Quality, Safety, Precision, OR Value, Buy you last tool first?

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  • Quality, Safety, Precision, OR Value, Buy you last tool first?

    Value: Buy Last Saw First, or get what is Good Enough?

    In another thread, where Harbor Freight is discussed ( https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...why#post846186 ) the idea came to mind of WHEN is it best to buy for Quality and when is it OK for cheap - to get by - buy a tool for the time being?

    Recently in this thread: https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...d-festool-rant
    . . . Capncarl mentioned that wise adage: Buy your last saw first. And that was in a "Festool" thread. Whether Festool Kapex or Sawstop. Back in 2000, I bought a $600 Makita Sliding dual compound miter saw and have not regretted it, although I do long for a Kapex and its full 12 inch cut on short travel .

    What items are under the wise suggestion of "buy your last ______ tool first".
    Is it worth it to save and buy in that manner for the most part?

    When is it not?
    . . .
    If I only use a band saw 5 or 6 times a year for a couple of hours each time (But need it for those situations.) (What is your opinion?)
    . . . If I only use a Table saw a dozen times a year? What isYour opinion?
    Other tools in this category?

    What tools do you not regret purchasing at a high price? - I.e. most definitely going over budget, but it has been worth every penny?

    What tools have you purchased that you wish you had moved up to a better model or quality?
    Last edited by leehljp; 11-21-2021, 10:58 AM.
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

  • #2
    One tool that I have not regretted purchasing at a high price - the Fein Multi-tool. I bought the Fein back when they were holding onto their patient and not letting anyone produce it. I was home for 7 or 8 months in 1996 and my mom wanted a bathroom remodeled, including replacing the tile walls, but she did not want any dust. I purchased the Fein for about $200 which was HIGH back then. In 2011, I gave it to a son-in-law and bought a new one with quick on/off blades back in 2011. I use that tool often and it has not let me down one bit. Rugged, tough, precise, does every bit of I ask of it and even more. Long cord too! I get amazed every time I use it how easy it gets the job done. Last week I had to shorten two 4 ft long columns 12" in diameter. The top flange was nailed on with finishing nails and I needed to seperate the flange top on the shortened columns. I used a metal cutting blade and cut 6 nails on each column flange. Easy and it did not tear up the column or flange. Wow, Still amazed at that tool!

    While I do not have the Festool Vac, I considered it 10 years ago. I settled on the Fein Turbo 2 Vac and cannot be happier. Large tank, Auto On/Off when turning tools on that are plugged into the Fein; 2 1/4" hoses. I was dismayed when I realized that the Festool only had 1 inch hoses - which are excellent for tool dust control but not for small cutoff pieces.

    I have two Festool sanders (5 inch and 6 inch) that are the cat's meow! They are my go to sanders and I think what is so good about them is their Systainers - all of the needed supplies are in each Systainer. That makes a huge difference when using a tool, to have all that is needed in its own box. I have given away my most of my other sanders to my son-in-laws and one grandson.

    I mentioned the Makita 12" Sliding Dual Compound Miter Saw. It is outdated but I still get jealousy looks when I take it to a building site for Church building. It is 21 years old and I used it here in the USA, took it to Japan , used it there and brought it back here.

    If I were re-buying I would get a Bosch with the funny folding arms, or the Kapex! The one thing I don't like about the Makita and older model Sliding Miter saws is the front to rear space needed to operate. That made it difficult to use on a bench next to a wall.

    LOW END TOOLS:
    I really have a problem with the way HF is going. They stlll have the low end "Pittsburg" wrenches and sockets, but they are pushing their 50% to 100% higher price "Icon" , which are not that much higher quality. I have been to my nearest HF on two occasions in the past 6 months to buy socket sets or breaker bars and they were out of the cheaper "Pittsburg" and only had the much higher "icon" brand. I complained and did not buy them, instead purchasing individual sockets at an automotive store.
    Last edited by leehljp; 11-21-2021, 11:38 AM.
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

    Comment


    • #3
      WHEN is it best to buy for Quality and when is it OK for cheap to get by for the time being?
      It is best to buy top gear requiring no user calibration when time is being paid for, or you lack ability or interest to tinker. For the most part anything absolutely needing to be accurate gets as high end as I can afford. Thus Snap On wrench sets.

