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Robert Culver
11-06-2010, 3:29 PM
I got to say I have been watching another thread and may have made a statement that upset some one I'm not here to judge or citisize anybody but this is where I stand. I'm always learning and triing to pass on what I know what I'm finding is that some tools on the market are over rated and they don't really measure up to the price that is asked for them. Marketing has become very crafty with the use of the internent and new people are sometimes mislead by this. If you a new person and want to get into hand tools buy a good tool and use it and learn how it works that is going to be what helps you the most. A quality tool will improve your work but be sure that's what your getting for your money be careful of sales pitches and don't get sucked in. You make the tool work the tool don't make you. My appologys for any misunderstandings.

Brian Kent
11-06-2010, 3:44 PM
Good post. I will add to that the value of a community like Sawmill Creek to sort out hype from value. I also like tool comparisons by Fine Woodworking and other sources to give me a head start on what is really worth buying and using.

Jim Koepke
11-06-2010, 4:00 PM
Robert,

I think you have a level headed approach to your take on tools.

Even when I was working, I was not quick to spend money on a new shiny tool. I was always looking for the tool that only required some time to tune. It may come from my upbringing when I often had more time than money.

For someone who does not have a lot of free time to invest into an old tool, the pleasures and learning offered on the path of the rust hunter may have to be sacrificed.

It is easy to see that time may be such a precious commodity in many people's lives that the time one would spend on a tool's rehabilitation is worth more than the few hundred dollars they spend to get something that works right out of the box.

jtk

Johnny Kleso
11-06-2010, 4:21 PM
I started out buying the worst tools and after ten years of refinishing old tools I am sure it is cheaper to but the best you can afford...

If I had it to do all over again, it would have been cheaper to buy the best first.. If you own the best their is no second guessing or longing as many of us are also tool collectors as well as woodworkers..

Tom McMahon
11-06-2010, 4:42 PM
I have read the out of the box versus fettling an old tool argument many times over the years. In my opinion it is a false argument. If you buy an old tool yes you have to sharpen and adjust it to work at its optimum level. If you buy a new tool, rarely do they really work to there optimum level out of the box, unless you are talking the really high end tools like Hotley. Also you are really just postponing the need to learn to sharpen and fettle, eventually even new tools need to be worked on unless you don't use them and usually they need some work right out of the box. For instance a while ago I bought a Lie Neilsen #4 right out of the box it worked but it left tracks, I had to relieve the edges of the blade and hone it. It is a great tool but it's not a magic bullet that will make you a great craftsman and it won't do any thing that can't be done with a quality old plane. There are also some things that some old tools will do that the new ones won't.

John Coloccia
11-06-2010, 5:23 PM
I'm finding is that some tools on the market are over rated and they don't really measure up to the price that is asked for them. Marketing has become very crafty with the use of the internent and new people are sometimes mislead by this.

And here is where the whole thing derails. You may think a tool is over priced but the people who just bought it and are giving it great reviews don't share your opinion. Bickering with folks that are enjoying their tools really serves no purpose. A better approach is to start another thread about comparing various tools and their prices. State your opinions in there.

For example, there are tons of threads comparing different planes, chisels, saws etc, and part of that comparison is relative value. They rarely get off track.

I guess I'm one of those guys that's been marketed to and fooled by crafty marketing. My shop is full of Lie-Neilsen, Veritas, Pfeil, and other high-end tools. In fact, there are an awful lot of people just like me that are 100% satisfied and feel their tools were worth every penny spent. I'm glad there are people that buy old or cheap tools and tune them up. What some of us are fed up with, though, is this notion that buying a new, high-end tool somehow makes us lesser of a woodworker, talking down to us as if we're all walking around like zombies searching for the "magic bullet" that will turn us into great craftsman. Thankfully, our ancestors had enough sense to move forward and design quality tools. I wonder if they had their own peanut gallery telling them to stop wasting their money and how a real wood worker could do just as well with rocks and bones.

Just my take on the situation.

