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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-31-2015, 09:07 AM Thread Starter
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Default What tools to buy.

It seems like every day there is a question on what tool to buy and like everything else in life everyone has their own opinion. Often times people base their opinions on what they have and by nature don't want to admit that they bought the wrong thing. Or worse yet they haven't used enough different tools to make an educated statement. This is not a jab at anyone just a thought. So my advice to tool buyers is to first look at your birth certificate. If you have another 30 or 40 years to go then buy the very best tool that you can afford. If You are lucky you may find a used tool on Craigslist that is perfect for what you need. Always buy a brand name and a company that STANDS behind their products. By brand name I don't mean Grizzly (this should start a heated discussion!) you will have many years to use it. If you decide that woodworking or home repair isn't for you then when you sell it you won't loose your shirt. Next if you need a tool don't try to get by with something else. Buy the right tool you will use it again in your lifetime and this is how a tool collection is made. In the grand scheme of things tools aren't all that expensive. A $300 or $400 dollars miter saw may seem expensive when you can buy a $100 dollar Harbor Freight one. But I guarantee that in 90 days you won't be able to sell that HF junk for half of what you paid for it. Another thing I'll guarantee that in 10 years you won't remember what you paid for that saw. Same goes for just about any other tool you buy. The only exception would be for expendables such as router bits. If you buy a set of cheepo bits for $80 dollars then you will find which ones you usually reach for, Once this is known go for the more expensive ones and you won't be disappointed. Then sell your cheepo set and go to McDonald's for lunch. One other thing and I'll get off my old soap box. Don't waste your time trying to make a box jig. It won't work like a store bought one and for the hours that you take to make it you could have gone on Amazon or Ebay and shelled out the money. Again in a year you'll have forgotten what you paid for it.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-31-2015, 09:41 AM
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Thanks Art. I only have a few years to go and I am buying tools like I will be hauling them with me to heaven!!!

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-31-2015, 10:06 AM
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While your sentiment is easy to agree with, it's easier said than done. I have a couple of points of disagreement, though.

Brand marketeers have been very successful in instilling the concept of "off-brand" as a bad thing but there are plenty of "on brand" products that stink. Some brand name products are clearly coasting or worse. I cite Delta as an example. Some have spotty products - Craftsman. On the other side, even Harbor Freight has some gems. You just have to find them.

Secondly, buying a product new means that you will take an immediate write down of about 50% if you sold right away. Maybe less but you surely won't get close to what you paid. Buy used if at all possible - when you sell it you get about what you paid for it. I have done this several times when I upgraded to a better product. Free tuition in the school of woodworking.

So, my advice is to read what people are saying about the tool in question. Not the brand. Use the brain you were given. Reviews are always a good starting point but forums like this are very helpful as well. Unlike the OP, I believe that most people will be honest if their tool stinks. If it does the job they intended it for, that's the important data point. Maybe there's a gray area where some bias optimistic. But when the positive comments outweigh the negative by a large margin, that sends a clear message. Bosch routers are a good example of that.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-31-2015, 11:02 AM
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First off, if I were to pick on a company to avoid because they don't stand behind their products, it would be Delta. As much as I like my Delta lathe, I no longer recommend it to people because of the issues that company has had in recent years. I own several Grizzly machines. I can till you unequivocally Grizzly does stand behind their products, and this is based both on my own experience, by people I know. In fact I have heard more disaster stories out of other brands that are supposedly top notch than I do from Grizzly.

What I tell people who ask me for advice on finding tools, I tell them to do their homework. No one brand has all good machines, and no one brand has all bad machines.

Not everyone can afford filling their shop with Powermatic, it just isn't going to happen. A hobby woodworker can buy machines that will last decades and have machines from a variety of brands and manufacturers, including Grizzly.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-01-2015, 09:25 AM
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I agree with most of what was said. One additional comment, after you do your research if you can't afford the best, get the best you can afford. There is no more frustrating thing for me than to struggle with a project, or damage it beyond repair, due to a poor quality tool. Been there, done that, won't do it again.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-01-2015, 11:28 AM
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I like all the advice. I personally try to do all the research I can on the tool I am wanting. Then I like to get first hand advice. I always look for used but haven't really found anything I liked for the money so I end up buying new. My dilemma is and will always be; what I "need" vs what I "want"
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-01-2015, 01:00 PM
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Hmm. I can tell you what I paid for most every tool I own, even the Crafstman RAS I bought in 1976! Maybe another 20 years, I'll forget, may even forget I have them. But, that is a whole 'nuther issue... will have nothing to do with how much or how little I paid for them!!!

Art, your bias against Grizzly has been well documented, so I just say most of my Griz stuff is nearly 20 years old and works as well today as it did then. No regrets on any of it!

Won't talk about Craigs List. Well, yes I will... BUYER BEWARE. I see stuff that cost more than original retail, stuff the "owner"(at least possessor) has no idea what it is or does, and stuff that isn't worth taking home at any cost. Occasional bargains do exist, but...

One time use? HF maybe a good buy! Some of their stuff is quite ok. Seen a lot of junk form Dewalt also! Pays to know what you are looking at.

Experience comes from doing. We all makes mistakes, thing is to learn from them. Second go round, you will have a better idea what features/quality are important to you. Oh and I can't tell you what is important to you. and most folks don't listen any way! Been there done that and hesitate to give too much of such advise.

Still the issue of "craftsmanship". You know, being able to get the job done well with what you have. Too many people blame tools for lack of ability!

Enough rant.. Buy what you need/want. Don't sweat the detail too much. Expect you are going to be wrong once in a while, we all are.

Oh, and there rarely is any "best" anything for everyone!
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I have found that hand tools are the best choice when I want to make mistakes at a slower rate of speed.

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Last edited by Dmeadows; 04-01-2015 at 01:17 PM.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-01-2015, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mgmine View Post
What tools to buy.
all of them....

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If only new layers hadn't been added....

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-01-2015, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Stick486 View Post
all of them....
...except the Chineesey ones...


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
GIVE A MAN A FISH and you feed him for a day.
TEACH HIM HOW TO FISH and you feed him for his life time.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-01-2015, 03:43 PM
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Learned right off that good ain't cheap and cheap ain't good. And some brands are not trustworthy and a few others are. I go through reviews before buying and have always bought new because I don't know enough to buy used and refurbish. I'm definitely over the hill, but since I had the dough, I outfitted my shop as best I could and the results I produce improved enormously.
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