For the budget builder, selecting the right tools can be tricky. The best tools typically cost the most money. Cheap [junk] tools are inexpensive. It is tempting to buy the cheap tools under the assumption that “something is better than nothing.“ While that may be the case in some situations, the more expensive tools are often the best value. A good tool will do a good job for a lifetime. A cheap tool may only last for a few jobs or may work so poorly right out of the box that it does more harm than good. In either case you haven’t saved any money on the cheap tool, only spent money. Good tools will make you money, not cost you money.
Now you’re thinking, “That sounds good but I can’t afford the most expensive tools.” You don’t need the most expensive tools, just good tools. Buying used is a great way to get good tools for less money. Good tools last so a used good tool is often better than a new cheap tool. Broken tools can be a good investment if you have the means to repair/rebuild them. Another option is to build your own tools. This could mean modifying tools to do a specific job or building them from scratch. This is an attractive option for the avid do-it-your-selfer, even if you have the money to just buy a tool. I enjoy making things, and the enjoyment is even greater when I am making something with a tool that I made.
I mentioned above that there are “some situations” where you may choose to buy a cheap tool. If it is not a tool that you will be using every day then a short life cheap tool may be “good enough.” For example, I am not a wood worker so I bought a cheap skill saw for the rare occasion that I may need to cut a piece of plywood. This thing wouldn’t last a week in the hands of a professional carpenter but he would use it more in an hour than I will in a decade.
There are times when a cheap tool is just a compromise between buying new and building it from scratch. There are a lot of cheap tools sold these days that flat don’t work right out of the box. It is up to the buyer to disassemble and modify it just so it will do what it is you bought it to do. You are basically buying “parts” for a homemade tool, not buying a tool. You used to see articles in magazines about building tools from scratch, now you see Youtube videos about “modding” cheap tools. The spirit is the same, only the media and materials have changed.
I added the tools section to this site to show some of my alternative tool choices. Some were acquired and others were homemade. This is to show what I did, not what you should do. There aren’t any plans here, just ideas. What you do with those ideas is up to you.
If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.