12:14:01 AM EDT
This is an awesome thread. I am actually looking into building myself a personal "shop" to do my projects in. Right now I have 3 projects to start off. two SBS's and a old 1911. So the list of parts is great!

Any thoughts on benches? Do most of you guys build or buy pre-built benches?
Link Posted: 5/24/2015 1:03:45 PM EDT
I'll throw something out that has helped me immensely over the last few years:
A cheap digital camera.
Photograph the gun when it comes in- saves a lot of "was this scratch/pitting there before" from your customer.
Helps a ton on disassembly/re-assembly of uncommon and oddball guns. Save the pics to a flash drive and you have your own reference material to go back to.
Before and after pics- helps give customers ideas of what can be done, especially on refinishing or recontour jobs.

Rifflers and toolmakers stones are also great to have around. You can "dress" stones down to fit in spots a file never will.
Link Posted: 6/13/2015 2:34:45 PM EDT
I would add these items: a torque wrench in ft/lbs for changing barrels and a torque screwdriver in inch/lbs for adjusting action screws and mounting scopes.
Link Posted: 6/21/2015 7:17:15 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Tbr1806:
I have heard good things about starrett punch sets. They aren't cheap though.
View Quote

They are worth it. although the smallest punch (1/16 i think) always manages to break. Hammer happy armorers I guess....
Link Posted: 7/6/2015 10:01:10 PM EDT
I am taking some online courses for GS through the Sonoran Desert Institute. The course has highly suggested to get the brownells gunsmithing screwdriver kits. they have specific cut tips for all the types of screws. Also some good videos from iraqvet8888 on youtube on the same subject on setting up and getting started.
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