I wanted to start this entry based upon the success I’ve had in completing projects, not on a shoestring budget, but NO budget!! My wife is currently not working and is staying home with our two children, and we are squeaking by on one income. We’ve become very frugal and have found ways in this economy to saving money by investing in things that will save over time. Here’s an example:
My wife belongs to a group that includes numerous women who give each other Christmas gifts every year that average just under $10/ea. That start to add up when you figure all of the other friends and family as well. We saw in some catalog birch log candle holders that we both really liked and couldn’t believe the prices being asked for them. My wife asked if we could make something like that and I figured why not? I went out to the firewood pile and found some birch logs that were pretty nice looking and made a couple of different styles in a few minutes. She loved them. We went to a local discount store and found votive candles in glass pretty cheap. I showed my wife how to use the drill press w/forstner bits and we began mass producing these things in all shapes and sizes. The kids joined us in the shop with their finger paints and made ornaments from the trimmed off ends. We had fun and everybody who saw one wanted one. I have requests for next year’s presents too.
Since then I have found other “free” wood in my woodpile that I have made picture frames and other little projects for people for very little $$$ that they seem to enjoy.
I have also discovered that good tools are a Godsend but there are also “good enough” tools for right now. I’ll use the dirty word found around here which is Harbor Freight. I know, I know, but $5 for a 10 piece set of screwdrivers?? I mean how good do they need to be?? I’ve never broken one and I won’t be sad if I do. Besides, I could by lots of them at that price. Five dollars for a set of 6 chisels was not worth the $5. Their edge only holds for a couple of cuts and is not worth the time. I have their cheap biscuit jointer and have to say I am quite happy with it. I have made countless projects with it without any issues. I would be leary of dropping it and would love a good one, but for now, it’s just fine. I have more frugal woodworking things to discuss if there is any interest.