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Jameshow

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I generally think buying cheap is buying twice. Anything titan or Holzman is best avoided.

Something's aren't bad like my Stanley fatmax drills. Better than basic DeWalt drills.

The red Makita range too.

I have a homebase Elu copy router which has been brilliant.

Erabur isn't bad I'm told...
 

Kittyhawk

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I'm not advocating cheap tools, just tools that are fit for purpose.
When I left school I started training as a boatbuilder and kept at it just a few years until discovering that going to sea was more fun than building things to go to sea in.
As a learner boatbuilder we were expected to have at least a basic tool kit and in those days, in NZ anyway, there weren't good tools or bad tools - there were just tools so I bought what was available.
All my smoothing planes are Stanley, rebate planes are Record, spokeshaves a mix of Record and Eclipse, chisels Stanley and Marples and saws, Diston.
Since I've had these tools now for 61 years and they have had a great deal of use then I say they are definitely fit for purpose and I don't feel the need for anything better in spite of them being regarded today as only mid range. However I accept the possibility that these brands may have deterioated in build quality over the years.
And deterioation is definitely the case with power tools. Way back when, I remember just two brands, Black & Decker and Wolf. Both were ok. Recently I bought a Black & Decker drill and kept it for two days before returning it - a truly appalling piece of rubbish. I think China is what's happened to B & D and thats sad. 50 years ago I bought this B & D 1/3rd sheet orbital sander, aluminium body, made in America. It's slow speed, big orbit and so powerful you could sit on it and it would still keep going. All its had over the years is new brushes. A quality power tool from a bygone age.
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When I kick the bucket these tools will go to my son and that pleases me. He does beautiful work, far better than me.
 

ian33a

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My motto has always been to buy the best that I can justify.

Sometimes what I buy is decided by the amount of money I have available and sometimes by the frequency that the item will be used in the future. Often a bit of man mathematics and feel good needs to be added into the mix - and that's where the approach can be questionable.

I see little sense in paying over the odds for something that will seldom be used. Equally, I see it as false economy to buy something of rubbish quality which will break or fail to meet expectation after being used a few times.

I'm inclined to think that buying a more expensive item may make the task little easier but it may not improve the outcome. The final outcome depends upon my ability, or lack of and this is demonstrated in my wood working, my cycling, my driving, my grass cutting, you name it ...
 

clogs

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just to say not all almost new tools / machines are dud's....
I've bought and sold a lot wherethe owner was just plain scared of em....

I have several jigsaws, routers etc....Makita pro etc etc....
then I used a Festool one....mmmm
so good but will not buy more of their stuff due to the cost....I'm 73 and will not get the value from them....
circ saws and practically all corded tools are Japanese (certainly almost as good but 1/2 the price) now with the exception of Hilti....
as an add.....My first Makita product was a mains powered jigsaw....used every day for 40 years...
IT STILL WORKS....
 

Devmeister

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The old craftsmen bought the best tools they could afford. And some were painful. A good plane could cost a week or more in wages. Many tools were passed down from others like relatives. But some tools were handmade for a particular job. Some antique English chisels simply have no comparison. But the tools in their kit were used and often taken care of.

Today we have lots more choices. I have bought my share of cheap rubbish tools for one off jobs cuz I didn’t think I would revisit the task. But I bought my share of high end tools.

The portable electric tools are often middle of the road cuz when they break, it’s hard to repair them. The battery ones are the worst cuz they keep changing the batteries. Getting new batteries is hard.

Hand tools for high end work…I will go first for quality originals. Then I go to lie Nielsen or Veritas. Many old timers would love to have had access to these and they would have been cherished as well.


I will buy a lie Nielsen often when the need arises. Not to just collect. This is what I hated about bridge city. Always changing up the line up. If a tool is solid and useful, it will remain on the market to fill a need for a craftsman. Craftsmen can’t afford everything but they will get what they find useful.

So you you often see the hard core guys with eclectic collections of tools that are a combination of cheapies, antiques and a handful of LN or Veritas.

Same applies for machines. Some of the best craftsmen are running machines that are down right old. New machines are sometimes bought to fill a quick gap on a job.

One guy I know with an Oliver 102 pattern mill was cleaning up a spindle shaft on a cheapie wood lathe as he does not have the work to support a fancy lathe.

So the tool kit becomes an evolution over time tracking his needs and his budget.
 

stuart little

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Very true, a beautiful tool and trying to live up to its undoubted excellence.

A lot of years ago I did a bit of cycle racing - nothing serious, just at club level. Our club president also owned the local bike shop and in his display window he had a beautiful Canondale road bike, carbon fibre frame, Campaglio gear, aero rims, the works and I desperately wanted to own it. He told me not to buy it. So I asked why not, was it no good? 'You're not worth it.' He said.
When I'd recovered from the insult he went on to explain that a top level athlete might squeeze out a bit more performance on it but at our level of ability I'd only feel aggrieved at forking out five grand for no improvement.
That counts amongst the best advice I've ever had and is always the cause of some introspection when down the tool isle of our hardware store.
The same applies to fishing rods ;beach casters in particular. The most expensive rods won't make your casts longer if you haven't the ability to use the rod's potential, don't ask ow I know! BUT those days are looonng gone now!
 

