Why You Need to Buy Expensive Tools!

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Forum topic by pashley posted 07-06-2014 12:25 AM 6353 views 2 times favorited 165 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1043 posts in 3681 days

07-06-2014 12:25 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tools

I think tools for men are like shoes are to women – can’t have enough. However, we sometimes get caught with the paradigm of using the cheapest tools. In my new ShopNotes post, I discuss why buying expensive tools is a good thing. See that post here.

-- Have a blessed day!

165 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

28906 posts in 2301 days

#1 posted 07-06-2014 12:31 AM

In most cases I totally agree with you. The tools don’t make the project, but they can make the project easier and better. Often times you’re constantly compensating for poor tools.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2540 days

#2 posted 07-06-2014 01:29 AM

For me, it comes down to efficiency.
In most cases, buying a better, more expensive tool leads to a more productive work day.

For example, I recently got a festool domino during the recent sale.
It takes a couple minutes to set up, and for cutting 16 mortices, about 4-6 minutes.
Previously, I would cut them with a router and shop made jig. Setup time was the same but the actual cutting took about 15-20 minutes for 16 mortices, and the dust collection wasn’t as good.
These are for corner joints for boxes I sell, so the quicker I can assemble them, the more I earn per hour.
The difference may seem small, but over time it adds up.

Since my time for personal projects is limited, I try to buy the best tools I can afford.
That way I spend more time building, and less time tinkering with a lesser tool.

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

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2256 days

#3 posted 07-06-2014 01:38 AM

Personally, I agree 100%! I was always taught to buy the very best and I’d never regret it. Guess I was very fortunate in more ways than I realized when growing up.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View REO's profile


928 posts in 2037 days

#4 posted 07-06-2014 02:48 AM

OH Boy I suppose price determines quality or suitability now! There is always a balance of quality, price and use. There is no reason to spend a ton of money on a tool that will see little use. Yes I guess I should consider myself special I can take a cheap tool and make it perform better than the most expensive. Better yet i can take a bunch of scrap and make it a tool that can do what others cant! I usually stay out of these discussions but they surely have become annoying of late. So many people brag on their tools but seldom show what they can do with it. Just a while back on one of these threads someone likened tools to cars. I agree whole heartedly! One can spend lots of money and time waxing and washing the car and have people over to look at what they have but never drive it to work. I guess that’s cool.Or they can spend the money on a Chev to get back and forth to work. The money they save can be spent on other things that make them happy! Like actually woodworking!LOL Don’t give me the line about it takes less time etc, etc, so you have more time to do wood work PFFT. That all depends on an individuals proficiency with a tool, not how much they spend on them. I enjoy wood turning. I have been doing it for a few years. I have a home built lathe and a modified craftsman that I use. If you offered me something else including the top names I would respectfully decline. for me there is nothing out there that offers anything more that I could use and for the most part much less while costing much more!

View lateralus819's profile


2241 posts in 1853 days

#5 posted 07-06-2014 03:12 AM

I feel like the people saying it’s a waste of money to buy expensive tools don’t have the spare cash, therefor they knock it.

View dawsonbob's profile


2818 posts in 1719 days

#6 posted 07-06-2014 03:32 AM

I can see this quickly dividing into two camps. I have to say that I fall into the camp that REO just outlined. To me the best tool is the one that performs what I require of it, without problems, and will continue to do so for a reasonable amount of time. Not necessarily the most expensive, nor the cheapest, but the best for my application.
Unless I win the lottery, and therefore have “throw away” money, I won’t be buying any Festool products. I won’t be buying Black & Decker, either: they’re far more expensive in the long run. Most of my tools are Bosch, but there are a few Ryobi tools thrown in too. They fit my needs at the moment, and that’s what I require of my tools.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View Paul's profile


721 posts in 1528 days

#7 posted 07-06-2014 03:34 AM

Pashley, Monte, Nitewalker, Hillybilly, and Lateralus.

Do each of you own a sawstop ts, a full range of the festool line and everything else powermatic? Just curious how well endowed each of you are after telling the rest of us how pathetic we are for not owning only the best.

