Do you buy hand tools just because they are good looking?

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Forum topic by Loren posted 05-24-2012 03:02 AM 1747 views 0 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Loren's profile (online now)


10272 posts in 3615 days

05-24-2012 03:02 AM

I reckon it’s a super low-rent substitute for acquiring trophy
spouses, houses or cars, but I confess to being a sucker for
a good-looking chisel.

40 replies so far

View ShaneA's profile


6910 posts in 2565 days

#1 posted 05-24-2012 03:31 AM

Who me? Why, what have you heard?

I will admit to being a sucker for a tool I find visualy appealing…and I am OK with that. I like me some SW and Bedrock Stanley planes.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3680 days

#2 posted 05-24-2012 03:40 AM

No, usually looks don’t much factor into the decision process…unless they look really stupid then I’d probably be too annoyed at it to buy it:-)

-- "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 Doss's profile


779 posts in 2231 days

#3 posted 05-24-2012 05:08 AM

One of my many vices is my love of beautiful objects. It doesn’t matter what they are. I love cars. I love chairs (don’t even get me started on chair design), photography equipment, mechanical systems, metal, wood,... umm… back on topic… I love tools. Old wood and metal tools are almost irresistible to me. Simple design and construction and dead-effective in their function.

Right now I’m battling an urge to buy every plane I come across. I have the same urge to buy old, giant bandsaws too.

If I had unlimited space and could hide the checking account balance from the wife, I would probably have over 15 bandsaws by now. She would notice that though. I can spend almost as much on planes without taking up as much space which is good because her equation is a direct correlation between space consumed and money spent.

Small plane = cheap
Big bandsaw = expensive

It’s probably best that I not correct her on that math.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Ben's profile


302 posts in 2297 days

#4 posted 05-24-2012 05:27 AM

I buy any kind of old tools whether they work or not, as long as I think they look cool. If I can restore it to work, it stays in the shop. If I can’t but I like it anyway, it will end up on the kitchen wall or elsewhere in the house. I have things that I have no clue what they were used for, but they look cool so they find a place.

-- Welcome to downtown Coolsville, Population: US! --Hogarth Hughes

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2603 days

#5 posted 05-24-2012 05:40 AM

You cant beat the Veritas NX60 in the looks department, if you are into new planes. That extra $100 doesn’t just make it look extra shiny, but it doesn’t rust either. Sucker or not, I love using it.

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2442 days

#6 posted 05-24-2012 06:09 AM

Kind off, if I have a choice I buy what appeals to me the most. Such was the case with the Veritas hand saws, I just could not get past the ugliness so I went with LN, although I am sure the Veritas saws are probably just as good at a cheaper price….

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2603 days

#7 posted 05-24-2012 06:14 AM

I did the same thing for the LN dovetail saw. I have a bunch of Veritas stuff, and love it all but their saws are seriously lacking in the looks department. Looks shouldn’t be a determining factor, but somehow it always makes a huge difference.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10272 posts in 3615 days

#8 posted 05-24-2012 06:15 AM

I agree some Veritas stuff is unusual from a design point of view.

Lee Valley launched a series of hand planes in the 1970s
or early 80s and they failed. They were finer than the
Stanley and Record planes available at the time but the
appearance was traditional. I am sure they lost a lot of
money launching premium hand planes to a market that
wasn’t ready. Later, Lie Nielsen succeeded but the old
Lee Valley planes were ever re-released. The second
time they let L-N, Clifton, et al copy the old patterns
and introduced their own, love it or hate it style.

Shrewd move in my opinion. Many of the 1970s tool
companies failed yet Lee Valley has prospered and grown.

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2936 days

#9 posted 05-24-2012 08:08 AM

I have never bought anything because I like the look of it, but there are things I have not bought because they were just too ugly.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18686 posts in 2535 days

#10 posted 05-24-2012 11:41 AM

you bet I do!!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Tim Pletcher's profile

Tim Pletcher

90 posts in 3041 days

#11 posted 05-24-2012 12:40 PM

yes! ...but only if I already know that they are dependable, easy to use and durable. I wouldnt buy something that was JUST good looking. Guess I’m just not the trophy wife kind of guy :)


View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4907 posts in 3927 days

#12 posted 05-24-2012 02:28 PM

Doss, I have contacted your wife. She is now FULLY aware. You’re toast. :-)
(Jokin’ of course!)


View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3082 days

#13 posted 05-24-2012 02:35 PM

you bett I buy jewlry for the toolbox and highheels to the cabinet…. the next will be diamonds …. :-)


View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3280 days

#14 posted 05-24-2012 02:44 PM

Yeah I have to admit that some visual appeal does help.

I try to make sure that my main purpose is functionality and that the tool is constructed well, but there are some tools that I can’t get around how they look, and if there is a comparable out there that has better visual appeal then I would probably buy it instead.

Case in point is some of the Hitachi stuff with its kind of weird color scheme does steer me away from it rather than towards it. Just me though, as there are probably others that love that look.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2231 days

#15 posted 05-24-2012 02:45 PM

Dang it Bill. I can’t go back and edit my statements now.

Wait, there is a degree of plausible deniability in there. I never said she wasn’t right. So <gritting>, she’s right. Smaller tools cost a lot less. The equation is 100% correct.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

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