Beginner Tool Recommendations

Hey, my name is Ralph and I'm with Flexfilm and today this video that we're making is about tools. You see, you may be a beginner window tinter or you may want to be taking the plunge for the first time and you really don't know what tools to order, because if you try to go and look through the tool catalog, it gets really overwhelming. If you've been watching my videos and you like my style, this video is going to really help you a lot, because I'm going to recommend what tools I would use to start my tint business and I'm going to keep this very basic so that it can facilitate you placing your first order.

What I'm going to do is I'm not going to make this overwhelming for you. We're going to simplify this. You see, as window tinters, we're artists. We're in a trade. It doesn't take very many tools to do our magic. If you compare what we do to an artist, an artist has a canvas, some paints and some brushes. And it's what the artist does with those bare minimum tools that makes the magic happen. That's exactly what we're doing and that's the frame of mind that you really have to have.

So I'm about to unload my tint pouch, and I'm going to show you some of the basic tools that I use, or we're going to go through that list so that we can compile an order from our catalog. And then I want to show you a few things that I would recommend that you buy initially, but not from a place like us, but maybe from a hardware store or or an office supply store. And that's what we're about to do.

Let's begin by showing you my daily drivers. This is what I do. I wear a pouch. Some people don't like to wear the pouch, but I like to keep the tools on me because there's not many to keep on me. I do about 95% of what I do with this pouch and what's in this pouch. So let me just quickly show you the contents of this pouch, and then let's go over what it is.

These are my paint brushes. I mean, it doesn't really take much. I might be overkill here, but I like two knives and this knife is an older discontinued knife, but I've got a newer model in here and we'll show you what it is with the yellow sleeve around it. The reason I have a yellow sleeve around my knife is I like to put a carbon blade in here and I want to be able to tell which one has the stainless steel blade and which has the carbon blade. And so I use this red dot knife as my daily driver. This is what I do all my cuts with, stainless steel, and this is the one I do all my specialty cuts with. We'll go over later. But I have two knives to distinguish which cuts that I like to make.

This is a Sharpie. This is something that you can buy at Walmart. I use this to trace out my patterns and I also use this really just to trace out my patterns. That's it. This is my technique you'll see in my videos. I use a Sharpie. Sometimes I'll use a silver one for contrast or a gold one. This is a black one. I like probably black the best. The other ones seem to run out quicker. But that's my tip for the Sharpie.

I don't have very many tools here. I usually keep the yellow turbo because I can buy an 18 inch piece. The yellow turbo is something that I can cut down into these shapes. I like to use this mainly for cleaning in my first pass, when I'm doing back windows and side windows. This is just a smaller version, if I want to do at the bottom of side windows or I can do small quarter windows that are more difficult to get a larger squeegee in. This is my yellow turbo.

I can get everything I need done with two hard cards. I have this platinum EZ Reach for getting into the tight cracks and crevices and I use this to help feed the film into under the gasket. This is a very stiff card and the plastic is very hard and it also will scratch window film. I don't use this tool directly on the window film. I only use this in the cracks. I will squeegee and I will clean and I will extract water from under film with this tool, without going into the area that you can see or the customer can see, because it will scratch. This tool is just to help me in the cracks and feed the tint in. It's the platinum EZ Reach. It's a must. It's a daily driver. I use it on every car every single day. This is my choice. It's a Tri-Edge X. They make a regular Tri-Edge, which is a different shape triangle. This is the elongated triangle and I can use this one for anything I want to do on the film, in the open waters, is the area that's visible to the customer. This is a plastics technology. It's very soft. It will not scratch most films if you continue to maintenance these cards and sand them and keep them smooth. This is the Tri-Edge. I also will use this in the place of a little chiseler, which a lot of people carry, that I'm not going to recommend because I think the plastic in a little chiseler is a little too hard, but this is a soft enough plastic to massage any crease, any little pieces of particles or trash that get in the film. You can actually put the hard card on the film and very little risk to scratching the film. This is the softest of the Tri-Edge series. They have the pink, they got the yellow, they have the orange. All those cards have a slightly different plastics technology and the plastics a little bit harder and we need a soft plastic to touch our window film and to use this card so that we don't scratch the film. I can do it all with these two.

