Random thought about tool accumulators

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I am a tool accumulator. I don't really collect them, and I certainly can't justify the ones I have, but I continue to accumulate more. I was passing through the Borg the other day and made my obligatory round through the tool section to drool over what I don't have and wish I did. This time I had my 13 yo son with me, who kept asking annoying questions. You know the type "What would you use that for?" and "don't you have one of those at home already?". After a while I started thinking about this obsession that many of us have with tools and have formed a theory.
I think that many of us (certainly me) don't have the amount of time to work in our shops that we would like, so we see the adding of a tool as doing something with our hobby. If we don't have time to make sawdust at least we can do *something* woodworking related. I am finding that it is nice to have a project going that I can walk out and spend just 5 minutes on - unfortunately there aren't many of those, so for months at a time any shop time is devoted to urgent household repairs. As a result I keep adding clamps, but never glue up panels. I have sandpaper in every grit known to man, but no wood to use it on (and am planning the imminent addition of a scraper or two - plus appropriate burnisher, holder and whatever else related that I can find). I have stationary power tools I can't use because I can't find the time to move the piles of insulation from the middle of the floor to the walls so that I can move the tools from storage into the shop. Adding tools seems to be the only way I can really stay connected to my love of wood.
"We need to make a sacrifice to the gods, find me a young virgin... oh, and bring something to kill"
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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Maybe you are pulling our leg, but if you love wood, you must be able to find a half hour here and there to work it. Maybe the time you spend here or at Borg?
I have a doweling jig I bought at a garage sale and a POS profile sander, but I use every other tool regularly. So no, I don't understand.
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Partly leg pulling, but the basic issue is, I think, true. I'd get more woodworking done if I wasn't in the Borg trying to get parts to fix the house - which is where all my woodworking time and budget seems to go. Adding a few clamps so that "now I have enough to glue up that dresser carcase" is more enjoyable than just going home and re-wiring the lights. (yesterday's project that took be to the Borg and started this whole train of thought)

I have a ton of tools I use regularly, but seldom on "real woodworking".
"We need to make a sacrifice to the gods, find me a young virgin... oh, and bring something to kill"
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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I think you're over-analyzing. Just send me all the tools you don't need and I'll see that they get used. ;-)
Will
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On Tue, 1 Mar 2005 12:36:47 -0800, "NorthIdahoWWer"

But then I'd have to start over!
"We need to make a sacrifice to the gods, find me a young virgin... oh, and bring something to kill"
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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It was somewhere outside Barstow when Tim Douglass
Me too. I meet many tools needing to be re-homed, and I just can't say no to them. Today's was just a tiny pair of Moore & Wright round-leg dividers - house clearance from a chap who'd worked at a local aircraft factory.
But any exposure to the "new" tool shelves at a Borg fills me with horror at their shoddiness. I can't remember when I last bought a tool at a Borg - they've just got no attraction at all.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

So true, just wish I'd had room for the 6 tool boxes that my sister in law skipped when father in law died....I did get a couple of planes, but that was only 'cause I knew where he hid them....
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on 3/1/2005 3:05 PM Andy Dingley said the following:

Reading this post close on the heels of the one about the complete shop full of mostly vintage tools sure strikes a note with me.
Those who haven't gone to the eBay site to take a look at what's offered are missing a treat. Oh, to have the money (and, of course, the room) to house that setup. Makes one's mouth water.
If you missed it, it REALLY is worth the look:
<http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item876295933&ssPageName ME:B:EF:US:1>
Pay attention to the shots of the partially reassembled UniSaw. You just don't see that craftsmanship and design anymore. That's why those tools are still functioning today sixty years or so after they were manufactured. I doubt many of today's tools will have that sort of life expectancy.
Bet that no one who owns that lathe is asking how to keep it from vibrating and walking around. "Self-ballasting" would be my guess.
Question the sixty years? That Delta Rockwell 14" bandsaw is the twin of one I picked up at a house sale 19 years or so ago. Mine needed to be cleaned and painted and that, together with new wheels and blade guides, is all it took. I managed to run the pedigree on the machine down. I'm now 59 now and that bandsaw was "born" a year a half before me. It had seen some use and maybe even some rough use. Right now the worst thing you could say about it is the black and red paint on the medallion is somewhat faded. Pardon me all to hell, I have a couple nice, big windows in my shop<g>
Something about the vintage tools just seems to scream quality. I almost think I'd rather spend $1,700 on a 20-30 year old UniSaw that needed some TLC and refurbishing than the same amount on a brand new one. When you take a machine completely apart to clean and refurb it and then reassemble it, hopefully having it act and look as new you have a real pride of ownership and a tool that you now know so intimately that any problems that do crop up are "Oh, that just needs a twist here..."
Thanks for sharing that eBay site.
Bob
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It was somewhere outside Barstow when Unquestionably Confused

I'm rather younger, but my Wadkin cabinet saw is of the same relative age to me 8-)
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[seriously snipperized]

