Tools: Want or Need?

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Forum topic by Hermando posted 11-06-2012 06:36 PM 1680 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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75 posts in 2766 days

11-06-2012 06:36 PM

Often I find myself asking that question when I come across a bargain or find some new and supposedly improved tool. I find myself searching Craigslist for yet another table saw. I have found some decent deals on cabinet saws (older) but I have a pretty good contractor Craftsman (Emerson) that I got at a bargain and have upgraded and tuned to be a great saw. Do I need or want a cabinet new or used? I can usually find a great deal from cost comparing for new tools at the big box stores since they compete very aggressively with each other.

I seen a HD bargain on a Dewalt 18 volt drill, I already have the Makita Cordless 18v, Do I want or need another drill, saw, hammer, etc.. I actually bought the Dewalt, but got buyers remorse and returned it. Seems a person can spend to much time debating the idea of Want or Need when it comes to having tools.

Does anyone else find themselves often wondering about this question.

Cheers, H.

26 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile


2862 posts in 2483 days

#1 posted 11-06-2012 07:21 PM

Not really. I just spend the money and justify the purchase later. Kind of my personal “asking for forgiveness is easier then asking myself permission” syndrome.
Ironically, I find that over any period of reasonable time, I almost always find a use for these tools that I really didn’t need at the time of purchase.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2601 days

#2 posted 11-06-2012 07:34 PM

I have impulsively bought a few tools that I really wanted (at the moment). Some of those tools have been in my shop for 2-3 years, but have not been used- or taken out of the packaging. I usually think of those when I consider buying a tool that I don’t have an immediate need for.
However, if I do have an immediate need for a tool, I have no trouble justifying the expense.
As a general rule, I don’t buy a particular tool if I aleady have one that works well. For example, I have a Makita 9.6v cordless impact that I bought about 10 years ago. It still works fine, and has never failed to accomplish a task. I’ve considered buying new and “improved” model. But I’m just not convinced it’d be worth the expenditure.

View Hermando's profile


75 posts in 2766 days

#3 posted 11-06-2012 07:35 PM

I will have to remember that philosophy. I do know that all the tools I have owned or bought have been used and have made a project much more successful. There is nothing worse than to be in the middle of a project and have to stop because the right tool was not at hand. One man could never have enough saws, drill or routers. I like to justify by knowing this a hobby I am investing in and all my tools will still have value down the road.

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2144 days

#4 posted 11-06-2012 08:25 PM

It is often need for me. I have learned to let go of the wants through time.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18686 posts in 2536 days

#5 posted 11-06-2012 09:24 PM

I’m a sucker for vintage rehabs, but everyday tools I typically buy what I need. That’s not to say I will turn down a great deal on an upgrade.

For example I went to a tool sale. The guy was selling out. He had a dust collector with a 5 hp lesson single phase motor. Certainly better than the 2 hp HF I had. When I ask him what he wanted and he said awwww, give me $300 and you can take all the pipe to, I couldn’t leave without it. I got enough pipe to pipe my whole shop and still got a stack in the attic. I then sold the HF for $150.

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

View Hermando's profile


75 posts in 2766 days

#6 posted 11-06-2012 10:25 PM

I don’t think any of us would turn down a great deal or not make a purchase they want regardless of the current need. I would suspect that most everyone has second guessed before buying, do I really need it or I do I just want it. The whole idea came up for me because I have a relatively nice contractor table saw. it does everything I need and more. I also have a Dewalt DW745, which is great. Yet I am always looking at other saws and tools which I already have. Maybe for improvement and sell the current ones. I have given away some nice power tools to friends because they were extra, but at times I often think should I have been so generous, I might need that tool one day.

I sorta think women have the same issue while shopping.. Only that they want it and don’t need it..

View AandCstyle's profile


3027 posts in 2225 days

#7 posted 11-07-2012 12:22 AM

My approach is that I would not buy a tool the first time I needed it for a project since there is usually a work-around. However, the second time I needed that tool I bought it. This eliminates impulse buying and affords lots of time for researching the item. However, if somebody offered me a 5HP DC for $300, I would be all over it like fleas on a hound! :D

-- Art

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2939 days

#8 posted 11-07-2012 01:21 AM

I don’t know why, or even if there is a why, but I get started thinking I need a certain tool and I will think about it and analyze it and justify it till I finnaly run across a deal I can’t refuse and I get it. Then, once I have it, it sits on a shelf. Biscuit jointer comes to mind right away. Bought a Porter Cable on a clearence sale and have never joined a damn thing with it.

Some things it’s worse. I decide I really need something and come across a sale or deal and just get it on impulse. Then, a week later, I wonder why I got that brand and not this brand. Why did I get the 4 pc set when I should have got the 6 pc set. Chisels come to mind. Have two new sets and still use the old Stanley #60s I have had for almost 50 years.

Right now I am craving a set of forstner bits. I have a 7 pc set plus a couple of bigger bits I needed for a certain project. They work OK. But I am just positive I need a bigger set.

There is just no way around it, this is an addiction.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18686 posts in 2536 days

#9 posted 11-07-2012 01:29 AM

Crank, I can feel your pain. I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older, but don’t confuse better with good.

I can’t say I never joined anything with the biscuit jointer, but most of it was just to convince myself I needed it after all.

My thing now is a skewed block plane. I’m 55 years old and made it this far very well without a skewed block plane. I keep telling myself I need it like a hole in the head, but the infliction my be to strong.

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

View DIYaholic's profile


19597 posts in 2643 days

#10 posted 11-07-2012 03:47 AM

I’m really good at rationalizing almost anything…....

I can find a need for any tool/machine I want!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Holbs's profile


1843 posts in 1998 days

#11 posted 11-07-2012 03:54 AM

Hermando… craigslist is an ok place. but i have found it to be going Ebay’ish where the “good” deal is hard to find.

Try estate auctions, in your area. you would be very surprised at what is out there. I bought a Reznor UDAP60 (60,000 natural gas garage heater) that has never been used (the power leads were untapped and the vent holes still had the factory seals) for $75, when retail is well over $1200. This is where i have found my jointer, depth gauges and calipers, planes, carving blades, band saw, etc. heck, i even saw a grizzly 2bag 5hp single phase dust collector go for just $200 (retail is… $1400?). You will have more luck with estate auctions that have in-person auctions (gimme 5, do i hear 5, dab dab dab gime gime 10!) than the ones the only post online (where usually folks nationwide can bid as well). The ones i stay away from are the online bids til 6pm, then your bid turns into absentee bid for in person.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2061 days

#12 posted 11-07-2012 11:05 AM

I tend to do what Tennessee does. But that internal conflict between want and need is familiar. It can be hard to tell the difference. I keep waffling on whether I need the Kreg pocket hole jig or not. And a router table (though that is increasingly going into the need category).

View woodworm's profile


14465 posts in 3559 days

#13 posted 11-07-2012 11:45 AM

I want some beautiful tools though not really needed.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 2086 days

#14 posted 11-07-2012 12:02 PM

I am very very bad about buying stuff b/c it is “such a good deal”. I do this much more on little stuff. I really take my time on the big stuff, and always ask you guys first lol. It’s the stuff that is under $50 that gets me…I don’t realize how much little stuff I have stacked in my cart until I go to check out. But, I am trying to stay out of the stores unless I really NEED something:)

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2545 days

#15 posted 11-07-2012 05:40 PM

I buy lots of tools simply because I want them.
That’s the beauty of this hobby, you only need to convince yourself.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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