With the price of wood what it is does it make sense to cheap out on tools that'll last a lifetime?

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Having spent over $300 today for 6 pieces of wood, I wonder why a woodworker subjected to the same high prices would think twice about spending a little bit more to buy premium (I don't mean extravagant necessarily!) equipment. In the few short years I've been at this hobby, I've spent thousands on wood. And the number of projects are quite modest.
Just a thought.
Dave
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I agree with you partly. It is silly to buy a Ryobi router rather than a Bosch to save money; in the end it is a poor bargain.
But if my $200 used jointer is indistinquishable from a new $400 one, why not save the money? I suppose some might argue that the time it takes to fine good used tools isn't worth the saving, but that is part of the fun, for me at least.
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I agree whole heartedly. I always look used first and in most cases I spend far more time researching an item, then I use when buying new. I benefit from this research in a way that is priceless. Its fun negotiating price and sometimes I find some real prizes. I enjoy cleaning and polishing (left over from the USMC). Plus my wife loves to hear "Saved by buying used". When I start by telling her how much I saved by buying used the "final price" is never heard. Also the quality of some of the old stuff can be amazing... take the older Delta 14" bandsaws. Pick one up for 200 bucks or less and add a Carter kit, clean it, and tune it. You got yourself a better 14" bandsaw then can be bought new, at least in my HO. Ed
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This is how I aquired my Delta BS. I was looking around, found an online ad for the local paper and called the guy. He was getting rid of his 14" Delta that he maybe used twice. I got the fence and mobile base and BS for $200. A minor gloat. I always look for good used power tools if I can.
Layne
On Wed, 02 Nov 2005 14:08:24 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@no.com wrote:

snip
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I have been a sawdust manufacturer for 30+ years. I believe that higher quality equipment costs less in the long run. Less maintenance and less desire to upgrade in a few years. That should leave you with more money for lumber.
Curious - where do you buy lumber? I have been "shopping" a bit lately to find alternate sources that would make it worth time and gas to go stock up on quantity. I buy from a hardwood dealer about 30 miles from my home. This dealer imports from the SE Kansas, SW Missouri area - about 130 miles east. He does do some of the planing but little else. His prices are much better than the BORG but creeping up. I have recently located mills in the Kansas/Missouri are at offer rough-cut kiln or air dried Walnut, Oak and Cherry at a fraction of the local price. Even if you add planing at .20 a bdft it is still about 1/2 the price of local. Gonna find a trailer one of these days and head that way.
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RonB wrote:

4/4 walnut was $5.75/bf in San Jose. I didn't even ask what the maple was--I needed it. I just asked the counterman to 'go easy on me'. He knocked off a few bf in the count, which is what they always do, but it's still a lot of money for so little wood.
Dave
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David wrote:

Is this S4S and cut to size? If not, you just popped with reason #37,319 why I'm glad I don't live in CA.
Around here, I buy green and rough and let it air dry for a couple years for 4/4, more for other woods. I'm due to pick up some oak and walnut and poplar and, I hope, locust, and I am afraid the price has gone up since I bought 4 years ago. Probably up to 65 cents or so, from 50. Walnut and cherry tend to run 75 to 90 cents.
Keep in mind, though, that as much as 50% of that is lost in seasoning and planing so double the price for top notch log run wood, dried and ready to use.
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Charlie Self wrote:

definitely NOT s4s and cut to size. CA is not the place for good wood deals, Charlie.
With 50% loss, at the prices you quoted, they are still a hell of a deal, compared to what I'm being charged out here.
I think that deserves a "you suck". :)
Dave
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Where do you live Charlie? The local dealer I mentioned above sells 4/4 Oak for around $3 depending on grade. Good 8/4 runs a little more than $4. This is kiln-dried, planed and one edge. Walnut about $4.30 to $6 depending on grade. I recently located a source for air dired oak and walnut that sells in the $1.20 and $1.70 range (respectively). This is rough cut but he planes for .20/bdft (seems like a bargain after you see his collection of things that have destroyed his planer blades).
RonB
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RonB wrote:

