WT168 – Tool Quality

Download Mp3

Be sure to sign up for your free audio book at Audible.com!

On today’s show, we’re talking about tool quality and used tools. We cover a lot of ground on this one including some advice from the community on how to get the most from your used tool purchases.

 

Get your Wood Talk T-Shirt today!

Reviews and Thanks!

Are you interested in setting up a recurring donation to help support the show? Use the links in the left column! We’d like to thank everyone for their continued support.

Don’t forget to leave us a kick-butt review in the iTunes Store.

55 replies on “WT168 – Tool Quality”

I have seen this topic go both ways, I’ve seen people get grief for buying a high end tool, and I’ve seen people get grief for buying a cheaper tool that did what they needed to. The guys I have seen complaining about expensive tools, are usually people pissed with the world because they have’t achieved the financial status they wanted to.

The guys I see complaining about cheap tools usually go one of two ways. One group always puts down cheap tools, because they feel the need to justify the tools they have purchased. The other group, is just plain old elitists, who put other people down to feel good about themselves.

I think the worst type of person, is the person who buys a cheap tool and then complains about it because it’s not as finely finished or as good as an expensive tool they owned previously.

Reminds me of an exchange I witnessed on a tool board that went something like this. (See below. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. And the guilty.)

Happycamper: Here are pictures of (tool B) I just acquired.

Anumberonedufus: “Hope you didn’t pay too much for it.”

What Anumberonedufus was really saying: “I’m not one to allow good taste and good personal boundaries get in the way of my petty jealousy of you.”

Only 12 minutes in on this episode and it’s like you guys are inside my head! The ongoing internal struggle of “at what quality level of this tool will work best for me?” I would love to get the best quality tool for every job, but sometimes I don’t need the best one and definitely can’t afford the best all the time. So I have to be selective of where I invest in my tools.
And Marc made a great point of newbies like me not even knowing what would be the right tool for them or what to exactly look for. For instance, I’ve never used a 3hp cabinet saw so I don’t know what one feels like to use. So while keeping an eye out for a cabinet saw I wonder if I really need a 3hp or if a 1.75hp saw will work fine for me. The problem is that I know the differences on paper, but I haven’t felt the difference so I’m uncertain about it.

This is exactly the same conversation that takes place in just about any other ‘Enthusiast’ hobby – I am a photographer as well as a woodworker, the story is always “I need to get the latest and greatest camera or my photography will not be any good” – The Best Camera is the one you have with you, develop your skills with what you have and someday you may really need a new camera – The quality of woodworking tools today are ‘Generally’ so much better than what was available 10 years ago – Use what you have to develop your skills and see what you are able to do in the future.

Preston is totally correct. My other hobby/activity is bike riding and there will always be a bigger better bike to be ridden. There are better forks, shocks, gadgets and doohickeys. One of the local bike shops has a cool little ‘tag line’. It’s “love the bike you ride” and I think that Goes for photography (another interest of mine) and woodworking. Love and use the tools you have. There will always be someone who tells you what you have is bad or out dated or not safe, etc… But if you’re building what you want to and the tools you have are working then be satisfied even if the tool you’re using is supposedly ‘crap’ in the eyes of the elitist woodworker.

So true.
By today’s standards, Weston, Capa, Adams and the like used ‘stone axes’.
And how many can come even close to their work nowadays? Not many.

Had another listen to the show. Yup, the same snooty undertones as the first time.
Little said about the qualities you should look for in a tool or machine, but more about fetishism of the high end stuff.

Snooty? Really? Sounds like the undertone you’re hearing is the one you brought with you. Off the top of my head, here are some of our intended take-home messages. By the way, these aren’t implied undertones. They were expressly stated.
Low cost does not always equate to low quality
Buying used is a great way to get better quality at a lower price
Buy high quality when your need dictates it and budget allows
Don’t buy tools preemptively and let the work dictate necessary purchases
And most importantly, get some tools, start making stuff, and don’t be so worried about what someone else is doing.