Find me something modern that idles like a Buick Straight-8 or cruises like a 600 cc vintage BMW boxer, anything that sounds like the shutter of a well-maintained Leica? What sounds like a 350-year-old Guarneri cello? All modern equivalents, even if proven scientifically superior, miss something. I think it's a piece of the craftsman's/machinist's heart/guts who made it. Is that what we call quality?
I was looking at a very old Carl Zeiss microscope one day with its replacement, a brand new Wild Heerbrugg, sitting beside it. The proud owner was extolling the virtues of the new Wild, the clarity of the optics, but why didn't the focus mechanism feel the same?
It is mystical, I tell ya!
00
Rob--->who once was removed from under his hat by firing a 'light' load from a 460 WeatherbyMk5
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On Wed, 02 Mar 2005 00:12:33 GMT, Unquestionably Confused

Funny thing is that there have always been a lot of junky old tools. I've used a lot of stuff that may be a hundred years old, but should have been thrown out after one. Age does not mean quality, but the quality tools are the ones most likely to have survived. The one area where practically any older tool seems to be superior is in the amount of metal used. The sheet metal is thicker (they didn't have the technology to roll it thinner), the castings are heavier (they didn't have computer modeling to figure out the maximum strength at the minimum weight), and metal is used where now you find plastics (they just didn't have any alternatives). Some vintage tools are great, but there are a lot of very good modern tools that work reliably, cost relatively little and last a long time, so I'm not going to start worshiping at the altar of 1950's machinery yet.
"We need to make a sacrifice to the gods, find me a young virgin... oh, and bring something to kill"
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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amount of time

adding of a

time to make

I am

walk out

many of

urgent
I hear ya brother. I just bought a Delta jointer that I don't really have room for, largely because I've been wanting one for years and ended up with an unexpected windfall from some writing. But I know that, realistically, I won't have much chance to use it for months...any spare time I can wring from work and family has to go into completing various projects around the house. But knowing that jointer is sitting out in the garage makes me feel good; the two 48" bar clamps I bought last month are hanging out there too and give me the same feeling. Now when I get a magazine with a plan I like, I can't say "if only I had a jointer I'd make that." Now it's just going to be time.
I do, however, have wood in the garage-- oak, maple, hickory, mahogany, sycamore, cherry, and walnut. No more than 20 bf of anything (much less of most) but someday soon I'm going to take a day off work and machine all the parts for a sofa table I've been planning for months. It probably won't be done for a year (I'm still waiting for the BLO to dry on an end table I started in September) and I know I'll be looking for more tools in between.
-kiwanda
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I have my own theory, one that I've refined over the years of accumulating tools to do whatever, whenever. I collect tools to have hope. Hope to someday have the time to use them, to learn what they can do, to learn what I can do with them. Tools to me are latent potential, filled with projects and ideas waiting to burst out under the guidance of my hands and mind. So I buy tools, to do this or that. And they will, if I live long enough to find the time to learn how to guide them properly. Until then, I'll collect tools. And hope...
Michael Latcha - at home in Redford, MI

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On Wed, 02 Mar 2005 04:05:40 GMT, "Michael Latcha"

Much more graceful and positive way of saying what I was thinking. Hope is exactly what I'm buying. If I have the tool someday I'll do the project.
"We need to make a sacrifice to the gods, find me a young virgin... oh, and bring something to kill"
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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wrote: : : >I have my own theory, one that I've refined over the years of accumulating : >tools to do whatever, whenever. I collect tools to have hope. Hope to : >someday have the time to use them, to learn what they can do, to learn what : >I can do with them. Tools to me are latent potential, filled with projects : >and ideas waiting to burst out under the guidance of my hands and mind. So : >I buy tools, to do this or that. And they will, if I live long enough to : >find the time to learn how to guide them properly. Until then, I'll collect : >tools. And hope... : : Much more graceful and positive way of saying what I was thinking. : Hope is exactly what I'm buying. If I have the tool someday I'll do : the project. : [snip]
Remember your mother buying clothing too large, giving you "grow room". My older brother says he was 30 years old before he realized he didn't have to buy shoe with "grow room" anymore. Some of my shop tools are things I hope to grow into, I may not make maximum use of them right now but someday . . .
Josie
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Tim clarified:

. .

room". My

have to

I hope

someday . .

Now I know why I cruise the tool bins and asiles. . .I thought I was just wasting time.<G>
Seriously, I think hope has a lot to do with it. Thanks for the clarity and encouragement.
Dan
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It was somewhere outside Barstow when "firstjois"
Have you read Toshio Odate's book, and the tale of his first "good" plane as an apprentice ?
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Andy Dingley wrote:

Nope, should I put it on my recommended list?
Josie
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It was somewhere outside Barstow when "firstjois"

Excellent book. Both well-written and readable as an autobiography of Japanese apprentice life, and it's also a good guide to Japanese tools. <(Amazon.com product link shortened)>
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On Wed, 02 Mar 2005 04:05:40 GMT, the inscrutable "Michael Latcha"

Amen, bruddah!

Well stated.

Great line, Tim.
-- Remember: Every silver lining has a cloud. ---- http://diversify.com Comprehensive Website Development
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