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Thread: Must have-tools in the brewery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    2

    Must have-tools in the brewery

    Hey fellow beer lovers,

    I am compiling a comprehensive list of must-have tools for the brewhouse. This includes tools for maintenance and every day operations. Also, this would include tools that you are glad or wish you had in time of an emergency.

    So, what do you guys think, what are your must-have tools?
    Cheers,

    Micheal Smith
    Co-founder Head Brewer
    Sonder Artisanal Ales
    Atlanta, GA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    392
    Obviously hand tools,open end wrenches,sockets ect. VOM meter,pipe wrenches,screw drivers,nut drivers. Pressure test gauge for checking accuracy of pressure gauges on tanks
    Mike Eme
    Brewmaster
    Cheboygan Brewery
    Cheboygan Michigan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    118
    Flat head screw drivers, like 30 of them, everywhere. I swear they have legs.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Leadville, CO
    Posts
    235
    A rubber mallet for forcing things together/apart without scratching up your shiny stainless toys.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    823
    A DO meter.
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN
    [url]www.yazoobrew.com[/url]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,519
    This depends entirely on where you are located, how much you want to do in-house, etc.

    We've fabricated/repaired vessels on-site, rebuilt and maintained an antique labeling machine, fabricated parts for various machines, etc. We are 1 1/2 hours from the nearest city of any size, and 5-7 hours from a big city with any sort of brewery services, so we have to go it alone most of the time. Our shop is kind of a rudimentary combination machine shop, wood/cabinet shop, metal-working shop, electrical/electronic fab/repair shop, HVAC and plumbing supply and automotive shop. We have and use two welders--TIG and MIG--and an oxy-acetylene torch set. I could really use a good end-mill and metal lathe, and a much bigger shop.

    If you intend to rely on contractors for the heavy lifting, a full set or three of basic mechanic's hand tools is a good start. As someone stated above, these tools will evaporate, especially soft mallets (I like the dead-blow style), adjustable wrenches (Crescent wrenches) and screwdrivers. Brewers seem constitutionally incapable of returning a tool, and they end up in the strangest places (exactly how an 8" Crescent wrench got inside a 1/2 bbl keg is still a puzzle).

    Do you intend to make up your own hoses? If so, add a Band-it tool and collection of bands. A Milwaukee Porta-Band saw is perfect for cutting brewery hose. You'll also need a good bench vise.

    Doing your own plumbing? PEX, PVC (don't), or copper? Each has its own set of tools.

    One of the tools we use extensively that I don't usually see in other breweries is an automotive scissors-jack--the kind that comes with most newer cars. These are great for supporting hoses and valves at the bottom fitting of a fermenter and dozens of other light lifting/leveling/support uses. Once we started using one, we had to buy three more or I'd never be able to keep one in the shop. They can usually be found in junk stores for a couple of bucks.
    Last edited by TGTimm; 06-16-2016 at 10:05 AM.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    Posts
    757
    Numero Uno: a big ol' like 18" flat head screwdriver. This probably gets used more than anything. Tightening or loosening stubborn triclamps, prying up trench grates, opening containers, general wailing on things...

    Other useful things off the top of my head:

    A Zahm & Nagel SS-60 carbonation meter. Just get one right from the beginning.

    A big ol' craftsman tool box.
    A good hammer.
    A good rubber mallet.
    A set of Xacto knives.
    A good boxcutter knife.
    Duct tape, electrical tape, teflon tape, packing tape, masking tape.
    Oetiker clamp pliers.
    Lots and lots and lots of Oetiker clamps in lots and lots of sizes.
    A bin or fishing tackle box for containing tiny parts, tap parts, barbs, oetikers, connectors, small valves, gaskets, hose fittings, spares of everything.
    A line cutter.
    A good pair of channel-lock pliers. I also have a crazy big one, that comes in really handy sometimes for opening tricky caustic pails, etc.
    Vice grips.
    A good socket and wrench set.
    A good cordless drill.
    A backup battery for said drill.
    A good set of drill bits, spades, hole cutters, etc.
    A small selection of screws, nails, etc. Anything particular you can go get later.
    An angle grinder with appropriate safety gear.

    Actually, I'm just going to add Appropriate Safety Gear. Several sets of safety glasses. Disposable earplugs. Ear-muffs. Face shield. Several sets of work gloves - both leather and plastic.

    A nailgun is handy for quickly repairing wonky pallets.
    A small workbench with a vise.
    A Dremel with a selection of bits.
    Extension cords.
    Saws: hand, circular, jig. A sawzall is nice too.
    A decent ladder, capable of getting you to the top of tanks, glycol drops, high lighting fixtures, etc.
    Some super glue. Gorilla glue. PVC and/or ABS glue. Spray adhesive comes in surprisingly useful.
    WD40.
    WD40 with lithium grease.
    A grease gun with grease.
    JB Weld.
    Spare air compressor oil, if you have an oil-lubed compressor.
    Paint stuff. Brushes, your main wall colors, thinner if needed, drip tray, etc..

    Basic plumbing gear (keep it all in toolbox):
    • pipe wrench
    • copper pipe cutter
    • solder, flux, brush or sandpaper
    • MAPP gas torch
    • hacksaw
    • lots of teflon tape
    • pipe dope for brass fittings
    • PEX gear if you're going that route


    EDIT: crap. Electrical. At least get some wire strippers, acorns, and electrical tape. Working on low-voltage stuff is easy. A multimeter is nice, but only if you know how to use it. But even if you're just on the phone troubleshooting something (like we had a sensor go out on our keg washer) it's important to have.
    Last edited by Bainbridge; 06-16-2016 at 10:23 AM.
    Russell Everett
    Co-Founder / Head Brewer
    Bainbridge Island Brewing
    Bainbridge Island, WA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,519
    A Zahm & Nagel SS-60 carbonation meter. Just get one right from the beginning.

