Gloves – any time you are welding you’ll be dealing with bits of metal and burs that can easily hurt you as you weld or work with the metal.
In addition you’ll be dealing with excessive heat at times and pick up hot pieces of metal (which you should not do), and a good pair of gloves is your first line of defense.
Hammers – Any kind of hammer is good, but it’s even better to have an assortment of hammers. You’ll need them for all sorts of situations like when metal gets stuck as you weld your projects.
C-clamps – These last a long time and you’ll need quite a few of them over time. You can get them really cheap at just about any hardware store.
Adjustable wrench – You’ll need to tighten the regulator on your gas tank if you are gas welding. And they are also good for prying metal apart, because you’ll end up welding something to your table.
Tape measure: You’ll be measuring a lot.
Square – Any kind of square is fine. A small square is fine but you’ll need a larger one for when you work on larger end tables and railings etc.
Wire snips – You’ll need to replace your wire (for your welder) and a good pair of snips is needed for changing the wire. Make sure they are quality and have sharp teeth for clean cuts.
Grinder – One grinder is fine. You’ll use them to cut, finish, clean, and much more. You need one! The best one is the Northern Tools grinder ($39.95), and it’s better than the ones that are $99 or more.
Sharpee – You need to mark your metal. You can use soap stone, a paint pen etc. but a sharpee is good. A scribe is good for a nice crisp line as well, when you need a good crisp line for super accurate measuring.
Fire extinguisher – You’ll eventually have a small fire to deal with, and if it is small it will get big fast. Or, worse, something will blow up. Hey, your wife, kids, or even you might put something in your workspace that you didn’t know about or remember (gas can?), and bam, you have a fire or explosion. Do not risk it!
Auto darkening helmet – As soon as this type of helmet sees a flash it goes dark so you can weld without any damage to your eyes. You want a good welding helmet if you can afford it, or you can get a good low cost one for starters if you are not going to be welding all day.
Welder – You can rent a welder but it’s better to buy one. The good thing about renting a welder is that the people renting it are taking care of it and you don’t have to. But if you can afford a few hundred dollars or more get a Hobart Mig Welder or a stick welder. You don’t have to use gas to start, although it helps make your welding easier. You can use flux core to start, which is basically MIG welding without the gas. It’s a little messier but it does just fine on many projects.
Welding Table – You have to weld on something! Not your kitchen table. You need a solid, flat surface that you can clamp, grind, hammer, and weld on. A good first project is to build on yourself.
Welding Boots – Bits of metal and even hot metal and/or slag will fall on your feet eventually and you won’t know it until it burns through your wimpy shoes. Get a quality pair of boots with lace protectors.
Welding shirt or apron – Do not wear loose clothing and cover up with non flammable material. A good welding shirt, jacket or apron is essential.