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carioca 11-17-2006 05:26 PM

Tools section, anyone?
Hi all!
I noticed a lot of discussions in various threads relate to TOOLS. Might it be an idea to start a section devoted to all things tool-ish?

To start, here's my take on the question of how to buy tools. I buy tools in two ways: either for a specific job, or on spec. for future use.

Using both ways, I've accumulated a huge amount of simple (including an English scythe) to complex tools, such as the Makita rotary hammer I bought for $450 some years ago for the sole purpose of drilling clean holes into Hebel expanded concrete blocks without shattering them, in order to fix stainless steel screws imported from Germany with their special plastic anchors. It may have been overkill, but it made the job of building a 56 sq m shed a breeze... (In fact I mainly built the shed to house all my tools :-)

Living on a largish (53 acre) block in the coastal bush, I find tools are a man's best friend, and not something to be bought cheap and discarded after a few frustrating hours or days. My 'collection' contains tools for all kinds of work, plumbing, telephony and networking, electrical work, car repairs and so on. Many measuring instruments of all sorts are on hand...

When we bought the block some 33 years ago, one of my first purchases was a little second-hand Leyland tractor and a Teagle concrete mixer hanging off, and powered by, said tractor. More than a generation later, both are still working - and used frequently!

O.K., so maybe I don't really need that Krone tool for terminating phone lines on the MDF (main distribution frame). But it is a reassuring feeling that if the need ever arises, that's another thing I'm prepared for!

Cheers from an old tool freak!


CanuckJim 11-17-2006 05:44 PM


My father, a shipwright, taught me two things, early, before he died, early: never buy cheap tools, and you never have enough. I'm with you.


Fio 11-17-2006 10:19 PM


Originally Posted by CanuckJim

My father, a shipwright, taught me two things, early, before he died, early: never buy cheap tools, and you never have enough. I'm with you.


The pain of owning a cheap tool lasts longer than the joy of having saved money on it.

redbricknick 11-18-2006 02:30 AM

Pretty much every time I work on the oven, I listen to Tool.

vincent 11-18-2006 04:32 AM

Tools run neck and neck with a dog being mans best friend..ant the one who dies with the most tools wins... :D

maver 11-18-2006 05:41 AM

I share the fascination with tools, but I'm seeing too much agreement and at this particular moment I'm feeling argumentative. So, relying on the good will of the forum, here goes: cheap tools can be fine - more important than the quality of the tool is a good understanding of what the tool can and cannot do - use a tool that will fit your application. James understands this - in the pompei plans he recommends a cheap garden hoe as a concrete mixer and suggests it can be tossed at the end of the project. A motorized concrete mixer would, of course, be the "better tool", but a small one may lead to frustration when mixing larger batches. The low end $250 mixer at my big box store costs much more than my hoe, but may not do work any more efectively than my hoe, a plastic tub, and my back. I could spend more on a larger concrete mixer with bigger capacity, but I don't live on acreage like Carioca - nowhere to put it. In my situation, a disposable tool may make more sense - less clutter in my limited garage space. Buying a high end german wood plane like my furniture making friend has romantic appeal, but I've seen him use and maintain it, and I know I don't have the skill for that right now, so a cheap stanley plane with disposable blades allows me to do the work I need to do to take the corner off a piece of wood.

dmun 11-18-2006 10:20 AM

A quick tour of the inside of the building where my oven is going may be appropriate to this topic:

To put things in perspective, in this last photo, the side of my rising oven is seen through the window on the right.

maver 11-18-2006 11:15 AM

David, I think if you die now, you win!

james 11-19-2006 04:07 AM

I have to admit that I'm on the other end of the tool spectrum, and would never consider sharing a photo of my tool area/garge/Superfund clean up site. That's what is so great about this forum -- we accept people of all tool persuations.

After doing 7 home extensions in 15 years, I have a pretty motley collection of tools, and given the state of my garage, I tend to just drive to Home Depot to buy what I need, rather than waste an hour looking for it -- and as a result I have three of this, and four of that. Other than my various nice deWalt tools and titanium framing hammer, I tend toward the use to toss school. My car can drive to Harbor Freight on its own and everyone at Home Depot knows me by name.

Hey, I installed an oven with cardboard boxes and duct tape once, just to see if you could do it.

I can hear Alf screaming in the background.

Let me know if you want a separte Tool forum, or a sticky thread under Getting Started called Tools. I can easily to either one.

jengineer 11-20-2006 08:31 AM

Waffling between Maver and Jim. Watching my dad blow a gasket when I left his favotie hand saw out on the lawn one fall night I can see both sides of this equation of quility versus brute force get it done and toss it. DMUN and CANUCKJIM are definately on one side of the fence. I think that was rather obvious. MAVER, REDBRICK, and JAMES - well we know their ilk.

I would love to have a space dedicated to tools that we use. Only problem is that my current home does not have the space and I am not willing to turn my garage into a tool crib. So, depending ont he jobb and depending on weather I plan on using the tool again has dictated what tool i will get. the only problem with this is that when i buy non-quality.... you get what you pay for. No matter how careful you are there are some things that require quality. My recent case was builidng a light box for a fish tank - a four day project that has gone on for tooo many weeks now. I needed to cut a sheet of baltic playwood but i don't have a table saw nor do I have a place to put one. A hand rip saw would not produce a straight cut and thus that leaves me with a circular saw, should have spent the extra $100 and gotten a worm drive (hint hint it cuts better). So how to do this. Find a straight piece of wood to use as a rip fence - no luck. Use a long angle iron for a guide - flexes just enough that a side force as I am ripping will end up with a 1/8 bow. Ah found 2 versions of 100 inch edges at the big boxes bith are cut in half so you a have a joining system. One of the connecting systems di mnot line the edges up correctly. The other was thinner and a bit flimsy. The better solutiuon was an edge that it BUILT but it costs 4 times what I paid and I was not sure if I would have a need for it again. Yes I almost bought it since I was frustrated with the lack of quality and robusteness of the other options.

So there you go the ramblings of a mad carpenter. Here is how I straddle the fence. Is the tool required to do fine craftmanship or is the finished product going to be hidden by a facade? Do I have a place to store the tool when I am done with this particular project. Do I know someone that has the tool of quality and will they let me borrow it, better yet will they come and help me with their tool (I am in that field with some of my tools, "oh you want to borrow it, how about we to a Tom Sawyer, I will come and bring my tool and together we can do this little project - by the way feed me"). Will the lack of the proper tooling extend the period of when the project will be completed and what will the frustration level be of not having the proper tool on hand - will the wife kick me in the rear with all my complaining and tell me to just buy the darn thing?

James - a grouping for tools could be a nice addition in the installation forum. Throughout that section there are many postings that have talked about tools and various options. I had not seen the type of concrete pumper that Drake got for his pour until he posted, unless people know were to look Jim's post on his pointing tools is buried. I also see the tools section as one that could easily get into off topic posts as a month or two could be spent on discussing the history and use of the tools that DMUN posted for his clock works. Not only are machining tools for gears pictured but so are cabinet making and just what is in all those drawers?

finally a plug - is your friend.

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