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Talking myself out of buying premium tools

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danst96

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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:
I had a dewalt set of drills that are made in the UK! I did burn it out very quickly and my Czech made one is better. But its all down to model.
 

Corset

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I too started with some pretty awful tools 25 years ago and have built up a fairly extensive collection of metal junk as wife calls it. I think having a bad tool for a while makes you appreciate good tools. Ie my first planes were some cheap ones from b and q and i could never undertand why they didnt work, then i learnt to sharpen and it was better then i bought a nicer plane and i realised that sharpening only takes you so far. I bought a cheap router which constantly lost depth (thanks wickes) and then saved up and bought a festool. Never bought another router or desired one. I worked out of a cellar for 5 years then got a house with a garage and went from a track saw to a table saw, again a massive change. I have accumilated hundreds of chisels in auctions over the years and have a set of plastic stanleys for wacking stuff and some jap chisels for finer work, some english paring chisels. However a sharp chisel is a sharp chisel.. I find having agood set reminds me that this is precise work. With plane i think its very personal, my most used planes are a number 8, a small block plane and a bu smoothing plane. However i used different combinations before this. I have a large selection of bedrocks that i have collected, i like them but they arent in real terms much or any better than a stanley or record bailey pattern plane. i collect a bit so i guess i am more into planes than some. One think i do notice if that DIY stuff in the house i find the bigger it is the more i use power tools and if i am using play or mdf planes arent my first choice. If i am making something from solid wood or its ornate i really enjoy slowing down and using hand tools.
I would also say when it goes wrong with a hand tool it rarely as bad as when it goies wrong with a power tool. But its easier early on to be accurate with a jig and a power tool than hand.or it was for me.
Prices i find are lower for hand tools in the summer on ebay as people arent in their sheds etc as much so this tends to be a good time to buy. Rust should not be a deterent, i find a good tool is often a bit rusty as its been left alone. However some of the over polished things on ebay look nice but have been affected by overzealous wire brushes, sanding etc rending their function to a lower level. In my garage if they arent oiled they can rusty overnight....
Personally for me the tools and the learning of what works is all part of the fun. If it doesnt work out sell it on, buy another one. Its amzing how over a 10 year period i have traded up from 10 planes to over 200. Just dont tell my wife.
 

Selwyn

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All you really need hand tool wise is a no 4 and a no 5 plane. Some second hand chisels off ebay (1/4, 1/2, 3/4), a thor mallet is good but a hammer is usable and then maybe a couple of decent saws.

You don't need to go ott. You can do almost anything with that lot
 

D_W

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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 set up a new Mexico made Stanley a couple of months ago and believe it didn't take more than an hour. It needed flattening and iron and cap iron prepared and was pleasantly good when done. Those two items are key to say the least when using a smoother. The really cheap planes sometimes have zinc or aluminum parts where they should be steel, brass or cast, and no amount of prep will fix that issue, and some are cut so that the iron can't be set to cut if the cap is set close to the edge.

(edit - looked it up - 45 minutes to prepare an untouched mex stanley. It did still have plastic handles when done, but not a bad feel, and it did have a relatively large mouth, but that's not something that would create any problems except when doing very short cuts like beveling).
 
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Sean33

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Hello,

I am just building my workshop and it will be finished in a month or two. After I finish the workshop and build myself a proper workbench, I have decided to save 50 Euros every month and create a budget for my woodworking tools.

My OCD would like to have all those Veritas / Lie Nielsen tools nicely arranged in a Studley-like tool chest, but my other tiny voice (and the voice of Paul Sellers) tells me that woodworking is not about that. Our ancestors did not have those 100 EUR / piece chisels and special 600 Eur shooting planes and they made furniture that was in many ways superior to the one that we are building now. They just used the tools that were available to them at that time. They were not obsessed with them.

For me buying premium tools is not about not having enough money to buy them. To buy a whole set of premium tools that I would ever need would cost me as much as one professional-grade big woodworking machine. In a few years of saving, anyone living in Europe could buy that set of tools. There are some tools, that I would need to buy anyway as a new premium tool. A vintage router plane price + import fees + shipping would cost me almost as a new Veritas router plane, so I would buy the new one.

If I let myself go the route of collecting only premium tools, I would become a tool collector. I would long much more for having the next tool than doing the actual woodworking with the tools that I have available. I have nothing against that mindset if someone wants to be a collector, but personally, I would like to enjoy the building process and not drool over the next shiny tool in my tool chest.

I do not want to buy rubbish tools from big box stores or those SOBA/FAITHFUL, etc. brands, just to save money. If you buy a square, that is out of square or a plane, that no amount of tweaking can render usable, then you cannot have a good feeling about your woodworking endeavors.

