Reply by sh2005

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Posted on Newbie needs tool advice

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97 posts in 3204 days

#1 posted 04-15-2011 08:11 PM

Let’s see if this helps you figure out what you need: you mentioned you have built couple of things for the shop, including a workbench. While you were building them, ask yourself what are the challenges did you face and how you had solved them. Will a particular tool help you solve a specific problem? Did you have to let go of a particular aspect of your design because you weren’t able to accomplish the task with the tools you had at your disposal? If we take the workbench project as an example, how did you go about making the benchtop? Did you buy it or make it? If you made it, did you buy already milled lumbers from a lumberyard or HomeDepot/Lowes? Were you limited by the type/dimension of the wood that was available at those store? Do you think you could have had better wood if you were able to buy rough lumber and milled it to your exact needs? Going forward, do you think you can do better if you mill your own lumber or do you think for your projects, it makes more sense to buy pre-milled lumber from the stores? This will dictate whether you will need a jointer and a planer or not.
This is just an example. Also look at what you are planning to build next, visualize it and see if you can figure out what challenges you may face when trying to build it. The idea is that you look at your experience and where you are trying to go next – then figure out how you are going to get there.

I find it easier, and more fun actually (we all like to buy tools, whether we admit it or not :) ), to identify a challenge/need/obstacle and then find out a solution (a tool, a jig), rather than looking at a tool on a shelf and trying to find out if you have a use for it. That way, you will not end up with boxes of stuff that you have no use for. I am not the first one, couple of others have suggested the same thing as well.

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