Is woodworking for the rich?

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Forum topic by maplerock posted 06-19-2015 09:13 PM 1069 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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521 posts in 1217 days

06-19-2015 09:13 PM

Topic tags/keywords: humor tip question resource sucker festool ridgid

I know the value of buying good tools. I do not however consider myself a “tool snob.” I have a unisaw that I bought used. I love it dearly. I have a Jet drum sander that I bought new… LOVE it! My Shop Fox bandsaw is a great tool as well, bought new.

I have a delta dust collector, a harbor freight dust collector, and a general dust collector as well. They all suck. Get it? I buy tools based upon my need, the price, the warranty, the workmanship, and the frequency that i’d use it.

I have a set of Ridgid cordless drill drivers as well as a Makita. The Ridgid has given me everything I need with a better battery life. I have an old Ryobi set too, and don’t care for it.

My comments here are the reaction to the recent “SALE” at Woodcraft that I received an e-mail telling me about today. A Festool cordless Jigsaw on sale for $560? Cordless drills on sale for $495 each? A cordless track saw $825, or the basic model for $465? Now I know Festool has a good reputation, but really? One cordless drill with 2 batteries for $495… on sale? It has a three year warranty. Ridgid has a lifetime warranty.

I know there is some prestige to some name brands, but is it worth that much more? I am retired and make do with new tools on sale, auction tools, yard sale pickups and such. Would I like a Festool product? Sure. Can I afford it? Maybe, but is that wise buying or buying a name?

What do you wise sages of the Land of Lumberjocks think?

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

23 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

21517 posts in 1755 days

#1 posted 06-19-2015 09:19 PM

Age old question. I believe that the user needs tools they are comfortable with and can get the job done. Top of the line on some items and a lot less on others.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2726 days

#2 posted 06-19-2015 10:22 PM

It is the same scenario with everything in life…not just tools. Income levels vary tremendously and products are available that appeal to absolutely every income level… A cheap tool will get the job done and a master craftsman can create wonders with poor quality tools…on the other hand and a woodworker with limited skills or experience will not become a master craftsman just because they can afford the absolute best tools available.

I feel that if a person has spent many years and countless hours woodworking and improving their skills they are in a position to choose tools that make sense to them based on experience when evaluating quality, longevity and what works best for the work they do…and even just something they like as an impulse purchase because of some appeal that has pushed their button.
I’ve got friends that feel same way with cars, fishing, houses and so on…I’m sure we can all add to this list.

How many different features of drills, sanders, miter saws, table saws etc, have we owned during our woodworking lifetime that allows us to compare what we want and don’t want in our next purchase?

Then, if you can afford it then by all means buy it… You only live once…and I’ve never seen an Armored Car in a funeral procession..

View JoeinGa's profile (online now)


7357 posts in 1424 days

#3 posted 06-19-2015 10:23 PM

Back when I was a Snap-on Dealer I knew which of my customers fit the bill you are describing. When ever we had a new “whiz-bang-I-gotta-have-one” tool come out, All I had to do was carry one in their shop, set it on their box and add it to their account. I knew guys that had 5 or 6 sets of wrenches, plus they doubles, triples and even FOURPLES on many of their tools.

Especially if it was an air tool or a specialty tool, they HAD to have one. It didn’t matter if the specialty tool was something they might never use in their current shop, just “Add it to my bill, Joe”.

I had one customer trade in 5 sets of tool boxes within 2 years because Snap-on kept coming out with new graphics and colors during that time. But his boxes (and all the tools in it) looked brand-spanking-new, even the stuff that was 10 or 15 years old.

As for me? I started out “collecting” tools before we got married (1974) . Still have most of them. In our 40+ years of married life, I’ve sold (or given away) more of the big items than I care to remember usually because we were moving and simply couldn’t take everything with us.

Now that I’m retired I’m pretty much done buying tools and equipment. I scrimped and saved to get my new lathe last month, and the only other thing I would really consider at this point is scrimping and saving again and getting rid of my RAS and buy a tablesaw.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View DocSavage45's profile


7645 posts in 2260 days

#4 posted 06-19-2015 11:45 PM

You don’t always get what you pay for. Festool does make a quality tool. I cannot afford them.