Now we're really getting down to the wire. This is a smart card. I use this for heat molding. I also use this to secure window film on the outside of the glass before I even install it. But when the release liner is still on, I have to smooth the film out and I have to get it secure to the glass. This card is only used on the outside of the glass, never on the inside. I will scratch the release liner but I will extract water from out from underneath the film and I will use it to heat mold so that my hands don't get hot and I push and move the film as I'm heating it and this is an only outside use card for me to manage the film on the side patterns, on the back glass for heat molding, even when I'm heat molding side windows, or even when I'm just trying to craft the tint and I want to just smooth it out on the glass to see if I need to heat it, before I do the Sharpie, before I roll it up and down, this card is the one I use. Daily driver. Use on every piece of glass on the car, on every single car.

Now we're down to some of the last two things that I use in my pouch. This is a tape measure. I'm going to measure the film before I cut it. This can be bought at a hardware store. This doesn't have to come from a tint distributor. And I just chose a 16 footer. It's just a small, convenient size of one I like. I think they get too bulky and I think they get too small, cheap and flimsy. This is the one I like, a brand name. That's about 16 feet. It does everything I need it to do.

And we have the retractable scraper. This is just a simple retractable scraper with a one inch blade. I like to use the cheap blades. The stainless steel blades are more expensive. People think they're better. They're really only good, the stainless steel blades are only good if you were going to actually cut on the glass with the stainless steel blade, because then you can avoid scratching. If you try to cut on the glass with the cheaper carbon blades, you'll scratch the glass, but you won't scratch the glass if you're scraping and you keep it lubricated with your slip solution. And a carbon blade, even though it's cheaper, for us, it'll last longer. If we're scraping, scraping all day, you want it to last longer, get the carbon blades. Cheaper. It lasts longer.

Those are my daily drivers, but I do have some other tools that I want you to consider that you will use on a daily basis, that we're not going to keep in our pouch and we'll go into that next. The tools that we use every day, but we don't necessarily keep in our pouch. I've kind of got them to the side. I'm going to take them out one at a time.

This is a Go, the Go Doctor. This has the removable squeegee blades. I like the yellow one. The yellow one is the perfect hardness for me. It's not too hard. It's not too soft. They do make the hard and softer ones. There are different colors. You've got blue and red and there's some new other technologies that are designed to fit in this blade that are just coming out with dual colors. You can just turn them around and things like that. It pretty cool to work with. But this, I like this tool. I also would either recommend this or the blue max with the pro handle. I like them both the same. Lately, I've been enjoying this tool. It's just something different. The blade's a little wider. I like switching these blades out, because I like them to be really super smooth. Anyway, this is, I don't keep it in my pouch usually, but I use this on every window as a final pass squeegee. Sometimes you can even use this one to even clean with and do the first pass and final pass. This is an all-in-one squeegee. You don't even have to have the yellow turbo, if you don't want one. I prefer the yellow turbo because there's a few little tricks I can do with it that I just can't do with this one, because it's shaped more like a square. I can't get into the little cracks and crevices, but I can get a really good ... There's a lot of leverage on the squeegee and I can evacuate more slip solution. Very important tool that I recommend.

We also, I don't know how we survived in the industry without the bulldozer. The bulldozer is a stiff paddle squeegee with a rubber end on it. And this one is one that you may not use on every single car, but man, when you need this, you need it. You can, on the inside of the back glass, you can get behind rear brake lights and squeegee, or you can get to inaccessible areas at the bottom of hard to reach glass. The paddle will squeegee or the bulldozer is a must. You have to have the bulldozer now, if you want to survive.

