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Discussion Starter #1
While I am admittedly still new to the wonderful world of woodworking, I can't help but feel that one of the contributing issues/factors responsible for my prolonged progress in starting/finishing projects is how I've become accustomed (more like "trained") - fortunately or unfortunately, depending how you look at it - to work within a financial budget.


Damn those pesky mortgage payments ... and utility bills ... and gas ... and food, etc.


What's worse ... Even when I have the money available to me to be able to go purchase lumber or tools or what have you, I'm often inflicted with the dreaded psychological personal demon ... pre-buyers remorse. :sad:



How do you all deal with your own personal budget-finance related demons as it relates to your woodworking projects and such?

:help:
 
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I just do it. Lol. Most of my projects are for my wife so its easier to scrape money together then listen to complaints about them not getting done! Seriously though, its tough. I have two expensive hobbies......woodworking and bass fishing, latter of the two being the worst. I reserve all my side work money for the two. One thing that helps is owning our own saw mill, lumber is basically free other then time.
 

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We made the decision for my wife to be a stay at home mom - it was a decision we both felt was a good one before we ever even discussed it. Being a single income family does sometimes have financial drawbacks, but the blessings of my wife being a stay at home mom are blessings that money can't buy. Eventually, when our son (and any future children we may have) are in grade school, my wife will look at finding a job. She's also looking at the possibility of starting to do in-home daycare for 2 or 3 children in our home, which would bring in some extra money.

In our monthly budget, we each get a small "allowance" that is listed on our budget spreadsheet as "free spend." Each month we each get $30 to spend in whatever way we want. That's become my monthly shop budget. Sometimes I have to save for a couple/few months to even make a smaller purchase.

However, sometimes I am able to make extra purchases. On rare occasions she'll approve me spending some extra money to make a special purchase, especially if it's something for a project for her or our home or a gift for family. I have had to pass on some really good deals on tools and wood that I've seen simply because I either didn't have enough free spend saved up or she wouldn't approve extra spending. It's tough to hear her say "No", but I've also come to the realization recently that if she never said "No", I'd probably spend just about everything I make on wood and tools, and that wouldn't be good.

One purchase that did work out in my favor this year was a bandsaw. I found an old, built in 1946, 14" Delta bandsaw w/ riser block in good condition for a steal at $150. I had a couple months of free spend saved up, and my wife threw in the rest of the money and considered it my birthday gift. Attached to the saw's base was an old Stanley 77 dowel maker the seller gave me with the saw since it was attached to the base when he got the saw. I was able to sell it on ebay for just shy of $300. I actually made money on that deal, and the money from the sale has allowed me to buy blades and upgrades for the bandsaw, as well as the parts and materials I need to build the router table I'm in the process of building. Was nice to get that - otherwise it would be months before I'd be able to purchase some of those things!

I can't really give a great answer to your question - I'm still learning how to deal with woodworking on a limited budget myself, but I'm getting there. It's not always easy, but when I want something I can't afford, I am starting to remind myself more and more that someday my day will come when hopefully there will be more room in the budget for my woodworking hobby. I'm also hoping to start selling the occasional item within the next year to help bring in some extra money for woodworking related expenses.
 

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puffessional Scrabbleist
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A lot of it depends on what you want to do in the shop. Working with exotics takes a lot more $$$ than working with softer woods..etc..

My wife is an avid garage saler (sailor?) and has been for the entire 35 years we've been together. Since`day one she would come to me before leaving the house with her Saturday map layout and a newspaper to ask me if I needed anything.

I've been through many tools in that time and I rarely buy new. So many begin this hobby with a zillion tools but never use them. They wait about two years and sell. The best thing is the price but I also like the fact when she looks for my list items she finds so many other things that were future list items. I won't bore with good deal stories but I have many.

On the money issue one`thing I did is find something that is fairly easy to make and easy to sell. I made kaleidoscopes to begin with and still whip up a batch if I need to buy wood or a new tool. A neighbor WW makes wooden condiment holders for restaurants. A good friends son worked his way thru college by making a certain bearing that they needed on his tiny lathe. Spend a month or so on $$$ stuff before doing the better stuff.

