How do you justify the cost?

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Forum topic by newbiewoodworker posted 09-19-2010 03:59 AM 2831 views 0 times favorited 85 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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668 posts in 2795 days

09-19-2010 03:59 AM

This is a quesiton that has bothered me from day one… How do you justify the cost of woodworking/buying tools? I personally, you could say, am addicted to buying tools.. I can always frind a reason to want a new tool(I dont currently have many.. so thats a reason… :( ) but I hate the wallet shock after buying anything generally over $100…. it just seems like a lot of money for one thing.. (yea.. I know… wait till I get married… before griping over expenses… :) )

I have a list, a mile long of stuff I would like to get for the shop:
-Mitre Saw
-Table Saw
-Compressor/nail gun
-Drill Press

you get the point…

But frankly, I am having trouble justifing to myself a reason to get half that stuff… not because I dont need it… because they all cost an arm and a leg..(exceptions present…)

Im a kid, so I dont have a family to feed… but dont ask about allowance… it wouldnt even get me a foot of bubinga…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

85 replies so far

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3271 days

#1 posted 09-19-2010 04:01 AM

Wait until you get a handle on the prices of hardwood :)

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5808 posts in 3162 days

#2 posted 09-19-2010 04:23 AM

Hey newbie, You gotta get it just one piece at a time…... just like Johnny Cash did in his song…..

Good evening Abbott: How are you tonight? Good I hope….

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3271 days

#3 posted 09-19-2010 04:26 AM

Hiya Rick! Yes, I am fine thank you :)

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View hairy's profile


2658 posts in 3500 days

#4 posted 09-19-2010 04:30 AM

I see Winnebago’s in peoples driveways that haven’t moved in years. You could sink 50 large right there.

I know a guy with a 30 thousand dollar boat. It only gets wet when it rains.

I know boys with Harleys for garage bling. They might get 100 miles a year.

I don’t drink, smoke,or gamble. I buy tools, and use them.

I don’t try to justify it.

-- My reality check bounced...

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 2978 days

#5 posted 09-19-2010 04:30 AM

If you’re having this much trouble justifying the tools to yourself, wait ‘til you get a significant other!

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View MarkwithaK's profile


370 posts in 3145 days

#6 posted 09-19-2010 04:31 AM

While I cannot offer up any magical reason that will make it easier for you to justify the cost of tools I can relate a story to you about teenage kid we had working with us as an assistant. He was about 18 when he came on full time and as he learned a bit about the industry he was given more money….with that came more responsibility and was required to have his own basic tools. He would come to work talking about some expensive new cell phone or video game system and when I would ask him what tools he picked up he would ramble on about how expensive tools are. He could easily justify shelling out his cash for that other stuff but not for the very tools that earned him that paycheck….Obviously the situations aren’t the exact same so take from this what you will.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5808 posts in 3162 days

#7 posted 09-19-2010 04:33 AM

Me too… is good, except I have a major backache tonight, but other than that….perky whenno!!!!!!

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View denovich's profile


30 posts in 2791 days

#8 posted 09-19-2010 04:35 AM

Actually, when you compare it to other hobbies: owning a sports car/motorcycle/boat/jet ski/etc woodworking is a pretty cheap hobby. $5000 will fully outfit your shop with a lifetime’s supply of very nice tools. I can speak from experience having had all those things, and now having spent the last 6 months building a shop almost from scratch.

I can also speak from experience about the frustration of being broke as a kid. Forget coming up with $5k. Hell, coming up with a spare $5 can be difficult. When I started woodworking, I was sweating the cost of every 2×4. If you have access to shop class at school, that can be a good outlet (and at my school the wood was heavily discounted.) Coming back to woodworking almost 20 years later, I can tell you $ isn’t really an issue…. It’s free time that is what is hard to come by.

If you are serious about woodworking, find a part-time job working in with someone in the trade. Otherwise get by as best you can… and know that having few possessions isn’t such a bad thing when you are young. It is great to be able to move easily/travel/see the world/chase interesting opportunities (jobs, women, etc.) There will still be plenty of wood waiting for you once you settle down.

View ocwoodworker's profile


209 posts in 2972 days

#9 posted 09-19-2010 04:36 AM

The way I justify it is simply by looking at it from this point of view…. EVERYONE spends their disposable cash on the things they like to do, be it: snowboarding, motorcycles, camping, fishing, golfing. So why not you too. Sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to say “yes” and live with the decision as much as we say “no” and live with it. Both are just as important as long as you don’t go out of balance with either side. Some people hoard their money and don’t live or leave a legacy. Others spend too much and leave debt in their wake. It is as always, a personal choice to find that balance. But a word of advice, once you buy the tool, enjoy it and then you will see that it was the right choice at the right time.

