Are you over-tooled?

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Forum topic by johnhutchinson posted 08-15-2014 01:21 AM 2183 views 0 times favorited 52 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 1865 days

08-15-2014 01:21 AM

Topic tags/keywords: power tools budget

No, this isn’t a “size matters” question.

It’s just that I have a reverse snob appeal thing about coaxing great results out of crappy tools. And then I often wonder what constitutes crappy. I have some cheap Ryobi tools with some genius features, at an unbelievably low price, but they’re only made for occasional users. But what the heck? I’m a card-carrying occasional user … of tools, that is.

A friend of mine bought an industrial Onsrud pin router for the sole purpose of making plywood “yard art”—it seemed to be the perfect companion for his Cadillac Escalde.

I appreciate all the hype about SawStop, but I’ve chosen to invest my money in safety/accuracy accessories like the Micro-Jig Gripper. I’m afraid a SawStop would lull me into a false sense of security.

Besides, if I end up with a crappy project, I can always blame my crappy tools.

So what’s your take on blatant over-tooling?


PS—Don’t get me started on Festool.

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

52 replies so far

View mahdee's profile


4041 posts in 2003 days

#1 posted 08-15-2014 01:26 AM

Most of my tools are over 20 years old and I am satisfied with their operations. However, I spend a lot of time making up for the discrepancies they inventively create… oh well.


View TheFridge's profile


10815 posts in 1722 days

#2 posted 08-15-2014 01:38 AM

And I have this thing called being a broke bastard who takes free tools and fixes them, or throws them away. Then I make due with what I have. It takes a little bit longer but they get the job done. I mean, free harbor freight chisels cut better than no chisels right? Hell I used a laminated plywood fence on my table saw for a long time. Then I won some money at a casino and the sawstop fence was on sale and it was meant to be.

I forgot to mention that even if I did have money to buy new and shiny equipment I wouldn’t, because I’m also a cheap bastard. If it ain’t broke…

Edit: hell, even if it is and I can use it I will.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Paul's profile


721 posts in 1801 days

#3 posted 08-15-2014 01:49 AM

I have a few ryobi tools. A 10” slider that I use as a job site mitre saw, with a 60 tooth oshlun blade it gives decent results. A bench top drill press that doesn’t get a ton of use but when I need a dp for repeatable procedures it does it’s job ( I built a table and a fence system with stops, without this I would just use a regular drill) and a 9” bench top band saw, out of all 3 the bench top bandsaw is a real performer. 1hp motor in a 9” band saw with a 3” re saw is definitely overkill but an overkill I will take.

That said none of my ryobi tools match up to my midrange stuff, they are made for occasional use and that’s what I use them for. They produce well for me on the occasions that I use them. If I used them more I would probably upgrade to non plastic machines, but they do work and on the cheap.


View hunter71's profile


3315 posts in 3422 days

#4 posted 08-15-2014 02:24 AM

Sure I have tools that are not used much, but I still use them. Example, I have a 10” Sears table saw that has been set up to only make the retreaded tires for my tractors. Silly, not to me. The set up on my Unisaw would be just too much alterations. This saw that many would not have in their shop is invaluable to me. Change in use also dictates use, right now I am doing a lot of carving, obviously change in tools. Then the big one for me. I am working in Moscow, Russia right now and have my traveling wood shop. This has been packed and shipped all over the world with me, used for a year or two, then packed up for a year or so at home. Lots os small inexpensive saws, lathes and other power tools. They work for me, check my L/J posts and you will see some of the things they make [over here]. Too many tools for me? not yet.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 1865 days

#5 posted 08-15-2014 02:27 AM

And the winner in the category of Best Writing With An Attitude is … TheFridge :)

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View hoss12992's profile


4104 posts in 2129 days

#6 posted 08-15-2014 02:27 AM

I gotta say that I am not a fan of cheap tools, well cheap made tools. I do have a Ryobi 10” band saw, and I really like it, for what I use it for. But the vast majority of the time I use my 14” Grizzly, which I got at a estate sale, or my big band say, 18”. Most of my tools are the mid range type, large tools, but do have some cadilac tools, and really like them. A old man told me years ago that “Cheap aint always cheap.” Aint that the truth! With all that said, I do make a fair amount of my tools as well. As a weilder and blacksmith, along with a “Life Savings Pile” that has alot of metal and a hord of motors and switches in oneof my barns, I can come up with some stuff that meets a particular need, for little or no money, and will last a lifetime. I have been encouraged to patitent a few of them, but wont do it. I am also a firm believer in “I have too many tools, said no man!”