Robert Culver
11-06-2010, 6:24 PM
Im not knocking anybody or any tool company. I have old tools and new tools and inbetween tools. ive done the fixer upper and the taker out of the box. I have been working with wood since I could pick my nose but Im still new at this because I have alot to learn. In my oppion there is alot more to a tool review than just saying buy it its worth the money. Pehaps to some people that is good enough but to a new guy that dont know jack from joe this is pretty vage. What makes it worth the money is what I would like to know? This is a pretty honest question? If i cant get a answer other than a vage one pehaps its really not or maybe it is. this is confusing? for exaple this plane is in my oppion better because you can adjust the frog with out removing the blade. Saying that it has a better frog just doesnt mean anything heck I may not even know what a frog is. If a plane is better because it has a thicker blade whats the beifit from that and how is it better than a stock blade. thicker is to vage. At what point of thickness does it make no diffrance anymore? Im not triing to knock anybodys fun I have been mislead myself im sure of it and im not even saying this this person was. What my point is is that if your new to this get educaed before you make your desision because what somebody may be selling you is of no benifit at all. When you ask a question make sure you get a answer that makes since. You see it all the time and magazines have even pirnted about it a guy wants to learn buys the best thinking its goin to make him a wood worker then next thing you see it for sale. That why I say learn to use what you have thats what makes you a craftsman. Also my point on what makes a person a craftsaman is very valid and i cant seem to see how im talking down to sombody who owns expencive tools if that were the case i would have to sell my lie-nielson plane to. But for the new guy understand there is no silver bullet.

Jim Koepke
11-06-2010, 9:52 PM
We all have opinions. Hopefully no one thinks my opinion is that your tools are the wrong ones if you are happy with them.

That is not my intention. Whether you work with an old rail road spike that you have pounded and ground into a cutting tool or you work with the highest priced tools man can find, it is the enjoyment of what the user can make with the tool that is foremost. If one can make some items to please the wife, family and friends or produce products to sell, then so much the better.

Many tools do get me to drool, but my wallet can not support my desires. In my opinion LV, LN and others make fine tools anyone should be proud to own. If anyone comments about how "a real woodworker" wouldn't use them, just reply that they have enabled you to do some real wood working. If you sell your work, you might even be able to say they have paid for themselves. Nothing beats BS like reality.

Just an example of opinions, a well known authority on planes does not think much of the #6 size plane. He also thinks the #102 is a piece of junk. He likely has good reason to have these opinions. That does not stop me or anyone else from using and liking our #6 planes. Nor does it stop me from finding lots of uses for that cheap little piece of junk #102.

john brenton
11-06-2010, 9:58 PM
It sucks to be misunderstood and piss people off. I'm amazed I haven't done that in this forum...yet.

I'm not sure what tools or gimmicks you might be talking about, but most of the expensive tools I see (with the exception of that 500 dollar saw) are reasonably priced. I think the old saying went something like "find a way to improve ther toaster and they'll beat down your door.". I know its not the but its something similar. These makers decided that they wanted to take up the noble art of toolmaking and s super kudos to the guys like Lie-Nielson that are not only making a great product (so I've heard) but clearly believe in good ol fashioned customer service. What do we expect these guys to do...NOT talk up their prduct? NOT go for the product placement in the books, vids and mags?
They have to talk up their stuff, like making you believe that somehow the tool your grapndpa made his furniture with needed a thicker iron. There's nothing wrong with any of that. They are putting people to work to build quality tools. God bless the USA. Seriously. When you do the math their tools aren't really that expensive, especially if you justify it by making quality work. If you're making simple pine shelves for the house with a 4OO dollar plane...well, that's your thing.

My dovetail saw is a homeade bow saw...it works great and didn't cost me a dime...but I'd love an LN if I could justify it. If I made better product or sold that product I'd go for a LN just because they're so nice. I agree that when it comes to any trade or hobby, you should go for used tools until you learn not to ruin your tools and really find out what tools you need. Once someone is at that point and they want all new tools that match looking all sweet and inviting in the cabinet...then good for themm

Nikes may not make you run faster, but they sure feel nice and if you can't run fast with them you KNOW it's you, not the shoe!.

Joseph Klosek
11-06-2010, 10:11 PM
Just an example of opinions, a well known authority on planes does not think much of the #6 size plane.

I use my #6 as a fore plane. Sure don't have a use for a #40.

We are all experts in our own shops.

I certainly can't begrudge someone for buying a $10,000 plane more than I can the one who spends 8 hours sharpening a plane iron. For most here and at other forums the journey is what it is all about.

