Jamie Hyneman's Tool Kit


CB Mods
Sep 24, 2005


Benevolent Dictator
Senior Team
CB Mods
Fight Leukemia
Jan 31, 2003
DC Metro Area
None of the links work...
Links are working for me!

-Sent from my HP Touchpad


CB Mods
Sep 24, 2005
Yeah, tried to use Discovery's 'embed' link, didn't work.


Active Member
May 24, 2011
Northern Lower Michigan
Cool, I like his toolkit! Although, I have a few more tools in my electrical kit that I use regularly, such as a wider selection of strippers and crimping tools. I tend to do more electronics work anyway, so I put more effort into maintaining a well-stocked electrical/electronics kit.

Thanks for posting those links.
Last edited:


Remarkably Tired.
Fight Leukemia
Jan 26, 2010
Ypsilanti, Michigan
since we're playing this game, I've got images of Adam Savage's tool kit haha. No video but he's a member over at the RPF and had been talking to us for awhile and finally posted the kits he made and the dimensions. He used to have 2 old doctor bags and they got too heavy and tore so he riveted some new metal ones and made scissor lifts for them too.

These are the old bags before he made the metal ones:

"I hand built those scissor lifts. They were a combination Aluminum square tube and angle iron. The upright struts were originally hardware store aluminum c-channel, but that stuff is too soft. Eventually, I had a bunch of 1" thickwall (1/8") square tube, which I table sawed into c-channel. I used 10-32 all thread with nylock nuts and R&S brass as spacers for the pivots.
If you point me to the thread, I can post some pix. I didn't know it was happening."

The main body of the bags is done in .040 6061 plate. All the angle iron from the toolboxes themselves is hardware store stock (the really soft stuff).
Rivets were all 1/8" steel rivets. I made both toolboxes in a single night. With a hand-riveter. Couldn't hold a pencil the next day because my hand was so sore. But it was worth it for the look on my co-worker's faces.
I'll post some pix soon"


The Royal Renaissance Man
Jul 6, 2005
Wow, I think Adam has outdone Jamie here! Really cool idea to include scissor lifts.
In some ways, but the two had (still do) some very different skill sets and needs (as well as imaginations and desires to build over the top things or not). Jamie wants the simplest effective solutions where as Adam wants things that impress himself and build on his skills and passions. While Adam's are big and flashy, Jamie's are efficient in that it's easily replaceable and he only needs to take the tools he needs. I like Jamie's method better for that reason, but having everything is good too, very much a difficult debate as to which is actually better as it depends on the person.

Anyways, if you think Jamie carries a lot, you should see the tool list of what used to be in those bags when he had to inventory them while he was at ILM still (I believe that's when he did the inventory) he's said they've grown a little since mythbusters. ;) Obviously, Adam's includes a lot more intricate detail properties and modeling tools. If someone else doesn't post the list before I get to a computer, I've got it saved somewhere.


Remarkably Tired.
Fight Leukemia
Jan 26, 2010
Ypsilanti, Michigan
actually Adam said he made those lifts simply because the bags were too heavy fully loaded to be easily lifted so he need them to be on wheels to transport and to be able to lift to a working height. He said the lifts only took him about a day to do both of them. I haven't had the pleasure of talking to Jaime, but I have to say Adam is one of the coolest guys I've had a chance to speak with. He's incredibly down to earth and clearly just loves to do this stuff. The thread had shown up before most people even realized he had an account there and he popped in to say hi and proceeded to give a run down of everything and write out some detailed instructions to make some more.

Adam mentioned that he has them set up so that he has one core set of things he always needs and then the other case has the stuff that comes in handy or that he doesn't use daily so he can leave one behind. He was going to make a single metal one to replace the broken original and find a new one to replace the other and got one finished with time left and decided he might as well make the other.


CB Mods
Sep 24, 2005
This thread has only increased my respect for those two.


The Royal Renaissance Man
Jul 6, 2005
Here is Adam's list, keep in mind it's a different part of the industry that he was working in.

I recently found an old document from my ILM days and thought you guys would like this:
A comprehensive list (and nearly comprehensive explanation) of all the tools in both boxes.

Here it is: (It's long!)