I don’t buy cheap tools, but I don’t have a dispensable income.


View Joshua Oehler's profile

Joshua Oehler

169 posts in 1654 days

#8 posted 07-06-2014 03:39 AM

I agree and disagree with this at the same time. There is clearly a huge productivity increase between certain pieces of equipment. Is there a huge difference between a craftsman contractor saw and a Grizzly Cabinet Saw that is worth every bit of the price difference….yes. Is your festool domino worth the money..yes there really is nothing out there that can compete with it. On the other hand are your festool sanders, jig saws, routers and drills worth the extra $300-$400 each over the Bosch’s, Makita’s, Porter Cable’s & Dewalt’s …. I doubt it. You start getting into some pretty minute improvements when it comes to that kind of stuff. I mean a drills job is to drive a screw. You can’t tell me that $500-$600 Festool Drill can do it any better than my $200.00 Makita that came with a drill and an impact. There is a tipping point where something just becomes overpriced, over-hyped and is simply not worth money spent.

-- - "But old news can change, as memories float downstream. So don't judge me by my failures, only by my dreams"

View pashley's profile


1043 posts in 3681 days

#9 posted 07-06-2014 03:42 AM

Don’t Paul. If you read my blog post, I never went there. I said if you can afford it, get the best you can, in my opinion.

-- Have a blessed day!

View Pezking7p's profile


3217 posts in 1615 days

#10 posted 07-06-2014 03:48 AM

I don’t think anyone here would turn down a full shop of top end tools, but most of us would need a second mortgage to afford it, even people with a Lot of income. It’s silly to say we NEED expensive tools or that people who don’t have them can’t afford them.

-- -Dan

View dawsonbob's profile


2818 posts in 1719 days

#11 posted 07-06-2014 03:49 AM

Let me say that I wholeheartedly disagree with the idea that you need to buy expensive tools. I would, however, wholeheartedly agree that we should buy good tools. To me the “buy expensive tools” things just reeks of snobbery. As Joshua pointed out there comes a point where you’re paying for an elitist name, and very, very little more. Does Festool offer me that much more than Bosch for two or three times the money? I think not, and most reviews that I’ve read would back that up.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View JAAune's profile


1786 posts in 2280 days

#12 posted 07-06-2014 03:55 AM

Hmm. Well REO did speak truthfully when he says it’s possible to take a cheap tool and make it perform well. It’s also true that making jigs and tools from scrap metal can be frugal and effective. The catch is doing all that doesn’t leave a lot of time to actually do woodworking.

I’ve been that route many times. Once I couldn’t afford turning tools so I made a dozen of them (took a week or two due to the bowl gouges). Later on I needed to get into CNC but couldn’t get the cash and ended up building one for $10,000 and devoting two months to the build (that includes help from others). If I had a $40,000 commission on schedule I’d have just purchased what was needed instead of losing two months of productivity.

At some point, a person has to put value to their time and a shop (shop rates are usually $45+ per hour for a pro shop) that’s working around the clock is usually better off paying higher prices to get equipment that can go into service immediately. It’s usually cheaper and faster to fork over $5,000 for a set of tools then spend the next couple weeks building a $10,000 kitchen. Woodshops tend to be good at producing wood products and not so hot at making tools and machinery.

-- See my work at and

View pashley's profile


1043 posts in 3681 days

#13 posted 07-06-2014 03:56 AM

Funny you mention Bosch. My Bosch Bosch ROS20VSK at $85 crapped out after about a year. We’ll see how long the Festool at $195 lasts….so far, it’s a much better tool. Just my opinion.

-- Have a blessed day!

View Paul's profile


721 posts in 1528 days

#14 posted 07-06-2014 03:56 AM

Don t Paul. If you read my blog post, I never went there. I said if you can afford it, get the best you can, in my opinion.

- pashley

I don’t read your blog.

I read what’s posted here.


View pashley's profile


1043 posts in 3681 days

#15 posted 07-06-2014 03:57 AM

Agreed, JAAune....

-- Have a blessed day!

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