Tools are a Burden

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Forum topic by BubbaIBA posted 01-06-2013 04:31 PM 1015 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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387 posts in 2374 days

01-06-2013 04:31 PM

I’m sure many have seen this post but if you haven’t it’s worth a read:

It was interesting to see a post addressing something I have begun to change.

I admit I’ve a tool jones, I’m getting better but still there is a long way to go. i’ve not sold any of my hand tools nor do I expect to, a few of the power tools are up for sale, but I have began to segregate my basic tool set from the unneeded tools and for the most part will only keep the daily users close at hand.

One of the big struggles is the Table Saw, such a love/hate relationship, I would love to get down to a jointer, planner, and band saw and for the most part those are all I use to prepare stock but….sometimes the table saw makes it much quicker. While getting rid of the table saw would open up a little space in the shop the real clutter comes from too many hand tools.

For me the big offenders are too many planes and chisels, knives and marking gauges come in a close second and don’t mention saws :-). Planes are easy to pare down, if I use machines and the table saw for initial stock preparation. I only use two, a WR #3 and LN #4 1/2 as smoothers, the rest just sit. If I don’t use the table saw then I need to add the Stanley #8 to true the edges. Chisels, I like to have a set of socket chisels beveled for mallet work and another tanged set beveled for paring close at hand.

I know lots of you folks have a worst tool jones than I have, but 40+ planes and 100+ chisels is a sign of a sick puppy. I expect when all is said and done I’ll still have the same number of planes and chisels or maybe even a few more but I will keep some close at hand as part of a basic tool set and the others will be stored somewhat out of the way. Not a totally satisfactory way of dealing with tool clutter but better than what I’m doing now.

2 replies so far

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2630 days

#1 posted 01-06-2013 08:11 PM

Ah. The Lost Art Press. I generally admire Chris Schwarz and enjoy reading his works; but I also take his “wisdom” somewhat lightly when it comes to tools. CS has definitely written his fair share of articles that rave about some obscure, off-the-wall, “must have” tool.
So I was suprised to read this blog about downsizing one’s tool inventory. I think the overall takeaway from the article is:
OK, if you like to collect tools and that makes you happy, then by all means collect tools. Collect thousands of them. Take care of them, preserve them for future generations and learn all you can about them. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that you need all of them if you really just want to build chests, cabinets, tables and chairs.
If construction (not collecting) is your goal, find some way to limit yourself – a tool chest is one way – so you can be a better builder than you are a consumer.

Now, even with all that said, I have 4-5 mortise gauges that I almost never use. I also have two spokeshaves when I barely ever use one.I also have a set of vintage craftsman socket chisels that I’ve been meaning to peddle on Ebay since I favor my other two sets of chisels. I have other examples, but won’t bore you. So in other words, I’m guilty of tool-hoarding too; but not nearly as bad as some. And I’m nearly cured of the ailment.

I’m pretty well convinced that I have all the tools I need. I almost never go to yard sales or flea markets anymore. And if I do stumble upon a great deal on an old plane or new power tool, I thoroughly interrogate myself with these questions “what will I do with it?/do I really need it?” Seems obvious enough, but I have several tools/accessories that I’ve never even used and/or taken out of their boxes simply because they looked handy or the price was incredibly low. Actual need had nothing to do with the decision to purchase.

So am I saying I’ll never buy another tool ever again? Nah- no way.I like buying tools. But any additional tools I bring into my tiny shop will need to justify the valuable and limited space they occupy. And if I buy a duplicate tool, such as a new jack plane, it’ll need to be a significant upgrade from my vintage stanley (i.e LN/Veritas).

View mbs's profile


1656 posts in 2938 days

#2 posted 01-06-2013 09:01 PM

I’m going both directions at the same time. I just ordered a Veritas Jointer plane and their concave spokeshave. I’m planning on selling some of the planes that I don’t use though. Especially the antiques. I started collecting them but I’m not really the collecting type. I like users.

I have way too many power tools. 3 table saws, 3 bandsaws, 4 shop vacs, 3 dust collectors. 3 circular saws, too many sanders to count, 3 jigsaws, 5 routers, 2 shapers, 3 jointers, 3 planers. Gosh, I didn’t realize I has so much stuff until I listed it.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

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