Taking A Close Look At Hawkeye’s Workbench

We don’t have to tell you that the representation hackers and makers get in popular media is usually pretty poor. At this point, we’ve all come to accept that Hollywood is only interested in perpetuating negative stereotypes about hackers. But in scenes where the plot calls for a character to be working on an electronic device, it often seems like the prop department just sticks a soldering iron in the actor’s hand and calls it a day.

Of course, there are some exceptions. In the final episode of Marvel’s Hawkeye, the titular character is shown building some custom gear in a work area that looks suspiciously like somewhere actual work might get done. The set design was impressive enough that [Giovanni Bernardo] decided to pause the show and try to identify some of the tools and gadgets that litter the character’s refreshingly chaotic bench.

Now to be clear, we haven’t personally seen the latest Marvel spectacle from the House of Mouse, and it’s entirely possible that the illusion falls apart when taken as a whole. But from what we’re seeing here, it certainly looks like whoever did the set dressing for Hawkeye seems to have made an effort to recreate the hackerspace chic. We’ve got a multimeter within arm’s reach, the classic magnifying glass third arm, a Wiha screwdriver about to roll out of frame, and even some JB-Weld. If this looks eerily like what’s currently on your own bench, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

On the wider shot, we can see that the attention to detail wasn’t limited to the close-up. From the tools hanging on the pegboard to the shelves filled with rows of neatly labeled bins, we totally buy this as a functional workspace. It’s quite a bit neater than where we currently do our tinkering, but that’s more of a personal problem than anything. As we’ve seen, there are certainly people in this community who take their organization seriously.

Portrayals of science or technology in the media often leave a lot to be desired, which is why it’s so important to praise productions that put in the effort to get things right. With a little luck, maybe it will get through to the right people and raise the bar a bit. But even if it doesn’t change anything, we can at least give the folks behind the scenes some well-deserved recognition.

51 thoughts on “Taking A Close Look At Hawkeye’s Workbench

      1. My workbench is definitely wherever I happen to be working at the moment…

        But it doesn’t really matter, the point is that the set was well done, what character is responsible for putting it together doesn’t matter.

    1. Most of it was identified correctly even though some of the words used are not technically correct in my country. What he calls snipers, we call side cutters. Silver soldering is called brazing rod in my country and what he calls silver solder just looks like thick 60/40 to me.

      The workshop isn’t a prop it’s an actual workshop. What they have changed is the lighting to suit cinema. The lumins have been dropped on the fluorescent tube or a filter to cut it and the light above the bench has been dropped to around 3300 – 3600 degrees kelvin, you wouldn’t normally work under a light like that.

      Some other clues, the step drill and drill press vise indicate that the workshop is more extensive than is seen here.

      My “take home” was the soldering iron stand made from a piece of thick wire. I’d definitely make one like that in a pinch.

      1. “Silver Solder” in the US is any solder-like alloy that contains some silver. That ranges from your “brazing rod like” solder used by jewelry makers (with quite a high percentage of silver) down to some electronics solders with as little as 1.5% silver. (technically, I think they’re supposed to be called “silver-bearing solders”, but…)

      1. (you may already realize and if so apologies for stating the obvious): it’s a ‘neon bulb tester’ not because it tests neon bulbs, but because it uses a neon bulb to indicate the presence of AC.

  1. The only question for me that breaks continuity is where the heck this workshop is…
    It is a small thing, but they just kinda “hollywood teleported” to this shop to kit up. Was it one of the Larp folks? Some abandoned VCR repair shop in NY?
    I need to know!

    1. The character was a police office who did LARPing on the weekend. He used about ~1/4 of his small New York apartment as a clean and well equipped workspace (hand tools, no large power tools). The workshop is open to and visible from his main living area, and it in visible in earlier earlier episodes during dialog scenes when other characters visit him in his apartment. The apartment had a ‘single guy, who has style, but isn’t ashamed to prioritize his hobbies’ vibe.

    2. Correcting a few details… Its Grill’s apartment (a New York firefighter and LARPer), and he lives in a a bachelor pad. You can see the workshop in Episode 5, at the 21-22 minute mark

    1. Is it any good? If not, any recommendations for a hobbyist priced micrometer and caliper?
      I have been hating re-buying crappy digital ones that bend and wander and am not yet ready to cave and buy something ‘machinist grade.’

      1. its like with a good soldering iron: if you buy a good one, it’s the last one you buy. I have a mechanical Mitutoyo and it has never failed me once. for the things I do, this is precise enough and way faster than a digital one for me. (but then again, I live in a metric world, so ymmv)

          1. It is a genuine digital Mitutoyo, it came with the wooden case and instructions, I did not say I bought it new.
            It turned out to have corrosion on the circuit board, and is an older model; replacement parts are NLA.
            Part of the reason I purchased it, besides it looking good, is it is a 1 meter model. I might end up hanging it on the shop wall.