Your prices for air dried are in line with most I've heard...the lower end. Personally, I prefer air dried walnut to a lot of the kiln dried you find, too much of which has been steamed to even out the color. If I had to pay kiln dried dealer cost on a lot of woods, I'd have a real problem with paying for woodworking.
Basically, I drive 3 miles up the road and talk to the sawmill owner about what I need. Sometimes he has it, sometimes not, sometimes he has something else that's better. He's milling more pine these days, but still does an appreciable amount of oak. Thing is, a lot of these small mill operators are now refusing to deal with the little guy. They are not interested in selling 100 or 200 or 300 BF because their usual customers want bridge timbers and by in the mulitple thousands of B F at a clip.
I'm in south central VA, about 65 miles north of the NC line, a great area for woodworking.
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I assume that you went to Aura. I've found that Global (101 & Zanker) and Jackel (Watsonville) have better prices than Aura. Forget southern.
I've gotten QS 4/4 walnut for less than that at jackel.

Since the walnut and maple need to be trucked in from the eastern half of the country, they are naturally going to be more expensive out on the west coast. On the other hand, PO cedar, Alder, Claro walnut, sweetgum, sycamore and other native trees can be found more cheaply if one looks around.
Then again, I can work with the garage door open year around, have RH usually well under 50% and 330 days of sunshine a year, no air conditioning required.
scott
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Have any good sourses in SE Missouri? lol The saw mill that I bought from this summer sold me a mix assortment of Hardwood 1x6 by 9ft rough cut green for a buck a board (once I clear out my soon to be wood strorage area I'm going to start stocking up on them...lol). However all the mills around me only does 1 by stock.
I have yet to purchase a tool but from the advice I have gotten it seams that midrange EQ meets mosts needs and it is just not ecconamical to go for the best of the best if you don't use it much. after all why have a $1500 peice of EQ laying around you only use once a month or something.
Deborah
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I think it can be very short-sighted to skimp on tools but there still are good answers to your question in certain circumstances.
A1: Because money spent on wood often yields more satisfying results (end product, skills development, etc.) than the same money spent on a premium tool. If I have $1,000 to spend, would I rather have $1,000 worth of wood I can work with, building furniture, or a premium thingamajig to sit in my shop, which I can admire and imagine using if I could afford the wood to put through it?
A2: Because an adequate tool is, well, adequate, while a premium tool is a waste. E.g., I have a minimal set of carving gouges that are perfectly adequate for my very occasional needs. A premium set of carving tools would be a waste for me--better to spend the money on wood. Now if my interests were to change to more carving and less straight work with dimensional stock, I would likely sell some nice planes to buy better carving tools.
Just some other thoughts. ;-)
--
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.

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alexy wrote:

I'm with you. No need to splurge where there isn't a clear benefit (on the tools).
But when I buy equipment I know I'm not going to be cutting them into pieces, some of which are discarded! :)
Dave
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Just because in the long run you'd have been better off financially buying a more expensive tool at the start doesn't mean you're better off. What about everything you learned and accomplished with the cheaper tool that you could afford at the time? The cheaper tool sitting in your shop is worth a lot more to you than the expensive one sitting at the dealer.
I have a $90 Ryobi 9" band saw that was all I could afford to get at the time two years ago. I've sold enough stuff that was made on it to buy two good 14" saws by now, but so far I've had higher priorities in tool purchases than upgrading it.
-Leuf
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Amen brother.

There's adequate and then there is pure guano.
I had a plastic crapsman bandsaw that some well-intentioned soul bought for me as a gift. *That* was truly a POS and landed in the trash can after the 2nd attempted use.
I think most of us have had one or two of those at one time or another.
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What, may I ask, did you buy for $50/board?
Those are either pretty big or pretty pricey boards.
Steve

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C & S wrote:

just 4 walnut boards and 2 maple. nothing extravagant.
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C & S wrote:

oh, if I'd gone another couple blocks to Southern Lumber, I'd have paid at least 70% MORE!
Dave
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I buy the tool because of it's quality, and it is within my estimated price-range. I buy the tool so as to not spend my days cursing it before I throw it over a cliff. It has nothing to do with the price of the wood, which is expensive according to (a) the type of wood, and (b) how well you know the seller [do you do a lot of business with him].
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