frustrated... budget, tools, quality of jigs.. advice? - Page 2 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #21 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jousley
saw the tormek site.. so it only sharpens chisels and hand tools? no power tool blades?
What power tools are you thinking? A jointer jig is available.
I use mine for just hand tools

Cut it twice, measure once and it's still too short.
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post #22 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 09:55 AM
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IMHO. I would not buy a cheap tool ever again. If you just like tinkering and making bandsaw boxes and cutting boards a small table saw would be fine. I never wanted to be limited on what projects I could take on. Here are a few reasons to buy a cabinet grade table saw. More powerful motor. This isn't just for making cuts in 8/4 oak. It allows the saw to run at an easy day to day level putting very little stress on the saw. Which takes me to my next reason. The saw stays true and never needs worked on or adjusted. I have had my Unisaw for over 26 years and have never had to adjust anything except the hair line on the rule. Same saw as when I bought it. Replaced the rule once. The saw cuts at all angles over and over without worry. Goes from 0 to 45 and back every time. This also has never been adjusted. No need to buy a fence. It's also much safer to use due to supporting the material rock solid. Mag switch is safer to use and better for the saw. An underpowered cut or one that taxes the motor is a more dangerous cut. It's wont come out as smooth either. Runs the biggest dado head with a breeze. Options are not limited but unlimited. It's not a cost to consider but an investment to make. If handed down it won't require rebuilding and tuning like a Crapsman. My grandson will be able to carry on in the same fashion I did. Or my wife will have a great estate sale.

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post #23 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 10:07 AM
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Al, you wouldn't buy cheap tools because you can afford the investment. But many of our members will need to choose between cheap tools or not woodworking. I don't think anyone in their right mind would turn down quality tools....but for some it's just not reality.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #24 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryan50hrl
Al, you wouldn't buy cheap tools because you can afford the investment. But many of our members will need to choose between cheap tools or not woodworking. I don't think anyone in their right mind would turn down quality tools....but for some it's just not reality.
Well we've had this conversation before. People need to change the way their thinking. I get offers weekly for a no interest deal for two years. A $3500 table saw would cost $145 a month over two years. $36 a week. I could find $36 dollars for a life time table saw. Better yet. Get the saw, jointer and planer, that last a life time. And pay less than $100 a month for five years. Use them and never whine about a crappy tools again. Spend more time in the Showcase section than the How do I fix this Crapsman thread. Make your wife swoon over the new hutch and sideboard.

Did I mention the money you'll get from the not so big thinker that buys your Crapsman on CL?

BTW. I've been poor twice in my life. During one of those times I bought my Unisaw, 8" Powermatic jointer and beloved 13" Delta planer. Do you think for a minute I wished I had spent my money on anything else.

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post #25 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 11:08 AM
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Fair enough Al, were just going to disagree on this. If you can't afford the ***xx to begin with....a payment plan isn't the answer. But that's just my opinion.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #26 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ryan50hrl View Post
Fair enough Al, were just going to disagree on this. If you can't afford the ***xx to begin with....a payment plan isn't the answer. But that's just my opinion.
I tend to lean towards your side of the fence on this one. Buy the best tools you can AFFORD. Upgrade as the opportunity and/or need arises. But one doesn't need to be in debt to pursue their woodworking hobby.

I also suspect that many spouses would be more inclined to be supportive of ones' hobby when it isn't straining the household budget for payment years at a time.

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post #27 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 12:30 PM
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I understand budgets and tight money. We raised 4 sons on one income and the family always came first.

But I tend to be with Al and I came to his side of thinking the hard way, that is to say I wasted money on cheap tolls. As the boys got older and strained the budget with college, the wife did go to work. I started to budget my more expensive tools within the family's existing budget because I wanted good quality tools. I stopped spending money on my own comforts. I brown bagged my lunch. I pocketed my coffee money. I drank less beer. I did whatever I could to redirect my personal allowance to buy my expensive tools.

So the question for me was how bad did I want my tools? Tools are an investment. Last year I remodeled our kitchen and I'm talking a big job that could have cost me $50,000. We spent $14,000 in materials. I did 95% of the work and we now have a great kitchen.

