Woodworkers vs. Contractors - vastly different species.

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Forum topic by gillyd posted 03-09-2012 02:42 AM 1148 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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136 posts in 2886 days

03-09-2012 02:42 AM

Anyone else notice the difference between folks who do wood working and those that do contract work? If you ask someone on the street to tell you the difference I don’t think they could, most people think they are one in the same, they both work with wood, use saws and wear boots (well, maybe). I’m here to tell you that they are vastly different species, and I have a story to prove it.

A few weeks ago I saw a bandsaw on sale out on the famous CL. We arrange to meet up after my work so I could take a look at it. His CL advertisement had said that he had bought it locally at the Woodsmith store, only used it once and that it was a Delta 28-206 for 200 bucks. Now being in the market for a bandsaw naturally I couldn’t wait to see this thing, I was going to get a nice bandsaw for 200 bucks! I was going to be one of those lucky few who could gloat about their purchases on CL.

I show up at his house and we go into his garage and I see the bandsaw. At a distance it looked fine, I was excited. Then as we got closer to it my heart sank. Kind of like the old saying “she looks good from a distance”, this saw was definitely in this category. In place of the cast iron table was a layer of brown oxidized iron that I hadn’t ever seen before, like the kind you see from tools left in a barn for 50 years. Next I see a huge dent in the wheel guard at the top, with duck tape hanging from the bracket that closes the lid, the lid being slightly ajar from the wheel. All over the saw are these little pieces of aluminum dust, basically covered in it.

Now while I am standing there in shock looking at this saw, feeling sick, he is telling me how he used this saw one time for a 100k job he did in town for the local mall cutting aluminum and that it has sat there in its place since the job was finished for 5 years. He then turned the saw on to show me that it still worked. The saw was so loud and screechy that I asked him to turn it off, there was something wrong with the motor.

I then proceeded to tell him that I was a wood worker and that I wasn’t up for a rebuild project, that the rust was beyond what I was willing to fix. He was in disbelief, and didn’t understand the impact that a non-flat, non-true table had on wood working. He had also mentioned that the saw was hit by a skid loader and tipped over on the site but “should be fine”.

He really had no idea why I couldn’t use the saw in its current condition to do my wood working, that the 1/4 inch of rust on the bed with birrs all over it was fine by him. Not to mention that I would bet the saw was way out of alignment possibly damaged after being tipped over. He went over to a corner of his shop picked up a can of WD-40 and started to spray all over it in an attempt to clean it up while I was there, lol.

That brings me to my point, this contractor was using this saw as a rented mule and had no intention of taking care of it. Do all contractors do this to equipment? Could this be why prices are so high for contracting work? Is the price of equipment re-purchase built into the price I wonder? This isn’t the first time I have seen this out of a contractor, it seems to be in their genetic makeup.

9 replies so far

View Bagtown's profile


1739 posts in 3970 days

#1 posted 03-09-2012 02:50 AM

Pretty wide net you’re casting there friend.

-- Mike - In Fort McMurray Alberta

View RockyTopScott's profile


1186 posts in 3718 days

#2 posted 03-09-2012 03:05 AM

Relativity of zero.

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View KMT's profile


603 posts in 2902 days

#3 posted 03-09-2012 03:11 AM

Should get a good argument going.

-- - Martin

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11163 posts in 3668 days

#4 posted 03-09-2012 03:24 AM

Quite a number of construction guys I’ve known were excellent woodworkers.
Most construction guys, like woodworkers, have a healthy respect for the tools of their trade.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View gillyd's profile


136 posts in 2886 days

#5 posted 03-09-2012 03:56 AM

Just meant to have fun with it, much love for my contractor friends. I must have had a bad run with contractors and how they treat their equipment.

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3308 days

#6 posted 03-09-2012 04:06 AM

The other end of the spectrum is the woodworker who spends all of his time cleaning and reorganizing his shop and has to get therapy to deal with the stain on his table saw top. – lol

Most of the contractors I know (including myself) take prety good care of our tools. We use them hard, but don’t abuse them. Your guy is more exception than the rule.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11163 posts in 3668 days

#7 posted 03-09-2012 02:09 PM

I know at least two woodworkers that will not allow any kind of drink in their shop. I do draw the line at alcoholic beverages, but coffee, tea, water, pop is OK. Just don’t set it down on ANY metal surface.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 3016 days

#8 posted 03-09-2012 02:27 PM

I have known people like this. Here in Washington DC, where contracts are large and can be short in duration, you can get the fly-bys that buy the equipment for the job and discard it afterward. At times, you can buy the discarded equipment for a song but most times it is as you encountered – will cost more in time and mony than what it is worth.

One thing to note. You should have removed the blade and see if the noise is still there, could have been an alignment issue only or something bent. It may have been a really good buy. Your due diligence can get you some really good bargains. Inspect for cracks and bends. and negotiate down.

Putting a laminated top gives you a custom top for not much money

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15822 posts in 2858 days

#9 posted 03-09-2012 02:35 PM

I’ve seen those types of contractors, too, that essentially toss loose power tools in to the backs of their trucks and ride them there until one day they don’t work. May LJs (rightfully) moan the lack of staying power with today’s hand held power tools… Well, there are contractors that have picked that up as well and treat their tools accordingly: they’re not meant to last, hence disposable.

I don’t get the part of neglecting them so they break down even sooner, but meh! To each his own.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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