I remember buying a NEW ergonomically designed Stanley hammer. Man it was pretty. I still have my old Stanley hammer, and I use it all the time. That other Stanley???? no balance, bad grip and the claw part didn’t work. it rusts well!

As great as Greg is doing ,he might have an armored car at his procession. LOL!

I also believe the right tool for the job. Ever use a cheap chisel? But I still have Harbor Frieght equipment doing an ametures job. As I improve I will know what big tool works for me.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View gfadvm's profile


14925 posts in 2107 days

#5 posted 06-20-2015 12:08 AM

My rule is that all my tools have to pay for themselves in a reasonable period of time (1 year max). So far, so good. I am a careful shopper with very rare impulse buys (and I ALWAYS regret those).

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Daruc's profile


459 posts in 550 days

#6 posted 06-20-2015 12:18 AM

I like nice tools although I don’t spend extra money for festool, I don’t by rigid or harbor freight either.
I try to spend a little more than the entry level, and hopefully end up with a tool that’s a little better.

This may not apply to the hobby guy, but when your in business there are some tools that you think are too much but when you add up the labor to do the task without the tool, you realize that you can’t afford not to have the tool. I’m mainly speaking of machinery.

-- -

View gfadvm's profile


14925 posts in 2107 days

#7 posted 06-20-2015 12:29 AM

I like nice tools although I don t spend extra money for festool, I don t by rigid or harbor freight either.
I try to spend a little more than the entry level, and hopefully end up with a tool that s a little better.

This may not apply to the hobby guy, but when your in business there are some tools that you think are too much but when you add up the labor to do the task without the tool, you realize that you can t afford not to have the tool. I m mainly speaking of machinery.

- woodust

That is exactly the thinking that bought my drum sander! And the labor savings paid it off in a hurry.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Boxguy's profile


2121 posts in 1685 days

#8 posted 06-20-2015 01:09 AM

Jerry, There is a fine line between woodworking and tool collecting. If I were just starting out, I might buy a Festool setup and be happy, but to be honest my $125 Makita skill saw and a 5 foot length of plywood have served me well for decades. Is the Festool better…yes. Do I want one…no.

I looked at their sander and decided that the small one had a clutch set too low to sand around box corners and the heavy one was just too heavy for making boxes since I don’t really sand on the flat most of the time. Both of their sanders would corporal-tunnel my wrist in no time. Are they great sanders…yes. Are they great for what I am doing…no. I put less money in my 5 Porter-Cable sanders and don’t have to change paper for each grit.

I have had my Delta Unisaw for 35 years and it has never given me any cause for concern. It runs flawlessly every time I push the switch. My Makita sliding miter saw was adjusted and ready to go to work right out of the box. I opened that box 20 years ago. My Hitachi cordless drill and drivers are good tools that stay charged and work well. Forrest blades are expensive, but are worth the money to me. I have 7 Bosch routers set up and they are doing a nice job. I think different companies make the best tools (for the money) in different categories. I don’t try to stick with one brand for all tools.

I refuse to buy from Harbor Freight. When I have bought from them, the tool has let me down when I needed it the most.

Festool makes great tools they just aren’t what I need to do the jobs I do. It is not the price…it is just the wrong tool for me.

-- Big Al in IN

View tyvekboy's profile


1306 posts in 2430 days

#9 posted 06-20-2015 01:44 AM

Is Woodworking for the rich? No, I think it’s for the wise.

It’s the wise woodworker who invests in good tools and not just purchase tools.

Buying tools twice can be more expensive than buying the better tools in the first place.

Good tools tend to last longer, perform better, give better results, save time, hold their edges better and tend to be more accurate.

Really good tools are ones that you can pass down to your heirs.

Above all, good tools make woodworking fun with great results.

If you’re like me, you’ll find sources of FREE wood and enjoy it even more.

Get your tools before you retire.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View DeLayne Peck's profile

DeLayne Peck

423 posts in 1619 days

#10 posted 06-20-2015 06:35 AM

My tools are predominately used. Craigslist has been a major source of equipment. Good stuff at a savings! My table saw is a 1986 Delta Contractor, $250. I have look at newer, higher end table saws. But, I can’t see a significance gain.

