My DIY Tools - The tools and gear I use on DIY/MYOG projects
"The success of any given DIY project lies within your will to finish. The quality of your project lies upon the backs of the tools you use and your skill at using them."
Here's a list of the tools that I personally use to work on my DIY and MYOG projects. Some of these are new to me, some have been in use since my first DIY hammock back in 2011. All of them have proven quite useful to me.
I've broken the tools up into sub-categories for easier browsing. Additionally, you'll find inserted links next to most of the products from which you can purchase them from the same place I do. I'll do my best to keep this list up to date with everything I'm currently using.
Kingmax GC-8700 Sewing Machine (Thread Injector) - This beast of a machine belongs to my friend, but I have the privilege of using it for all of my projects. This is an industrial single-stitch sewing machine. It can power through almost anything you can throw at it (including 1/4" thick foam/X-Pac/Webbing sandwiches) but it is limited to straight stitches only. No bar tacks, or fancy stitches can be done with this machine. The smoothness and ease with which this machine operates is leagues above your standard home machine. It is a pleasure to use and will seldom give you an issue when properly adjusted and tuned. It has a servo motor, which provides quiet, on-demand power for projects. If you can find an industrial machine such as this for a decent price, it is 100% worth the investment. Buy it for life! The Kingmax brand is just a wholesale version of the revered Juki brand. It's the exact same machine as the Juki 8700, but at a lower price point. I don't have a link to this machine, as industrial machines are most often sold in person, so that you can become familiar with the machine. The machine I use came from Ralph's in Denver, CO.
Most Used Thread: Gutermann MARA 70 - This is the perfect do-all thread. It will work great for nearly everything, especially lighter projects like quilts, stuff sacks, tarps and more. Remember, for most projects you want to 100% polyester threads like this. They are decay resistant unlike cotton thread, and more UV resistant than nylon thread. I've tried using UV resistant nylon thread, but find it unpleasant to work with. The best source for the thread (in every color imaginable) that I've found is RipstopByTheRoll.com: (https://ripstopbytheroll.com/collections/gutermann-thread/products/gutermann-mara-70) ~$3.60
Heavy Duty Thread: Gutermann MARA 50 - This is a slightly beefier version of the MARA 70. Perfect for seams that see a lot of stress and force. I use this when making packs, stitching webbing, and sewing high-stress areas like pack straps. Again, RBTR is the go to site for this thread: (https://ripstopbytheroll.com/collections/gutermann-thread/products/gutermann-mara-50-thread) ~$4.00
US Art Supply 24" x 36" Self-healing Cutting Mat - Why use a cutting mat? Because they are perfect surfaces for cutting accurate patterns and dimensions. It's a flat, non-slip surface that will allow you to make very clean cuts. It's self-healing material will keep the mat from getting cut up and beat up. It also has a grid on it which his helpful for double checking measurements. This is also a must have for using a rotary cutter. Available on Amazon here: (http://amzn.to/2nltND2) ~$30
Fiskars 45mm Contour Rotary Cutter - I've recently started using rotary cutters, and man are they nice. Perfect for cutting dimensionally accurate straight lines. I use my Omnigrip rulers as a guide to run the rotary cutter along for perfectly straight lines. Combining rotary cutters with self-healing cutting mats leads to cutting perfection. I prefer scissors for serious curves. Available on Amazon here: (http://amzn.to/2nQWLP3) ~$8
Fiskars 8-inch Original Orange Scissors - There are all sorts of scissors out there and some of them can get quite expensive. For what it's worth, I've always been extremely happy with this cheap pair of scissors. They are sharp, feel good in the hand, and have a nice action. The key to having functional scissors is keeping them sharp. Check out the next item for more info on that. Available on Amazon here: (http://amzn.to/2nQXEHt) ~$9
Fiskars SewSharp Scissor Sharpener - Cutting through dyneema, ripstop, and aluminum foil can really wreak havoc on scissors, keep them sharp! While I generally don't like cheap sharpeners like this for knives, the convenience and simplicity makes them perfect for scissors. Available on Amazon here: (http://amzn.to/2nr2Bnc) ~$6
Fiskars 5-inch Micro-tip Scissors - This is starting to look like a Fiskars commercial! In my experience, their cutting gear is both functional and cheap making ideal for DIY projects. These micro-tip scissors are perfect for cutting the ends of thread off of your projects accurately. Some people choose thread nips for this task, but I've found that these scissors can really trim the thread close to the seam and eliminate the "loose threads" look, taking your projects to the next level. Found on Amazon here: (http://amzn.to/2mVNKVv) ~$9
I have a wide variety of marking/drawing instruments that I use. You never know which type of pen/pencil will work best for a given piece of fabric, so having options is nice.
Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil (0.5mm) - This is a beast of a mechanical pencil and the only one you'll ever need. It's tip is retractable to protect it, you can adjust it based on the softness of your lead, and it just feels good to work with. The 0.5mm size is perfect for accurate but readable marks. It ain't cheap, but it's a solid investment. Available here: (http://amzn.to/2opBQjL) ~$11
Sakura Pigma Micron Ink Pen Set - A perfect little set of drawing pens. This set comes with pens of varying thicknesses that are perfect for everything from drawing cut lines to sketching out doodles of your next project. Available here: (http://amzn.to/2ojkhVY) ~$9
Wet N Wild White Eyeliner Pencil - Perfect for those late nights at the clubs downtown... Err... I mean, this pencil is perfect for marking out lines on dark or hard-to-mark-on-with-anything-else fabrics. It makes a thick line that isn't the easiest to get off, so don't use it on exterior surfaces where it will be seen. I use this for many projects, however it excels at marking out quilt baffles. Available here: (http://amzn.to/2nrjn5E) ~$4
Omnigrip 8 1/2" x 24" Non-slip Quilter's Ruler - I cannot express how awesome this ruler is. It has improved my pattern making, dimensional accuracy, fabric cutting accuracy, cutting speed, and more. It's clear and has a grid of measurements that spans the entire ruler, so you can really line up your fabric or pattern material. It also serves as a perfect guide for rotary cutting. This is my new favorite tool. Time to burn those yardsticks friends. Available here: (http://amzn.to/2nmY5VU) ~$20
Omnigrip 6" x 12" Non-slip Quilter's Ruler - This is the same thing as the larger grid ruler but in a more compact form. Though I really like the larger ruler, there are many applications where a smaller, more nimble ruler is preferred. I use a 6" x 12" because it is compact enough for most small cutting and measuring applications. Available here: (http://amzn.to/2nDRVT5) ~$14
Singer 60 Inch Tape Measure (Soft) - Soft tape measures are perfect for quickly double-checking measurements, measuring body dimensions, taking "drape" measurements, finding circumferences, and so much more. They are cheap and easy to use. A must have for any MYOGer. Available here: (http://amzn.to/2nmXfIR) ~$5
Daiso Compass - A compass is essential for drawing circles of accurate dimension. Though this is a fairly cheap one, I really like it because it can use pencils, pens, and other drawing instruments (like eye liner pencils) in it's holster. Perfect for drawing circles on a variety of materials of varying colors. Available here: (http://amzn.to/2nDTQXD) ~$7
Assorted other tools that I use for various reasons.
Rovtop 30 Watt Hot Knife/Soldering Iron/Woodburning Tool - I use this hot knife to seal off the ends of grosgrain ribbon, webbing, rope/cordage, and occasionally thread. Additionally, you can use it to create fray-free cuts on many outdoors materials (just make sure you have a heat resistant surface to cut on. i.e. not the cutting mat!) Bonus: you can also solder and burn wood with it! Available here: (http://amzn.to/2opM6c6) ~$19