I am a person with many contradictory attributes. I am a computer analyst with an artistic side. While one part of me wants to let loose and go with my feelings, my more analytical side will keep me in check and anchor me the other way. I look at woodworking as a hobby and I also look at it as potentially a way of life. Depends on which side of my brain I wake up on in the morning. I make a pretty decent salary, am a home owner, pay child support, etc. So responsibilities take a good portion of my paycheck and the rest has to go through, what I call, the justification formula.
I am an individual on salary, not hourly as some folks are. The negative of this is that my work hours are often way more than they should for the “hourly” rate that I am listed for. On the other hand, I look at time a little differently. I think of it in terms of value and try to, as much as possible, get a decent return on my investment.
In short, I have two items of value that has to achieve some form of balance; my time and my money.
The old maxim in tool buying talk is to “purchase the best that you can afford.” Now my analytical side finds this a bit too arbitrary. “Best” has so many definitions and “afford” is a whole other avenue with twists and turns involving feeding the kids too many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if I am not careful. In order to help with this, I apply The Justification Formula.
The way it works is as follows -
Time and Money must achieve a balance. I cannot make a purchase to tip the scales too much in one direction or another. Doing so will result in disaster (be it small, medium, or large) and I have no interest in going through disaster more times than I have to.
Time has a value. I am generous with myself as an employer, but not too generous. For my labors, I give myself the wage of 15 dollars an hour. No one works for free, I shouldn’t either. Whether I enjoy what I am doing or not is besides the point in this exercise. I am laboring, that time is worth something, so I give myself an hourly wage.
I cannot financially afford the “Best” so I have to base tool and wood purchases on what I can do to compensate that. If I buy a cheaper tool, I have to made a decision on why it is cheaper. Is it used? Is it not tuned, honed, outfitted, or otherwise labored on to perfection at the factory? Or is it just because it is a piece of crap that will never work the way it should from the pre-production stages?
Once that is determined, I take the pirce of what it would take to make it the very best (i.e. additional hardware, materials such as sandpaper, rust remover, grinding wheels, files, etc. ) add it to the purchase price and add it to the hours it will take to make it work and I have the “real” price of the tool. Once I have the real price, subtract that from the cost of buying “The Best” and I have an idea on whether I should pursue it or not.
Think of it as this – time + cost = true cost… ideal tool – true cost of alternative =? If there is a positive number, I am good. If it is a negative, I steer far away.
Anyone else have their own strange “justification” method?
-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.