      What items are under the wise suggestion of buy your last ______ tool first.
      If you have budget, and space go for it all assuming you are not depriving yourself of the opportunity tinker should you want.


      When is it not?
      When the purchase is a bad idea financially. Or you are buying for status and not function.


      What tools do you not regret purchasing at a high price? -
      Saw blades, Rigid sander, router bits, Snap On wrenches etc...


      What tools have you purchased that you wish you had moved up to a better model or quality?
      The BTS21 lacked the features I wanted. I honestly thought it was a bt3100 on a mobile base...Makita palm sander, B&D anything but my rotary tool. Benchtop jointer that i wish was wider,, Ryobi router and Skil router bits.. and not better quality per se, but I wish I had bought a Ryobi DP121L drill press.

      Overall I am a bang for the buck guy and I like to build and tinker. Even if I won lottery I would stick with most of my current tools.

      In the other thread about Harbor Freight trying to go more up market, you mentioned an analogy to Toyota in regards to my comment about Hyundai / Genesis.

      I think Toyota is a REALLY good example of what is going on here. I am pretty sure we all know that Toyota makes, for the most part, incredibly high quality vehicles. And finding a dud from them is a rarity. And they have multiple lines, Toyota and Lexus.

      To keep the car analogy going, people keep calling Harbor Freight Yugo, but that is far from accurate, it is more akin to Hyundai. Generally speaking fairly reliable, but lacking the fit, finish, and finesse of a Toyota, that CAN and often DOES result in a shorter service life. HOWEVER there are certain tools that I would be shocked if the HF product doesn't outlive ME.

      Notably the 14" Cast iron bandsaw. While the stand is oddly designed and typical of Harbor Freight floor model tools, it is once set up with some cool blocks a VERY good saw, just not rich in features. If you recall I did add a Grizzly tension release, cobra coil, wheel brush, riser kit and cool blocks. This thing is every bit as nice of a band saw as one costing double the price.

      The 1236 clone lathe as well. Yes the stand stinks, but from the bed up this thing is a great lathe, and even if I bought the Jet, I would have wanted it on a storage bench anyway.

      The 2HP Dust collector honestly needed help from the factory, But to get a dust collector with a .5 micron cartridge filter, and a nice big impeller like I had modified mine to have, would have cost me easily double the price with no appreciable difference in performance unless I got lucky on the used market, and that would need to be VERY lucky.

      I am not saying don't buy nice things if you can afford it, or can luck out on the used market. On the contrary. My scroll saw is a Dremel 16", it's probably from the 80s and works like a brand new Porter Cable that sells for $260.00, but I got my Dremel for $25.00 off of Craigslist.

      My funky drill press, that apparently is no different from a brand new floor model from just about anyone, but the Central Machinery 13" is the match at $319.00, I got mine needing some cleanup on Craigslist for $75.00

      Now let's play with things a little bit. Mega Millions winner territory here. What would I replace?

      #1. The house. I would go with a more rural property with at least 10 acres. And build a dream sized shop. Probably a 30x70 2 story gambrel roof barn with 9' ceiling on the wood shop side. The other side would be auto / truck repair / modification and would have at least one high bay for a lift.
      #2. Given that pipe dream, I would go with a full on ClearVue cyclone system, with proper spiral metal ductwork.
      #3. As much as I love the BT3100, I would replace it with a SawStop 3HP PCS, OR... I understand there is another technology out there that works as well but doesn't tear up blades, or people. Might want to go with a Grizzly 3HP cabinet saw then, and a slider. Yes I LOVE the SMT.
      #4. I would replace the Central Machinery 12" SCMS with maybe a Bosch with the glider, or at least SOME top quality slider that does double bevel, and has the slide mechanism go to the front so it doesn't gobble up space.
      #5. Again we are in pipe dream territory here with nothing but money and space, neither of which I am awash in, but replace my 6" benchtop jointer with a Grizzly 12" Spiral cutterhead jointer.
      #6. Replace my humble Ryobi 13" planer with a DeWalt DW735. Still like the lunchbox planer dimensions, but a locking cutter head would be amazing.

      NOW having said that, with the space realities I have to work with, and a reasonble budget?