-- I'd like to believe Murphy's Law haunts my woodshop, because if it's Karma it would mean I had something to do with it. - K.R.

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3494 days

#10 posted 09-19-2010 04:43 AM

How many people buy a car that costs tens of thousands of dollars without much debate but hesitate to spend $200 on a plane that your great grandkids could still use long from now. Quality woodworking equipment is not that expensive since most of the tools last long than we do.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3680 days

#11 posted 09-19-2010 04:45 AM

It is a hobby for me, so I can’t justify spending too much money (too much is something Jenn, my wife, and I figure out each time I want to buy a tool or a bunch of wood) on it. One of the big things for me is I use this hobby as a way of dealing with the stress of my job so Jenn and I consider it a worthwhile investment in my sanity. I guess if you really use the tools and have the money for them, there are far worse ways to spend money… people spend enormous amounts of money on videos, or games or drinking…I chose to spend my cash on tools and wood…something I guess I could always sell again if I need some of that cash back. Don’t get hung up on buying tools for the sake of having a bunch of tools, buy them when you need (and can afford) them. There are also a lot of gadget tools out there that you can probably pass on and buy a better quality ‘real’ tool which will stand the test of time. I would put the nail gun way down on the list (don’t get me wrong I have one and use it every chance I get) because it is a ‘nice to have’ not a necessity; a table saw, is probably a necessity so I would divert the compresser/nailgun cash toward that instead. Of course affording the cash to buy the stuff is one thing, having a place to safely store and use them is another, as a kid you may want to think about how all your tools affect the rest of your families use of the space your tools are sitting in. I have the second bay of a two car garage (a common shop space for many of us LJs) but I am very conscious that the family van has to be inside at the end of the day, and there needs to be room for the kids and Jenn to get into the van…so I have to keep my tools and projects away from the space the doors need to swing into to open…stuff like that.

I wish you success in your woodworking,


-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 2795 days

#12 posted 09-19-2010 04:50 AM

Once I get over that wallet shock the first day, its game on… :)

Denovich: its not so much I am broke, I have about 2k in the bank, from my summer job(2.5 when someone pays me back..) its more of, I am concerned of how much insurance will cost me, and I always like to have some “emergency funds” available, incase a trip comes up… I have atleast some freed funds…

I should have rephrased that better: I buy tools when I am on the verge of insanity over not being able to do something with my current setup… I got a BS, because I wanted to make some thin veneers for a sience project.. I got a planer, because I was tired of my projects looking warped… et cetera…

I am taking shop class this year… I just finished drooling over the nice tools… (20” Planer, 3 different RAS.., 18”+ bandsaw, 2 drill presses, uniplane, etc, etc…)

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View derosa's profile


1572 posts in 2803 days

#13 posted 09-19-2010 04:54 AM

I justify their expense with all the things I accomplish with them. Compressor and nail guns have probably been the best purchase of all of them followed by the miter saw, those two sets of items do more around the house with general construction then anything else I have. If it’s for a job just remember that you’re spending the money to do the best job possible. If it is a hobby then why shouldn’t you have what you need to fulfill that hobby. I work in bike shops and have 12k in bicycles sitting in my house, it is my biggest hobby and because I use them and get a great deal of satisfaction from them I don’t justify the cost, my happiness is worth that.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3146 posts in 3076 days

#14 posted 09-19-2010 05:02 AM

Good comments, above. I’ll add mine here. Would you like to drop every dime you have on some dope? NO? GREAT! Do you think that you might use these tools for a living later…or not? You can spend zillions on hobbies, and only end up with some stuff. You can spend hundreds on video games, and end up with some game skillz. Is that worth anything in real life? Well, maybe yes, if you are one of the 200 or so remotely piloted vehicle operators who drop bombs or shoot rockets at the enemy (if that’s your idea of really useful). Otherwise, well, probably not.

There will come a time where you will have MOST of the tools you want, or need. THEN you can go after what makes you happy, or tries your patience or challenges your current skill level. I personally worked on getting a degree that took all of my energy, alongside working for a living- a four-year degree that took 6 and a half years. Some of life is just what it is, and you have to decide what is important. No one else is qualified to do that, only you.

Personally, the most rewarding things I have ever done have required massive skull sweat and head-pounding-on-the-wall effort.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 2795 days

#15 posted 09-19-2010 05:11 AM

Thanks guys for all the reponses… I was just trying to see how everyone does it.. not looking for a reason for ME… per se…its just intresting, since we are all seemingly in the same metaphorical boat…

Tommorrow I might try to get out… I have to get a couple clamps, since my quickgrips keep slipping(Best HF purchase yet) off/cannot exert enough pressure/ too small for what I am doing.. Maybe Ill pick up another piece of equipment… who knows… now the question is..which piece of the puzzle to get… lol..

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

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