I, for one, am glad to have so many excellent tools to choose from. This is a great time to get into woodworking with hand tools.

J.P.

Marv Werner
11-06-2010, 11:23 PM
I think I'm just a tool whore...

I just like tools. I can't remember ever not liking tools. I can't imagine living my life without them. I don't love them, but I sure would miss them if they were suddenly gone. One time I misplaced a favorite rasp. I thought about that rasp nearly everyday. I searched and searched for it for several weeks. I finally gave up and considered it gone forever. It was sad. It was hard to accept the fact that it was actually gone. I pictured it in some damp place just rusting away. It was a cheap rasp that I had bought at Sears in one of those plastic pouches that opens at the top. I still had the pouch, but no rasp. I kept the pouch hanging on it's peg, among many other hangable tools. The pouch brought back memories of when I used that tool on one of my favorite saw handles. They were good memories, so I just kept the pouch hanging around. I didn't use the pouch for any other tool, that just wouldn't have been right.

Years went by. I had bought another rasp, because I needed one, but the new one just wasn't the same. It was ok, and did a fair job but just not the same. Every time I used the new one, I couldn't help but think about my old favorite.

I'm not one to spend a lot of time cleaning up my messy shop. After an extended time of wading through the mounds of sawdust and wood chips and other misc. debris, I finally got enough ambition to do a really bang up job of cleaning my shop. I started at the ceiling with one of those round spider brooms and took down all the spider webs. I backed my pickup up to the tilt up door and started filling it with everything that was taking up space that could and should be some place else. I have a boneyard on my property where I store stuff that might come in handy someday. This only means that I don't actually throw anything away. Hey, ya never know!

Well, anyway to make a long story longer, while cleaning and moving things around a bit, I happened to move a cabinet away from the end of my work bench. Just as I moved the cabinet I heard this barely audible little clink like a piece of metal falling to the concrete floor. Could it be? Naww, no way. Just as I was turning to wipe off the end of my bench, out of the corner of my eye, I spot what looked like a file handle down between the end of my bench and the cabinet.

To be continued: :p

Trevor Walsh
11-07-2010, 12:52 AM
I think a craftsman's work speaks the most, that's the endgame. I like old tools because I'm recycling something already manufactured, gaining use from it, without necessitating brand new manufacturing. (it's partly along the same lines as my ethical reasoning for working almost exclusively with hand tools). The only other thing I dislike about the "new tools" are comments from beginners, short on cash who have trouble starting because there is a price barrier to entry. For beginners I think rehabbed tools offer excellent fettling, sharpening, and opportunities to find what tools they will prefer.

At least that's how I did it.

James Taglienti
11-07-2010, 4:16 AM
I've got a lie nielsen plane. It's nice. And all of my layout tools are brand new. But everything else is old. I just like them better. And most of them are unfettled, maybe had the sole wire wheeled, and they work beautifully. I get a real joy out of going to an auction and paying $25 for a 100 year old skew rabbet plane that's still got cosmoline on it.

As soon as my skill level outgrows the tools that I have at hand, I will consider buying some more precisely manufactured instruments. If that happens.

Dan Andrews
11-07-2010, 7:06 AM
I use all older hand tools for two reasons. I collect antique tools and enjoy planing with a 100 year old plane. Also my budget dictates that I use older tools bought cheep.

If I had to make a living with woodworking hand tools there are definately some new high end tools I would buy.

I suspect that those who do the most woodworking do have a mix of new and old tools.

George Sanders
11-07-2010, 10:56 AM
If I could only afford a Hotley plane I might have one. As it is I only have some old Stanley Bailey's and Bedrocks. Along with a very eclectic collection of well known and unknown makers. Bought very cheaply by the way. Learned to fettle, sharpen and adjust by way of sites like this one. I have no frame of reference as to what it is like to use a custom or high end hand plane so for now I am happy in my ignorance and content with the results I get from my old users.