Someone once told that you should buy the best tools you can afford. Everyone could do that if they are willing to wait long enough to save for the best tools ( for some it would be sooner, for others later). But the question is do we really need the best tools? Do I need that 100 Eur/piece Chisel or 200 Eur Japanese chisel made by a master craftsman, if I can do the same work with a 10 Eur Chisel from Narex? Yes the edge will not last as long and there is no wow effect, but it will get the job done. Or do I need that no.4 bronze Lie Nielsen plane, if the old Stanley, that is properly tuned and sharpened will give me similar results?

Did you ever solve such a dilemma if you need all the premium tools that you see in so many woodworking Instagram posts from the workshops all over the world to make you a happy woodworker yourself? What are your thoughts on this?

Thank you.
In my opinion there are two answers to this, if you are making furniture for a living then i think the premium brands over time pay for themselves, your chisels, planes etc will hold an edge and be pretty true from the box and stay true for much longer between sharpening saving you time and money, also you have the ability to be able to sell them on if you no longer need them with more often than not a minimal loss. The sell on factor also applies to premium machinery and power tools. From personal experience i have bought too many poor quality power tools that simply have not lasted.
I you are a hobbyist then a lot of the joy is in getting that edge so it is a pleasure rather than a chore !
If i were starting again i would buy that premium set of chisels, square, block plain no 4/5 and utilise them to there full effect. Buy an extra blade or two for different uses.
Again from personal experience add tools only where and when you need them, its a very easy but admittedly joyful trap to fall into buying nice shiny new things !!
hope this helps

Sean.
 

Avery

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I work so I can buy better tools so I canwork faster and make more money to buy more tools. I work for the tool companies basically. But I get to kakw cool stuff with great tools that work beautifully and are a joy to use. Maybe one day when I've bought all the tools in the world I'll be able to buy something to wear.
 

danst96

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Maybe another approach could be, buy things as you need them? Its kind of what I have done, i didnt buy a full complement of hand tools from the get go, i have just slowly added to my arsenal as and when i have needed items.
 

danst96

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Yes, but I have in the past bought tools at a bargain price that I didn't use until many years after. :LOL:
True true, never pass a bargain by. But as a general rule, no point splashing out on a £700 Domino if you dont need it right now but if a great one comes up somewhere for a giveaway, why not go for it?
 

Giles55

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Hello,

I am just building my workshop and it will be finished in a month or two. After I finish the workshop and build myself a proper workbench, I have decided to save 50 Euros every month and create a budget for my woodworking tools.

My OCD would like to have all those Veritas / Lie Nielsen tools nicely arranged in a Studley-like tool chest, but my other tiny voice (and the voice of Paul Sellers) tells me that woodworking is not about that. Our ancestors did not have those 100 EUR / piece chisels and special 600 Eur shooting planes and they made furniture that was in many ways superior to the one that we are building now. They just used the tools that were available to them at that time. They were not obsessed with them.

For me buying premium tools is not about not having enough money to buy them. To buy a whole set of premium tools that I would ever need would cost me as much as one professional-grade big woodworking machine. In a few years of saving, anyone living in Europe could buy that set of tools. There are some tools, that I would need to buy anyway as a new premium tool. A vintage router plane price + import fees + shipping would cost me almost as a new Veritas router plane, so I would buy the new one.

If I let myself go the route of collecting only premium tools, I would become a tool collector. I would long much more for having the next tool than doing the actual woodworking with the tools that I have available. I have nothing against that mindset if someone wants to be a collector, but personally, I would like to enjoy the building process and not drool over the next shiny tool in my tool chest.

I do not want to buy rubbish tools from big box stores or those SOBA/FAITHFUL, etc. brands, just to save money. If you buy a square, that is out of square or a plane, that no amount of tweaking can render usable, then you cannot have a good feeling about your woodworking endeavors.

Someone once told that you should buy the best tools you can afford. Everyone could do that if they are willing to wait long enough to save for the best tools ( for some it would be sooner, for others later). But the question is do we really need the best tools? Do I need that 100 Eur/piece Chisel or 200 Eur Japanese chisel made by a master craftsman, if I can do the same work with a 10 Eur Chisel from Narex? Yes the edge will not last as long and there is no wow effect, but it will get the job done. Or do I need that no.4 bronze Lie Nielsen plane, if the old Stanley, that is properly tuned and sharpened will give me similar results?

Did you ever solve such a dilemma if you need all the premium tools that you see in so many woodworking Instagram posts from the workshops all over the world to make you a happy woodworker yourself? What are your thoughts on this?