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View Pezking7p's profile


3230 posts in 1887 days

#7 posted 08-15-2014 03:06 AM

Over and over again I buy cheap tools, which are eventually replaced with nicer tools, and each time I say “holy cow why did I ever put up with those old tools?”

You’ve got to buy what you can afford, and you can make very nice work with cheap tools, but the more expensive tools do save time and are often more pleasant to use.

-- -Dan

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3207 days

#8 posted 08-15-2014 03:09 AM

Over tooled???
Definitely not!!!
Just under funded.

I will admit that I set out on a quest to have all the basic tools for my shop about 6 years ago.
At the time I was making good money and over the course of 3 years I pretty much had my shop outfitted.
Who knew a socialist pig would become POTUS and cause me to lose that job. Now it is a struggle to buy sandpaper.
I got most of the big stuff; TS, BS, MS, Jointer, Planer, DP, Mortiser, 12” disk sander, disk/belt sander, small Lathe.
I built a good Work Bench and started building a router table extension for my TS.
I already had all the usual power tools like ROS, Drills, Circ. Saw, Recip. Saw, Routers, Belt Sander and Jig Saw.
And I have a pretty good collection of vintage and new hand tools like planes, chisels, hand saws and layout and measuring tools. Also have random Kreg items for pocket screw jointery. And a Porter Cable biscuit jointer I might as well sell because I never use it.

The one area where I determined it does not pay to go cheap is hand tools with a couple of exceptions. They either need to be restored vintage tools or better brands of new stuff.
I guess I have about $10K in all this stuff, but some of it was collected over the last 50 years. Don’t think I could replace it for that at today’s prices.

I have some Ryobi tools that do pretty good. My 12”planer, stationary belt / disk sander and 8” grinder are Ryobi.
My lathe, 12” disk sander, two drill presses, angle grinder and framing nailer are Harbor Freight. These are great tools. I’ll even admit I got a set of those HF yellow handle chisels for $4.99 and I am proud to have them. They make great beater tools, the ones you use when you are afraid you might hit a nail for instance.

View TravisH's profile


641 posts in 2171 days

#9 posted 08-15-2014 03:18 AM

Nothing wrong with going cheap on some tools. I have my share that I use but I won’t put on the rose colored glasses no doubt they are cheap and inferior in almost every aspect to other tools I can’t afford or justify the expense based on my use. The moment I routinely use them they get replaced. I get no pleasure in having to waste my time to get satisfactory results working around their issues.

Over tooling is an interesting topic…I probably should be using a rock and stick (sharp rock however).

View TheFridge's profile


10815 posts in 1722 days

#10 posted 08-15-2014 03:25 AM

Thank you, thank you. I couldn’t have done it without your topic.

It’s always price versus ease of use. If I could use a 2×4 and a circular saw instead of a track saw, with similar results, Ill never buy a track saw. It may be a pain, but as long as the end result is the same, I am fine with a little extra work. I wouldn’t buy one unless it’s dirt cheap or given to me.

Unless I win the lottery… Then I’m gonna post a shop pic for every day of the week to rub it in.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View fuigb's profile


540 posts in 3193 days

#11 posted 08-15-2014 03:48 AM

Irony = this thread’s topic juxtaposed with the OP’s tag line

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

489 posts in 1916 days

#12 posted 08-15-2014 03:50 AM

I don’t have a issue with cheap tools and I look for bargains all the time but I do have a issue with spending money twice and all to often I have found that the cheapest tool on the market isn’t the best bargain long term.

If I was charging by the piece for work and wanted to make a strong joint fast I could easily see something like a domino making sense. Sure I could take 2-3 times longer to cut those joints using other means but that’s profit out of my pocket by doing so. Since I don’t charge by the piece and have the luxury of taking my time when I built something I don’t own a domino but I hardly begrudge people who do.

View TheFridge's profile


10815 posts in 1722 days

#13 posted 08-15-2014 03:55 AM

If you got it use it. My opinions would change drastically if I ever won a bunch of money.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 1765 days

#14 posted 08-15-2014 03:59 AM

I don’t look at it as being over tooled, (and I’m not) but more as convenience tools.
If I can find a old beat up tool for cheap at an auction, (because that’s the only way I can afford one),
then I will buy it if it makes the task at hand easier. (easier usually means better as well)

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View Texcaster's profile


1286 posts in 1910 days

#15 posted 08-15-2014 04:01 AM

I’m a tradesman and have always bought quality. Except for an el cheapo black and decker I/4 hp router for hinge gains. It was throw away priced, I still use it.

Festo and SawStop in the same post. Slow day?

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

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