I guess you and I have different definitions of “snooty.”

I’m not sure where “snooty” fits in but okay…we all hear and then interpret things in different ways.

Regarding your comment “Little said about the qualities you should look for in a tool or machine…” This was a general topic show, not a specific tool or tools topic show, so the intent on our part wasn’t to go into great detail about certain tools…instead to discuss just what we did…our opinion on the perception of buying tools.

It’s a frequent topic that woodworkers discuss all the time and obviously we had enough requests for the topics that we thought it was worth devoting a show too.

If there’s a specific type of tool you’d like more information on, then feel free to submit the question. I’m sure you wouldn’t be the only one wondering about too.

Now back to snooty…is this because we confess to liking the “high-end” tools we’ve purchased and see value in using? That’s not snooty, that’s just appreciating what they can do for a given task and seeing value in the results.

The comment on ‘pigeon pooped old tools’ and derision of professional woodworkers seemed pretty contemptuous towards people of lower social standing. Hence snooty.

Are you new to the show? I’m not asking this to be a smart ass, I’m asking it because it sounds like you aren’t familiar with our personalities, which could explain why you walked away with a very different interpretation of the show than the one we intended. I can assure you Matt’s comment about pigeon poop (as he said himself) was an exaggeration for the sake of our crappy brand of comedy. Shannon’s comment about professional woodworkers not making lots of money wasn’t contemptuous. He was just stating a fact. The problem is that everything Shannon says sounds contemptuous. He also drinks his tea with his pinky out.

Considering the comment that you feel is condescending to some woodworkers “snooty” came from me I think it’s only right I respond to it. The statement “covered in pigeon poop” was actually meant in jest, but in reality it’s not all that unrealistic.

As we mentioned in the episode the recent pleothra of hand tool makers is a new phenomenon. Even just 5 years ago woodworkers who were interested in trying hand tools were finding the best tools at Flea Markets and antique stores. I was one of those woodworkers.

My two favorite “vintage” planes I use on a regular basis (behind the scenes) were covered in layers of rust and debris when I pulled them out of the dealer’s box at the Flea Market. I’ve even heard from audience members who have contacted me asking how to restore hand tools that they either found or inherited that were in similar situations…not all tools were lovingly cared for.

It’s not just hand tools either, there are plenty of older power tools that woodworkers will undertake a complete rebuild and restoration of that they found under old tarps (if they’re lucky) in the back of warehouses or barns or wherever. And just like car junkies, I have a feeling this isn’t something woodworkers with fixed budgets are undertaking regularly. For examples, checkout sites like http://www.vintagemachinery.org to see some of these resurrections.

I’ll even go so far as to admit some of my first power tools weren’t covered in pigeon poop, but actually it was bat guano from being stored in my grandfather’s barn. That was fun to remove and restore!

I won’t apologize for the comment, because while it was meant in jest…it’s based in reality.

My first jack plane was a Stanley Handyman #4 that was literally covered in mouse droppings and nest. I cleaned it up and it works just fine today, but finding tools covered in things like bat guano, pigeon poop, and mouse droppings isn’t all that abnormal.

Professional woodworkers come in all shapes and sizes, so I wouldn’t label Shannon’s comment as a fact.
I imagine you have your reasons for doing so.
I wasn’t seeking apologies, Matt. I wasn’t offended.
Just sharing my impressions about the show. Better to do it here than elsewhere.

I have to side with dzj9 on this one. My wife and I listen to your show every week and had to turn this one off about halfway in. It was really whiny. At least the first half hour seemed to be about the complaints one receives on the internet on any topic – that is just a downside of putting something on the net. It really came across as ‘people hate me because I have nice tools.’ Nothing in the parts before we tuned out about actual tool quality or the things one should look for in purchasing tools. I am not new to woodworking, your shows, or your videos. I watch and listen to all three of you. This one just came across as a whine-fest.