Now that the sons are on their own and the wife earned her Master's degree when she turned 50 (another investment), I'm retired and enjoying my workshop every day when the wife goes to her dream job and gives us the insurance. She rarely enters my shop but she knows how valuable it is. Besides the kitchen, we have some nice builds laying around the house. And when we visit the boys, we see family heirlooms in their homes. When my granddaughter needed a dresser, Pepe built a very nice one with secret compartments in it.

I wanted my tools so bad, I went and extended my life expectancy by giving up all those donuts and coffee and beer. I now live on easy street and when I want a tool, I go and buy it. The wife encourages me to do just that and never questions my spending. But I'm not one to go out and throw money around. I've been living too long on a tight budget and some habits are hard to break.

So I conclude my ramblings with what Steve said. Buy the best tools you can all afford. Work within your family budgets, but look over the details. You might find that extra little cash that can amount to the price of a good tool over time. Be patient, talk it over with the wife (I never hide anything from her) and make whatever investment you can afford in money and time.

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post #28 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by TaleSspin View Post
Cheaper tools just means more work as far as I'm concerned. You pay more money to save time and make some thing less tedious.

What cheap tools make up for in price, they cost in patience and time (and ya, they might break more).
Higher price and/or brand name does not always equate to higher quality. One can be off on a cut by any varying measurement on a DeWalt or Bosch as one can on a Chicago Electric (i.e. Harbor Freight) sliding compound miter saw.

A little time, effort and patience can go a long way. One needs to tune up and align one's DeWalt miter saw just as one needs to tune up and align a HF miter saw.

Since when was woodworking supposed to be a speed sport?

TOM

Understanding that you may not see success instantly, but that all your good decisions add up to a cumulative success over time is what separates those who "get there" and those who don't. Every day you either get further away from your goals, or closer to them . . . Its up to YOU."
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post #29 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al B Thayer
Well we've had this conversation before. People need to change the way their thinking. I get offers weekly for a no interest deal for two years. A $3500 table saw would cost $145 a month over two years. $36 a week. I could find $36 dollars for a life time table saw. Better yet. Get the saw, jointer and planer, that last a life time. And pay less than $100 a month for five years. Use them and never whine about a crappy tools again. Spend more time in the Showcase section than the How do I fix this Crapsman thread. Make your wife swoon over the new hutch and sideboard. Did I mention the money you'll get from the not so big thinker that buys your Crapsman on CL? BTW. I've been poor twice in my life. During one of those times I bought my Unisaw, 8" Powermatic jointer and beloved 13" Delta planer. Do you think for a minute I wished I had spent my money on anything else. Al B Thayer. Nails only hold themselves.
I hear what your saying on buying quality tools. I've beat myself up many a times for throwing good money after bad. I'm old school and don't believe in going into debt for most items. I buy it when I can afford it. I would not put a table saw I use for a hobby on credit if we were struggling financially. If it's your livelihood that is another discussion.
My original post was when I bought power tools in 1975. And yes I'm still using them as I described earlier. I have been blessed and can afford what I want. I have bought Woodpecker tools for layout and after my heart attack a few years ago, I bring the tools to the work piece and am more concerned with dust collection. I have acquired a shop of Festools and wished I would bought them sooner. They are duplicates of my Makita's I don't use anymore and are an upgrade.
Money is not the issue. I have decided what I can live with and what needs to be replaced.

