The Most Common Problems Beginner Woodworkers Face Are Tool Selection & Workshop Space
When it came to tools, people simply didn’t know what to get.
They were afraid of getting bad tools and wasting their hard earned money on something that would stop working within a year…
Or they were afraid of overspending and buying something that… when it came down to it… they would never even use.
They’re usually confused about which tools they need to have, and which ones they can do without. (After all, if you’ve looked inside a woodworking magazine lately, EVERY single tool is a MUST-HAVE item… even the ones that seem to have no practical purpose!)
“…I’ve had a lot of BAD tools over the years.”
Its been rough on my pocketbook… but even worse on my motivation. Some of the most memorable bad tools I’ve had over the years are: (disclaimer, these are my personal opinions)
BAD TOOL #1: Delta 31-255x Drum Sander.
Sure, a drum sander is not a vital tool for wood-workers. But this one sticks in my craw anyway! I felt the design was utter crap.
It wouldn’t keep alignment on the 4 lead screws. Which meant I could NEVER sand anything evenly… and everything I used it on turned out thicker on one side. Boy was it annoying.
And to top it off, the gears were plastic with a cheap rubber belt. When I saw the low quality, I just knew they weren’t going to last. And sure enough I was right. When the belt busted, I went online to order replacement parts. (I had planned on ordering new gears because I just knew they would go next.)
That’s when I found the tool had been discontinued altogether… and you couldn’t even find parts for it. I had paid $800 for it and suddenly it was nothing but junk. A complete waste.
BAD TOOL #2: Ryobi Detail Sander
The problem I had with this tool actually surprised me. The thing was, it vibrated so much that my arm would get fatigued within 10 minutes!
Now, I’m no pansy or anything. I’ve dealt with some heavy duty machinery in my life and never had this issue. But this thing really did a number on my arm!
It was so bad that I switched back to hand-sanding and found it LESS tiring on my arm. Eventually I sold it on eBay and got about 50% of what I paid for it. A waste of time and money.
BAD TOOL #3: Harbor Freight 6” Jointer.
No matter how much I messed with this tool, I was never able to get a true 90 degree jointed board out of it.
About the only thing I could do was make shingles with it. Eventually I sold it on craigslist to someone locally. I told him why I was selling it, but he swore he knew how to “make it work right”.
I wished him good luck and then promptly lost hundreds by selling it for just ¼ the price I paid for it.
BAD TOOL #4: Ryobi Benchtop Table Saw
I spent more time tinkering and fixing this tool versus any other tool I’ve ever had!
I was actually glad when the angle adjustment “mechanism” broke (just a plastic rack and pinion). It lasted just one week. But it was one week of deep frustration.
The biggest problem was just overall poor design. The “throat plate” was just a rectangular piece of metal indented on one side to accommodate the 10 inch blade, so one could not make a zero clearance replacement.
And to top it off… it was noisier than ANY other benchtop saw I’ve ever used. Truly like something out of a nightmare!
Again these are just some of the bad tools I’ve had. And more than that, bad tools are just one part of the story.
I lost money on tools in a lot of ways during this time (what I call my “tool tryout stage”).
It happened over and over again. And every freakin’ time I thought I knew what to look for… and what to avoid…
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