When Shannon says how poor the Wood River planes are, that sounds snooty to me. I have a Wood River block plane, and it is one of my better tools. Maybe it isn’t great, but for a hobby, I hope to buy more Wood River products. If you want to play the piano, maybe Steinway is your best bet, but most people would just decide not to play.

You must have selective hearing Bruce. he essentially said the fit and finish is poor when compared to an LN plane, and he should know, he owns both planes. He’s even done a comparison video. He also said it’s part of an emerging middle ground between poor quality and high quality.

I’m sure if he ever gets a chance to play with a Holtey plane, he’ll say it leaps and bounds above an LN plane.

Great show, as always. Mark you touched briefly on one key item; one of the reasons I love watching your show is because you have mentioned this in many of your videos. There are some tools you should get the best tool you possibly can and this could mean expensive tools; there are other items in the shop you could go cheap on. Building up a complete shop takes some time; in the mean time learn to use tool for multiple uses.

Be safe.

A couple of thoughts……

I like both ends of the spectrum……never really regretted buying a quality tool from LV or LN……..however I do love the thrill of trying to find that diamond in the rough at Harbor Freight or on Craigs List.

I really think woodworking could be viewed as one of the cheaper hobbies once you factor in the residual value of the tools, especially when you do invest in the higher end stuff that is made with intrinsically valuable materials. Inflation protected investments are always a good thing to put some of your money into……much better than all of the beer I bought last weekend….although that is yet to be determined depending upon how things work out with this cute girl I met at the bar. FYI, if you are wood worker and are making small talk with girls at the bar, you should never mention you hang out on this site, it is just too difficult to explain and can go in many directions, save it for the second or third date……

I completely agree with Shannon’s advice on buying a tool when you need it. I have many things because of free shipping…..damn those marketing guys!!

However, there is always a but…….I thought I was going to settle down and tie the knot earlier this year…..up to that point, I was stock piling tool purchases that I thought would be hard to push through under the new life agreement…..I think she was doing the same thing with shoe purchases as well…..you might want to consider that if you are at that point in life……I can guarantee it is much easier to get permission from yourself to buy those paring chisels with free shipping πŸ˜‰

I think Matt should be upset that the music was queued when it was his time to give his final thought on the topic….they just keep holding you back πŸ™‚

Finally, this show would have been way cooler if it was titled “Nana Nana Boo Boo”

Keep up the good work guys, great show as always…..

Another great episode.
Being on a limited budget I often go the used tool route. The key is to look for the best quality tool that will serve your purpose. This works for power tools as well as hand tools.
I used a craftsman table saw and used it for years until it died. Then I searched Craigs list and the used market untill I found a 5 horse Uni saw on auction and won at an incredible (gloat) deal. Vintage hand tools work fine for me. know what your looking for and be prepared to spend a half day cleaning tuning and laping. It’s not a compitition, buy what you need so you can build what you want.

“The more tools you have, the more problems you can solve”
Ron Herman

Really good episode guys. Marc, you mentioned a bad experience with A Chicago miter saw, and while I’ve never used that tool, I have used their cordless drills and impact drivers. I got a combo 4 set with drill, driver, flashlight and saws all and 2 batteries and a charger. The tools worked great for about 3 years until the batteries gave out. When they died I bought another impact driver, drill, and an extra battery for about 100 bucks and I’ve been using them now pretty frequently for over a year. For something as simple as drilling a hole or screwing in a screw I can’t justify a high dollar tool that will probably last the same amount of time for 3x the cost. I’ll throw these away and buy new again and still have invested less money. But for something like a saw or plane, I’d invest the money to buy quality the first time. Just depends on the application for me. Love the single topic format mixed in with the regular schedule.

