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Thread: Justifying tool purchases for Hobby Work

  1. #46
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    Bird
    More people should live life the way you do.
    My Baker scaffolding makes the rounds also.
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 02-07-2020 at 4:33 AM.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  2. #47
    Only you can decide. Family budget shouldn't suffer for your hobby, but you should spend on nice tools if you can actually afford them and use them. If the budget is limited, you can get by with a few limited tools.

    That said, I really don't get the way a lot of guys seem to "need" to have a lot of what they think do. If it is a hobby, consider if speed is actually important. Also remember that good enough usually actually is good enough. When I need a reminder of that I remember what my Dad had in his meager shop and what he managed to produce with it.

    These days (post retirement) I have a better and better equipped shop every year, largely because I put some of the money it produces back into tools. To me it is luxurious, but I guess it is modest by the standards of many here with not a single Festool, Woodpecker one time, or Sawstop product.

    BTW, I think getting the kids in the shop is a great thing as long as they show some interest. My little grandson took to the shop as a toddler and knew the names and functions of the tools by the time he could say the names. You have to be careful and plan what you do with them in the shop to keep them safe, but I think involving them in little projects at an early age is a great thing.

    Worst case are the guys who can't afford their tool purchases and buy them anyway and then barely find time to use them. Avoid falling into that trap like the plague.

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Staehling View Post
    ...I really don't get the way a lot of guys seem to "need" to have a lot of what they think do. ...

    It's apparently the same everywhere, according to this response to a casual question in another forum asking a widely-traveled woodworker for his observations on woodworking around the world:

    "Buckaroo, in my experience there are more hobby woodworkers interested in acquiring tools than using them."

    He adds a few more interesting observations about the hobby:

    There are also too few recognising the value of both power and hand tools used to compliment one another.
    The most popular wood used for building is a timber species called Plywood.
    Australian hardwoods tend not to be grown elsewhere. There is wisdom there
    Woodworkers around the world are generally friendly and passionate people. "


    JKJ

  4. #49
    Good points John and Pete. "Need" is a hard thing to justify in a hobby. I think too many people have gotten into the habit of using "Need" for "Want" to the detriment of their bank account.

    That having been said, if you've got all the other priorities in line, what's wrong with a few extra tools? Just so long as we're clear it's a luxury not a survival issue.

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bird Cupps View Post
    I own a lot of tools. I don't justify buying them very much, but then I don't have kids. I know parenting is different now than when I grew up, but I spent lots of time working with my dad on all his projects. (And I'm a girl, so that tells you that not all parents got into the gender stereotypes.) Being with him created so much of my outlook on life, so I hope your kids get that opportunity, too.

    Today, if I have a tool I can spare, I share it with friends all the time. If it comes back a bit worn, that's okay. Those are my friends, and they mean more than any tool. My tile saw goes all over the place--some people just buy a blade and then use the saw whenever. My scaffolding also comes and goes. I'm glad to see these things get used.
    I have an extra Dewalt 12" compound miter saw & a Bosch jobsite tablesaw on mobile stands that I keep just to loan out. I can't count the number of decks, stairs, etc that have been built with them. If someone convinces me that they know how to safely use them they simply take them. If not, I come with them for the first part of the project to demonstrate safe use and to recommend ideas for their project.

  6. #51
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    Need and want vs bank account

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew More View Post
    Good points John and Pete. "Need" is a hard thing to justify in a hobby. I think too many people have gotten into the habit of using "Need" for "Want" to the detriment of their bank account. ...
    Ha! I have "needed" this tool for a LONG time. Immediate gratification is so tempting but I saved for a decade due to the bank account thing.

    It will easily hold a 2000 lb log off the ground so I can cut woodturning chunks without bending over. Am I lazy or what?
    Also fantastic for unloading logs from trailer and truck and placing them gently on the sawmill behind the barn.
    Since I am elderly and feeble I got the one with heat and air conditioning. Am I spoiled, or what?

    trackhoe_20190916_190256.jpg

    But this is one of those tools that I'll probably wear out before it gathers rust.

    I know one guy who is constantly buying tools and machines and electronics. Six months later he advertises them on Craigslist. I have difficulty understanding this.

    JKJ

  7. #52
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    The IRS says $500 a month should go into your roth ira and another $500 a month for the wife's. Pay off any school loans first, no credit card debt, then fund the ira's. Then you have tool and life money to spend.
    Bill D
    Last edited by Bill Dufour; 02-07-2020 at 11:41 AM.

  8. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    Ha! I have "needed" this tool for a LONG time. Immediate gratification is so tempting but I saved for a decade due to the bank account thing.
    The kid is me is screaming that this is better than 6 trips to Disney Land, (and probably about the same price).

    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    Since I am elderly and feeble I got the one with heat and air conditioning. Am I spoiled, or what?
    Same. Spent about $1K adding spray foam to the roof, and fiberglass bats to the walls. Then a 1" foam layer, followed by drywall. Then an internet controlled mini-split with the help of a buddy who does HVAC. Garage is very nice to work in, and the bills are almost non-existent. I honestly cannot find the difference in the electrical costs.

    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    I know one guy who is constantly buying tools and machines and electronics. Six months later he advertises them on Craigslist. I have difficulty understanding this.
    Same. Some people just need to have something new. Nothing wrong with that, as long as they're not going broke, it gives me something to buy on Craigslist!

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Irish View Post
    My 9-5 is special education assessments. Keeps me busy and I take a good amount of work home. We're having our first child end of June which will add a completely different dynamic to our lives.

    Buddy of mine had a good point regarding spending money on expensive tools, specifically a festool domino and tracksaw. He doesn't have either and neither do I but we want both. He pointed out the time saved in setup and jig making makes these tools desirable and I hadn't thought of it that way really. Often time I'll spend half the day dialing in a jig or fixing a tool before I even get going on the project.

    Something like a domino or tracksaw significantly speed that up but at a cost.

    I'm starting a rocking chair and place I got my wood from, the seller pulled out his festool ts75 track saw to cut it down and I was blown away. I don't use sheet good often and when I do I have home depot cut them down. That ts75 would sure be nice and also be able to cut 45s in thick stuff like slabs and table tops.

    How do you rationalize a tool purchase?
    Hi Patrick, I'll be honest, there's almost an unlimited number of ways to justify hobby purchases. here are my most commonly used rationalisations

    1) It's a hobby, I spend money on it to enjoy myself, if I'm enjoying what I bought, it's justified

    2) As a hobby user, shop time is as, or more valuable to me than if I did it for a living, because I get so little shop time. Anything that increases my productivity is reasonable, so maybe a track saw would do that. ( I don't have a use for one however I could see where they would be great, same for a Domino).

    Diann and I often laugh about the "honest honey, if I had a $10K sliding table saw I could build you that bird feeder" approach. Probably more truth to that than I want to admit

    regards, Rod.

  10. #55
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    long ago my DW made me a deal that if I did work on the house I could spend as much as necessary of the money saved to buy the tools to do the work. This has worked out very well for all involved. We live in a house much nicer than we could afford if we had had to hire the work out, it is very unusual (in a way that will ultimately enhance resale value). We have much nicer furniture than we'd choose to spend money on. And, of course I have a very nice shop.

    The kids learned during this process that most things are doable, if you read books and research you can figure out how to do most anything. So when they wanted something like a bass guitar we just went out to the shop and built one. I think this kind of attitude will serve them well. Neither currently pursues woodworking as a hobby, but both know how to fix stuff and whether the guy they're hiring is BSing them.

    Finally, compared to my friends with sailboats or fancy golf and tennis club memberships woodworking is dirt cheap, even when you buy a few $5-10K tools. Heck, when we lived in MO I knew several guys with $40-50K invested in a bass boat.

    I haven't yet seen the need for a Domino, I rather enjoy making M&T joints. I have found a track saw to be transformational in how I approach projects, especially a lot of the platform and cabinet work I do in my volunteer role at a local museum. I just got my second green tool, a sander, when my old one gave up the ghost. It's not transformational, but I just used it for two solid hours and my wrists are not tingling, so I guess that's something.

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew More View Post
    The kid is me is screaming that this is better than 6 trips to Disney Land, (and probably about the same price).
    Just make sure your pacemaker is working when you shop! Unless you've been keeping up with these things the sticker "shock" might pack a near-fatal wallop.

    JKJ

  12. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    Just make sure your pacemaker is working when you shop! Unless you've been keeping up with these things the sticker "shock" might pack a near-fatal wallop.
    Unsure if we're talking about Disney World or the excavator.....

  13. #58
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    Go big or go home, if it doesn’t weigh 1000+ pounds then don’t bother. I just picked up a 2700lbs break Lathe that I’ll be making 5’ Diameter bowls with - fantastic! (I just bought it to show up my regional manager as he upgraded to a 18” wood Lathe. Unless It can be set up safely I won’t use it... Fingers crossed I can actually make it work)

    There’s a time to be practical and a time not to be, if you want something get it. Let your future self worry about ramifications....every thing always evens out in the end.

  14. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dylan Wall View Post
    Go big or go home, if it doesn’t weigh 1000+ pounds then don’t bother. I just picked up a 2700lbs break Lathe that I’ll be making 5’ Diameter bowls with - fantastic! (I just bought it to show up my regional manager as he upgraded to a 18” wood Lathe. Unless It can be set up safely I won’t use it... Fingers crossed I can actually make it work)

    There’s a time to be practical and a time not to be, if you want something get it. Let your future self worry about ramifications....every thing always evens out in the end.
    People turn big and stay safe.

    Here’s a little video about our late friend Lissi Oland who turned huge bowls. She used a tractor and chain hoist to handle blanks, mounted them on a huge faceplate, and cored with a chainsaw. I still have a complete set of her tools in an unopened box - a little piece of history!

    https://youtu.be/1PMEJ7rirso

    JKJ

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    People turn big and stay safe.

    Here’s a little video about our late friend Lissi Oland who turned huge bowls. She used a tractor and chain hoist to handle blanks, mounted them on a huge faceplate, and cored with a chainsaw. I still have a complete set of her tools in an unopened box - a little piece of history!

    https://youtu.be/1PMEJ7rirso

    JKJ
    That was a fun video John. I never knew you could turn something that big! Mark

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