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Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 6
MTWire Offline OP
Junior Member
I am transferring my apprenticeship to the IBEW in the coming month, as I simply can not find any work under any of the independents where I live, so my question is, what tools are required beyond your basic hand tools (strippers, screwdrivers, linemans, sidecutters, etc.)... and further more, would it be unwise to bring all of my tools onto the job?

The previous electrical contractor I worked for provided very little toolage for the men in the field, and I simply got tired of working with substandard or destroyed tools, so I made several large investments in tools, ranging from a 28V combo kit (Sawzall, circular saw, drill),28V impact wrench, 28V cordless bandsaw, super holehawg, holehawg, magnum drill, 18V impact, 18V hammer drill, 12V Driver, 2.4V screwdriver, Fluke 87-V meter, hydraulic knockout set (1/2" - 2"), ratcheting loppers, full socket sets (1/4",3/8",1/2",3/4" drive), 3/8" & 1/2" torque wrench,etc... so my question is.... should I even consider bringing these onto the job?

I realize that I should be wearing out the owner's tools before my own, but I am used to using my own tools... so.. tell me what you all think.

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,432
Likes: 3
So you have most of the tools that an apprentice needs.

There are threads around here from other apprentices asking the very same question and with them a list of tools they own.

That second bit sounds like the tools that you would like to own, not the ones you already own, especially on an apprentices wages.
You never stated how far through your time you actually are.

More info would be good.

Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 6
MTWire Offline OP
Junior Member
I have been an apprentice for around a year and a half now, and am at around 6000 hours or so... the tools I listed are what I currently own, and have used as tools on the job with my previous employer who is an independent electrical contractor, however I am now signing on with the IBEW, and I am wondering if bringing these tools onto a union job would be a wise choice, or should they just stay at home.

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 931
Likes: 1
I have read a few posts that IBEW has a list of required tools, contacting them would be a good start.

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,291
Put away your wallet.

The IBEW will provide a tool list, similar to this one, of what you MAY use:

This is for a journeyman, but you probably can get an idea from that. You'll probably notice that you will not be able to use your personal favorites

They will provide the rest. Don't even think about bringing anything else

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 193
I cannot stress this enough.

Do not, and I repeat, do not bring any tools that require electricity to work with you. Those are supplied by the contractor. You would be in for a world of harrasment and a horrible way to start off your apprenticeship. Most of the guys I work with could care less, but there as some very radical JW's out there that aren't very forgiving.

For your first day of work you would be better off bringing your basic handtools that you listed and feel the scope of the work out. Your co-workers can give you a better idea on what you will need for that job in the future.

Hope this information helps you.

Last edited by GA76JW; 10/12/08 09:11 AM.

"If common sense was common, everyone would have it"-not sure, someone here

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,370
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
I hate to point out the obvios answer for this, and similar sorts of questions, but here goes: What's wrong with asking the employer, union, or foreman? Especially where there is a union, chances are that the tool list has been pretty well defined, long ago.
There is also the matter of exactly the type of work you, and the contractor, will be doing.

Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 301
Bring only basic hand tools. Whatever is in your tool pouch. Don't bring any Ko's or drills. You are now entering a totally different environment. The differences will be so refreshing.

A short story:
I was in my 1st year. We were installing light poles for a high rise complex. We had a walk behind trencher. The ground had so many rocks, we were making very slow progres. The contractor went out and had a riding trencher delivered. I wondered why no one wanted to use it, and sit all day. So I jumped on it and started to trench. About five minutes later the crane operator came over and said I could not use that type the trencher on the job, only walk behind. Operators had that. The Jw's and other seasoned apprentices laughed all day. at me.

Last edited by JValdes; 10/12/08 11:34 AM.
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 85
If that machine made your job easier, and you were qualified to operate it. Why NOT? Usually they give you a refresher course when they drop them off, and that's your qualification.Is the operator that had to drive that machine qualified to install electrical conduit?

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,370
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
Lest we get far off track, it needs to be pointed out:

Some jobs, and work environments, are more bureaucratic than others. For example, the local school district requires different "control" and "electrical" contractors. (That particular requirement has -at least once- resulted in my waiting around for one of my students to appear!)

In general, the larger the job, if the job is for a governmental agency, and the larger the employer ... the more bureaucratic things tend to be.

"Crossing crafts" is one of the cardinal rules on many sites. Likewise, "power" vs. "hand" tools is a common way of defining what is whose responsibility to provide. Equipment training is another matter; here, you need specific training, from your current employer, for each and every different forklift you may be asked to operate (having operated an identical one on another job doesn't count, nor does having operated a different model fork for the same employer).

I'm not trying to justify some of this silliness; it's enough to admit it exists.

All these other posters are trying to do is prevent the "new guy" from upsetting too many folks on his first day.

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