Great topic. I’ve been woodworking with power tools for 7 years. I bought all my tools used except for a craftsman tablesaw that I got new for $250. I quickly became frustrated with the quality of my work because my tools can hold a setup, that is if they can be set up properly. I was never able to get the fence on the tablesaw square, never. My craftsman router depth adjustment is like crap too. I’ve had it with this pile of junk. Now that I’m sure about woodworking I’m going to get a good quality tablesaw, possibly sawstop or pm, nothing less. I don’t have plenty of time for woodworking and I don’t want to waste time setting up tools.
This topic reminds me a lot of photography. This guy who had an ok camera was telling me about how the other people have better cameras but he’s a much better photographer. It’s human nature to feel jealous and some people can’t control it or hide it. It’s no different than calling everyone driving a nice sports car a douchbag. It never ceases to amaze me.

Keep up the good work and enjoy ur much deserved tools!

I’ve seen that a lot in many areas as well. Lot’s of envy to go around. While I don’t need it and have a good miter saw, I will have that Festool version one of these days!

I used to install kitchens a few years back and always bought good quality tools for my trade. Mine had to be portable so now that I’m a hobbyist woodworker, some of my tools are less than ideal. They will suffice but I will need to upgrade. But it’s important to note, you guys do this for a living. You are going to have (or should have) high quality tools. It will always be hard for a hobbyist to compete with your tools since there is less justification for needing them.

I think it would be interesting to see you guys do a show where you go in to an average hobbyists garage and show them what could be built with the tools they have. Even when you do your limited tools shows, your still using your Festool miter saw, sander, split top rubo, etc. Some may think that’s the only way to get good results. It would be interesting to see what a good craftsman can do with entry level tools.

It’s like they used to say in the drumming world, Buddy Rich would sound just as amazing on a set of pots and pans. I think the same applies to craftspeople. Lower quality tools might require more time and work, but in the end, the craftsperson will achieve the results they want. As long as the tool performs it’s rudimentary function, the job will get done. Minor imperfections can be fixed and smoothed along the way. Of course, there’s a point where the bottom drops out on something like this. For instance if your router has so much runout that you can’t effectively make a predictable sized mortise or if you miter saw doesn’t hold it’s calibration and constantly moves. These would make for a frustrating experience though they still aren’t deal breakers.

I take your point Roland but this “you’re in business so you can have those tools” statement to be a bit funny. Just cause I can write it off doesn’t mean I don’t have to have the initial capital to buy it. I don’t know too many affluent professional woodworkers so I can’t imagine the justification will go that far. I remember somebody asking me why I didn’t make it to WIA one year when I could write off the expense. That doesn’t change the fact that I would need to spend over 1K to get there in the first place.

You are right. I’m not saying you can buy all those tools when you are starting in a profession but those higher end tools that many of us would like to have will probably be a higher priority for you. When you get $400 of disposable income, you might buy a plane where I’d buy something I need for my business. Fast forward ten years and your sitting on a nice pile of hard earned tools.

I think a lot of people have the general misconception that writing off something as a business expense makes it free. All it really does is reduce your tax liability, assuming your income at least matches your expenses.

I’m oversimplifying slightly, but if you’re paying 30% in taxes and you make $1000 profit for the year, Uncle Sam gets $300 and you get $700. If, on the other hand, you spent that $1000 going to a woodworking show, you don’t get to put any of it in the bank, but you don’t have to pay Uncle Sam $300.

I have a fairly standard shop, I think, when it comes to power tools: miter saw, table saw, band saw, scroll saw, drill press, router table, thickness planer, and joiner.

Most I bought new because I had the budget, but those are fairly low-quality. My jointer (1952 Craftsman) was bought at a garage sale for $20, and my sister gave me the drill press (Mid-1970s full-size), and after a few days tuning each of these tools up, they are far superior to my bargain-basement brand new power tools.

However, I have a #4, two #4-1/2, a #5, #27-1/2, #31, and a #78 plane, as well as a standard-angle and a low-angle block plane. The only ones I’ve bought new were the low-angle block and #78, otherwise, it’s been old barns and garage sales for the rest. I personally stripped, re-japanned, and tuned the rest, and they’re all completely invaluable; just as good as the ones bought brand new.