A last note...if you can buy a sizable quantity of something you need the price goes down. I'm very cheap, never spend money I don't have and I keep my shop full of wood and supplies using the above philosophy. My wife runs my shop finances separate from the house.

TonyM

if possible, trade for things. WW's always buy stuff they don't need.
 

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Understand the pain. Retired, fixed income, bills to pay like anyone else. Most of the accumulated equipment is used, a few pieces bought new. Other detriment - WW is one hobby, home machining another, and welding/fabricating another, to say nothing of an electronics hobby. Add in no real shop, just enough garage space to house everything, and wheel each piece out on the drive to use. Bad weather = no work! Make a lot of my own stuff also, such as:

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/alchymists-pen-lathe-build-pic-heavy-53142/

On the other hand, no boss looking over my shoulder, and if a project doesn't get done, there's always tomorrow. Or next spring......
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Other detriment - WW is one hobby, home machining another ......
I have been wanting to learn home-hobby level machining (lathe/mill) for years. Aside from the funds to obtain a metal lathe, mill or combo, the time-factor I feel need to learn how to properly operate these machines safely and accurately always seems the major procrastinating factor.

Learning to operate such machines via CNC would be great fun ... of course, I need to have the time to learn CNC programming - not to mention obtaining a CNC capable machine or retro-fitting an existing lathe/mill for CNC.


Well, I'm ONLY 44 at this point . . . I figure I've still got some good years left in me. ;)
Someday ... maybe ... hopefully.
 

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I have been wanting to learn home-hobby level machining (lathe/mill) for years. Aside from the funds to obtain a metal lathe, mill or combo, the time-factor I feel need to learn how to properly operate these machines safely and accurately always seems the major procrastinating factor.

Learning to operate such machines via CNC would be great fun ... of course, I need to have the time to learn CNC programming - not to mention obtaining a CNC capable machine or retro-fitting an existing lathe/mill for CNC.


Well, I'm ONLY 44 at this point . . . I figure I've still got some good years left in me. ;)
Someday ... maybe ... hopefully.
Only comment would be to start with manual machines -once you have them mastered, then worry about CNC. I'm only 71 at this point, but I still have a lot of things left to master! Try to find even a HF mini-lathe and mill used, and get started. The sooner you start, the sooner you become experienced, Just a warning though - machining is just as addictive as wood working. :yes:
 

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It sure does suck! lol Every time I buy a new tool I am already on the hunt for the next one. In a short time I have been pretty lucky to buy a nice collection for my home shop but still cant stop thinking about the next one:laughing:

I also am a two hobby guy and the other is expensive too. Bass fishing could put me in the poor house in second and or the dog house lol
 

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Pretty simple - you've trained yourself to be smart!

I only buy tools if I need them for a project. I rarely buy a tool "just because". Typically projects that I don't want to do, but the wife wants me to do, end up "needing" more tools! :) Gotta budget for that!

Curtis
 

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Man, do I ever know about the "pre-buyers remorse"! My fiancé is a self proclaimed "cheapskate"(her language is a bit more coarse), but when it comes to my shop, she's all for me spending. I always end up being the one to pump the brakes, as I have a history of being TERRIBLE with money(@ 21, I was making close to 6 figures with no post-secondary education, and at 31, I still have less than $5,000 in the bank), while she pushes me to get "whatever I need". Of course, we all know that the line between want and need is pretty blurry. I agree with some of the other posts; I keep all of my expenses logged, and try to churn out money-makers to chip away at the red, always hoping to reach the black. So far, I'm still seeing red, but as my shop continues to flesh-out and my skill set grows, profit begins to sound more and more feasible all the time. Of course, I'm not really trying to make money. I just want to buy bigger and better equipment and supplies!
As far as advice goes, I'm like a lot of the other folks on this thread; make a shop budget that fits into your existing budget and stick to it. Whenever you can foresee a larger expense, skrimp and save, cut costs in other areas of non-essential spending, and accept that sometimes, you NEED to go outside of your budget. In my experience, if it means enough to you, you can make it work. Good luck!
 

