• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Talking myself out of buying premium tools

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

TRITON

Established Member
Joined
5 Oct 2014
Messages
1,060
Reaction score
550
Location
Sunny Glasgow
I hate my stanley No 9 block plane. It's never cut well, and thats on the flat. On actual endgrain,it's supposed design, it chatters like it invented the word chatter.

My fav is my No6 Record with solid tungsten blade and 2 piece stay set cap. Whispers through anything, curly to opposing grains, nothing tears out with it.
 
Last edited:

danst96

Established Member
Joined
21 Jan 2021
Messages
340
Reaction score
209
Location
Leeds
Find the video from Matt Estlea where he worked on a Amazon £20 plane. The time it took him to get it sorted, he could have got a Lie Nielsen for the time=money equation.

I think it's less relevant with power tools
 

mikej460

Established Member
Joined
19 Jan 2019
Messages
718
Reaction score
465
Location
Daventry
I'm fortunate to have a Lie Nielsen 140 skew plane which I bought in the states years ago and it is just superb, especially on end grain. The blade is a bit of a sod to sharpen mind you.
 

tibi

Established Member
Joined
27 Nov 2020
Messages
186
Reaction score
51
Location
Slovakia
Find the video from Matt Estlea where he worked on a Amazon £20 plane. The time it took him to get it sorted, he could have got a Lie Nielsen for the time=money equation.

I think it's less relevant with power tools
I have seen this video earlier this year, but it is a bit misleading. He tells that his hourly rate is 30 GBP per hour. There are countries in the world, where people cannot earn 30 pounds in 2 weeks or even a month. So if someone is from Nigeria or Bangladesh, he would rather spend hours tweaking a low-end hand plane than estimating his time worth 30 pounds per hour and buying a Lie Nielsen.
 

richarddownunder

Established Member
Joined
27 Jan 2015
Messages
323
Reaction score
34
Location
Palmerston North NZ
I enjoy using nice tools so have a few (too many), new and old but all good quality IMHO (Clifton, decent older Record, Ashley Iles chisels, Thomas Flinn saws (and some old Groves and Disstons). But probably one of the most useful things I have is a decent (old) drill press. Gets used all the time. If you cant drill a hole straight and accurate, problems arise.
Cheers
Richard
 

keithy1959

Established Member
Joined
30 Oct 2018
Messages
70
Reaction score
11
Location
Swindon, Wilts
I would spend money on premium sharpening and marking tools, and start cheaper with the rest. I would suggest getting the best sharpening system you can, and get lots of practice. If the blade is sharp, most other issues can be overcome. The difference between a cheap chisel and a good one is mainly it's ability to hold an edge. If you don't want to sharpen saws, cheap japanese or Hardpoint saws and treat them as disposable items .
If you have big/small hands a handle may be more important than the quality of steel. I have some good chisels but fall back to some cheap eastern european ones because they feel much more an extension to my hands - happy to sharpen twice as often.
Also, think about the things you are likely to make over the next five years, and how much time you have, and whether you can use power tools in those leisure hours, then identify the tools you are most likely to need and how often you will use them. You'll use a set square on every job, but a rip saw maybe 1 in 10.
 

D_W

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2015
Messages
7,588
Reaction score
1,148
Location
PA, US
I hate my stanley No 9 block plane. It's never cut well, and thats on the flat. On actual endgrain,it's supposed design, it chatters like it invented the word chatter.

My fav is my No6 Record with solid tungsten blade and 2 piece stay set cap. Whispers through anything, curly to opposing grains, nothing tears out with it.
The sole of your block plane needs flattening. There's probably millions of block planes waiting to be unleashed into a fit of fine work just by flattening the sole. They're made for construction sites, but the basic bones are there- they just need a little help.

I have an 18 that needed the same help and has butter soft blades to boot (I'm sure easy sharpening blades are appreciated on a job site). Finishing the tip of the blade with a buffer to bolster edge strength and flattening the sole made it capable of endless smooth planing of silica filled cocobolo.
 