Marc is right: having sub-par tools sucks, but if you are dedicated to quality, low~ish quality tools won’t stop you.

One last thing, however; something I was told early on:

If you have a budgetary choice between high quality hand tools and high quality power tools, get high quality hand tools; they’re the last line of defense for quality. If your power tools won’t hold a setup or cut imperfectly, you can always fix it with hand tools. If your power tools are fantastic, but your hand tools are atrocious, there is no fixing that.

Fascinating discussion. And I can totally relate. During my tool & die maker apprenticeship days I saved to buy the best hand tools available at the time (Snap-On, Starrett, Brown & Sharpe, Mitutoyo, etc. . . . ) as much as I could because 1) quality, accuracy and durability of these tool was critical to how well I could do my job and 2) they were cool to have. I feel the same way about the tools I buy for woodworking these days. Plus tool envy is nothing new.

– Marty Collins

Great show.
In my own woodworking I’ve found great pleasure in using nice tools…like Bridge City, Festool, Bad Axe, etc. I’ve also found great joy in a 20 dollar Stanley #4, or an ancient backsaw you where can’t even read the etching on it, or an Ebay paring chisel.
I can appreciate a Czech Edge marking knife and the thrift of the Stanley knife Paul Sellers uses in his online classes.
Just use something enough until you have your own opinion.

This is one of your best episodes! I have to wonder how many of these people complaining about expensive tools spend hundreds or thousands of dollars every year on crap that doesn’t make their lives any better. If I add up all the crap I spent my hard-earned cash on 10-15 years ago, it’s enough to make a grown man cry. (Don’t even ask me how many thousands of hours I’ve wasted online or playing video games when I could have been developing a skill that I’ll potentially still be able to enjoy after I retire.) These days so many people waste 50 bucks here, a couple hundred there, buying new electronic gadgets like smartphones, tablets, computers, and big-screen TVs–not to mention, all the accessories that go along with them.

I’m not sure if it applies to any of the other listeners here, but some people spend $5 or $6 twice a day every day on fast food for lunch and supper, when they could pack their own lunch and eat a home-cooked supper for less than a buck per meal. That’s potentially $3000 a year they could have put toward new tools.

How many aspiring woodworkers have ever bought a new (or close to new) car? No matter what car you buy, the difference between new and 2 or 3 years old will buy at least a couple high-quality stationary power tools!

I would be interested in a list of general tool quality – similar to how people rank quarter backs – You have your super elites (Brady, Manning, Brees, and Rogers) and then your next flight of quarter backs (Kap, Williams, etc.). While people may argue about who is number one, everyone can pretty much agree that they are the top four and on a plane above the next 4-5 etc.

So for power tools I would propose: Sawstop, Powermattic, Jet, & Festool – pretty much anything they make is guaranteed to function as well or better than anything else on the market. Your next level of quality would be Grizzly, & (this is where I need help ID’ing them) you get good value for your money here and still really good tools – but there may be a dude here and there so make sure you are doing your homework on that particular model/tool. And finally the one trick ponies or value brands – i.e. Makita makes a good sliding compound miter saw or the Dewalt portable planer. You really need to do your homework and only buy the right model to get good results consistently without spending a lot of extra work.

Hopefully this makes sense and I am really interested to hear other peoples thoughts on this way of thinking about brands/tools.

I think the only people who have the resources to truly do this justice are the woodworking magazines. They are the only ones who have truly tried every tool and are unbiased (read didn’t just spend a bunch of money on it). If you poll average Joes then you will get a tainted sample because there is nothing unbiased about a tool you just spent money on and will overlook little things because you don’t want to admit you don’t like what you just bought.

The irony is that the magazine folks will tell you that they get constant feedback that readers don’t like tool reviews so they try not to them very much.

Shannon, I agree that a lot of people do have brand loyalty. For some reason this is a trait that I or my wife just never developed. I can honestly say that some tools I buy – I just buy a brand because it is the best or sometimes because it is good enough to do the job or it might be the “best value.” I would hope that people could be more honest about the tools they buy (and by the way – I love the tool reviews in magazines because they seem like the most honest reviewers).