This is the stroke doctor. I guess a more economy version of this tool is the side swiper. Essentially, it's the same tool. This one's just going to be a little more expensive because it's got the fancy handle on it. But sometimes, you can clean glass with a squeegee. You can get down to hard to reach areas of back glass and get a lot of leverage in areas that need to extract slip solution. These little blades are very easily interchanged, but this is a must. I may not use this on every car, but when I really need this tool, I need it. And I can also probably do the same thing with the sides wiper. If you want to spend a little less money, you need to check that out. But this is almost a daily driver for me.

There are some items in here there that I have to pull out. We do sell the rulers at Flex Film. But I actually bought this one at Staples. I like the 24 inch ruler. It's very flimsy. It's got the cork on the back. And you can just about do anything with this ruler you need to on a car, with the exception of like really long rulers that you might need for longer cuts, but for side windows and most any straight edge needs, this is the ruler I prefer. I love it. I bought this one, I think, at Staples. So this is going to be an office supply store right here.

This is a Home Depot purchase. Everybody needs some low, medium or high tack tape to tape up felt. Sometimes you got to mask the felt off inside windows. You better have this close by. You're probably not going to use this on every car, but when you get that Ford in that has the felt on it, this is going to be really handy. I always keep this around.

Always keep a bag of steel wool around. I like triple off and double off steel wool. I'm going to use this for prepping on back windows that have defroster lines, in conjunction with a window cleaner. We have a pre-tint product that is mostly alcohol and other surfactants that we like to use in conjunction with something that cause friction. And this is the product that we like to use on a regular basis on back windows to prevent proper prep and prevent the peanut bubbles that sometimes occur on defroster lines. Bought this at Home Depot, I think.

This is an absorber. I like to clean the outside of the cars and wipe them down really quickly. And yeah, these are just convenient because the reusable and it's just like a synthetic shammy towel that absorbs a lot of water. You can get them wet and you can carry it around with you and keep things clean. Wipe down door panels and outsides of cars. Just real convenient to have. These are right under $10 and you can buy this at Walmart.

This is the shuttle. This is a tool that a lot of people don't use. I might be maybe different. I've been using this tool for years, but this is a another tool that I can use to get down into the low inaccessible areas on rear windows and smooth tint out. Really doesn't do a great job going behind brake lights, but it does everywhere else. But I also can take a towel or a shop rag and I can wipe it around the shuttle and I can go around and dry water out of places that I normally couldn't get to. And I just want to mention the shuttle is a very inexpensive tool, something that you can use on a regular basis. And I like the shuttle. I use it on a regular basis. Maybe not every car, but most cars.

I can't forget about the microfiber. Now this is something you can buy at Home Depot. I liked the Home Depot because these are the real thin ones and I use these on every car. I use these to wash my windows. I use these to wipe down my squeegee blades. I use these that wipe off door panels, wash my hands. I mean, I can do everything with this microfiber. Wrap it around tools to get moisture out from around windows. These are just my go-to rag. I also would recommend that you never dry these in the dryer, especially with other clothes. That'll introduce lint on them and then they'll become a nuisance. If you just wash them and then let them dry naturally, you can use these really forever until they just wear out. And these are a good purchase. I think they come in packs of 10, 20 at Home Depot and they're very economical and you can just use them until they wear out and buy some more like I do.

I talked about the yellow turbo. I'm going to talk about the red turbo. I don't really like this squeegee as a daily driver because it's a little too stiff, but the stiffness is what I'm looking for when I want to elongate it. See, I need strength in here and with a black one or a yellow one, they're just going to be too flimsy, but I get the rigidness or the stiffness that I'm looking for so that I can jam this into the bottom of hard to reach areas like front windshields and back windows. And I can do a first pass and I can squeegee the majority of the slip solution out, bubbles, and I can get the film laying down like I needed it to lay down. Then I got to come back with something like this, or even something like this, or if I can either, I can even use something like this to get the remaining water out from under the tint. But this little tool right here initiates it. Again, these come in longer pieces that you can custom cut and this is what I've done to this one. And I mean, this is something I use probably on every car, mainly front windshields and back windows, just to get the film to lay down before I do a final pass. This is the red turbo squeegee.