1” square steel heavy square
Great for small construction, allows a square non sticky edge to use as a square guide, can be used with styrene, balsa, etc.
12” folding wooden and brass ruler
I keep this just because it's beautiful.
12” steel straight edge.
36” collapsable straight edge
Just a really cool straight edge, it’s like a tape measure but reverse sprung. This is the only one I’ve seen. I’m on the lookout for one with more clear numbers on it.
3 way scale ruler
Has 3 sides, each with measurements in different scales.
4 in one Screwdriver
These things strip like the dickens, but obviously, as space is a concern for me, so I buy one about every six months or so.
4” Square
I can’t seem to have enough squares in my toolbox, nothing reads to the eye faster than a line slightly out of true.
6 piece micro screwdriver set, made my Wiha.
These guys are expensive, but worth it, they make a full set of 7 sizes in both phillips and flathead, but small medium and large works well for me. They have tempered heads, and I haven’t had one strip on me yet. I’ve had many different types of mini screwdrivers, but these make a great case for buying the best once.
6” Steel rule
For measuring in those small places. For a couple of bucks, what can you lose.
I use a simple single-action airbrush for 99% of everything. I've pre-fitted it with the most common quick-connect, but I also have an adapter for the other most popular kind of quick connect just in case.
Airbrush bottles
Airbrush wrench
Airbrush tips
Allen wrench set
Another “must have” tool, I prefer the long neck ball end version, which allows for off-angle operation. English and Metric.
Angle Cutter
This cutter has a flat plate on the bottom, with angles marked on it and a tall guillotine blade on top that allows nice registration of things like styrene plastic.
Angle Finder, Steel.
Basically a compass, with markings to delineate the angle, but I have 3 different kinds depending on where I'm trying to measure the angle.
Assortment of piano wire plant wire wired styrene
This stuff falls within the realm of being prepared for anything. Looking for just the right wire for a certain situation, I always cut an extra length or two and stick it in. One more thing I don’t have to go looking for.
Automatic Punch
This thing is great, for marking a starting divot for drilling precise holes, no hammer is necessary for this. You just press and it has a spring release inside that ‘tink’ makes a little nick. Allows for precise placement because you don’t have to go looking for a hammer.
Another all purpose when-you-need-it-nothing-else-will-do kind of tool. I only use it 2 or 3 times a year, but when I need it... Mine was my grandfather's.
Bevel Gauge
A master carpenter told me this tool was the soul of woodworking. I know just as much carpentry as I have to to be dangerous, and this tool allows me to duplicate angles between the work and the saw and such ,and never have to bother with pesky compasses or rulers.
Blue tack
For temporary holding of things
Bone saw
I’ve had this for years.It was my great grandfather’s (he was a surgeon) and it’s perfect for deepening grooves and such. It got used for “The Mummy” in the opening shot of the temple.
Bottle Brush
Rarely used, but nothing else will clean out stuff in those tight places.
Bull clip
Bullclips, are just clample, take up no space, if I use it once a year it justifies it’s real estate.
Butane powered Soldering iron
Now this is the ****. It charges just like a lighter, holds enough for about an hour of soldering, and takes up almost no space. Weller makes an amazing one, but it costs a little dough, and I haven’t picked one up yet. Another on the long list of tools I’ll upgrade eventually.
Brass Stock, assorted
From K&S Engineering, this stuff, mostly sold for model trains, is a modelmakers dream, I beam, tubing in every size (and telescoping) square stock, solid stock, I always kept enough to get me out of a small jam.
Always a complement of brushes:
Acid Brush (x 4)
1” and 1/2” chip brushes (x 2 each)
Assorted fine paint brushes (perhaps a dozen of different sizes)
Wire Brushes (x2)
C-thru 8” square
Maybe you can't see it, but this has a steel edge on one side, great for a cutting edge. I bought this years ago in a past life as a graphic designer.
It’s presence is obvious, but it really is indispensable.
Carving knife
A whittler's knife, with a nice wood handle and a short blade.
Chalk Marker
For marking on steel, metal.
Channel locks
Again, one totally critical tool for the toolbox. You can rip a doorknob right off the door with these.
All the cordless tools need chargers, my toolboxes had chargers built in for the Dremel, the Cordless Screwdriver and the Cordless drill.