bob blakeborough
11-07-2010, 11:46 AM
I am a new woodworker who researched things quite in depth before making my purchases, and went the route of buying premium planes and chisels right out of the gate. I don't have a lot of money and we are a single income family of 4, but I saved up by sacrficing in other areas of my life and also inherited a very small amount of money that I was directed to use for pleasure and not for obligation, so when the time came to pull the trigger I was fortunate enough to be able to buy the goods I wanted right up front. I settled on a variety of LV planes, saws, etc, and a complete set of Blue Spruce Bench Chisels along with a bunch specialty chisels and marking knives from them, as well as other odds and ends along the way. Along with a few power tools (which oddly enough I bought less expensive in these areas instead of premium) I spent a total of about $5000.00 over the last 6 months which took me from nothing to a very functional shop. I could have spent a lot less over the long run if I hunted down older used tools etc, but I feel very good about my purchases and know that I have a quality set of tools to last me a lifetime, and to hopefully pass down to my children and/or grandchildren. In the end, if they don't end up wanting them, I know that one day they will be a fantastic "estate find gloat" on a forum somewhere for a some woodworker looking for quality used tools to start or add to their collection!

How anyone could ever be annoyed by the buying choice of someone else when it comes to new or used is beyond me. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but in the end, the only thing you should have to concern yourself with is whether or not you are satisfied with your own purchases. Sure it is nice to hear others share in your happiness with your latest purchase, but you're the only one who has to work with that purchase...

Jim Koepke
11-07-2010, 12:59 PM
Reading the opinions and wisdom of others is interesting.

If a person is finding enjoyment in what they are doing and are satisfied with their cost of entry, who is anyone else to try and tell them they should have done things different?

This makes me think about a toaster we bought a few years ago. Bought a brand that has a good name in food preparation equipment for the home and professional. After all, the price was good and the features looked good compared to the other models. Everyone seemed to be in the same energy usage area. This seems to have come under federal energy laws.

Well, not everyone does everything the same. My wife stores her bread in the refrigerator or on the counter. My bread is stored in the freezer. Anyway, no matter what I could not get the toaster to toast bread to the golden color of my choice without pushing the handle down twice. The company was called and sent me another toaster and a postage paid return box. The replacement toaster was exactly the same. For awhile, I was not a happy camper.

Now that the toaster has been used for a few years its controls are intimately understood. My routine has been adjusted and things are great. When starting breakfast, the heat is turned on under the egg pan and some oil is applied. A couple slices of frozen bread are inserted into the toaster with the shade control to the max. Eggs are then cracked and placed into the pan, any seasoning is applied and a cover is placed over the pan. The butter is softened in the microwave. About this time is when the toast pops up.

Since the design of the toaster has the outside elements closer to the bread than the inside elements, the bread is removed and the slices trade slots without rotation. This element arrangement is supposedly advantageous when toasting bagels or muffins.

The shade control is adjusted to about 1/3 to 1/2 depending on the bread being used. About this time another cup of coffee is poured and heated in the microwave if necessary. Also items are taken to where I will be eating and the toast pops up. Toast is buttered and the eggs are just the way I like them.

By adjusting myself, the toaster has actually improved in its performance and utility without changing in any way.

Kind of like some of my old planes. When I first started using them, they did OK. It was amazing how much better they could perform each time I learned a bit more about sharpening.

jtk

Chris Fournier
11-07-2010, 1:00 PM
Yeah like I'll be the one to tell you the truth about tools!

I personally like to buy new, high end tools be they stationary pieces of equipment or small handtools.

These tools still require a carefull "going over" to make sure that they are properly set up and came with all the required parts. Once they've been inspected tweaked and sharpened they are put into a life of service with no thoughts of replacement or upgrading - capacity excepted. I have invested my time researching each purchase and this is part of the true cost of each tool.

I have several friends who are the used tool/equipment guys. I love hear about their "great deals" as they always make for alot of good ribbing and fun. Their "deals" are always reported in the finest light - "I paid $100 for X, can you believe it?" At first I thought that they were onto something, a little time later however and I realised that they always seem to leave out some pretty pertinent details.

The $100 deal usually takes place at an auction sale. These sales take place during the work week. While my pals are attending auctions, I'm in my shop working - making money. The ratio of auction attendance to auction purchases seems to be about 10 to 1 for my friends. I never hear about the cost of travel, lost production time, buyer's premiums, shipping or lost/missing part hunting when I hear about the $100 deals! Likely because they wouldn't be deals if a full accounting was to be offered.

