What is a Toolroom?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A toolroom is a facility where people make, store, and repair tools and machining equipment. It can vary in scope from a storage shed on a worksite to a large facility inside a factory for making equipment the factory will use on its production line. In locations where people produce and fix tools in the toolroom, they may need special training in topics like metalworking, machining, and equipment manufacture. Some skill sets are especially valuable, and people may be eligible for high rates of pay in the toolroom.

A toolroom can refer to a place to store tools, or to a place to repair and make them.
A toolroom can refer to a place to store tools, or to a place to repair and make them.

On the lower end of the scale, a toolroom provides a place for people to store tools and make basic repairs to tools that need servicing before people can use them again. It will include racks, shelves, and drawers to hold tools, along with a workbench where people can work on their equipment. Typically, the toolroom has stocks of lubricant and basic supplies for working on tools. A highly skilled person may be able to handle all repairs, while others may need to send complex repair problems out for specialty work.

A tool room may be place to hammer and finish pieces of metalwork equipment.
A tool room may be place to hammer and finish pieces of metalwork equipment.

At the next level up, a toolroom also has space for making tools. Metalworking facilities may have a need for custom tools and equipment, and may produce those products on site. The room will include metalworking equipment so people can hammer, grind, and finish pieces. In addition, the space usually has room for storage and repair. People working in this environment may have advanced metalworking training and, in some cases, have qualifications like engineering degrees.

In manufacturing settings, the toolroom has personnel and equipment capable of producing complex parts and machinery. They can custom design tools and die casting or cutting equipment, making everything from molds for mass-produced car parts to metalworking equipment for use on the factory floor. This work requires designing equipment appropriate for use in mass production. It needs to be durable, as well as easy to use at high speed.

Working in a toolroom can be dirty and tiring. The space usually has hazards like metal shavings, chemicals, and dangerous equipment, and people often end up greasy at the end of the day, depending on the type of work they do. It can also be very rapid in pace, as when problems occur on the factory floor, the staff need to be able to quickly identify and fix the issue to avoid holdups in production. Quick thinking, as well as skill with metal fabrication and problem-solving, is critical.

Toolroom workers may need to know how to cut and weld metals using an oxyfuel torch.
Toolroom workers may need to know how to cut and weld metals using an oxyfuel torch.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


My husband received special training in machine tool and die. He actually worked in two different machine shops over a period of years.

I remember him talking about the CNC toolroom lathe at one facility. It was some sort of specialized digital tool making machine. It was very high tech for the time, and probably still is actually.

A computer in one room was programmed with specialized codes that told the machine in the toolroom what to do. There were many precautions that had to be taken around that toolroom and the machines in it.

Apparently, they were incredibly sensitive to all kinds of things including dirt and grime. I saw it once and it was definitely the cleanest toolroom I’ve ever seen.


The perfect toolroom is not as easy to fix up as you might think. I personally thought to make one up for my husband in a spare bedroom of our home.

That might sound odd, but we didn’t have a shop, shed or garage. My husband’s tools were everywhere and I really thought that they needed a home (a.k.a. – out of my way). So, I took one of our five bedrooms and made it into a man cave.

I thought it was a great idea at the time, but boy was I wrong. All that happened was that he never ever kept his tools in his man cave, and therefore I just had more mess scattered about.

We recently decided together to build a shop just for him in the back yard. I made him remove all of his tools and the like despite his protests that someone might try to steal them at some point.

Just get a toolroom and keep your tools there is all I was thinking.


My dad has always had a toolroom. His is an air-conditioned and heated building in the yard about the size of our living room. It always smells of oil and chemicals.

He has pegboards with metal hooks for holding screw drivers, saws, and a myriad of instruments whose names are a mystery to me. He keeps small storage drawers for nails and screws. He also has oil cans and lubricant tubes.

One distinct smell I remember from the toolroom is the soldering iron. Melted wire has a powerful aroma that lingers and overcomes other smells. I could always tell when he had used it recently.

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