      #1. Finish upgrading my Harbor Freight 2HP dust collector with the Thien baffle, upgrade my ducting. Research is conflicting, LOTS of folks say with the impeller upgrade it will support 6", some, including some members here warn against it. One big factor is S&D PVC does NOT come in 5", and metal 5" is expensive. The concept is to upsize the main, and break out to 4" as close to the tool as possible. The reason for thinking about 6" is cost yes, and the fact that I have 4 joints of 6" plus at least 3 6x4 wyes that can be had for free from a friend. May be worth trying it on for size if nothing else...
      #2. At some point, replace the SCMS with a front slider. The only complaint I have with my Central Machinery slider is the fact the slides go out the back, making the saw suck up a TON of space. I have seen this design in use by all but the absolute top of the line cream of the crop brands that I cannot afford. HOWEVER, I can squeeze in and have on my list, a Metabo 12" double bevel SCMS. More or less just rebranded Hitachi. Wish they would have kept hte Hitachi name but oh well...
      #3. There is one thing, and one thing only that has bothered me about my BT3100, and that is the lack of a cast iron table. I will likely at some point look for a used CI cabinet saw, doesn't have to be huge, just has to have a CI table...

      Oh, and the Drill Master cordless stuff needs to hit the recycle bin NOW!
      Last edited by dbhost; 11-21-2021, 03:12 PM.
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      • #4
        In general woodworking as a hobby is not a money making deal. We are all constrained by budgets (except the very few super fortunate ones) so money does enter into it. When woodworking I am looking for personal satisfaction of taking raw wood and some tools and making something nice from it while following some sense of planning for it to happen. My planning includes a straightforward application of skills without having to fight the tools. So having quality tools is important for the satisfying experience of having everything come together per plan.

        That said I am also hamstrung by space so I can't have everything large capacity. Power needs and the ability to move it in and out and around.

        For power tools, I do not regret buying the BT3000 for a table saw; its capacity has not been a detriment to me.

        I wish I had bought a 14 inch bandsaw instead of a 12 inch. but I have not yet popped for a 14 inch and probably don't have plans to although the limits of 12 inch are often reached... a 9 inch would have been ridiculous.

        I eventually bought a 12" miter saw and retired the 10". I wish I had bought the 12: first, fortunately they are not all that expensive a tool.

        I would have liked a 8" jointer but a 6" was all I thought I could afford the money and space for and handle.

        Bigger drill presses - I went through three before I got the one I like and I still wish it had greater quill travel.

        I have a handful of hand tools that are cheap but very seldom used.
        Loring in Katy, TX USA
        If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
        BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

        Comment


        • #5
          Okay I have more time to relax, I've been thinking about this, and here is a listing of my major, and some of the minor tools, and if I upgraded them, or would replace them with something better, and if so why.

          #1. Tablesaw. Ryobi BT3100. Great saw, no blade brake. There is that new tech swap in brake tech. If it works with the BT3100, keep this saw. It is just too good of a saw. Failing that, start looking into a Sawstop if money makes itself available... I am going to assume blade brake tech can be fitted so I will stick with my old Ryobi!

          #2. Northern industrial 13" 16 speed floor model drill press. This thing drives me nuts because I NEVER drill into the end of anything on end using the DP, so I struggle as everyone has noticed with very much wanting a benchtop drill press in order to reduce floor space used. I think with a proper surrounds the column rolling storage cabinet I have no good reason to get rid of it. HOWEVER, honestly if I had an opportunity, I would absolutely jump on a Wen 12" benchtop drill press. Very much like the old Ryobi DP121L but more speeds... So no, in all reality, not going to upgrade. No good reason to.

          #3. Band Saw. Harbor Freight 14" woodworking band saw. This thing has 5 speeds although I have only ever used one. Fitted with Grizzly tension release assembly, Carter Cobra Coil, Riser Block kit, Carter wheel brush, and Cool blocks after I discovered I did NOT like the roller bearing guides I initially swapped in. Would I upgrade this? Nah. Love this saw even though it is a cheapie. Would I change anything about it? Yeah. Lose the Craftsman fence. and swap in a BOLT ON Grizzy Resaw bandsaw fence.So again, other than an easy bolt on mod, sticking iwth it.