However, what you wrote made me think why I like the online product reviews so much (like on amazon). If more than 10% of the reviews for a tool are bad – then it is probably a bad buy with major flaws because of exactly what you talked about.

I find expensive hand tool ‘hate’ coming less from the Anarchist’s Toolchest crowd than from some other popular hand tool evangelists. On the power tool side it seems almost exclusively Festool hate. I chalk it up to envy even though I agree you don’t necessarily need to buy expensive tools to get good work done.

Personally I buy expensive tools because I like to. Like Shannon mentioned in the episode some people are “process” people and I’m definitely one of them.

I know when I buy a plane from LV or LN I know it will work correctly, any screw ups are the result of my skill not the tool. Restoring tools is certainly an appealing idea, but I’m a beginner, and I can learn those skills later, after I know what those tools are supposed to do.

As far as Festool goes, dust collection and quality sell me on those.

I’m a hobbyist but I follow these same principles in my professional life:

– You don’t always get what you pay for, but you never get what you don’t pay for.
– There’s nothing more expensive than a cheap tool.

I don’t care what other people use in their shops, why should they care about mine.

I enjoy being in the ‘holy grail’ niche of being retired, and thus-essentially-having time with no deadlines. In the context of hobby woodworking, I find a compelling satisfaction of being ‘in the moment’; ergo, while planing the top of a large slab, perhaps, I am not working towards a finished table… I am planing a piece of wood. Complete thought. That moment is all it needs to be, and having at hand the pleasant experience of utilizing very good tools is all that matters.

One point I was glad to hear y’all make was the different possible motivations for different woodworkers. Some ones I can identify off the top of my head.

Career Woodworker: Makes their living selling what they make. Those in the business of woodworking will have a focus on making a product that is gauged for their expected audience. I would expect this woodworker to have high quality tools with an eye to saving time to lower costs, but not really expensive tools if the additional cost doesn’t show a benefit to the bottom line.

Part-Time Woodworker: Sells product to support their woodworking habit. Has as high a quality tools that they can afford. Sells projects to save room in an overcrowded house, and to pay for the next great tool. I would expect aesthetics to be a criteria here, more so than efficiency.

Hobbyist (Process oriented): Enjoys the process of making stuff almost as much, if not more than the actual finished project. Will have tools that add to the enjoyment of making things, may be hand tool focused because that fits their image of woodworking and a slower workflow is not important. Or might fall on the power tool part of the spectrum, with an eye to quality there.

Hobbyist (Result driven): Picks the best tools to achieve the end product, may not really enjoy the process nearly as much as wanting to make things to their exact desires. May have had an illusion of making of making furniture for themselves to “save money” or to make “personal gifts” for family and friends. πŸ˜‰ I’m making fun of myself here, some people actually achieve this. Will have an eclectic set of tools picked up over time or may have fallen into the hand tool or powered camp at some point. Probably will end up in the hybrid camp as they learn which tools offer the best results with the least effort.

Of course probably no one falls into one category solely. I see the process/product focus to be a scale with most people falling somewhere in the middle of the bell curve, with less at the extreme ends of the scales. Though I wonder about turners, there’s something intoxicating about watching the shavings fly… πŸ˜‰

I really enjoyed this show. Texfire hit it pretty close with his description of various kinds of woodworkers. My perspective was slightly different in the tools I have purchased. Sometimes I purchased a really cheap tool to try out a technique. The first biscuit joiner I had came from a rolling tool sale truck for $29.99. Using it led me to liking the concept and getting a good quality one. Sometimes I do research on tools, some friends and family will make fun of me for how much effort went into the research before I purchased a tool/ tools. That was how I ended up with 18 volt DeWALT cordless tools I have. I know they are not necessarily the “best” in their class, but they are good enough for me. What I do have is a commonly available, a single battery size, tough, reasonable quality tool that I can gets parts and service for from a service center 20 miles away. My table saw and planer came from a pawn shop. I had to do some work replacing blades, and the guard and check them over. I got lucky, I got them both for the cost of one of them new, put $100 into them and had two good machines.