If I am getting the desired results without frustration, I am happy. So day, I like to see my time honored tools and equipment carried off by younger people with the hope they will have all the satisfaction I’ve had

-- DJ Peck, Lincoln Nebraska. Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

View timbertailor's profile


1591 posts in 841 days

#11 posted 06-20-2015 01:16 PM

We all have become spoiled by Chinese made products. Why? Because they are so cheap. But why are they so cheap and what has been the true cost?

Festool is not expensive when you realize that they are made in Germany. A country, much like America where we have tons of requirements as a business. It would cost the same to manufacture their products here.

It is amazing what happens to the price of a product when you have to pay a fair, daily wage to a grown adult. Provide health care, safe work environment, workman’s comp., vacation, pension plan, meet OSHA standards and environmental requirements, ovetime, maternity leave, military leave, jury duty, holiday pay, bonus, sick pay, hazardous waste disposal, certifications, licensing, a comfortable work environment, etc.

The true cost is that America has no manufacturing to speak of and a whole working middle class segment of our economy is gone. The service industry has also just about disappeared. It is cheaper and less aggravating to just go buy another cheap Chinese product when the old one breaks.

People say Woodpecker tools are too expensive. Guess what? It is an American company that is in the same boat as the Germans. Lots of requirements that affect the final product price.

Blame our government for selling out to the Chinese decades ago.

-- Brad, Texas,

View Tooch's profile


1297 posts in 1293 days

#12 posted 06-20-2015 01:18 PM

I’m running into this same issue with my (on the side) landscaping business. I have several customers who want large hedges trimmed, but I don’t have a extended pole hedge trimmer. I do, however, have a regular gas hedge trimmer and a ladder.

So, should I invest $500+ in a Stihl extended pole hedge trimmer to make my life easier? Its a hard thing to do knowing that I probably won’t make that money back this season. In 2 years, maybe, but it is just a side gig (unfortunately being a teacher doesn’t really mean that you have summers off).

I think Tyvekboy may have made up my mind….

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View a1Jim's profile


115166 posts in 2994 days

#13 posted 06-20-2015 01:52 PM

“Is woodworking for the rich?” Yes and No like any product offered to the public there are high end products and low end products,so if you have the financial means you may invest in more expensive tools and if you have limited funds available you may buy low end or used tools or home made tools .Tools alone do not make the project or the woodworker ,many very fine items are made by folks that hardly have any tools at all but they have the drive and passion to create ,and so for them, no you don’t have to be rich to do woodworking.

-- Custom furniture

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4403 posts in 3378 days

#14 posted 06-20-2015 02:36 PM

Just remember what I’ve always said.
“It ain’t the arrow, its the Indian.”
If I was a pro contractor, had qualified people working for me, was being paid by the job-not by the hour, had adequate security, I’d be havin’ some Festool stuff.
The way I see some workmen handle tools on jobs, NOT…..
My shop is stocked (some say overstocked) with good tools that work for me. They’re all I need to produce the quality level of which I’m capable.
It has taken me years to assemble my arsenal. I’m proud of it. They work for me.
I’m not rich, but I sure am happy.


View Bluepine38's profile


3335 posts in 2502 days

#15 posted 06-20-2015 03:25 PM

I am 76, the majority of my big expensive tools are 50 years old or older. I ain’t rich, but I am happy.
The tools were bought when I needed them and could afford them. They have paid for themselves
by letting me work for money or remodel my various homes over the years. I do not use them a lot
compared to some people, but they let me play in my retirement. I am not ready to buy any more
tools, because I do not need them, I still have to completely master those that are in my workshop.
Looking at the prices of the products from the shops of master woodworkers, I would have to say,
The end result of good woodworking is for the rich, or those capable of making it themselves. Do
not know the answer for sure, but woodworking makes me feel happy, so if I can get good enough
at doing it, I might get rich, but you have to look out for those kids, grandkids and greatgrandkids
that wonder if the old character would make something for them.

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

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