Vann

Established Member
Joined
15 Oct 2008
Messages
1,931
Reaction score
73
Location
Petone, New Zealand
I'm fortunate to have a Lie Nielsen 140 skew plane...
...The blade is a bit of a sod to sharpen mind you.
It's the A2 steel LN insist in using for their irons. A2 might be better at edge holding on problem wood, but unnecessary for most woodworking. Harder to sharpen, and not as keen an edge as O1.

Cheers, Vann.
 

D_W

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2015
Messages
7,588
Reaction score
1,148
Location
PA, US
It's the A2 steel LN insist in using for their irons. A2 might be better at edge holding on problem wood, but unnecessary for most woodworking. Harder to sharpen, and not as keen an edge as O1.

Cheers, Vann.
It's dimensionally stable in heat treat, which is likely the reason their heat treater prefers it (not much follow up machining due to warping)
 

Just4Fun

Established Member
Joined
21 Sep 2017
Messages
854
Reaction score
232
Location
Finland
I have seen this video earlier this year, but it is a bit misleading. He tells that his hourly rate is 30 GBP per hour. There are countries in the world, where people cannot earn 30 pounds in 2 weeks or even a month. So if someone is from Nigeria or Bangladesh, he would rather spend hours tweaking a low-end hand plane than estimating his time worth 30 pounds per hour and buying a Lie Nielsen.
Very true, but this doesn't just apply in poor countries. Anyone on a fixed income could view things that way. It doesn't matter if your hourly rate is £300, if you don't have the option of doing an extra paid hour instead of fettling a tool, it is a false choice.
Besides that, if my "cost" of my time when doing some work compared to buying something were a good criteria I would never make anything again: I would be straight round to Ikea.
 

Keith Cocker

Established Member
Joined
27 Jan 2021
Messages
60
Reaction score
36
Location
Lancashire
Maybe not all in the same factory but certainly the East and China in particular, one day they will price themselves out of the market like we did and then some other cheaper economy will take over. One of our issues is that we have a very strong HSE which takes away some of competitiveness, they can do and use things we just would not.
Bat leather makes great strops apparently :(
 

danst96

Established Member
Joined
21 Jan 2021
Messages
340
Reaction score
209
Location
Leeds
I have seen this video earlier this year, but it is a bit misleading. He tells that his hourly rate is 30 GBP per hour. There are countries in the world, where people cannot earn 30 pounds in 2 weeks or even a month. So if someone is from Nigeria or Bangladesh, he would rather spend hours tweaking a low-end hand plane than estimating his time worth 30 pounds per hour and buying a Lie Nielsen.
This is true, but i guess it comes back to what time you want to spend working on your tools to get them to perform adequately vs actually making stuff. You raise a valid question in the OP but its not as straightforward as you make it sound. For example, you say that 100 years ago makers made a superior product with cheap tools but at the same time, so many of us claim old tools, in particular old machinery is better than the stuff made today.

I think your question is deeply personal to each and everyones personal situation. Yes you can use cheap tools to get the job done, maybe as good as an expensive tool. It comes back to what you want, for some people having and building a collection of expensive Veritas or LN tools gives them a great feeling in life. Personally for me, I would love to have LN and Veritas tools but I know i can get the job done with vintage Record planes and I would rather invest the difference in machinery I currently dont have and need or in premium materials such as Walnut because I love what i can do with it.

Furthermore, its a complex question because speaking from experience there is such thing as buy cheap buy twice, its not just an old guy thing to say. I also built a new workshop at the turn of this year, at the time I was unsure how much I was willing to invest into woodworking because I liked the idea but I had no idea i would enjoy it as much as I did. Because of this, i bought cheap tools so i wasn't throwing too much money into this new hobby. For example, i bought a cheap Clarke table saw for £180. I had it for 2 weeks before i tried to upgrade it by getting a new fence system and making a table which was another £140. After around 2 weeks of trying to make it good enough, i knew it never would be and i bit the bullet and got a big cabinet saw. I essentially wasted over £300 on that set up which was almost half of what I paid for my new second hand cabinet saw. Obviously this was my mistake to make and i was as green as the grass when it came to what tools i needed and what would get the job done and what wouldn't.

