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Thread: Justifying tool purchases for Hobby Work

  1. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Wright View Post
    Ever wonder how the craftsman who built the furniture displayed at Winterthur in Wilmington. DE managed without Festool? Just sayin'😀
    The work at Winterthur was made with more advanced machines than any of us will ever own. They were voice activated and could literally do any operation needed for woodworking. Planing, cutting, drilling, scraping, joinery, finishing were all done with one amazing machine. I think thes used to them apprentices.

  2. #62
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    To the OP, 20 years ago, I used to ride motorcycles, big & expensive motorcycles. Some people would say to me “You could buy a small car for what that cost!” I would tell them “If I wanted a small car, I would’ve bought one.” My philosophy has always been, if you want something, and you can afford it while still keeping peace in the family, buy it. Life’s too short.

    I do my best balancing want vs need but sometimes want will win out.
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  3. #63
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    If I'm going to spend close to $1,000 on a tool, it's going to weight a lot more than 4 lbs. I don't see the attraction with the Domino. Maybe I'm a barbarian, but I'm not ready to give up on my Dewalt biscuit jointer.

  4. #64
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    Adequate tools can do excellent work. Excellent tools make doing excellent work a little more elegant or consistent or faster or maybe even easier. I see a lot of nice pick up trucks at the lumberyard. My Tacoma still hauls lumber just fine. Spend your money on what’s important to you.
    Who knows what stands in front of,
    our lives; I fashion my future on films in space.

  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    Adequate tools can do excellent work. Excellent tools make doing excellent work a little more elegant or consistent or faster or maybe even easier.
    True enough. Quality tools do help and are a joy to work with, but a master craftsman will always turn out quality work and a hack will always fail to regardless of the tool budget.

  6. #66
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    People told me my life was going to change when I had a child too. Blah blah blah. Life is change. It's always going to change. To me this is a hobby that I don't plan on making a cent off of ever. If I do then good for me, if not then I'm right where I expected to be. I'm older but still work full time and find very little shop time in my life. But retirement (lord willing) will be coming. If you enjoy woodworking then now, not after you retire, is the time to start getting yourself set with the tools you will need (and some of what you will want).

    A table saw by itself isn't good for much more than construction work. But you will most likely need one. You could buy a new contractors saw and get by but desire to upgrade or if you are planning long term you can just keep your eyes open for a used cabinet saw or possibly a slider. It could take a few years but there are deals out there. Some of the specialized tools don't seam to come up for sale too often and at some point you just have to make the choice to buy new. For example I'm looking for a power feeder. The few used ones I've seen look pretty rough.

    So I set up an account that has money just for things I want. When I have spare money I add to it. I try to never remove the money in it for anything other than woodworking tools. As you get older it does get easier. When I was younger I wouldn't spend much money on eating out and other activities because of family needs. That doesn't mean I never took vacations or spent money on the family but more just things like if there was a movie that I wanted to see I would wait until it was on TV. As I had more free money I would save it simply because I was use to doing it. At one point in time I would never have thought I could drop $3000 on a 20" planer but now I'm at the point where I can shop around and when I make a choice I'll pull the trigger without justifying it.

    I also suggest trying to learn how to do as much as you can. It depends on your job of course, but every trade you can do some of will most likely save you money. Unless you are going to rent all your life sooner or later you will own a house and it'll need work. 16 years ago I bought land and built the house I'm living in. It was raw wooded land and I bought a full size backhoe and dozer to clear what I needed and remove the stumps. I dug the foundation. The only 3 things I didn't do myself was the cement work (although a few years later I did do the cement floor and walls on my garage myself), the timber frame (which I helped the contractor), and spraying the basement walls with a waterproof barrier. Everything else was done by me and friends I hired to help me. I know everything about my house. The only things left to do is build the cabinets for the pantry (right now it's wire racks, build the stairs (they are just 2x's) and the molding around the windows and doors. But I specifically didn't do those things because I wanted to buy the tools needed to make them myself. At the end of the day I saved close to $100k by doing it myself which easily justified the equipment and tools needed.

    Life is change. you plan a course you think is where you want to go and work to get there. If you feel a specific tool is something that will make your life easier and fits into your path then find a way to make it happen. If your path changes, it happens, then hopefully you will get most of your money back. One of the great things about woodworking tools is there;s two used markets. The used commercial auctions were well used equipment sells for a reasonable price, and the used hobbyist market where tools are usually in great shape and most likely will be selling for close to what the owner paid for them years ago. Keep your tools in great shape and you will get a good chunk of your money back.

  7. #67
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    Where do you live? If all you need is to rip down some wood to size, while it is enjoyable to do it yourself, you could easily find someone.

    If you live near nashville, I will do it for free.

    Then buy a couple chisels and enjoy learning mortise tenon. instead of the domino.. But if you want me to domino out some wood for you, I can do that, too, for free

  8. #68
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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
    Wow!! That's impressive.
    I think it would unnerve me to be that close to 300lbs. of spinning wood.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Irish View Post

    How do you rationalize a tool purchase?
    I am at the other end of my career - still working 60 hrs/week, but with retirement definitely just over the horizon. I don't rationalize. If I want a tool for a job, I get it. One consequence of the last 40 years of those long work weeks, and almost constant travel for business, is that I don't have to count dollars for those kinds of purchases, and as I say, I'm right next to not having to worry about the time to use them, other than needing to do things quickly enough that I don't run out of gas before I get my money's worth.

  10. #70
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    Not sure if this went through, I think I hit private reply.. Anyways,

    Where do you live? If all you need is to rip down some wood to size, while it is enjoyable to do it yourself, you could easily find someone.

    If you live near nashville, I will do it for free.

    Then buy a couple chisels and enjoy learning mortise tenon. instead of the domino.. But if you want me to domino out some wood for you, I can do that, too, for free

  11. #71
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    Originally Posted by Patrick Irish

    How do you rationalize a tool purchase?






    Whine about it enough until the wife caves and just says "Go buy the bloody thing and shut up!".

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew More View Post
    Should everybody just abandon hobby woodworking and buy stuff?
    Thats always the response to the notion of quantifying whether making something is viable for the individual or not though its never what anyone is saying when they mention doing a bit of accounting for your time and the outcome. Its just one of many factors that goes into are you saving money, getting a better product, enjoying yourself, or any and all of the above. The choice is each individuals to make on all counts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew More View Post
    Not to be mean, but this sounds like a personal problem.
    Not in any way mean, spot on. I am not a fully equipped entry/passage door shop by any means. Was speaking more to a reasonably equipped all around shop with dedicated tooling. That said, there is a local shop here producing a lot of doors and even enginieer/stave core doors are far and away more than that for average slabs though commercial doors (read Chile, South America) are in that range from our lumberyard. But agreed, and its more to my point. The $500 door from my supplier would likely be 1200 through my shop and the pricing escalates from there. Joe C here would be a good reference to what a well equipped shop (not a door factory) could produce quality doors for cost wise.[/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew More View Post
    I suspect they may have a number of dedicated processes and machines, which I would consider a fully tooled shop, but you may consider to be above and beyond
    Or it very well could be that they have access to a line of commercial doors and simply buy them in and brand them as their own. Very very common though if they were completely custom its a different story. I can easily quote an entire home full of high quality doors and never make the first chip. Its no matter. The point is always the personal balance between saving money, enjoying making something, knowing your not saving a dime even with the tools, and being ok with it.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  13. #73
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    Such an interesting difference of opinion. Some of us are gadget guys, some are not. Do you need them? Absolutely not. You can go look thru the neanderthal section here and see endless examples of amazing pieces being made with hand tools. That said, if you can afford them, and are a gadget guy, have at er. My brother has a shiny vette in his garage and I am certain not a day goes by when he needs to feel he has to justify it somehow.

    I think the greater point is to consider if you will have time? The child will have a huge impact upon that. If you are building to save money, keep in mind that is rarely the case if you are trying to maintain a level of quality. If you are building heirlooms, awesome, but make sure your significant other has the patience to wait. Not all do.

  14. #74
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    5 pages and 4 days and the OP hasn’t chimed in?

  15. #75
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    I’ve worked hard my whole life and saved when others spent. I’m in a position now where I can afford to buy a tool or two if I want it. Like many have said, there are much worst things to waste money on: Eating out, fancy cars, booze, etc. Most good tools retain a decent amount of value, so you’re never truly out of all your hard earned money.

    As a father of two young girls, I feel like I am setting a good example. I build our own furniture, I reuse materials and make them into something useful and new. They also see me save my money until I can afford to pay cash for the new tool I want.

    I guess long story short, I don’t feel guilty about buying tools. As long as I have cash for it and I’m not robbing Peter to pay Paul.

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