One of the first things that became apparent to me when the woodworking bug took hold was the price of tools. Well, that and how feeble my tool collection actually was.
When I moved into my own place for the first time, my dad gave me a tool kit to “Get me started”. This consisted of a hammer, multi-headed screwdriver, adjustable spanner, tape measure, a cordless drill and a paint brush or two.
This “kit” remained largely the same for 5 years. I added the odd tool once in every blue moon and actually used the tools even less frequently. This is the one drawback of having family members who have a vast collection of tools, it is all too easy to utter the words “Do you mind if I borrow……”
I realised at the age of 27 that I didn’t even own a decent set of screwdrivers or spanners, let alone a saw! So I decided to change this and get my act in gear. After all, what kind of man would I be without a decent tool collection, right?
It was at this point that I had to come to terms with an immutable truth: Tools are Expensive!
Being a staunch subscriber to the adage: “You only get what you pay for”; I am not willing to buy sub-standard tools, only to pay the price longer term by having to replace them. Not only for this reason, but there is something appealing in the idea of investing in and learning to master a good quality tool.
But buying good quality tools means one of two things:
- Buying relatively expensive, premium brand tools.
- Buying older, second hand tools.
Option 1: Obviously has the drawback of being a (relatively) costly venture, yet carries less risk in terms of the condition of the tools you buy. You are not likely to buy a Veritas or Lie Nielson saw and discover that the teeth are broken or the blade bent. If you do find these things, you can raise the issue with the manufacturer and the issue will be sorted.
Option 2: This is much more affordable; however it carries significantly more risk. Especially for someone like me who (if the truth be told) has no idea how to tell the difference between a bargain, vintage, decent quality tool form one that LOOKS vintage, decent and a bargain, but that is really a howler.
So I have opted to mix and match. I think this is the approach that many people take.
Buying tools both old and new means I can develop a decent set of tools in a cost effective way. Trying to draw on the experience and advice of friends and family in order to try and bag some high-quality older, vintage tools at a reasonable price. At the same time adding newer tools where needed/demanded by current projects.
In an upcoming post I will outline the tools that I currently have. As I add tools to the collection, I will pick certain key additions and publish a post featuring that tool, why I bought it, how much for, why I chose that particular tool and also its functions and uses. I hope this will be of interest. One of the questions I often have when reading other articles/blog regarding woodworking is regarding the tools used for the project and were they used as they are ideal for the job, or were they as the woodworker is making the best use of what they have available.
Hopefully I can get some feedback and suggestions about what would be worthy purchases/additions to the tool collection.
If you would like to read more about the tools I pick up on my woodworking journey, please click Here.