Devmeister

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The same applies to fishing rods ;beach casters in particular. The most expensive rods won't make your casts longer if you haven't the ability to use the rod's potential, don't ask ow I know! BUT those days are looonng gone now!
So what does that mean? I assume your catching fish now?
 

Phil Pascoe

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Times change. I know tradesmen who price a cheap breaker, SDS drill etc. into the job. If the tools lasts longer than the job (which they invariably do) it's a bonus - and if they get nicked (uncommon - people don't tend to nick cheap tools) it doesn't matter much.
From a DIY point of view, I've bought cheap stuff for particular jobs - one being a £70 wall chaser from Aldi (last I looked they were down to £50). It made perfect sense to pay for the tool rather than pay a sparky more than that to do a job we could do ourselves.
It's often cheaper to buy a cheap tool to do a job than to hire the tool to do it, especially in our climate - often the job will take two or three times longer than anticipated due to the weather. 20 years ago I bought a ladder as we were having a chimney rebuilt - my wife thought I was mad. I paid £80 - a bargain - and the local tool hire wanted £46 a week for one. The weather was vile and the scaffold was up for six weeks. I eventually moved into a bungalow and sold it (the ladder, not the bungalow) for £40.
 
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Spectric

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It's often cheaper to buy a cheap tool to do a job than to hire the tool to do it,
That is classing the tool as disposable, just like a cutting tool and is a bad way to use resources but then how have we got into the position where some tools can be cheap enough to be throwaway. Looking at this another way, the tradesman could easily do the same, rather than buy an expensive tool that last for some time just buy cheap and charge to the job, no need for new blades.

Maybe the better way is to buy quality, initial cost maybe more for a better tool but then it will have a higher resell value so rather than disposable it becomes essentially a hire tool.
 

AES

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To me, one of the most interesting things to come out of all this is the "fact" that many people, trade and hobbyist alike, seem to be "judging" (or perhaps "classing" would be a better word?) purely by using the buying price as THE single, or THE most important criteria. In other words, if it's "expensive" it must be "good"; if cheap, then it's always "carp".

Back in the "good old days" (no internet with comparison sites, no UKW, etc, etc) there was I think good reason for this. Apart from word of mouth (applying I guess mostly to tradesmen) and what was taught during apprenticeships, etc, plus the "recognised brand name" (again more or less word of mouth), that was understandable I guess.

But today we not only have places like this (where in general, members post unbiased "reviews" of their own experience with a specific brand and/or tool); but we also have many internet sites, both "professional" and "private", where people give their opinions, some quite reliable I think (others probably less so)!

These days, I think that there's more to tool/brand choice than "just" price. We all know of cases where "cheap" (or made in China, etc) does NOT automatically classify the item as rubbish. And other cases where "expensive" doesn't necessarily mean it's the greatest (OR will add "skill" where there isn't much)!

And especially the bigger companies, with Marketing Depts and marketing and advertising budgets, seem to trade on this by deliberately positioning products in price categories. I guess a good example would be Bosch with their separate green and blue ranges.

But as several have already pointed out, a lot of other considerations come into these decisions, like "how long has it got to last?"; or "how long/often must I use it/will that job be relevant?".

And last but by no means least, what about the pure psychological "pleasure of ownership?" ("bragging rights" if you like).

All in all, I'm just saying that for many people, the buying decision is a lot more personal and a lot more complex than we acknowledge.

AND I'm also saying that sayings like "buy cheap buy twice"; or "buy the best I can afford"; etc; is NOT always true/valid. Or not IME anyway.

Interesting discussion
 
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isaac3d

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People will also buy differently for workshop, home and site use - the risks of damage and theft are much different.

Wot 'e said. Smartwater is less than £100 p.a.
View attachment 137999 View attachment 138000
I like the idea of such technologies and I can see the advantage for companies which are obviously going to have theft-worthy items. However, for the average Joe, using such stuff, or at least putting a sign up saying that you use it, is an advert to thieves. "Valuable stuff in here! Come and get it, at your own risk."
 

Spectric

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The good thing about chemical markings is that it makes the item directly traceable back to you, both scrapyards and pawnbrokers are aware of this technology. I think it is a deterrent, does a scumbag want something that can be traced back to the crime!
 

CStanford

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My favorite "joke" (it's not really one though) is that people are buying very expensive tools from Japanese craftsmen who were 95 years old 15 years ago and 'about to retire so hurry up and place your order.'

And the purchaser of these fine tools still ends up making dovetails that have gaps at the baseline and at socket ends, where you'd need the services of a fine paring chisel the most (if you just HAD to have one). And this happens on largely rectilinear pieces devoid of surface decoration -- no carving, veneer, inlay, etc., where the joinery is supposed to be at minimum the co-star. A better joint could have been cut with a set of stubby Stanley Handyman chisels at $3 each.

When you realize that a knifed line forms the visible part of a joint you've decided to leave exposed, then the weight of the world comes off your shoulders -- or at least should. Everything else is just removing the wood up to that line. Not a soul in the world could ever tell what was used to remove the waste wood.
 
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AES

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Sometimes after weighing all the factors you buy because it because it feels good in hand and you want it. It makes you happy to pick it up to use and that tops everything else.

Pete
Precisely Pete. That's one of the things I was referring to in my post #30 above - it's what I would call a "personal/psychological" factor and often plays a greater role in purchase decisions - of all sorts, not just tools - than we often realise.
 
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