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I got tired of skimping on things and ending up with results I wasn't happy with. Lesser quality woods, cheaper hardware, tools that were frustrating to work with - this was my reality for too many years. And my skills really didn't improve in those years as they should have. I think part of the reason was because I often walked away for months or even years because I hated the results I was seeing.

After I retired I figured I'd clear the purse of the moths. I am enjoying woodworking more than ever and my skills have improved dramatically. My only regret was not doing it sooner.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the insight and words of advice/encouragement thus far, my friends.

Often times, it's not so much needing more tools as it is the cost of the wood itself.
Sheet's of plywood and/or mdf ain't cheap - 4x8 averaging around $30-$35 ea.
 

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haven't read all the above posts but

Here's one way to increase the tool collection.
Get a commissioned project with a deadline and a budget that you create.
Allow extra for material ...always.... and then budget some for the new equipment/tooling that it will require...shaper cutters, saw blades, router bits, Forster drills, a bench top mortiser, etc... Let the customer pay for it by "fronting" the money, like 1/2 now the other 1/2 upon completion.
Don't forget to finish it! :eek: HUH? yah, a new spray gun HVLP and compressor.... :laughing:
 

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I also am a two hobby guy and the other is expensive too. Bass fishing could put me in the poor house in second and or the dog house lol

Just think, with woodworking, at least you can make the doghouse you'll be living in!


For me, I watch Craigslist, and hit auctions. My g/f scored me a huge load of pallets (free wood is good wood, especially when projects made from it generate $$$), and I work in a high end window & door company, so the scrap bin gets raided quite often. I made a deal with myself to only buy what I can pay for from what the shop makes. This includes (at times) going without a needed tool as I was waiting for a better one because I had sold what I once had for more than I paid for it. Just like flipping houses, on a much smaller scale. Right place, right time.
 

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As an x aerospace machinist I have run manual lathes and mills and programmed and run CNC as well. IMO a manual lathe is far more versatile and useful than a CNC for the average DIY buff. A CaN C is basically a very accurate production machine but to spend time programming, setting up, proving out just for a couple or several pieces is not practical ( unless you have money and time to spare)
 

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It sure does suck! lol Every time I buy a new tool I am already on the hunt for the next one. In a short time I have been pretty lucky to buy a nice collection for my home shop but still cant stop thinking about the next one:laughing:

I also am a two hobby guy and the other is expensive too. Bass fishing could put me in the poor house in second and or the dog house lol

Tackle warehouse has a 20 % off sale right now....:laughing::thumbsup:
 

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puffessional Scrabbleist
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pallets and wives

I watch the docks around the Harbor Freight in Salem for pallets. I scammed two pallets made of purple heart. They came in from the somewhere in the Orient where it's like pine, I guess.

I know this is subjective but once I showed my wife that I could make better than commercial objects the money was always approved if I needed something. It's a great incentive to push myself.

TonyM
 

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This is one spot where I take a line from politicians.
I need something, a tool perhaps.
But honey I need a new, fill in the blank,
I need it for my next project,
"It's for the children!"
"It's for the children!"
 

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I have a big advantage in this field, my wife works with fused glass, has two kilns and numerous glass working equipment, can cut glass ten times better than me and learnt early in her glass career that you need the tools to do the job. We are on pensions but can usually buy the tools we need ( box store ).
 

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puffessional Scrabbleist
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drawbacks

I have a shop full of powered tools. This takes some planning from what I'm seeing with jigs and devices designed to help. But...the most relaxing part of woodworking, to me, is the use of hand tools. I'm not sweating cabinets or the occasional hunk of furniture. The cars I make are done mostly with hand tools. This concerns me a lot.

TonyM
 
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