Honestly, garage sales for handtools are pretty much the same story. The used inexpensive tool junkie is out every Saturday morning searching for that great deal, not in their shop woodworking. And let's face it, most garage sale tools are old homeowner grade trinkets that have seen a life of neglect if not abuse. Most good tool collections are passed onto family as they are recognized to have value they tend not to end up in the driveway mixed up with the paint can opening chisels in the $0.25 pile.

In the end I think that a lot of the used tool guys are actually practicing a hybrid hobby which involves hunting for deals and amassing stuff that could be used to work wood, and doing the odd bit of woodworking.

Fortunately there's room for all of us in this world and I promise never to get in your way at an auction or a garage sale. I will however be green with envy when I get to see your deal of a lifetime Speirs shoulder plane that you picked up at a yard sale on a Sunday drive!

On a serious note, the time and resources required to properly restore even a pretty simple machine are considerable. If the benefit of doing so out weighs the costs then I think that a used tool can truly be a deal.

As I made out at the beginning I haven't offered up any truths here, just my twisted view on tool purchasing.

bob blakeborough
11-07-2010, 2:08 PM
Yeah like I'll be the one to tell you the truth about tools!

I personally like to buy new, high end tools be they stationary pieces of equipment or small handtools.

These tools still require a carefull "going over" to make sure that they are properly set up and came with all the required parts. Once they've been inspected tweaked and sharpened they are put into a life of service with no thoughts of replacement or upgrading - capacity excepted. I have invested my time researching each purchase and this is part of the true cost of each tool.

I have several friends who are the used tool/equipment guys. I love hear about their "great deals" as they always make for alot of good ribbing and fun. Their "deals" are always reported in the finest light - "I paid $100 for X, can you believe it?" At first I thought that they were onto something, a little time later however and I realised that they always seem to leave out some pretty pertinent details.

The $100 deal usually takes place at an auction sale. These sales take place during the work week. While my pals are attending auctions, I'm in my shop working - making money. The ratio of auction attendance to auction purchases seems to be about 10 to 1 for my friends. I never hear about the cost of travel, lost production time, buyer's premiums, shipping or lost/missing part hunting when I hear about the $100 deals! Likely because they wouldn't be deals if a full accounting was to be offered.

Honestly, garage sales for handtools are pretty much the same story. The used inexpensive tool junkie is out every Saturday morning searching for that great deal, not in their shop woodworking. And let's face it, most garage sale tools are old homeowner grade trinkets that have seen a life of neglect if not abuse. Most good tool collections are passed onto family as they are recognized to have value they tend not to end up in the driveway mixed up with the paint can opening chisels in the $0.25 pile.

In the end I think that a lot of the used tool guys are actually practicing a hybrid hobby which involves hunting for deals and amassing stuff that could be used to work wood, and doing the odd bit of woodworking.

Fortunately there's room for all of us in this world and I promise never to get in your way at an auction or a garage sale. I will however be green with envy when I get to see your deal of a lifetime Speirs shoulder plane that you picked up at a yard sale on a Sunday drive!

On a serious note, the time and resources required to properly restore even a pretty simple machine are considerable. If the benefit of doing so out weighs the costs then I think that a used tool can truly be a deal.

As I made out at the beginning I haven't offered up any truths here, just my twisted view on tool purchasing.

While I do 100% agree with your analysis of "true costs" etc associated with the accumulation, purchase and restoration of old tools, for a lot of people, this is a huge part of the fun! I can totally relate to why they would do it and I must admit that even though I have a bunch of nice, new tools now, I too will spend some time hunting garage sales etc looking for those fun little finds and look forward to restoring and tuning them. I think maybe even that having so many new tools also gives me a bit of an edge in that I know how they are supposed to be when new (or at least can say I have a realistic idea), so assessing and restoring an older tool may be a bit easier than someone else new to woodworking with no idea of how a tool is supposed to be at peak performance.

Yes you can equate the time fixing up a tool to money lost when you could have been working, but the same could be said for everything done in your spare time such as cooking, cleaning, watching TV, typing on forums or whatever. As far as taking time away from actual woodworing itself, well learning the ins and outs of your tools in depth is crucial to woodworking in it of itself. I do this with all my new tools too.

