Anyone else have a poor man's shop?

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Don't get to feeling special. I would willingly give good odds that, at a minimum, ninety five percent of everyone posting to this news group, no matter what they have now and including myself, started off the same way, if not with even less.
--
Mike G.
snipped-for-privacy@heirloom-woods.net
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Your odds are probably fairly good. There's always a few who have more dollars than brains, who go out and spend thousands on <whatever> and then abandon it because they tried to turn shit into gold. There's no substitute for skill.
My fisrt tools were an old Gilbert Handyman kit, really not much more than a toy, that my dad gave me when I was a kid. This was about 1978 or so, and he'd had it since the 50's. The next was a B&D pad sander, and I still have it. That was in 1982 or so. I was 12. I built a lot of "stuff" as a kid using crappy old hand tools in my dad's basement.
I can't confess to being one of the poor, but I will say I'm frugal. I inherited a lot of really solid old cast iron machinery in excellent shape, and what I've bought, I've needed, and bought on sale or used, and heeded the saying "buy once, cry once". While I don't discount the usefulness of inexpensive tools for the hobby or occasional user, I feel that if I buy the absolute best I can afford, and a bit more, and have that tool for a lifetime, then whatever I paid for it was worth it.
The OP shouldn't need to have an inferiority complex, but should be able to skillfully use what he has and can afford, and that will make all the difference.
Jon E
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Bob wrote:

You're definitely not alone. I have some good, some cheap.
- Ryobi 180PL Router w/ self built table - Ryobi 10" benchtop drillpress - Ryobi 5" ROS - Ryobi finish sander - Ryobi 18V drill w/ only 1 working battery - PC laminate trimmer - Freud biscuit joiner - Skil 7 1/4" circular saw - Skil jigsaw - Makita LS1013 10" SCMS (I love this saw!) - Skil 10" benchtop table saw - floor standing belt/disc sander ($100 from my uncle) - Ryobi 10" benchtop surface planer (long term loan from my dad) - Ryobi 6" (?) benchtop jointer (also on loan from my dad)
All this in a 12x22 foot oddly shaped shop.
I built it up over time. My next major purchase will be a bandsaw (getting tired of driving to my parents to use my dad's), and then I will probably upgrade the table saw.
I'd love to have the setups some people here have, but I'm just in this as a hobby. Never made a dime at it, so it's kinda hard to justify spending thousands of dollars on equipment.
...Mike
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It's not what you put into it Bob. It's what you get out of it. If you are happy with a chisel and a piece of scrap, by all means, enjoy your craft. SH

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snipped-for-privacy@operamail.com (Bob) wrote in message

You suck! I wish I had a bandsaur.
Aside from that you have about the same set up that I have (er, well I have a DP and a lathe, so I guess that puts me ahead by one major power tool :-).
With the exception of a ROS which my wife paid full price for, everything else that I bought was either garage/estate sales or close out sales where I got 20% or more off regular price.
Oh yeah (drive by Gloat coming), recently a relative on my wife's side of the family decided to get rid of all his old tools from his contracting days, and figured I could probably use them. So I have a steady supply of hand tools and power hand tools that keep arriving in dribs and drabs, every couple of weeks. (Now if I can just figure out what to do 3 drywall screw guns.)
-Chris
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Some of us have had our tools for years, and most were made better then. (Wood lathe was my first tool-28 years ago when I was 14, and I still have it). I love to find upgrades-used, and some repair work is usually necessary. Yes I do buy new, but I relate to people who don't have a bunch of tools.
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Actually, when you look at what is available today that isn't true. Professional quality tools of today are every bit as good as they were way back when. It's just that those tools aren't everyman affordable and we have added a lower level of tools, the weekend warrior level.
Any questions there take a look at what Lie Neilson and Veritas is turning out or look at the quality of a contractors saw compared to what you got in a contractors saw even ten years ago.
--
Mike G.
snipped-for-privacy@heirloom-woods.net
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Don't let price of tools get to you, my best most used plane is a 2 dollar Russian made plane that I have spent a few hours "fixing up" it's a piece of junk but does well for what I want it to do. I started out with a skill brand skill saw, a b&d yellow saber saw and 3/8" drill. I now have one wall of my shop with tools valued at about 20 grand hanging around on it, about 15 grand of them are tools that I have picked up for free and their only function is to hang around and look pretty. It has taken 30+ years to get them there so I leave them and every once in a while I find a use for one of them. Many of my tools are scrounged and it has only been in the past few years that I have bought with out looking so hard at the budget. You will get there when you need to get there so on the way enjoy the tools you have and learn how to use them, it's 3/4 of the fun.

