small workshop ideas #21: The Cheap guy and his does he do it?

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by oldguy2 posted 07-03-2021 06:15 PM 1027 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 20: Tour another guys workshop and self Check on mine Part 21 of small workshop ideas series Part 22: Cheap Workshop ideas Part 2 »

Workshop tips. Wouldn’t you like to share yours?
So this is about doing mine on the cheap and not ordering because things are out there just I am old and practical and lets face it CHEAP. It’s getting to grit my teeth when I see some utube and they ” ordered this from …” and it was already invented by someone.
Here goes.
l. Clean and reuse any plastic yogurt or margarine or left over container you can for stains and poly. I mean soap and water clean it. drip dry it.
2. Small parts cans….I have two cats and they get wet food. I tried those cans for parts as they get one a day. Not so great for big jobs but they don’t tip. and when done is done.
3. Paper towels and shop rags. I have about 4 kinds. I drink coffee a lot. so I get my complimentary napkin on the road. I put any clean ones in a bag in my shop, amazing how full that bag is. And for hand wipes or quick wipes its free. I had great allergies this year, toilet paper was better than a box of tissues this year in my shop and did many uses, cleans glue, wipes drip edges. I have another small box of old white socks cut to small size, some still with the toes as a mitt, I would rather stain with a cotton cloth than a paper towel. I have a simple safe spot outdoors to dry them. I have a regular roll of paper towels for just whatever. Grocery store paper bags since Covid, cut them length wise and now a bench cover for glue or stain and reuse as much as you want…Free.
4. Any clean sawdust is swept into a large bucket or bag and added to the compost bin. not with paint or worse.
5. Bulk trash day in my town happens every 3 months, its for larger items that need pickup. So I got extra shop vac hoses, small stool that just needed a bolt. 3 inch pvc that will make drill holders. This time it was a 52 by 27 in pine table top that was just on my mind to cover my workbench as a new top. My other was 20 inch wide and barely made things without them falling off. Wire shelf sets, drawers—-now shelves on my shop walls. Old wash bucket I got for the heavy duty castors. Even my wife came home with a 7 ft 1 and 1/4 dowel rod and asked can I use it. Plywood panels.
6. Yard sales….yesterday was for $4. cans of poly, spray paints, powerstrip, rubber strip for cleaning sanders, sheets of sand paper, and a cutting board to go in the shop. and a plastic push stick. Another had 6in hook and loop paper in 120 and 180 grit for cheap boxes of 50. guess I am set for awhile. Watch for brushes and small parts bins that are in good shape often a good deal.
Share some more of yours.. this is just this years deals I have found.

6 comments so far

View DevinT's profile


1977 posts in 216 days

#1 posted 07-03-2021 06:22 PM

Oui-brand yogurt cups are glass and make wonderful containers for things like Acetone which many plastic cups cannot hold without melting.

-- Devin, SF, CA

View splintergroup's profile (online now)


5891 posts in 2472 days

#2 posted 07-03-2021 10:51 PM

I’m an unreformed container hoarder. Big use is mixing finishes, problem is that although I have literally stacks of 1qt. pudding tubs and noodle bowls, I still usually clean them out when done so I can use them again.

All the dust in the DC gets mixed into the compost. Being rural, no trash pickup. It all has to be self-hauled to a transfer station and they are picky as to what gets tossed.

View htl's profile


5579 posts in 2409 days

#3 posted 07-04-2021 02:53 PM

Some great ideas and I use a lot of them.
Keep an eye out for 7 gal. pool buckets with screw on lids.
Folgers plastic coffee tins are great for storing parts.

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17536 posts in 3868 days

#4 posted 07-04-2021 03:36 PM

Folgers plastic coffee tins are great for storing parts.

- htl

^ This, in spades. Also a good container for small parts that get evaporusted.

I also have a rather large cache of pencils… it seems that few people use or keep them these days. Easy to find, keep them sharpened, and use them in the shop all the time. Misplace one? Who cares, grab another.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View Madmark2's profile


3107 posts in 1837 days

#5 posted 07-04-2021 03:51 PM

Opaque containers force you to waste time opening & closing or tagging and searching.

Clear containers self inventory because you can SEE what’s in ‘em. Same-same for cabinets and wall storage — clear covers speed your shop.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View splintergroup's profile (online now)


5891 posts in 2472 days

#6 posted 07-04-2021 03:58 PM

Some great ideas and I use a lot of them.
Keep an eye out for 7 gal. pool buckets with screw on lids.
Folgers plastic coffee tins are great for storing parts.

- htl

I used to have a collection of coffee cans for storage, the smaller and larger (2lb?) sizes. MadMark is 100% on the visibility issue. I recently began ditching the cans for the square plastic “peanut” containers since they fit more efficiently on the shelves, come with a secure screw-on cap, and of course are clear for viewing the contents.

Plenty sturdy for sorted bolts and other hardware plus they are dust free. Coffee cans are soooo 1970’s 8^)

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics