Tool Buying Philosophies

LET YOUR PROJECTS DICTATE YOUR TOOL PURCHASES

You'll be amazed at how much money you actually have to spend when there's a project in mind. For instance, I justify all my tool purchases based on the amount of money I'm saving compared to buying furniture from a store or hiring a contractor to do the work.  I've equipped a workshop full of tools, each purchased to complete a specific project.

For instance, my wife liked a $650 bed (mattress not included) at a local furniture store for my 2 yr old son. I spent $175 in red oak and I suddenly had money for a 6" jointer and 12½" planer. Okay, I admit, the lumber ($175) + jointer ($450) + planer ($400) was a bit more than the store bought bed, but the bed I made is solid oak compared to the plywood/poplar beds in stores.  Then we needed a garden shed. A good 8'x12' one (not those flimsy prebuilt ones) built on my site would cost over $1200. I spent just over $500 in materials.  The $700 savings allowed me to buy a Porter-Cable 447 7¼" saw and a Makita LS1220 12" compound miter saw.  Cost of both was under $450.  Plus the shed was a fun project.  Even my 2½ yr old son was involved as he enjoyed hammering in the nails!

BUY WELL AND BUY ONCE
Think you're saving money buying a less expensive tool?  How much will you have spent in total after you replace that tool in a few years?  Buy the best you can afford and keep it a lifetime.  It's actually less expensive in the long run.

BUY MORE THAN YOU THINK YOU'LL NEED
It's easy to outgrow a tool.  If your woodworking abilities grow, and that's why we do it, you may wish you'd bought that bigger saw sooner than you think.

TOOLS, MONEY AND REGRETS
Spend a few extra bucks and get a good tool and you'll quickly forget how much you paid for it. Save a few bucks and buy a cheaper tool and you'll be reminded how much you paid every time you use it.

FOUND MONEY PHILOSOPHY
The money you save doing a project yourself is an easy way to "find" money that can be used towards a tool purchase. But over the years I have come up with several others way to find money.  I must admit, I've often been accused of "going overboard".

  • When I have another large cash requirement I sometimes use that to justify spending a little bit more on a tool. For instance, $280 for a dust collection unit suddenly doesn't seem like alot compared to $2800 for home property taxes.
  • When driving my car just a little over the speed limit through a speed trap, I breath a sigh of relief when I see they have pulled over the other guy and not me. Then I quickly figure out what tool the $100+ I just saved by NOT getting a ticket will buy. Not getting a ticket is "found" money and "found" money can buy tools. I know... it's a sickness.
  • Figure out what I can build for my wife that will necessitate buying a new tool. Watch closely:

in order to make a I'll need to do it properly.

SUPPORT GOOD BUSINESS
I have purchased tools, machinery and accessories from dozens of places and when I do, I try to support businesses I believe in. That's why much of my machinery was purchased at Redmond&Son.  And I like to help support BadgerPond by buying stuff at Amazon.com
 

CHOOSING BRANDS
This is a hotly debated issue to which I'll dedicate a whole article.
Go back to the main menu and look for the Tool Brand article.
 

© 2008 Mark Goodall