SRS Blog > Visiting exhibitions, cheap tools

Published 12th January 2005

I didn't get down to the Sandown Show this year - now I'm up in the frozen North it's too far. Harrogate, on the other hand, is virtually on the doorstep! I missed the usual browse round for tools, like most of you I find buying tools and gadgets for the workshop is the next best thing to playing with engines.

Whilst I generally have had nothing but bad experience with cheap tools, a couple of recent purchases have surprised me greatly. I have a couple of old ex-GWR sack trucks which are very strong but weigh a ton - great for running round the workshop, not so clever if I want to take them with me in the van. Just before Christmas, David and I were in Peterborough and ended up at Machine Mart. For £25, I invested (with some misgivings) in a collapsible fold-up sack truck which weighs next to nothing but with a 150Kg working limit. It's a super bit of kit, folds away to nothing and can be chucked into the van or pickup at a moments notice. Recommended. Second bit of kit comes firmly in the "how do they do it for the price" category, a laser level from B&Q complete with carry case, tripod and selection of line and angle generator lenses for under twenty quid. Last time I built a railway I hired a dumpy level which was more than that just for a day! The level works brilliantly and on the slightly overcast days over the holiday could project a dot from the engine shed to the back wall (about 80 feet) allowing easy levelling with the digger right along the beam.