    +100! At $1,400 they seem expensive, but they last forever and are absolutely indispensable. We have two and they are in constant use. A DO meter is nice, but, with good brewing practice, not a necessity. A CO2 tool is a necessity, and all the others I've seen/used are junk or really, really expensive (Gehaltemeters are easier to use, very accurate, start around $12k and are very fragile).

    A pressure-gauge calibration set-up or you'll never know what your readings mean. Pressure gauges are notoriously unreliable. Our set-up cost ~$300.

    An NIST- or ASME- certified MIG (Mercury-In-Glass) thermometer to calibrate all the others. Keep it safe! Dial-type thermometers are also notoriously unreliable. Get the adjustable ones; check and calibrate regularly. Calibrate your thermos for the temperature range where they'll be used. A stirrer/hotplate is great for this.
    Last edited by TGTimm; 06-16-2016 at 01:09 PM.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Jacksonville FL
    Posts
    80
    I don't think I've seen these yet:

    - a drum wrench
    - Hose clamp crimping pliers and an exhaustive selection of different crimp hose clamp sizes. They are way better than the worm clamps when you have to do a lot of them for a jockey box or something.
    - a couple of ratcheting hose/pvc pipe cutters (this is another one of those tools that tends to wander off).
    - a selection of pry bars for dealing with pallets, crates, and barrels (they are great for pulling bungs with the help of a drywall screw)
    - Teflon tape... buy it in bulk
    - a gear puller can be nice to have if you have to take apart a pump that hasn't been disassembled in a long time.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    25

    arcangel

    Hi,

    State of the art tig welder (200 Amps) - if you can use it,
    Purge monitor - if you can use it,
    Angle grinder,
    High torque hand drill.

    The rest, if you do not have it: beg, borrow and/or steal.

    Best regards,
    Michael George
    mike@michaelgeorgeassociates.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Asheboro, NC
    Posts
    49
    This is an excellent and almost complete description of my tool shelf. The few things I could think to add would be
    -a couple of decent pocket sized flashlights
    -Stainless thread tape
    -enough air hose to get from your compressor to anywhere in your building
    -decent pneumatic tools (brad nailer, stapler, die grinder, drill, nail gun)
    -cordless impact driver and impact bits
    -o-ring picks
    -decent set of punches/chisels/center punch
    -precision calipers
    -draft arm wrench (life changing tool)
    -pex ring cutter
    -quality sharpie markers for writing notes on vessels
    -a gallon of denatured alcohol for taking sharpie off
    -several boxes of white shop rags


    Quote Originally Posted by Bainbridge View Post
    Numero Uno: a big ol' like 18" flat head screwdriver. This probably gets used more than anything. Tightening or loosening stubborn triclamps, prying up trench grates, opening containers, general wailing on things...

    Other useful things off the top of my head:

    A Zahm & Nagel SS-60 carbonation meter. Just get one right from the beginning.

    A big ol' craftsman tool box.
    A good hammer.
    A good rubber mallet.
    A set of Xacto knives.
    A good boxcutter knife.
    Duct tape, electrical tape, teflon tape, packing tape, masking tape.
    Oetiker clamp pliers.
    Lots and lots and lots of Oetiker clamps in lots and lots of sizes.
    A bin or fishing tackle box for containing tiny parts, tap parts, barbs, oetikers, connectors, small valves, gaskets, hose fittings, spares of everything.
    A line cutter.
    A good pair of channel-lock pliers. I also have a crazy big one, that comes in really handy sometimes for opening tricky caustic pails, etc.
    Vice grips.
    A good socket and wrench set.
    A good cordless drill.
    A backup battery for said drill.
    A good set of drill bits, spades, hole cutters, etc.
    A small selection of screws, nails, etc. Anything particular you can go get later.
    An angle grinder with appropriate safety gear.

    Actually, I'm just going to add Appropriate Safety Gear. Several sets of safety glasses. Disposable earplugs. Ear-muffs. Face shield. Several sets of work gloves - both leather and plastic.

    A nailgun is handy for quickly repairing wonky pallets.
    A small workbench with a vise.
    A Dremel with a selection of bits.
    Extension cords.
    Saws: hand, circular, jig. A sawzall is nice too.
    A decent ladder, capable of getting you to the top of tanks, glycol drops, high lighting fixtures, etc.
    Some super glue. Gorilla glue. PVC and/or ABS glue. Spray adhesive comes in surprisingly useful.
    WD40.
    WD40 with lithium grease.
    A grease gun with grease.
    JB Weld.
    Spare air compressor oil, if you have an oil-lubed compressor.
    Paint stuff. Brushes, your main wall colors, thinner if needed, drip tray, etc..

    Basic plumbing gear (keep it all in toolbox):
    • pipe wrench
    • copper pipe cutter
    • solder, flux, brush or sandpaper
    • MAPP gas torch
    • hacksaw
    • lots of teflon tape
    • pipe dope for brass fittings
    • PEX gear if you're going that route


    EDIT: crap. Electrical. At least get some wire strippers, acorns, and electrical tape. Working on low-voltage stuff is easy. A multimeter is nice, but only if you know how to use it. But even if you're just on the phone troubleshooting something (like we had a sensor go out on our keg washer) it's important to have.
    Last edited by andrew_FSBC; 07-15-2017 at 09:07 PM.

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