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snipped-for-privacy@operamail.com (Bob) wrote in message

So I'm not the only low budget wood worker out there. I live for last years model, yard sale specials, and the refurbished power tool. Last month I made my biggest purchase ever when I splurged $370 ( a product return and on sale) for a 13" planer. Before that most things were sub-$100 with the exception of the $190 (on sale) TS I bought last year. When I go to Sears to look at tools I first go to the parts department to see if there are any refurbished deals to be had. I'm now in the market for a good, inexpensive joiner. "Good" and "Inexpensive", are those terms mutually exclusive when talking about a jointer?
Greg
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In the family I married into we have 5 men between 20-30. All in the home building stage of life. It is off that we have all purchased houses that needed some attention and all of us (bar 1). For tools.. we informally (men would *never* plan) take stoke of ALL of our tools and will try not to duplicate anything major. That does not always happen though - men and tools, I now own three drills. It was my *turn* last time so I purchased a nice Bosch router. We share tools and trade sweat with each other while working on our houses. At one of the houses we store most of our collective lumber.
I have grown in confidence and like to think my skill has increased. Apart from the construction work in all the houses, I have made several wooden toys, boxes and a couple of pieces of outdoor furniture.
My wife likes the results and is saving pictures of furniture she likes for future projects. She will also occasionaly watch norm (actually the 1st minute and the finished result). She now knows... if she wants XYZ furniture - I need ABC tool FIRST.
If I had $20000 dollars TODAY and spent it on tools - it would hamper the learning experience. Not having all of the tools to hand NOW makes you think a great deal about the task...That is SO IMPORTANT - you need to come up with a strategy and plan your work. I believe that makes the process more fulfilling and promotes safety. Within 6 months of starting out I had a close call with a circular saw. I now will not take risks because I do not have a tool to hand. I learnt my lesson and when I get a nice TS - it will get my respect (but not any part of me!).
-- gp
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Google Poster wrote:

I've been thinking about this and it occurs to me this is how communities use to be. That is, before the great disposable income and toy collection race.
This is going back decades, it seems that everyone would have their basic tools and one quality communal tool, not that the communal tool would be passed around but if someone really needed to use it they knew where they could get access. The tools owner would usually be the one running it because it is *his* tool. I remember Dad loading up tools and taking off for a day.
Now we don't even know our neighbors names let alone being philanthropic with time or trusting them with our equipment.
Poster, I'm envious. You have 4 people you can go to for help in one form or another. My extended family , let me say they aren't at all handy.
--
Mark

N.E. Ohio
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Well, it hasn't been said here yet, so I will say it. Most tools (unless they are outright junk)today FAR exceed the skills of the people that use them. Tools do not make the carpenter, woodworker, etc. any more than a good set of brushes make a Van Gogh. Good tools help do a better job, but still, like your computer, you probably use any given tool at 10% of its capability. Do you think that Duncan Phyfe needed a table saw that you could balance currency on to make his beautiful tables,chairs and buffets?
I learned to make kitchen cabinets in the mid seventies with a circular saw, router, and a jig saw. No, they were not raised panel, but the old "half-lapped" doors on rail and stile carcasses. Hand nailed everything too, since compressors and nailers were for "the hacks that couldn't drive a nail". (Actually, they were just so damn expensive we couldn't afford the guns.)
All of my early habits stayed with me, and I don't need a shop full of tools, even being a specialty carpentry contractor. I still make solid door frames for outside doors on site out of 2x6 and mortise out the head rail frame piece and dado out the thickness of the door with my circular saw. A great blade, a good saw, sander, and chisel and you are in business. Small cabinets are made on site as well on my saw horses. I do use a router now on the hinge mortises, but did it for years with the chisel. There are a lot of us out there that are "on site" carpenters that do things this way, and while all of us would like more tools, none of us is stumped by not having one certain tool.
The best advice you could get has already been given. Join a club or a group and learn to use the tools you have the best you can. Shared information with others increases the learning curve a billion percent. The side benefit is that you will know if you want to upgrade what you like and don't like in each tool. The archives of this rec also make a wonderful library of information.
Good luck! Remember that the average man has more wood working tools in his garage than the old, *non-powered* crafstmen ever dreamed of... yet somehow they turned out masterpieces.
Robert
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Bob, I think, in some respects, it's a glass half-full/half-empty situation. Each of us here had to start somewhere and "poor" is just a state-of-mind when it comes to woodworking. There are always better (and more expensive) tooling to equip one's shop with. In that respect alone, I have a poor man's shop. Hell, if I could just win the lottery, I would have one of everything (plug in your favorite brand) from Delta, or Griz or Powermatic, or...well you get the picture. There are Normites and Neanders here and one man's junque is another's treasure. It all involves time. And commitment. Yes, a top-of-the-line tool may make the job go quicker, maybe hold tolerance a lot better and may outlast a less expensive tool, but the quality of *your work* depends on *you*. Sometimes you just got to make do.
Best Regards, Philski
Bob wrote:

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