I guess I look at it like the guy who buys a brand new Corvette and goes to the drag races with it vs the guy who finds a cool old muscle car and lovingly and painstakingly restores it, makes it fast and takes it to the same race track. The old car may have actually cost more money in the end once all costs of time, parts, etc have all been calculated, but the level of appreciation may be different. While the Corvette guy just doesn't have the time or inclination to spend the time to fix up the older car, the newer car gives him the same ability to compete and have fun while still having a life outside his hobby... Neither is wrong and both are right...

Mark Dorman
11-07-2010, 2:50 PM
[QUOTE=Trevor Walsh; I think a craftsman's work speaks the most, that's the endgame.

I agree with Trevor your work speaks not the tools. (well I did hear a #40 calling my name at an auction yesterday) Maybe it's not your work but your work ethic that makes you a Craftsman. Marv's quote about doing what you knew then and now that I know better I do better says a lot. if you do your best with what tools (and knowledge is a tool) you have and then use what you learned to do better; is that what a craftsman is? If knowledge is a tool then am I less or more of a craftsman because I'm learning to cut dovetails on my own rather than pay to learn at a school? The answer is I'm learning; it's not about the money spent or not spent but the time and effort put into improvment that counts.

Off to the shop to learn about my #40 and interduce it to some white oak. Mark

george wilson
11-07-2010, 2:59 PM
I cannot begin to imagine how many hours I must have spent over the years reconditioning or restoring tools and machines. I don't do it much anymore due to arthritis,back,and neck trouble,etc.. I think it's all been good,though. Made me more skillful,and more careful about what I pick up.too!!:) Why,I even end up selling valuable stuff off cheap to some guys because I never get around to using it!!:)

Chris,you aren't exactly a machine restorer virgin,either!!.

Mark Baldwin III
11-07-2010, 3:32 PM
As a total beginner to woodworking, and not knowing any woodworkers, I pulled my grampa's #4 stanley and block plane from my dad's basement and figured out how to make them work. I watched some vids, read some articles, and played with the tools. I like tinkering and figuring stuff out, so it's a lot of fun for me. One of these days, I plan on making something other than the cutting boards in my kitchen.
I will say, though...I like having my wooden planes, old stanleys, and my two LV's all sitting next to each other. Each of my tools is helping in teaching me a new skill.
This all started just because I wanted to shine up my grampa's old tools.:D

Chris Fournier
11-07-2010, 9:34 PM
Hah, you're a bit generous but close to the truth George, there have been a couple of equipment rebuild/restorations in my past. And as others have pointed out, the act of refurbishing/rebuilding/restoring is often a means and an end. What could be better? Woodworking has driven me into the arms of metalworking and as a result and I enjoy both activities more than I can say.

I do think that it's important to understand and preserve our past - saving old tools is a perfect way to do this. I appreciate the efforts of those that save the rusty stuff and make it work again.

I just had to try and keep the "thrifty" used tool buyers honest with a cheap shot...

george wilson
11-07-2010, 9:44 PM
I used to rebuild metal lathes and re sell them. I can attest that there are easier ways to earn money!! Early on,I rebuilt an old underneath drive South Bend that had been knocked over by a forklift,only to find that it was incredibly slow to get any work done on. That was sort of a waste of time,and really way too heavy for 1 person to handle,too.

Later on,I completely rebuilt a Rockwell 11" lathe. I had to recut the bed,and the cross slide,bore out the tailstock,make a new tailstock quill for it,and lower the quick change gearbox and leadscrew to match the half nuts after machining the bed down. The lathe looked good,but had only been used for polishing brass candlestick castings for many years,and was completely worn out so badly it would not cut metal at all!!! It just wasn't worth what I got for it when it was finished,though it was more accurate than when new.

There have been several other machines along the way. I just spent 3 years re doing my 1964 HLVH,which I enjoy using a lot. Most of the time,it just is a lot of trouble.

Kirk Poore
11-08-2010, 12:38 AM
I've bought very few tools just because they were cool. Some of my early hand tool purchases were stuff I thought I needed but have rarely used. But once I figured out what I needed and how to use what I had, I only bought what I needed when I needed it or when an extraordinary deal came along on something I planned on getting in the future. I've bought almost all my hand tools new (because I got them before I got on the internet in a big way), but almost all my machines are used. By learning how to do things like change bearings, I have been able to take advantage of the great bargains that come along. Sure, I'm not a career woodworker. But I've paid for all my tools with my woodworking, and almost every machine that's in my shop is used at least weekly.

