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Thread: Tool Buying Guilt?

  1. #16
    I think the problem as you gear up for a "hobby" is compulsive buying. The pros situation is entirely different...well, depending upon the pro Essentially, you don't know what you don't know and you can fall prey to the coolest looking do-dad. You do this of course with a smile on your face and a song in your heart...and then it sits and you wonder why. It's kind of funny, if you have the resources to support it. A problem when you do not. Tool selection is a part of the craft. I don't jump at tool purchases now. Certainly I still buy, but prior to doing so I try to figure out how to do the task with what I have. Then I go buy it

  2. #17
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    I do not feel guilty about any of my tool purchases. They have never impacted my life or family in any negative way and they have for the most part always been paid for up front. I think Brian's point is also well stated...others benefit from our purchases, too. Of course, another thread about mis-guided purchases also resonates. Almost nobody as avoided making a poor decision at some point. We're all human after all.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Dominik Dudkiewicz View Post
    Thanks guys.

    It's good to hear that most don't consider investing too much in quality tools wasteful or something to feel guilty about.

    I have never spent more than I can afford and have not taken on any debt to do so. In fact I am debt free. I also don't drink, smoke, spend money eating out or on clothes, cars, etc etc. I get very focussed on one thing. However, I suppose that there is no such thing as too much money and buying anything is at the expense of something else, now or in the future. So I suppose sometimes I think - have I indulged too much in this interest/passion vs possibly saving that money/investing it for the future. That said I do like to think of the woodworking tools I have as an investment, in my mental wellbeing, personal growth, and possibly even some sort of income producing venture in the future - but sometimes I think that maybe i'm just kidding myself and should be more responsible with my money for the long-term.

    Perhaps it's as other have said the best way is to buy tools when you need them for a particular project. I have a habbit of thinking of a future project and realising i'd need a particular tool(s) to accomplish some aspect of that project, and then fixate on aquiring that capability - even if I don't end up needing it for a long while. Something about knowing I "can" build anything I can conceive of and the freedom that provides in terms of mental freedom to plan projects, even ones I may never get around to - is very nice. I think the guilt comes in waves, particularly when I've just bought a bunch of stuff and when I haven't completed a project in a while - then it feels kind of over-indulgent and maybe greedy or wasteful - I can't quite find the words to explain it.
    You could look at it as an investment in hope, that you should live long enough to be able to get full use of the tool. This can have a good impact on the rest of your life, such as eating right, driving safely, etc. The one thing that I would be most concerned with is how it affects your ability to save for retirement, but then again, a decent tool purchase is a one-time thing. Then again, compound interest... I'm retired, so that's not a concern for me.

  4. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    Remain tolerant to those who have more, and be sensitive to those who have less.
    Derek, this is so well said that I'm going to post it in my home. Truly a valuable reminder for me across the board.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip!
    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  5. #20
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    Part of the learning curve with most hobbies is getting a feel for what you do and don't need. Shiny new objects appear all the time and most of use are guilty of taking the bait, only to wonder why later. Just glance at the used astronomy or photography equipment on line and you'll see that our hobby is no worse than others.
    I have a woodworker friend who has gone back and forth over whether to get a Domino vs other means of making M&T joints. I invited him to come down for a demo of 4 different methods, Domino, my version of the Morley router mortiser, PM hollow chisel mortiser and drill press and chisel. In the end he agreed that the Domino suited his needs better than any of the others. He did his research and he'll be happy once the credit card has been paid off. The education went a long way toward easing his guilt.
    Many of us have reached the point that we buy tools for life. Once I reached that point all guilt stopped. I remind myself that I'm at home, being productive, not sitting in a bar or in a psychiatrist's office. My hobby has led me to making some of the best friends I have. All in all, I'd say it's got a pretty good ROI.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Simon View Post
    I remind myself that I'm at home, being productive, not sitting in a bar or in a psychiatrist's office.
    Well said Nick!

  7. #22
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    I remind myself that I'm at home, being productive, not sitting in a bar or in a psychiatrist's office.
    Oy ... how do you think I paid for my tools?

    Regards from a freezing Prague

    Derek

  8. #23
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    Nov 2009
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    All my tools and machinery have paid for themselves, often many times over. The only one that didn't was a laser engraver. I just didn't market that well. Times have changed in the 47 years I've been woodworking. The used machinery market around here has really taken a hit. At one time I actually thought my machinery would bring the same of more than I paid for it. The import tool market and reduced number of young woodworkers has made machinery a poor investment now. The wife is really worried about the disposal of a life time of collection. That is really my only concern right now, especially after a hospital stay and health scare in June. So about to start labeling things, organizing a bit, and try to keep working. I always compare my hobby to a bass boat. Maybe about the same money for investment over a lifetime, but I get a hell of a lot better money selling furniture and artistic turnings than they do selling fish.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Waterford, PA
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    I haven't had much guilt over the years, but have had some buyer's remorse. (I don't think it is the same thing). The vast majority of my tools have come to me 2nd or 3rd or 4th hand and I've invested a lot more time than money for those items. My purchases of new machinery, I could easily count on one hand, and each of those were made when unable to locate a suitable used version. My remorse on the other hand, is the feeling that maybe I paid too much for an item after getting it home. Fortunately, even after finding myself on disability at age 56, we are able to afford my purchases without "stealing" from other important financial matters.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dominik Dudkiewicz View Post
    Hi guys,

    Bit of an odd post maybe so sorry in advance.