You're going to need blades. I mean, if you're going to make your first order, you might as well go ahead and just get 50 of these stainless steel blades. This is the Olfa blades. This is the go-to, the most popular blade for your Olfa knives. But this is the one you're going to do majority of your cutting with and these are the ones that are stainless steel that generally will not cut glass if you use properly. Still use caution, anytime you're cutting on a car, but definitely don't use the carbon blades to cut on a car. And you might as well go ahead and make the under $20 investment here to have enough blazers. 50 in here. And you will go through these faster than you realize, especially when you're first starting out. This is about the size a beginning window tinter should consider.

We've got a couple more things here. I've got a Husky. This is Home Depot. Th this is an all-in-one Allen wrench set. I use probably this size here to do most rear view mirrors that have this type of hex shaped pattern. This fits right in there. You got all the sizes and we're going to use this quite often taking the rear view mirrors off to do front visor strips on cars. And I've noticed that not every car, but most cars, this does the job. It's nice to have by your side. And it's real convenient. So I would recommend you have one of these sets, and maybe there's a couple of other tools out there that you may want to purchase that when you run across these new rear view mirrors and what they're going to have to have to remove them, but whatever those tools are you'll decide what you need and how often you're running into these types of cars. But I personally like this set. This one takes care of most of my needs right here. And again, I don't care what glass cleaner you use, but these non ammonia based cleaners, I found these for $1 at Home Depot. You can buy these in the larger cans, but any kind of foaming, non ammonia based glass cleaner is always something good to have around.

If you're looking for a good heat gun, I recommend the Wagner. This might be an older model. I don't have the brand new and available for this video. The brand new one is really identical to this one. It's just got a more futuristic style. This gun is not like over the top. It's just a good heat gun. It;s got generous wind speed. It's got the right temperature. It's got a couple speeds. And it's still in the 20 something dollars range. And for beginner to do what you have to do on back windows and heat side windows, this will get the job done. It'll get the job done economically. And if you take care of this gun, it will last for a long time. But this is one that we can buy at Lowe's or Home Depot or any hardware store. And even at Flex Film, we sell this gun.

This is the American line, heavy duty single edge blades. These are the ones that I was talking about earlier that are the carbon and they're the most durable. They'll last the longest, but you will scratch glass if you try to cut on glass, but if you scrape glass, these will be perfectly safe if you keep the glass lubricated. And these are great for just removing any hardened particles or stickers or anything you run across. But I recommend you go ahead and spend, it's not very expensive to buy 100. You'll go through these quicker than you think. So these are the two big blade items you're going to need. And these are the flat one inch scraping blades that I recommend.

The last thing I'm going to recommend for this video is going to be the junior pump impact sprayer. I've used this one quite a bit. It's almost kind of getting worn out, but it's hard to wear these out. You fill the 48 ounce reservoir with water, you put in your favorite slip solution, and then you pump this thing with pressure, and then you can adjust this to have a stream or a fan. And then you spray this. And that's how you ... It's going to help fatigue. You're not going to be having to push a trigger. And if you're a beginner, you probably don't need to invest in a large capacity tank. Three, five gallons. Those are probably reserved more for the more experienced and maybe the people that enjoy working stationary in a shop. But if you're just learning and you need something, I'd just go ahead and spend the money on this real durable. I mean, you can drop this thing. It's pretty durable. It's going to help you out in the long run so you don't have to feel like you're going to get carpal tunnel or anything having to do a trigger. But this is the junior pump. It's an impact sprayer. And this is one of daily drivers. And it's really good for production because it generally, if you tint like me, you can fill this up one time, you do an entire car, front strip and all. If you're having to fill this up more than once for a car, you're probably using too much slip solution, in my humble opinion.

But anyway, those are my tools. That's what I recommend. It gets a lot deeper than this. If you really want to get into the window tinting and go to the next level, but this is a really good beginner package right here that one should consider if they want to get in a business and they want to know what first initial order they should make. Thanks for watching. I hope this has helped you make a decision. Call us anytime. Thank you.