          #4. Chicago Electric 12" Sliding compound miter saw. Good saw, but I REALLY want a front articulating double bevel like the formerly Hitachi models. I REALLY like the build quality of my Hitachi routers so there is that... It's not that the Chicago Electric is a bad miter saw, on the contrary, once I got the fence dialed in, and the stops adjusted, this thing has been bang on every single cut, which is actually impressive for a slider at any price point. The issue is the older rear tube slide design. The newer designs either use a front tube design, OR an articulating design, which uses FAR less space in the shop,and in a cramped shop that means a LOT. But they are expensive, and I have other, better uses for the funds. Sticking with this and just living with the depth issue. Minor regret.

          #5. Rigid EB4424 oscillating edge / spindle sander. Can't imagine a better model at any price. So staying with it.

          #6. Ryobi 8" bench grinder. Great grinder, perfect for sharpening, although low speed grinder would be better, no real need. Sticking with it. No regrets.

          #7. Central Machinery 12x33.5 (12x36 clone) lathe. Well made, easy to use, reliable. Lousy base. Making a storage / ballast base / bench for it. No need to upgrade.

          #8. Central Machinery 2HP dust collector. I have it fitted with a Wen impeller, and a Wynn 35a .5 micron filter. Yes there are nicer machines, at a MUCH higher price and pretty impractical for home shop usage. Will complete the Thien baffle install, and likely upsize to 6" duct. LOTS of contradictory advice on this, but the actual experts lean toward 6", and I have it available. Sticking with this. There honestly is no way for what I have invested in this thing, or will even when fully done, I could have come close to matching the performance with another brand at anywhere near the price point. Sticking iwth it, no regrets.

          #9. Ryobi AP1301 13" Planer. It does what a planer is supposed to, but suffers from snipe. Locking cutterhead models would be preferrable. A DW735 would be a nice upgrade, but I typically snipe off the bits of board I am going to cut off anyway, so no hurry... Not even sure it is worth it. And to top it off, this was a valentines day gift from my wife. Sticking with it, no regrets.

          #10. Sunhill 6" benchtop jointer. Does what I need it to, but occasionally I am trying to face joint a workpiece that is just a bit wider than the bed of this can handle. I have face jointed 2S stock up to 6' and not had a problem with it. Likely to upgrade, but only to a wider benchtop model. Steering clear of the Jet combo units as they are notoriously bad units. Honestly unless I had a massive shop, I just can't justify a large floor model jointer, so I would likely go with something like the Wahuda 10". They seem to be earning a good reputation after initial setup / getting the tables co planar which can be twitchy on any new planer...

          #12. Central Machinery mortiser. Hold down design is rather lacking. Table lacking, otherwise not bad. Made my own table with track for hold downs, problem solved. Sticking with it, no regrets.

          #13. Hitachi routers. Queue Austin Powers "Yeah Baby" comment. If everything worked as well, or as smoothly as these, oooh yeah.... Not terribly expensive either. Sticking with it, no regrets, but honeslty possibly my favorite power tools

          #14. Central Pnuematic 29 gallon, oil lubricated air compressor. In all honesty, an Ingersoll Rand 60 gallon would be preferred, but ONLY because I have ONE tool that will outrun the capacity of this thing. And that is the texture spray gun. The HVLP, the Dual Action Sander, The siphon feed sprayer, none of them will outrun this compressor. For now I pair the 29 gallon, and an 8 gallon and get more than enough flow... No real need to upgrade as they work great still. Sticking iwth this, no real regrets. I know the specs on the texture gun say it uses more than I can produce, but baloney. I have not run it out yet...

          #15. Drill Master 1/2" Hammer drill. I rarely need a hammer drill, and this thing does what it needs to do, and does it exceedingly well. At the rate I use it, and am likely to use it, chances are I will die before it does. No regrets.

          #16. Chicago Electric Variable Speed Oscillating Multi Tool I honestly can't say enough good about this thing. Works exceedingly well, top notch fit and finish, and it has seen more use than I can list out, most of it quite abusive. And it keeps chugging along. No complaints.

          #17. Chicago Electric 4x24 belt sander. This thing is as inelegant as a tool gets. The platen adjusts well, it has WAY more power than it needs, is built like a Soviet tank, and 10 years after buying it, I have used it 4 times for applications that needed, well, brute force. This is NOT a finishing tool, but a FAST shaping tool. Honestly handheld belt sanders period are rough, nasty tools, unless you know what you are trying to do with one, leave them on the store shelf. Sticking with it, but wishing I could have borrowed one instead...

          #18. Ryobi quarter sheet, 5" Random Orbital, and Corner Cat sanders. Great sanders. The orbital replaced a Skil and a B&D that I killed quickly. The Ryobi is putting up with my abuse quite nicely thank you. Sticking with these, and IF I manage to kill one, I will KNOW it was by gross abuse.


          Now prior tools i have had that I was REALLY displeased, and you will notice a trend.

          B&D Firestorm 10" miter saw and folding stand. Fence was fidgety, and it always sounded like it had marbles rolling around in the motor housing.
          B&D Firestorm plunge router. VERY non standard base, collets, etc... VERY difficult to use, jerky, just, not smooth.
          B&D 5" orbital sander. Sent it to the great workbench in the sky in 6 months.
          B&D Circular saw. Same result as the sander.
          Skil 5" Orbital sander. This one took a while, but it died in somwhat spectacular fashion.
          Skil reciprocating saw. Fell apart in my hands cutting out a rotted section of fencing on the 4th cut.
          Makita 1/4 sheet sander. The foot the paper is attached to shot off of the thing upon powering up.
          Makita 3/8" drill. Didn't survive a drop from waist height to the grass when doing some work out in the yard as the work piece was too big for the garage.
          Harbor Freight Automotive cooling system pressure tester. Had to swap out 3 of them before I could find one that was fitted with a bleed valve that was not stuck in the always open position.
          Robinair R12 Manifold Guage set. This was form my OLD auto repair days. First ime hooked up, high side guage leaked refrigerant visibly defective.

          So there it is. I could go on and on, but it is late, tomorrow is a work day. Hopefully I made my point. Price, or brand name really isn't what makes a tool a good tool. Is the specific unit you got a good one, does it hold up, and oes it meet your needs? That is what counts.
          Last edited by dbhost; 11-22-2021, 09:33 AM.
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          • #6
            Ever since college, I've categorized (nearly) everything I buy as either disposable or permanent, or income earning, and make my purchase decisions based on that. I spend as little as possible on anything considered disposable, but it must meet the minimum criteria I've set for the purchase. Income earning requires reliability more than anything else.

            Examples:
            • Cars - Disposable
            • Coffee Maker - Based on the percolator my parents had, I assumed this was a permament categorey, but switched it to disposable.
            • Tools - disposable if I believe it is a one time use item otherwise permanent. I don't earn money with my tools. Oddly, if this were an income category, I would generally go with Ridgid vs Festool for reliability over usability.
            • Books - Permanent. I usually buy hard cover if there is a choice. When we moved, we pared down our book collection. We had 6,000+ and got rid of 6and I thought my wife might cry..
            • Computers - Income earning. For my work, top of the line Apple. I've had a Dell laptop literally fall apart at the airport. Thinkpads were pretty good until the brand was sold to Lenovo.
            • Electronics - Disposable
            • Wet Tile Saw - I got this completely wrong and assumed it was disposable and bought $69 saw from Menards. I've had it over 20 years, used it many times, loaned it out even more and have been frustrated by the crappy fence and miter gauge, the awkward water tray and lack of power. I might have to replace it after the fireplace project since the splash guard went missing and it is now miserable to use in addition to its shortcomings. New one will be permanent (Ridgid)
            • Concrete Mixer - Bought one at Harbor freight, used it for one project and sold it for $10 less than I paid. Rental would have cost more than I paid for it.
            Chr's
            __________
            An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
            A moral man does it.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by twistsol View Post
              Ever since college, I've categorized (nearly) everything I buy as either disposable or permanent, or income earning, and make my purchase decisions based on that. I spend as little as possible on anything considered disposable, but it must meet the minimum criteria I've set for the purchase. Income earning requires reliability more than anything else.

              Examples:
              • Cars - Disposable
              • Coffee Maker - Based on the percolator my parents had, I assumed this was a permament categorey, but switched it to disposable.
              • Tools - disposable if I believe it is a one time use item otherwise permanent. I don't earn money with my tools. Oddly, if this were an income category, I would generally go with Ridgid vs Festool for reliability over usability.
              • Books - Permanent. I usually buy hard cover if there is a choice. When we moved, we pared down our book collection. We had 6,000+ and got rid of 6and I thought my wife might cry..
              • Computers - Income earning. For my work, top of the line Apple. I've had a Dell laptop literally fall apart at the airport. Thinkpads were pretty good until the brand was sold to Lenovo.
              • Electronics - Disposable
              • Wet Tile Saw - I got this completely wrong and assumed it was disposable and bought $69 saw from Menards. I've had it over 20 years, used it many times, loaned it out even more and have been frustrated by the crappy fence and miter gauge, the awkward water tray and lack of power. I might have to replace it after the fireplace project since the splash guard went missing and it is now miserable to use in addition to its shortcomings. New one will be permanent (Ridgid)
              • Concrete Mixer - Bought one at Harbor freight, used it for one project and sold it for $10 less than I paid. Rental would have cost more than I paid for it.

              An interesting perspective, and one I come close to sharing.

              Examples:
              • Cars - Disposable. More or less. However if I ever lay my hands on an International Harvester Scout 2, I would do an end to end custom restoration and keep the thing until it was no longer possible. Modern automobiles however, are designed, and built to be disposable.
              • Coffee Maker - Disposable.However yes, stove top percolators like my camping perc pot, are pretty much permanent.
              • Tools - Mix of permanent and disposable. Hence why I do not spoend too much on tools I KNOW I am going to abuse the tar out of, like angle grinders, handheld sanders etc... Large tools however need to be serviceable with common off the shelf components. I do NOT like proprietary designs that cannot be fixed once the tool MFG decides parts are no longer available. This is my only real concern with the BT3100...
              • Books - My wife and I disagree on this. She prefers temporary. Get a book, read it, get rid of it. I like to read, re read, and re read. I have literally worn out several books of deep interest to me, including several Wood Magazine special publications, Bibles, and Books on outdoorsmanship..
              • Computers - Income earning. However my employers provide my laptops so no worries there. My personal stuff I build to my own specs, and while I have gone with AMD for decades over Intel, it has always been when AMD was well ahead of Intel in the performance scale. I have yet to even look at Apple, it doesn't do what I need to do... And long term, but disposable.
              • Electronics - Disposable, although I have several CB Radios from the late 1980s / early 1990s...The 4x4 club requires them, and my hunting buddies use them still...
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              • #8
                Chris, that is an interesting take, something that I do often, but never gave it a conscious thought as to my methodology. I tend to look at the practical side and then debate - Do I need to get a higher value tool that will last, or do I need something to get the job done now and probably will not need in the future?

                One HF item that I bought about 15 years ago ( and initially it got bad reviews because of being somewhat flimsy) was the HF chain saw sharpener. I have used it many times and it does an excellent job. When I look on Amazon for others, I see some duplicates and then some fairly high priced ones. Once I get started, it is fairly quick to sharpen a chain, just go through twice, once for each angle. BUT, I think the original reviews on being flimsy, plus my need for sharpening immediately conditioned me to be careful and give detailed attention in setting it up, which only took a minute or two, - and it has worked well for me.

                Hank Lee

                Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

                Comment


                • #9
                  One of the things I like about Harbor Freight vs. buying on Amazon, is that I can go into the store, and lay hands on at least a sample of each tool I am looking at. And at least I can give it a good once over. There are certain tools I passed on at HF because I honestly thought they were just too cheaply made. The planer, table saw, circular saws etc... leap to mind. And the fit and finish on anything that has carbide attached to it from them frightens me beyond words. I am scared to death of their saw blades and router bits for fear of shrapnel.

                  I think the biggest issue with their large tools is setup. I know several remodeling contractors that have the same exact miter saw I do. They actually have several of them. The way it was explained to me is this. I can spend 30 minutes setting up the saw, and lock the configuration down with a dab of loctite, I would likely have to do the same with a higher end saw after a while, and it hurts a LOT less when a $150.00 miter saw gets stolen off of a job site than when a $450.00 saw does...

                  Not saying there aren't higher end tools that are worth it. There certainly are, but we each have a cost to benefit analysis going on. For me, I can basically do the fine tuning, which is really tinkering which I like to do anyway, and end up with a fine tuned, well working machine for a lot less money than a premium machine, that may or may not be fine tuned when I get it anyway... Obviously with the higher spec stuff you will get a LOT more human quality control checks. However people make mistakes, QC doesn't always pick up problems. And sadly, too many companies these days use their end users / customers for quality control...

                  I have justified spending serious $$ on high end tools, but they MUST have function that makes my work easier that cannot be had at a lower price tag. At the time I bought the Snap On wrenches and sockets, it was because of the flank drive, which work better with rounded fasteners as the pressure is applied to the flanks. No one else had anything similar except for Matco, which was also high end. My Blue Point impact was bought as it delivered torque that at the time was unmatched by anything else from Ingersoll Rand, Craftsman etc.... I sold it and went with a Central Pneumatic Earthquake as the CP was even stronger.

                  Not disparaging anyone that has the money, space, and desire for higher end tools. Again cost / benefit analysis. If nothing else, you get joy from their ownership / usage and to that, I say more power to ya!
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                  • #10
                    I used to enjoy the "tinkering", but now I hate it. I want my tools to do the job without having to fuss with it. I don't want to do TWO jobs to get one job done. Time is important to me. I don't "rush" but I don't like having to fine tune something every time in order to use it.

                    That said, I had an interesting encounter when I lived in the Osaka area. One missionary who was a decent woodworker and knew a few things about table saws called and said that he heard I had a table saw. I said yes. He needed some boards cut and some ripped. He came over, I pulled out my BT3000 and he kinda looked down on it. I put the fence on and set it to rip his boards first. BUT he asked, AREN'T you going to check for alignment FIRST? I said, "I don't have to. It is already aligned when I put the rip fence on." He replied: "You ALWAYS have to align the rip fence." I answered: "Here is the square , check it." He did and said: "I'll be, it IS aligned!.

                    I had this discussion on the pen forum a few months ago and the guy strongly insinuated that I made that up, and called the BT3000/3100 a "toy".

                    That said, my dad's Unisaw that he left me had more problems than he or I could handle; apparently a very fine almost unfeelable vibration that caused alignment issues daily. He worked and worked on it and I did too when I was home. Locktight only worked so much. Constant alignment issues. I know that most Unisaws are great but there are QC issues every once in a while with most any brand.
                    Last edited by leehljp; 11-22-2021, 01:57 PM.
                    Hank Lee

                    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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                    • #11
                      Doweling equipment is another tool that falls under buy your last first. If I added al the cost of dowel makers, dowels, biscuits and their proprietary tools together it would likely come close to the cost of my Domino 500. It’s real high up on my list of got to have tools when a newby starts asking questions about what to buy first. For cabinet and furniture making I don’t see how I ever got along without it. The Domino sticker shock will definitely take your breath but the quality of its build and its versatility still amazes me. It’s one tool you rarely see for sale used on EBay. Of all the tools I own it has the learning curve of all of them!

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                      • #12
                        I learned to use the simple drill master doweling jig, or my Ryobi biscuit cutter. Honestly doweling is a rare thing for me...

                        The domino IS intriguing I must admit, From what I can see, it is really more of a floating tenon than dowel though...I.E it proviles rotational resistance as well...

                        And you are quite right. The price tag, even on the rare used Domino, is quite breath taking...
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                        • capncarl
                          capncarl commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Before i bought the Domino 500 I used a biscuit machine, Dowel max, beadlock or several other dowel machines only when I had to. After I figured out the Domino I use it for a lot of things that I wouldn’t consider using a dowel for. Today I used it to build my wife a bird house condo. It’s uses are endless! My Tiny Tables take 8 dominos to connect the legs to the aprons, before it took me numerous hours to cut tendons and mortises, now I can do the job in less than 30 minutes and the fit is perfect.

                          Disclaimer: I purchased the Domino 500 from a Pawn shop along the largest Festool dust extractor 48 and another systainer of dominos and bits for less than the 500 cost new, so the sticker shock so bad! It was in new condition, the packs of dominos hadn’t been opened.

                      • #13
                        Originally posted by leehljp View Post
                        I used to enjoy the "tinkering", but now I hate it. I want my tools to do the job without having to fuss with it. I don't want to do TWO jobs to get one job done. Time is important to me. I don't "rush" but I don't like having to fine tune something every time in order to use it.

                        That said, I had an interesting encounter when I lived in the Osaka area. One missionary who was a decent woodworker and knew a few things about table saws called and said that he heard I had a table saw. I said yes. He needed some boards cut and some ripped. He came over, I pulled out my BT3000 and he kinda looked down on it. I put the fence on and set it to rip his boards first. BUT he asked, AREN'T you going to check for alignment FIRST? I said, "I don't have to. It is already aligned when I put the rip fence on." He replied: "You ALWAYS have to align the rip fence." I answered: "Here is the square , check it." He did and said: "I'll be, it IS aligned!.

                        I had this discussion on the pen forum a few months ago and the guy strongly insinuated that I made that up, and called the BT3000/3100 a "toy".

                        That said, my dad's Unisaw that he left me had more problems than he or I could handle; apparently a very fine almost unfeelable vibration that caused alignment issues daily. He worked and worked on it and I did too when I was home. Locktight only worked so much. Constant alignment issues. I know that most Unisaws are great but there are QC issues every once in a while with most any brand.
                        To a certain extent I couldn't agree more. I have had several tools over the years that were simply fidgety. I.E. the BTS21 that had the SMT that was lower than the saw top making it next to impossible to use. My rule is pretty basic. If it takes a little bit of fidgeting to get it initially set up and tweaked to my liking, and it does what I want, meets my needs for durability, safety, and accuracy, then I don't give 1/10 of a care about the brand name on it.

                        Not going to lie though. IF I could afford it right now, I would grab a Metabo HPT 12" compact dual bevel slider. No not a Fetstool, but a Metabo. If you are not familiar, Hitachi Power Tools divested and became Metabo... Yay. Anyway, I have nothing but love for anything Hitachi I have come across. Super well made, buttery smooth operation, and absolutely durable in environments WAY beyond what I could put a tool through, and marketed at a mid price point.

                        Likewise, if I had the money, AND space, AND there was no option to add blade brakes to my BT3100, I would absolutely go for a SawStop 3HP PCS, and add a top end miter gauge, and a cast iron router table wing.

                        If you can afford it, and find joy in ownership of say everything Festool you can lay your hands on, then do it. Seriously. Your enjoyment using the tools is no small factor to it.

                        If a tool is harder to use, you are less likely to want to use it. If it is a joy to use you will use it more. Thus encouraging the craft.. If having ultra high end tools is what it takes for you, then DO IT. If you get joy by using cheap tools, DO IT.

                        Whatever it takes to get you out to the shop enjoying the craft, DO IT.
                        Last edited by dbhost; 11-23-2021, 03:49 PM.
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                        • #14
                          Originally posted by dbhost View Post
                          Not going to lie though. IF I could afford it right now, I would grab a Metabo HPT 12" compact dual bevel slider. No not a Fetstool, but a Metabo. If you are not familiar, Hitachi Power Tools divested and became Metabo... Yay. Anyway, I have nothing but love for anything Hitachi I have come across. Super well made, buttery smooth operation, and absolutely durable in environments WAY beyond what I could put a tool through, and marketed at a mid price point.
                          I was surprised when I got into a discussion back in the early 2000's with a Japanese woodworker who was into tools. He asked me "Why did I have several "Makita" tools and why did Americans prefer Makita as the brand of choice of Japanese tools". I answered: Quality and Image. He then said: "Japanese prefer Hitachi over Makita, and to them, Hitachi was both higher quality and much higher image in the Japanese mindset". At that point, I started seeing the Hitachi brand through different eyes. They were priced close to the same, tool for tool.
                          Hank Lee

                          Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            I think we are using the wrong image of buying your last saw first. Just because it is a high price or a premium brand doesn’t mean it should be your final choice. I definitely would not choose Festool sanders as my top choice as their backing pads, intermediate pads other expendables have a very short work life and are terribly expensive. They make great sanders but are overpriced and their expendables can easily cost as much as the sander after a year of use!


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