Cut it twice, measure once and it's still too short.
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post #30 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jousley
Hey all, just need a moment to vent. I can't buy top of the line stuff, so I have the HF sliding chop saw, a wannabe TB fence, etc etc. and I get so frustrated when I try to build something that nothing is exactly straight. ie.. I built a nice big cross cut table saw sled this weekend, all lined up using a square. did the 5 cut method, and off by 1/16 (which is a lot in my opinion). Then built a table top for my bandsaw to include a cross cut sled - measured multiple times. used poplar for the miter slot runners, perfect fit. attach to sled table, a bit of drag, but I fixed it. cut the initial cut... off by 1/8... It just seems lately that when I build stuff w/ my tools - it is always off a bit, and it drives me nuts. so I shut it down, and had a few beers. I have so many ideas, but I'm unsure my tools will handle my ideas. So maybe the question is... with the right (low cost) tools, and jigs to support - can you make quality stuff... (read straight and perfect)? Is this part of the learning curve? ie. I need to F#@$ stuff up to learn how to do it right? Or do you just have to have the nice stuff to make something exactly how you planned? Also, Please tell me what are the HAVE TO HAVES when it comes to marking and measuring tools and what have you learned when it comes to "what tools/measuring tools that makes sense to spend the money on." And I know that the higher quality tools will provide a better quality experience..etc... but that's not an option for me right now.. What do you do when you are frustrated with a project and want to toss it in the trash... OK... rant done.. thanks J
Honestly I never had expensive tools . Till this year I bought quality tools. Not high end but good stuff. I used a cheap contractor saw for years. skill saw. Cheap router. A lot has to do with your ability to make what you have work. Buy a aluminum angle block. Take time to fine tune all you tools. Invest in quality saw blades. I had a cheap bs before. Ryobi . It sucked no matter what I did . All my other tools worked fine.
Until you can upgrade over time .
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post #31 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 08:29 PM
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Good points being made. I personally bought the best tools I could, even took out a small line of credit to do so, but then again I'm a professional. If you're a hobbyist the same logic can apply but sometimes buying on credit simply isn't wise (Remember 2008.)

Another point that's been alluded to and I'd like to second is blades. Research and buy good blades and keep them clean. A $100 bandsaw can do a lot with a nice blade.

Also important is understanding what tools you need. I spent a decent amount of money on a mid range hollow chisel mortiser a couple of years ago. I haven't turned it on in at least a year. The router is faster, more accurate and makes a tighter mortise. That's a situation where I bought a quality tool, I just didn't need it. So really look into each tool you do purchase,

I'd urge the original poster to rethink his stance on hand tools. I've found that as I get better, I turn more and more to hand tools. Granted my shop is a furniture only shop, not a cabinet shop, but we still are using hand tools around 30% of the time on average, sometimes more. They are often faster and more accurate, ESPECIALLY when building one offs.
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post #32 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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As the OP, thanks for this additional round of opinions and life experience. In this economy, even with both my wife and I working, we struggled to get to where we are - ie.. no car payments, no credit cards - only mortgage and student loans. I will not purchase anything on credit at this point. But I have to remember I've only been at this seriously for the last year, and have just made my first sale. I think my current mindset is, as many have mentioned, that the quality of my tools will grow with my skill and experience over time. However, that begs the question, now that I think of it, will higher quality tools speed up that learning curve and produce more valuable experience. Will I be the same or similar woodworker in 5 years if my tools grow with me so to speak, or will I be missing out on gaining much more experience and skill by "making an investment" as many of you have posted.
However, I guess even if it does mean more valued experience with better tools - and I am not willing to purchase anything on credit right now - maybe I've already decided my path.
And great ideas also on skipping the coffee and donuts and saving that money as well. I guess I'll have to learn patience to do that. Thanks so much for everyone's posts - and keep posting your knowledge and experience, i'm learning a lot.
J
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post #33 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 09:52 PM
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Here's the thing....there's a difference between cheap junk tools........good cheap tools......and expensive professional tools....

For Example........Cheap 50 dollar plastic and aluminum table top table saw.....cheap junk. Your going to fight it every day....

Craftsman 113. belt drive table saw with an upgraded fence......its a solid saw that can last a lifetime. Is it a production saw that will cut 12/4 hard maple with ease....no, but for 99 percent of your jobs its going to do a solid good job. Financial outlay.....2-400 dollars.

Brand new powermatic, delta unisaw, or general international table saw......3-5000 and it will do anything you ask of it.......but you will likely only use 25% of its capabilities ever.


For 95% of us......the good midgrade saw will be a perfect match.
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post #34 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ryan50hrl View Post
Here's the thing....there's a difference between cheap junk tools........good cheap tools......and expensive professional tools....

For Example........Cheap 50 dollar plastic and aluminum table top table saw.....cheap junk. Your going to fight it every day....