Kirk

Chris Fournier
11-08-2010, 9:58 AM
Bad bearings foretell of a potential great deal!

Now re-building metal lathes for profit, that would be a horse of another colour. Perhaps I understand why your back slows you down just a bit these days George!

Jonathan McCullough
11-08-2010, 12:03 PM
A wise man once advised a young person to always use the right tool for the job, not unlike "a place for everything and everything in its place." A paint can lid is obviously the wrong place for a chisel. But I think the side of a dado is the wrong place for a chisel; for that you need a side rabbet plane, as someone asked about here recently, and you don't really need a side rabbet plane until you do, and then nothing else will do. Sometimes when I'm doing something, I wish I had the right tool, and have to stop everything to get it, whether it's in my shop or not. Other times when I'm rust hunting, I see something peculiar and know that when I need it, nothing else will do, so I get it. I found a No. 113 compass plane this summer for a pretty good price and still haven't fixed it up or had a use for it. But now that I have it, projects that I could have done come to mind, and I now do not dismiss out of hand future projects that could incorporate a compass plane. I think other people recognize this too, which partially explains the premium for peculiar, specialized, but highly useful tools on the used market.

I think the difference between used versus new should be principally based on, "does it work?" Often a rusty old plane really doesn't. For the price of buying my first plane, an old WWII-era Bailey No. 4, and fixing it up, I learned not only how to maintain a bench plane, but how the plane really worked as well as how to adjust it. If I got it for ten bucks, and someone bought a beautiful and expensive premium new plane (I have some of those too), should I call that guy be a chump? I forget who said it, but etiquette is not knowing which fork to use, but the skill of making the people around you feel comfortable, regardless of the social context. People get hostile and defensive when you tell them they've wasted good money like a spendthrift libertine. And people also get hostile and defensive when you tell them they're cheap trash. Some people think that Breese or Holtley planes really are the last word. Other people think you can get the same or similar results for 1/20th the price. They're probably both right. What's useful is discovering the difference based on empirical evidence. Experience. Actual use of the actual tools. Do they work? That and the techniques to use them.

John Coloccia
11-08-2010, 2:47 PM
FWIW, I just picked up a junky old Hercules (Sargent) plane that was a total wreck, but I got it for $15 and it works beautifully as a scrub/jack plane. It's a total trainwreck for anything else, though.

David Keller NC
11-09-2010, 12:31 AM
I'm always learning and triing to pass on what I know what I'm finding is that some tools on the market are over rated and they don't really measure up to the price that is asked for them. Marketing has become very crafty with the use of the internent and new people are sometimes mislead by this.

Robert - I'm not sure which thread you're referring too. But one thing to realize when looking at this issue is that for many of us, getting the absolute maximum for our money isn't much of a consideration.

That doesn't make all of us that fall into that camp wealthy, or even well-off. It's just that many of us (and I definitely fall into this camp) get no thrill from saving a few dollars, or even a few hundred dollars.

One of the best analogies to this point is coupon shopping - one of my co-workers insists on me bringing in the Sunday paper on Monday so that they can review and extract the coupons. Personally, I'd rather bore a hole through my finger with a rusty file than clip out, file, and use coupons in a store. Yet, I often put off going to the store because I don't have the money for it at the moment. I've absolutely no doubt that I could go to the store more often, and get better coffee, soda, etc... if I did more comparison shopping and/or coupon & sale shopping. Nevertheless, I consider such to be an enormous PITA and won't even consider it.

Similarly, I will often put off buying a new tool until I can get a higher-end version, even though a lower-end example would do just as good a job. I have a couple of infill planes that would buy a fleet of Lie-Nielsens. Except in rare circumstances, the Lie-Nielsens would do just as good a job. Similarly, I've a few Lie-Nielsens that would buy at least a handful of vintage Stanleys, and again, the Stanleys would do just as good a job.

To many of us, putting out a good deal of effort to maximize the last 5% of value isn't a goal, it's a bother. Many of us wouldn't consider not going to a lot of effort to get the last 5% of value - they see it as "fun" or even "rewarding". Generally speaking, this division in preferences has little to do with disposable income.