Maybe I am just getting older...(time is money)

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Forum topic by newplane posted 04-09-2011 01:11 PM 1348 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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159 posts in 3502 days

04-09-2011 01:11 PM

Well I was enjoying the morning relaxing in bed I was looking at one of the old ShopNotes magazines (issue 88) and thought it would be nice to build the brass shoulder plane that they have instructions for. So I pulled up the recommended materials to make the shoulder-plane and came up with a grand total of $186.22 after shipping. Then I thought to myself let me see what I could get from LeeValley and pulled up their medium shoulder-plane that is the equivalent to the one that would be made. After shipping on the Veritas it came up to $192.50, a difference of $6.28. And I wouldn’t have to make it either, I know I know…some would say “It will be a treasured hand-tool that you made”. And yes that does appeal to me, but I would rather spend my time building a piece of furniture and using a shoulder plane on that project than building the shoulder-plane first. What are your thoughts?

-- Dont just dream it, get up and live it!

12 replies so far

View patron's profile


13524 posts in 2765 days

#1 posted 04-09-2011 01:32 PM

i’m with plan ‘b’

if i can use it when i need it
it’s worth more to me than a project
i still need to finish to use

but i have trouble with tool maintenance anyway
i’d rather use ‘em than fix ‘em

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View newplane's profile


159 posts in 3502 days

#2 posted 04-09-2011 01:47 PM

Patron—I feel the same way friend. I have quite a few Bailey planes that I have refurbished, but to tell you the truth if i were to start over from the beginning I would just buy new ones out the gate. The little time that I have to do woodworking I want to actually build something.

-- Dont just dream it, get up and live it!

View Marc5's profile


304 posts in 2766 days

#3 posted 04-09-2011 02:15 PM

I agree wholeheartedly. I am getting older too and time is becoming a very valuable commodity to me. Feels kind of like oil these days, its finite supply and it will run out one day. I would rather spend 20 or 30 dollars more and pull a modern quality tool and get to work with it. I will however get around to making a smoother one day just to see it I can do it.

-- Marc

View Chiefk's profile


163 posts in 3196 days

#4 posted 04-09-2011 02:27 PM

Newplane, Lee Valley was at the recent woodworking show in Atlanta. They had most of their planes on display. I purchases the medium shoulder plane. I believe the show price was $167.50. While building a plane would give me great personal satisfaction, I don’t believe I could every construct a plane with the quality of the LV shoulder plane. pkennedy

-- P Kennedy Crossville, TN

View ScottN's profile


261 posts in 2104 days

#5 posted 04-09-2011 02:29 PM

Good point… I had thoughts of building my own golf clubs 20 years ago and came to the same conclusion you did. One of these days I would like to build some fishing poles. I think the same thing will apply there as well but my desire to do so is a lot stronger.

-- New Auburn,WI

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3643 days

#6 posted 04-09-2011 03:48 PM

It really all boils down to why you would build the tool yourself. Obviously the time and effort it would take to build is worth a lot more than $6.28. So the real question is whether it is something you would want to do for the sheer enjoyment of doing it.

A perfect example: My buddy across the street enjoys doing his own car repairs. He’s got plenty of money, and he’s not a cheapskate, he just likes getting under the hood and getting grease under his fingernails. He recently undertook a transmission repair on his daughter’s car that a mechanic had quoted $500 for. He was under that car for what seemed like two weeks straight, and he was happy as a clam. The kicker is that this guy is in a profession where he could have made way more than $500 by putting in an extra day on the job. But it was worth it to him, because he was doing something he finds enjoyable.

I, on the other hand, despise working on my car, and would have gladly paid the $500.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View newplane's profile


159 posts in 3502 days

#7 posted 04-09-2011 07:55 PM

Good points all around…Being in the military I don’t have a lot of free time, I am sure some day when I am older and I know more about myself and this world I will sit down and sculpt a tool out of raw material that matches my soul. Until then I will take the field-expedient path with a tool that is already made. I was not trying to discourage anyone from making quality hand tools. Just a thought of where I am at in my life. God bless you friends.

-- Dont just dream it, get up and live it!

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 2671 days

#8 posted 04-09-2011 09:53 PM

Sometimes you have to decide it you’re a ‘toolmaker’ or a ‘woodworker’. Great if you can be both, but as you pointed out time is a finite resource.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View newplane's profile


159 posts in 3502 days

#9 posted 04-09-2011 10:35 PM

KayBee—Very true…I am sure that woodworkers would love nothing more than to make quality brass bodied planes, sculpting them to use a specific way. I would love to make a Norris Infill reproduction, but I will have to save those days of grandeur for later. Right now I am slinging shavings and racing the clock…LOL

-- Dont just dream it, get up and live it!

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2347 days

#10 posted 04-09-2011 11:38 PM

I just thought it was old age creeping up on me. Like Patron said, I’m for plan B.

-- Life is good.

View lou's profile


340 posts in 2867 days

#11 posted 04-09-2011 11:49 PM

Well, if you build it yourself,you may learn something new,aquire a new skill, and understand the tool in a way you woud not have if you bought it.Just a thought

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2422 days

#12 posted 04-09-2011 11:51 PM

I can see it both ways. I enjoy the toolmaking part. I like wooden planes and I bought a wooden rabbet plane instead. $40 and I am good to go. If you are just looking at parts costs, the source they list is kinda pricey. You can also go less expensive with steel sides instead of brass. You could lose the adjuster as well. A blade for a wedged rabbet plane from Lee Valley that would work will set you back a whole $5.

Just to confuse the issue a bit more, I also have a pile of brass and steel sitting on my bandsaw table right now for trying dovetailed metal plane making. It may sit for a while before I get to it. I just added the material to an order I was already making so it wasn’t a real expense because it is the shipping that is the killer. 1/8” x 2” x 12” brass was only $7.75 and the 3/16×3 x 12 steel was $5.16. I might just mess it up the stock trying and throw it away. Not everything comes out right the first time.

I guess it is just a matter of the fact that we all have a finite amount of time to do anything, we need to choose the projects that are important to us. I don’t make every tool I have. If it’s not fun to make, I just buy it and move on.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

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