4. SOURCES OF TOOLS AND MATERIALS 4.1 WHAT IS THE BEST PLACE TO BUY TOOLS? Trendlines or Harbor Freight. Sears is also pretty good, with high quality, durable tools. For Canadians, it's Crappy Tire. The other places are a rip-off. You could also join the Handyman Club of America and get a whole bunch of free tools for testing. But this is supposed to be secret, so don't tell anyone you heard it here.
4.2 SHOULD I BUY A SEARS BLURFL? Sears Crapsman are fine tools for beginning and advanced woodworkers. If you don't believe me ask [f]Art.. He has been busy researching Craftsman history and found that Craftsman power tools actually are significantly better than those of 20 years ago. They give your stuff the real imperfect "hand-crafted" look. Make sure you also get a Sears belt sander to fix your mistakes.
Bob Z. responded to questions from a newbie about the Craftsman bashing issue.
Q. I've noticed that CRAFTSMAN (Sears) woodworking tools like tablesaws, radial arm saws, band saws, etc., seem to get dumped on. Why?
Q. Are they really that bad?
quality, so they have to bash Craftsman. Don't listen to these pathetic losers.
Q. What do the experts consider to be the "best" or "top of the line" brands when it comes to woodworking tools.
Sears also makes incredibly efficient motors. For the same size and weight and electrical current draw, their motors have much more power than the competition. Who else but Sears can defy the laws of physics and make a 3 horsepower motor that only draws 13 Amps at 120 Volts?
Maybe the screaming coming from a universal motor is the sound of that unaccounted for power being sucked through the interdimensional vortex?
4.3 WHY IS BOB VILA SUCH A JERK? The Bobster is not a jerk. It's not his fault he knows everything and other people don't. Evidence of this is that he was responsible for bringing Norm to PBS. The fact that he shills the wonderful Sears tool is even more evidence of his great insight.
4.4 SHOULD I BUY A CHIWANESE CLONE BLURFL? Sure, they're cheaper. You can save a lot of money. But don't spend the big bucks on Grizzly & especially Jet. They are overpriced. They're all made in the same factory anyway.
4.5 IS RIDGID (ALSO SPELLED RIGID, RIDGED, ETC.) ANY GOOD? The best!!! Ask any plumber. Oh, you mean the new woodworking stuff at the Borg. The Rigid tools at HD are actually like a cross between Jet and Delta. The Borg was getting tired of matching prices with everybody on Delta tools, so they got the producer of the great Sears stationary tools, Emerson Electric, to develop a new line for them that's even better and cheaper than Sears, Delta, Powermatic, Jet, General, Felder, Inca, Altendorf, all put together.
4.6 WHAT SHOULD I DO IF HD WON'T MATCH A PRICE? The Borg has a very clear policy of matching competitors' prices and taking 10% off. It is very important for all of us to make sure that Home Despot follows its policy. How else are we going to help the Borg eliminate all its competitors? A HD monopoly would make life much easier for us woodworkers. It would eliminate the agonizing choices about what to buy and who to buy from we have to make every time we need a tool or some wood. We would save a lot of time wasted shopping around when we could be working in the shop. It would also end up saving a lot of bandwidth on rec.norm and avert the need to split the group. So if you're having a problem in any store, threaten to call Linda or Joan or Lisa at the HD headquarters (actually, any female name will work).
4.7 WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN THE TRUCKDRIVER REFUSES TO UNLOAD AND SET UP MY NEW 2000LB MAIL ORDER BLURFL? Truck drivers should be required to break their backs because you ordered from a mail-order company or Amazon to get a price break and not from your local dealer. To hell with OSHA and all other stupid government regulations and union rules. It's a real ripoff when you pay $25.00 for shipping 1000 pounds across the continent and then have to pay a whole bunch more to get it unloaded at your house. Lift gates should be compulsory on all semi trailers, to force the freight companies to deal fairly with their hobbyist woodworking customers, who are the largest part of their business. Do they think everybody has a loading dock in their workshop? It's obviously not the mail order company since they always make sure they get the best, fastest, and most expensive shipping methods and always specify FAS delivery.
4.8 WHERE CAN I GET INFORMATION ABOUT PARTICLE BOARD AND MDF? One word - Home Despot. The helpful staff at Home Depot know everything there is to know about wood and woodworking. They are all qualified tradespeople who took a massive pay cut just so they could be helpful to rank amateurs like you.
4.9 CAN I USE THE WOOD FROM PALLETS? Used pallets are a very easy way of getting free good hardwood. You can save a lot of money by disassembling pallets. Pallets need to be strong so they are made of the best quality clear, dry and straight-grained hardwood, even better than what you can get at the Borg. You might even get some expensive tropical hardwoods on pallets from Southeast Asia or Japan. Plus reusing pallets saves trees to hug for the eco-freaks among us.
You should have no problem taking the pallets apart, since most pallet manufacturers have thoughtfully made them easy to disassemble. Crowbars to your wallet or tactical nuclear weapons work best. (See Crowbar FAQ)
Don't worry about nails. Nails are made from soft steel. The steel in your planer and jointer are harder than nails, and so is the carbide on your blades. (So is the steel in any decent hand plane, for the Neander types.)
4.10 WHAT IS THE BEST PLACE TO GET HARDWOOD? If you're too lazy to take pallets apart go to eBay. You can get incredible hardwoods for really cheap, all precut in the sizes you need for actual projects. Don't worry about getting into a bidding war, the stuff for sale there is worth a lot more than anyone has ever bid on it. The pictures don't do it justice. The Borg is also pretty good, and you'll save on planing and jointing. Local lumberyards and sawmills specializing in hardwoods are a rip-off.