    The other thread about what Santa brought you for Christmas just got me thinking. I normally use Christmas as an excuse to buy myself some tools but this year I had picked up some stuff leading up to the holidays and I already felt like I didn't deserve more - in fact I felt a bit 'dirty'.

    I have really fallen hard into woodworking since discovering it a few years ago. I love so much about so many aspects of it and I have felt a strong compulsion to learn more and to also acquire the 'capability' to enable me to make most things I could think of. I have therefore piled a lot of money into tools, and woodworking has consumed most of my conscious thoughts and time as well.

    When it comes to tools, I feel very fortunate to have been able to acquire what I have. However, I find that buying tools doesn't bring me happiness beyond the initial purchase, and in fact buying more tools feels somewhat shameful, glutonous and shallow; at least until those tools are put to productive use. Making things with those tools is like the salve or cure to those feelings, and it's only when I've made things that I start to feel ok about it. Making things makes me feel clean.

    Even if I can afford more nice tools I might really want, I feel it's somehow inappropriate to buy more until I really get more use out of what I already have.

    Does that make sense or echo anyone elses thoughts here?

    Cheers, Dom
    I think your in good company,and not along,its a common issue with lot of us.Like yourself being budget minded I always shop for used,and some of those machines needed lot of TLC which the price reflect that.Which is how I aquired so much cause the deals are out there if you shop.If you were near me I could fix you up with Unisaw,shaper,BS etc since I am down sizing due to looking for place that tax friendly.But having those machines is easy,its finding time to use them and not spread yourself out so thin by watching all those showing while telling yourself"I want to do that"That was my downfall.Wanting to make cabinets,make furniture,veneer work,inlay,wood carving,etc Woodworking choices is so huge its easy to get loss will all those ideals so try to stay on maybe the smaller projects and get good at it.Enjoy the hobby

  11. #26
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    My motto: Anticipation always exceeds realization.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  12. #27
    It hasn't been a problem for me since my tools were all paid for by my the work from my shop. The shop has always been at least self supporting or shown a profit. I am retired and struggle to keep from having it become a "real" business and all that entails.

    I don't think tool purchases would be a problem even if the shop wasn't financially self supporting as long as I put the tools to good use and bought only what I could reasonably afford. Now if I was buying well beyond my means or buying tools and not putting them to good use that would be a problem.

    I do know some guys who spend way beyond what their budget really should support and barely find time to use their tools to the extent that for me it would be a problem. Maybe they need it for their mental health and maybe their families are supportive though. I guess everyone needs to decide where to draw that line.

  13. #28
    I often feel guilty for making myself struggle with or wasting time with a task when I could have bought a new tool and been more productive. Imo, the greatest sin I can commit is wasting human capital. Money comes and goes, time just goes.

  14. #29
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    I couldn’t agree more.

    My opinion is so long as I’m not hurting anyone and so long as I do as much good for others as I do for myself.

    Life it to short to double guess this or that. If something makes you happy do it. If something evokes suffering stop.




    so
    Quote Originally Posted by johnny means View Post
    I often feel guilty for making myself struggle with or wasting time with a task when I could have bought a new tool and been more productive. Imo, the greatest sin I can commit is wasting human capital. Money comes and goes, time just goes.

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    2019 was a year of turbocharged tool acquisition for me. OMG: It all started about fifty weeks ago with the week in North Devon with Mr. C which was worth ten times the cost. Next, the 1931 Bailey 5-1/2 and the 1922 Bed Rock No. 607. Spare irons all around (4 in total). Four hundred bucks to convert my Delta dust collector into a whole-shop cyclone system with a new Wynn filter. A Starrett 385-24 straight edge and a set of precision plastic shims to help with the use of winding sticks and tool setup. Three spokeshaves and tomorrow Iím going to Ft. Bragg to buy two replacement irons for the 151 and 151R from Ron Hockís shop. Holy cow: a Tormek T8. A handheld 50X scope to inspect cutting edges while honing. A pair of holdfasts. Numerous trips to Rockler for odds and ends. Another 5/4 cherry board because there was too much sapwood in the stick I was going to use for the door on my cabinet build. A few weeks of quiet, and then my first band saw. A Jessem Mast-R-Lift II and a hundred bucks for materials to build a new table saw side table to house the lift. A Veritas marking gauge with the fine tuning knob.

    I use everything I bought this year, and I looked carefully for the highest quality and best price for each tool before I bought. But itís also true that I have some items purchased long ago that have sat unused for years, like my Kreg pocket hole jig, the mortising attachment for the drill press, the circular saw, and jig saw. I have moved to different joinery and cutting methods, so I kind of forget I have them.

    Yes, Iíve felt guilty about my 2019 spending spree. But when I pick up me super-smoother 5-1/2 and it immediately whisks off a gossamer shaving, when I can rough-plane and thickness on the jointer and planer and quickly bring a board to mirror smooth and flat with the hand planes, what I mostly feel is pride in my growing skill and in the care and judgment that went into selecting each tool for its quality and purpose.
    Last edited by Bob Jones 5443; 12-30-2019 at 3:50 AM.

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