Thank you.
I have mused upon similar concerns as you. I am sure every competent woodworker has similar thoughts. The standard I expect all my tools to reach is one of function. It’s my main consideration always. I really don’t care about manufacturers names, vintage, new, Poundland, etc. I buy whichever tool will allow me to achieve accurate results in a pleasurable fashion. I also have learned not to buy tools because I might need it at some unspecified future date. I have a good set of core tools, I add to them when I need a tool to effectively complete the project I am working on, and I only do that if I consider it is essential. As you say you are putting together a new shop so to speak, you have to ask yourself what you will be making and how you like to work? Then you might look at the most important tools which will achieve your goals and spend your money on those foundational tools. I have a mix of tools, some expensive some not. The thing they all have in common is that they function correctly and allow me to work accurately and happily. If it doesn’t function I don’t care what the label says, it’s not taking up space in my shop.
 

tibi

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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....
Thank you for your answer. It was not said in my original question, but I am more in search of vintage or modern quality tools that can perform very well (with some tool fetling if necessary). I never want to buy as cheap as possible just to get a tool. I know some people who do and I have been burnt in the past by their recommendation of a "good" tool. If I do not have enough money for a tool,I still can postpone the purchase and wait until I do have that amount of money allocated for the tool. The pity is that no toolmaker (especially the big box store one) do not write on its product, that it is actually a rubbish).
 

tibi

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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.
Thanks for the answer. I would be glad to know some good online irish sites where I can purchase woodworking handtools. I will save on the import fees from the Uk.
 

tibi

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The first time the bit in your drill comes loose, drops out & damages something valuable the extra cost of the Festool drill becomes insignificant, mine was a hole saw in a makita drill I learnt the hard way the value of a quality chuck.
I was never invited to do some repairs at the Louvre Museum, so my only concern is that I will loose the bit or I need to exercise some effort to get it back to the chuck.
 

shed9

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The ultimate answer will always come down to buying the best tools that are fit for purpose relevant to you and your situation.

I don't agree with the idea that more expensive tools will not fill a skill deficit as better tools will enable skills to improve. I appreciate that more expensive does not always necessarily mean better but in the context of starting out in an industry and the associated learning curve of that, this generally is true. There is nothing worse than soldiering on with cheap tools when learning and it often leads to people abandoning the process altogether. If you buy a mediocre brand tool and it breaks you kind of expect that to happen whereas you would be apoplectic if that happened with say a Clifton plane for example. This level of expectation in quality is pervasive and bleeds into all aspects of ownership, including use.
Within a non-commercial environment, buy the best you can afford or wait until you can. You will be far better positioned to learn the necessary skills with a limited number of high quality tools than you will an arsenal of cheap tools. It doesn't have to be LN or LV but if that happens to be the best you can afford then what have you got to lose? You are unlikely to regret it and even if you do you can pretty much get your cash back.

It always amazes me how quickly large swathes of woodworking forums will happily avert people away from the Lie Nielsen's of this world whilst in the same breath complaining that people won't pay the price for their own artisan products.

Buy the best you can, every single time.

I'll get me coat.
 

Jameshow

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I think Anant planes are fab...

I'll get the popcorn🍿

Probably make the football more exciting later....!

Cheers James
 

sometimewoodworker

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While I mostly agree with @shed9 waiting until you can afford a good tool for the job rather than just a tool that may/probably will, do the job, will in the long term be less expensive in money, time and give more satisfaction.
The skilled worker can often do a reasonably OK job even with carp tools, not so the less skilled where the better tool allows a reasonably OK job
 
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Ttrees

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I bought this 150mm Soba square for a tenner from axi.
One of the best value hand tools (new) that I have came across.I
cb07ce9b-71ba-5302-b9a6-22370d49008a.jpeg

I bought this nice stainless 40" ruler for about a tenner aswell.
I've since went to homebase and got another shorter one for about a fiver
the smaller silverline isn't as nice a finish as the fisco ones I had got before, and has only markings on one side, might not have bought it if I'd known that, but twas only a fiver.
SAM_4716 (copy).JPG

I've seen calipers not too expensive at around a tenner, I think this one was twice that, a handy tool to have for not much money.

Funny how you can buy some things and the tolerances are very good, and then maybe for the same money you get something just pathetic like some forstner bits in Lidl that would struggle to cut ice cream.
 

tibi

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I bought this 150mm Soba square for a tenner from axi.
One of the best value hand tools (new) that I have came across.I
View attachment 112623
I bought this nice stainless 40" ruler for about a tenner aswell.
I've since went to homebase and got another shorter one for about a fiver
the smaller silverline isn't as nice a finish as the fisco ones I had got before, and has only markings on one side, might not have bought it if I'd known that, but twas only a fiver.
View attachment 112624
I've seen calipers not too expensive at around a tenner, I think this one was twice that, a handy tool to have for not much money.

Funny how you can buy some things and the tolerances are very good, and then maybe for the same money you get something just pathetic like some forstner bits in Lidl that would struggle to cut ice cream.

With cheap tools, it is a big hit or miss. You might find a real bargain, but mostly it is that you get for what you have paid for. And you are not even allowed to have righteous wrath, because .... you get what you paid for.
 

tibi

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a very good example is a Starrett combination square. If you buy a Starrett, then you can be almost sure, it is a great product and will last you a lifetime. If you buy something cheaper, e.g. Stanley Rabone for half the price of Starrett, then you might hit or miss - and for me if I need to buy that stuff from Germany or England and I live in Slovakia, it is a trouble to deal with returns. So sometimes I want the best tool, just to make sure, it will perform its standard function to a reasonably good standard.
 
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