Envy has always been around. It always will be. I admire the folks who have all the Festool tools. I don’t want to deny or shame anyone about the tools they use. I have nothing but admiration for what comes from the folks at SawStop. It has been my observation that most of the folks who complain about somebody else’s stuff is usually just jealous, not trying to be helpful. I just try to ignore those people.

This is for Derek.
I have a 1.75 hp table saw and I have used higher horse power saws at school. I don’t recall if they were 3 or 5 hp, The biggest difference I have found is that when cutting thicker stock 8/4 or more. My 1.75 stalls if I try to cut it in one pass. The large saws never seem to stop .
If you have the power 220v I would opt for the larger saw. I can only get 110v to my garage. The 1.75 hp is fine for most 4/4 to 6/4 stock and with several passes will cut any thickness. Hope this helps.

As for the show I thought it was informative.
I been meaning to write and letting you know if you attach your PC sander to a dust collector you don’t get any dust in your shop. You don’t need a Festool. But on the other side I know Festool designed there system to be portable and dust free. I have a client who only uses Festool he swears by them. I think like you have said more then once buy the tool that fits your needs. I am thinking track saw.
As for the quality of tools to buy, hand tool wise, I usually end up at LN. Why it seems to be a well made tool from what I have been taught and read. And, my wife lets me. I will sometimes suggest that may be I can find something cheaper and she reminds me that when I use my tools I should feel some pride or I just will not want to use it.
The price we pay for tools is for the quality out of the box. If you purchase a cheaper tool and take the time to adjust and tune it up to do the job that is a tool to be proud of.

When I wanted to get started in woodworking, I went to WoodCraft, wanting advice and to buy a small bench-top jointer (shown on their website). I explained that I had limited space and money that I was willing to spend. I was told that I should find more room, and spend much more money. If I listened to them, I would have given up. With time, I’ve figured out what tools I need to build things to the quality I desire and have the skills for, and have invested much more. I wouldn’t mind having more expensive tools, but getting kids through college and being able to retire comfortably are higher priorities. Buying used tools can be a good solution for many of us. I was given a Buck Brothers plane; it is best not to get one of those new or used.

For me personally it comes down to this, what people do with their own money is not really anyone else’s business.
Some people buy tools to do woodworking and some do woodworking to buy tools..
Both groups buy good tools just for different reasons, one needs them the other wants them.
There are a lot of people out there with a tool fetish. For them walking past $10000 worth of rarely used Festool products each morning as they get in their car to go to work is what this hobby is all about. If they get enjoyment from that, good luck to them.
The only time this debate annoys me is when someone goes out and buys a heap of tools from one company or another and then proceeds to become that companies next level of marketing. They turn into that annoying kid that pulled out Easter Eggs in September and said, look what I’ve got.
I’m not bashing Festool, I like and own Festool products, I just used them as an example.

I started in woodworking doing what I think a lot of people do and that is using my Dad’s tools. When I got my own I bought what I thought I needed or wanted based on my experience with what I had used. My current tool collection is completely different from where I started and most of my purchasing decisions have been based on what I have seen on Youtube videos and Marc’s videos and such. My tool collection today would, by most, be considered high-end tools and I enjoy using them and owning them. Are they a must, well perhaps not but they make this hobby more enjoyable for me.

I have worked with tools all my life. I ran maintenance departments for production equipment. Which tool you buys depends on a lot of things. 1. How much will you use it. How good are you with that tool and will you harm it because you are learning how to use it. What will the tool be used for? If I was to purchase a wood chisel it would have been as cheap as possible. We never used chisels for what they were meant for with a few exceptions. If it was a drill we used these very heavily and if we could get one that lasted we would purchase it. It also depends on Money. I tend to buy the best I can afford.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *