Monday, January 9, 2012

Woodworking on the cheap

Up until about a year ago, my woodworking projects could best be described as "bash it together of 2x4 and 16 penny nails, and hope it holds up long enough."  Around a year and a half ago, I started building a deck.  I quickly learned the advantages of, say, measuring first, or buying higher quality tools.

And I started reading woodworking forums.  This was crucial.

But I started noticing something:  whenever someone asked about two tools, the most expensive was invariably recommended.  Here's a personal example.  I asked about three bandsaws.  The Harbor Freight model, a Porter Cable, and a Ridgid.  After the current discounts, they were all going to come to around the same price -- about $220.  The most common vote was for the Grizzly, a $525 saw, and one that wasn't on my original list, because I couldn't afford it.  People asking about inexpensive table saws are told "You need to buy the most expensive saw you can afford."

OK, look.  I understand.  More expensive tools are, almost always, more efficient tools.  Frequently they're also safer tools.  But many of us can't afford to spend a thousand dollars on a table saw, or even five hundred dollars on a band saw.  We need to know where we can economize, and where we're really going to regret it later.

In this website, I hope, among other things, to post some reviews of less expensive tools.  I'm not a master craftsman.  I'm not an expert woodworker.  I'm just a guy who enjoys playing with tools in his shop.  All my reviews will be from that perspective.  If you're a professional woodworker, you'll probably disagree with my reviews a lot of the time.  But if you're someone like me, I might be able to save you some money.

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