China Marker
Makes marks on glass, metal everything.
Circle Template
Honestly, the more ways you have to draw circles the better
Clay tools
Part of the general sculpting tool arsenal. For, you know, sculpting.
Clip leads
Critical in any electronics wiring. Provides a bridge for the handy little electrons to make things work at your disposal.
Cloth scissors
For cloth, cloth and only cloth. Or you die. NEVER cut anything else with them, I have another pair for other ****. But always one pair for cloth.
Clothes pins
Clamp, wedge, whatever, useful dingbat
Combination square/level
Got this cleaning out my grandfather’s workshop, cleaned off the gunk to find out it’s a starret. (Thats good) Square is good.
Drawing circles comes up constantly. I have a nice one for drafting, it's served me well for decades.
Crescent Wrench
Cutting Matt
For cutting, umm, that’s it.
Deburring tool, for holes
I made the handle from aluminum and knurled it for comfort, takes the burr off of a drilled or milled hole. It's basically a countersink bit with a handle
Deburring tool, regular
For cleaning up the edge of cut metal.
Dental Picks
Dial calipers
Digital Calipers
Dremel: Cordless Dremel
For me, the corded dremel is too fast. This one is about half the price, allows really tight control, and goes nice and slow.
Cordless batteries, as many as I can keep.
Dremel Bits
Cutters (emery and steel)
Sanders (small and large)
Sanding drum replacements
Extra cutting wheels
double helix carbide cutters (can cut through glass)
Stone grinders
Drill, cordless
A large cordless drill with a 1/2” chuck.
Drill bits
English drill bit set
Super long drill bits (used in the aircraft industry, indispensable
Plexiglass drill bits, 1/8”, 1/4”
Unibit stepped drill bits.
Miniature drill bits 61 thru 70
Dykes cutters
Electrical tape
Electronix Solder/ silver solder
Long curved exacto blades are ideal for cutting silicone molds apart
Straight exacto blades, you can NEVER have enough. I keep them in boxes of 100
Blade holders, fat and skinny.
Exacto Saw blade
Exacto circle cutter with blades
Erasing template
For mechanical drawing, a stainless steel template for erasing with precision
Rat Tail
Diamond point
Diamond flat
Diamond bent rat-tail
circular file
Super-flat scoring file
Large steel file
Flexible Ruler
Flush cutters
Glass Cutters
Glues: Rapid Setting Glues
The soul of the special effects industry. I would never leave home without the following
Cyanoacrilate Glue thick
Cyanoacrilate glue Thin
Cyanoacrilate Glue Accelerator
5 minute epoxy thin
5 minute plumber's epoxy
Araldite or JB weld
Weld-on #3 (for Styrene, an essential tool for gluing styrene ship parts together.
Barge Glue (by far the best contact adhesive out there)
Goosnecked Flashlight
Hair cutting scissors
A modelmaker doesn't need a big hammer, but I always kept two small ones:
Jewler’s hammer (A beautiful small hammer with a peen on one end, and a flat on the other)
A thwacker (a 1.5” by 2” piece of solid aluminum stock on a handle, for thwacking)
Heat shrink tubing
For doing neat electronics wiring, a few pieces are always in my kit.
Heat sink Clamp
Heavy scissors
Helping Hands soldering tool
Medical clamps, I'd keep a shorty and a long one.
Hole Saw set, with Arbor.
Isopropyl Alcohol
An excellent remover, cleaner, prep liquid.
Japanese flush cut saw. Kept in 2 pieces, it cuts everything wooden super quickly.
Jewlers Clamps
Knife, Opinel french knife
For some reason these are awesome for carving urethane foam to make fake mountainsides.
Knife saw
Basically a hacksaw
Knife Sharpener
Knipex cutters An amazing tool, can cut piano wire and hardened steel all day long with no ill effects.
Knitting Threader
Bullet and Button levels
Light bulbs
Since I did a fair amount of miniatur lighting, I'd keep an assortment
Machine screw assortment (0-80 through 8-32 cap head allen, Countersunk Allen and button head allen. Also nuts, locknuts, washers, split washers, fender washers and wingnuts)
Magnetic Pickup on a telescoping arm
Marking Fluid (Dykem, transported to square bottle)
Measuring Gauge
Micro torch, butane powered, with tips
Extended mirror, on a telescoping arm. For seeing around and deep into corners.
Multimeter and leads
A digital multimeter is a voltage detector, a continuity tester, an ohmmeter.
For making square holes in sheet metal.
3 in One
WD-40 (small bottle)
Paper clips
Pencil leads (kept for the compass)
Pencil torch
Paper mate makes a mechanical pencil. It's my favorite
Pencil Sharpener
Pins (make excellent clamps, holders etc.)
Straight pins
Hat Pins
Map pins
Pin Vise (self drilling)
Pipe cutter (mini, for brass stock)
Plastic knitting needle
You never know when you might need to poke something
Needle nose
Bull Nose
Wire Bending
Jeweler's pliers (about 4 different kinds)
Flat Jaw
Regular slip-jaw
extra extra long needle nose
paralell jaw pliers
Pocket pal, pocket reference guide
Pounce Wheels
Long with wood stalks.
Razor Saw
Rectangular spatula
Regulator, Air
This allows me to regulate the shop air into something my Airbrush can use.
Rivet Tool
Rivet backing plates
Sawblade with no handle (a simple razor saw with the handle removed, for super fine flush cutting
Hair Cutting
Paper cutting
Sheet Metal cutting
Scoring Tools
Screwdriver, cordless
Milwaukee makes one that bends in the middle, with a drill chuck attachment, super useful.
Plastic: for scribing the little v-indented “panel lines” in spaceships. Looks like a hook.
Metal, a straight one for
Sculpting tools
There are many and varied types, and everyone has their favorites, I'd keep about 10, some wire loops for clay of differing shapes, some small metal paddles and such (often used by dentists etc.
Also a set of stainless steel paddles, awesome for bondo work.
Set of Taps and their Drills
For every tap, there's a corresponding drill, keeping them together makes tapping holes quicker.
Ratcheting tap wrench
Small tap wrench (for tiny taps, the smaller the wrench the better the feel for the tapping)
Sewing supplies
Sewing needles
Sewing thread
Sewing needle threader
Silver Solder
Silver Solder Flux
Single Edge Razor Blades
Also can never have enough of these.
Socket set (a basic compliment of english and metric sockets)
Socket wrench, large and small
Socket Universal Joint
Socket Extension
Smooth long pliers
Snap Knives
Crazy useful, easy to replace and always in the kit.
Snap Knife Large
Snap Knife Small
Snap Knife Blades
Soldering iron (butane)
Solder (electronics)
Springs, assorted
Since I do a lot of mechanical work, it aways behooved me to keep some assorted hard-to-find springs around.
Staple Gun
Strike anywhere matches
Wax Twine
Regular String
Monofilament Heavy and Light
Sewing thread
Leather thong (some finely cut Kangaroo hide thread, for fine detailing)
Styrene glue dispenser
Basically an upside down tin can glued to a small board, filled with Weld-on#3 is ideal for ship detailing with model parts.
Tape Measures
I usually carried 3. A tiny one for small places, about 3' long, a big carpenter's 25 footer, and a 5' soft seamstress' measuring tape.
Tongue depressors
A super vital modelmaking tool, for mixing, sanding, spatula-ing and in a pinch, they can be used structurally.
Tongue Depressor Sanding sticks
I made these about twice a year. Much of modelmaking is about sanding things, and the ability to precisely sand is critical, I would glue sandpaper to tongue depressors in various grits: 80, 100, 120, 180, 220, 400. I'd always keep about 6 each of every grit.
I'd always have at least 2 toothbrushes, for cleaning, roughing, anything.
Trammel Points
Allow for drawing large circles, a good set lets you turn any piece of wood into a compass arm.
Super long
Super sharp (for placing the smallest of bits
One for splinters
Water spritz bottle (small)
Wide spatula
Wire nippers
Wire Nuts
Wire Rope Cutters
For cutting braided cable perfectly, another expensive tool worth every penny.
Wire strippers, automatic
Nothing makes electronic wiring easier than these. Worth every penny.


The Royal Renaissance Man
Jul 6, 2005
Does anyone else here use those automatic wire strippers that Adam and Jamie use? I've tried them and did not like them. It seemed like they either just stretched the insulation or broken the entire end of the wire. At best, they broke a few strands of a stranded wire. Maybe I just have a bad unit.
Yes, occasionally, in very specific cases. First off, they have to be good ones, and sharp. Secondly, I have to need to strip lots of wire and fast (50+ cables worth). Thirdly, I have to have the budget/time to allow for the 1 in 10 bad strip due to pressure, aim, or a dull tool (more like every other at that point though). Speed is also not a guarantee, I've seen plenty of guys faster with a standard pair simply because they use them enough.

But the good models are faster, certainly nicer on the hands too. Though it is much more of a bench/shop tool, in my opinion, and I wouldn't carry one due to the extra size. I don't recommend them to technicians usually, as they are at least twice as expensive and don't have (m)any benefits.


Active Member
May 24, 2011
Northern Lower Michigan
I also prefer the traditional style and fully agree about the blades overlapping. I know exactly what you mean! However, I still carry my Vaco 1900 strippers because I like how they crimp, not how they strip wire. At one time all I had were the Vacos and I actually became very good at using them to strip wire, but thankfully I have better strippers now.