Craftsman 113. belt drive table saw with an upgraded fence......its a solid saw that can last a lifetime. Is it a production saw that will cut 12/4 hard maple with ease....no, but for 99 percent of your jobs its going to do a solid good job. Financial outlay.....2-400 dollars.

Brand new powermatic, delta unisaw, or general international table saw......3-5000 and it will do anything you ask of it.......but you will likely only use 25% of its capabilities ever.


For 95% of us......the good midgrade saw will be a perfect match.
Very well said.
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post #35 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 11:09 PM
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Along with what Ryan said, a good mid grade tool is where most hobbyists want to be. The highest end of good tool lines are generally going to be great tools. But the price cannot be justified by most hobbyists. At the mid-range level, in general, accuracy and usability are about as good as it's going to get. Beyond that you're only (in many cases) paying for prestige and, perhaps, long term, heavy-duty durability. But the hobbyist isn't using most tools to the extent (time, load, wear and tear-wise) that top-of-the-line is going to make any beneficial or noticeable difference.

With cheap (low quality) tools, the problems will be things like: difficulty with holding alignment or other settings, flimsy construction causing poor cut quality, inaccurate gauges, crude and inaccurate adjustments, lack of accessories or the ability to add your own, lack of basic "features" and so on.

The real issue is that crappy tools hinder your progress by adding time and frustration to what could be much simpler operations if you had better, more user-friendly tools. That said, crappy tools can often be sufficient to get the job done. But if every little step of the process is tedious and frustrating you won't enjoy the process as much. As result, you'll be more hesitant to try new challenges.

Frankly, I believe the biggest obstacle to growth as a woodworker is simply NOT trying new things. And crappy tools can easily be part of that negative equation. In summary, skill can overcome crappy tools to a large extent. But good tools can make skill building more graceful and enjoyable.

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post #36 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryan50hrl
Al, you wouldn't buy cheap tools because you can afford the investment. But many of our members will need to choose between cheap tools or not woodworking. I don't think anyone in their right mind would turn down quality tools....but for some it's just not reality.
Well we've had this conversation before. People need to change the way their thinking. I get offers weekly for a no interest deal for two years. A $3500 table saw would cost $145 a month over two years. $36 a week. I could find $36 dollars for a life time table saw. Better yet. Get the saw, jointer and planer, that last a life time. And pay less than $100 a month for five years. Use them and never whine about a crappy tools again. Spend more time in the Showcase section than the How do I fix this Crapsman thread. Make your wife swoon over the new hutch and sideboard.

Did I mention the money you'll get from the not so big thinker that buys your Crapsman on CL?

BTW. I've been poor twice in my life. During one of those times I bought my Unisaw, 8" Powermatic jointer and beloved 13" Delta planer. Do you think for a minute I wished I had spent my money on anything else.

Al B Thayer.

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post #37 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Just an update - I trashed my last bandsaw cross cut sled (the one I complained about in the first post) took my time, used a more thought-out method. spent more time measuring and then measuring again.. I did the 5 cut method and I am off 1/32 over 48". that's not bad! and i'm happy about it! I think tomorrow I am going to buy some more accurate measuring tools than my aluminum square and tape measure. Let me know the must haves and i'm gonna pick em up tomorrow. thanks for your insight. and in the end, I found out my square was not square :)

J
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post #38 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ryan50hrl
Fair enough Al, were just going to disagree on this. If you can't afford the ***xx to begin with....a payment plan isn't the answer. But that's just my opinion.
Sure but we all can go out and buy a car credit and that's the worst thing to buy on credit. I doubt anyone can keep a car for 25 years and never have to do a thing to it.

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post #39 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 11:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaincarver Steve

I tend to lean towards your side of the fence on this one. Buy the best tools you can AFFORD. Upgrade as the opportunity and/or need arises. But one doesn't need to be in debt to pursue their woodworking hobby.

I also suspect that many spouses would be more inclined to be supportive of ones' hobby when it isn't straining the household budget for payment years at a time.
Oh brother!

Al

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post #40 of 105 Old 12-03-2013, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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wait.... 1/32 over 48" is not bad is it?
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