            “And now friends, you know ‘The Rest of the Story’!”
            -Paul Harvey

      2. I’ve heard OK things about Anytime tools, as a hobby grade option. Fowler, Value Collection (sold by MSC), and SPI are all OK lower cost options compared to the big names like Mitituyo, Tesa B/S, and Starret. For that matter, the entry level Starret mics and calipers are what I would consider a reasonable value. iGauging also makes some acceptable calipers.

        1. I’ve got a few SPI measuring instruments, and while they’re definitely not as smooth as I’d expect an instrument from the Big Four to be, they seem to be perfectly adequate. To put the same thing in different words, they seem to have room for improvement, but no obvious deficiencies.

          I haven’t checked their accuracy, so I’m only *assuming* that they’re accurate and precise enough for their roles, but on the whole, I have been entirely satisfied with my purchases and feel that I got good value for my money.

      3. Living in Canada, my favourite is the mechanical dual inch/mm one I got off evilBay somewhere. It’s great to be able to instantly read/convert in either system.

        I detest the electronic ones. Crappy plastic breaks if you drop it. Battery life is short.

      4. Shahe on alix, good brand above chinesium crap. But not as cheap. Insize also, but then you may get reputable eu/us brand for this price.
        For micrometer, mitutoyo on amazon, sometimes you have some that are refurbished and they have a decent price tag.
        Avoid mitutoyo caliper unless buying from official reseller, otherwise you will get (bad) copy.

      5. My recommendation is go to a pawn shop or used tool store and find a set of good, used, name brand mics. I Years ago I picked up NSK mics from 0 to 6″ for a song. The mechanical digital type. And remember, at these places cash talks and the price is not fixed. Cash in hand can get you a lower price.

      6. I have HF calipers, and Mitutoyo, Brown&Sharpe, Etalon, and if I take that HF calipers and clamp it on a 0.2500″ rod 100 times (I have done this) I’ll never get a measurement outside of 0.2495-0.2505. The only difference I see between it and the ones that cost 10-50x as much is that their batteries last MUCH longer. (And on the B&S, it’s mechanical so it’ll last forever.) It’s possible the hardened steel jaws on the nice ones are much better. I haven’t worn any of them at all. It’s also possible the batteries last longer in them because I use the HF ones 95% of the time.
        It’s quite adequate.

        1. Batteries last much shorter time in Harbor Freight calipers because they don’t actually shut off the main circuits when turned off, only the LCD. They need to stay powered to track their position when moved, versus Mitutoyo and other professional tools with absolute measurement scales.

      7. I really like the old (Stamped made in Japan) Mitutoyo mechanical calipers. You can pick some pretty nice used ones up on eBay for around $30-50 if you’re patient. No batteries to mess with and very accurate.

        The newer ones have a lot more plastic parts, so I prefer an older pair. Plus, it’s nice to put an old tool back in service.

  2. I just wonder, if…
    The “set” is the actual workshop of a technician who builds electronic props for the movie company. Maybe it was disassembled, and “rebuilt” on a sound stage to make room for lighting, cameras, director, script girl…

  3. The micrometers seem really out of place with the rest of the stuff there; he doesn’t seem to have any tools suitable for working at that kind of precision. Maybe they’re the only measuring devices available and whoever owns that space was just being optimistic?

    1. Context. It’s Hawkeye. He doesn’t get his arrows off the shelf at Walmart. He’s fletching them himself. They’re likely all aluminum so he needs a micrometer to check fit and size. He should probably also have a scale somewhere nearby as well.

      1. I would absolutely buy Hawkeye using *calipers*, which measure things down to the thousandth of an inch, for his work. Micrometers typically measure down to one ten-thousandth of an inch (0.0001″ instead of 0.001″).

        I don’t question Hawkeye’s skills here so much as I question *the other tools shown on that bench*. I guess I’d also question what kind of mechanism the arrows have that requires precision of that level, if this were real life.

        On the other hand, I’ve never done any work at that level of precision, so I have no real reference frame for what *kind* of work would require it. anything mechanical I’ve worked with or on has had tolerances in the thousandths regime.

    2. I think the mic is glaringly out of place as well and I’m a weekly user. Pair of calipers most definitely, one lives permanently on every work desk and machine station but micrometers live their life safely put away unless the current part requires.

      1. Hard yes on the calipers; calipers are to a machinist or a mechanic what a ruler is to a woodworker or a tailor. If he’s doing any kind of mechanical work in the construction of those arrows, I’d expect to see calipers.

        The best Watsonian explanation that I can think of is that whoever this workshop belongs to bought micrometers instead of calipers “because they’re more accurate!” and now Hawkeye is stuck with them because he needs something better than a ruler and that’s what’s available.

      2. If he’s measuring anything made of thin-walled tube he’d use a mic, because unless one has something with an accurate slipping clutch one won’t be able to apply consistent pressure so will get wildly varying results.

  4. I tought about it for a second when I was watching the scene and I imagined that it was probably at one of the Larpers they were staying with that episode. Friend-of-friend’s hacker shop, rented shop, etc.. seems also not implausible or plot-holey… so why analyze it further :)

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