So to summarise, you do the right thing in one sense to talk yourself out of buying expensive tools, especially if you dont get that buzz from owning a big expensive collection. But at the same time, I think its important to not fall into the trap of just thinking all cheap tools are made equal and will get the job done just as well. For all I know, you might be a very established woodworker and know potentially more than I do about this so maybe my advice is flawed for you but I would recommend getting old hand tools from hand tool restorers because they have done the hard work to set the tool up and it will perform very well and at a very good price. For machinery, from my limited research, it seems that machines built in Europe between the 70s and 90s is modern enough but also built better than most others.

I think ive been bitten by the festool bug. Oh dear....
 

Phil Pascoe

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
21,468
Reaction score
1,747
Location
Shaft City, Mid Cornish Desert
Irrespective of the price level at which you choose to buy, I believe everyone should know how to fettle a plane because you should know how and why it works to get optimum performance from it.
 

jcassidy

Learning.
UKW Supporter
Joined
5 Nov 2020
Messages
320
Reaction score
213
Location
Ireland
Professionals buy professional quality gear because that's the means of earning bread. Everyone else can buy whatever they want... Expensive, cheap, Chinese, English, whatever takes your fancy.

My 0.02c, don't buy anything you can't sharpen yourself and don't buy anything you wouldn't want to break!

The Paul Sellers effect thankfully doesn't seem to have reached carboot sales here in Ireland yet. Ebay is a waste of time, everything is in the UK.

I recently picked up a 60's Stanley No5 with a broken tote for €10. A new tote cost another tenner. Apart from that, it was in factory finish condition, must have been dropped soon after purchase and put up on a shelf.

I bought Eclipse coping saws for a euro or two. Rusty chisels I don't bother with unless I find a R Sorby or something worth the effort.

Another rich source of quality tools for peanuts is auctions, I have a lovely Record No.4 that was in a carpenters to box along with a Norton sharpening slip stone which is useful for the wooden moulding planes I got also from auction.
 

Phil Pascoe

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
21,468
Reaction score
1,747
Location
Shaft City, Mid Cornish Desert
I suspect nowadays in many realms it's the middle market that suffers. I was brought up with the mantra if you can't afford to buy the best, buy the best you can afford - I don't think this is necessarily good advice now, however. I tend to buy at either end of the spectrum - although most of my tools are top class I've £5 tools that were bought to do one job that are still going several jobs later.
 

stuart little

Established Member
Joined
17 Apr 2021
Messages
137
Reaction score
54
Location
Herefordshire
Can you advise me of a brand where this does not happen?
I did have a Hitachi (or whatever they be called nowadays) & can't remember the chuck loosening on it. I also have an AEG which I keep for heavy work which doesn't loosen. What's happened to AEG 'stuff', I wonder?
 

Jameshow

Established Member
Joined
4 Oct 2020
Messages
1,210
Reaction score
555
Location
Bradford
I have Stanley I have used for about 5 years.
Good tools only let down by limited other tools available - Circular saw and jigsaw only.

Cheers James
 

stuart little

Established Member
Joined
17 Apr 2021
Messages
137
Reaction score
54
Location
Herefordshire
aren't most power tools made in the same factory these days?
;)
I have Makita tools made in Japan, China, Europe, & believe it or not, UK! Dewalt made in Mexico, China, & Czech Rep.
Although what DOES 'Made in----' mean ? A UK garden tool manufacturer sent their forge to India where the 'business ends' are made, then sent to UK for the handles to be fitted & "Made in Britain" (or UK) stickers attached quite legally apparently. It does seem there is no legal distinguish between 'Made in' & 'Assembled in'. Then again, what do I know? :unsure: :dunno:
 

Latest posts

Top