BHM's Homesteading & Self-Reliance Forum

Posting requires Registration and the use of Cookies-enabled browser

Go Back   BHM Forum > Self-Reliance & Preparedness > Hands-on > Building/Tools

Building/Tools Anything to do with construction, remodeling, etc.

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 07-29-2015, 10:54 AM
MissouriFree's Avatar
MissouriFree MissouriFree is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: central missouri woods
Posts: 18,799
Default Tools versus skills

The following article hit home for me and thought some here might enjoy it.


487331_10150904368819691_51859012_nThere is no easy way.

There I was, on my butt halfway up the hill on my seventh try, tackling what I refer to as the single-track-mountain-bike hill of death. The throbbing from the inevitable bruise on my butt beginning its rhythmic mocking chant only to be quickly magnified by the kid behind me on a K-Mart BMX bike who had to literally ride over me to avoid crashing himself.

“Why’d you stop peddling.” He yelled at me once I’d managed to carry my bike up the rest of the hill.

“I didn’t, I crashed.”

“You crashed cause you stopped peddling,” snarked the kid, followed by the condescending, “Nice Bike.” As if I didn’t deserve to own such a nice machine.

My bike was a Proflex 856 with aftermarket coil over shocks, Girvin springer front forks, XT gearset, superlight rims (front now bent from either crashing or being ridden over) and new tires specifically bought to help me tackle this hill. I was proud of that machine, having purchased it in my late 20s by selling my motocross bike and dumping the entire amount into this new hobby with dreams of getting back into shape and maybe a little competition

Doesn’t it suck when whippersnappers like that BMX rider are right? That bike was wasted on me.

I’d tried to buy skill via equipment. Isn’t that what manufacturers preach all the time? This gizmo or that is all you need to be able to do … And the pros swear that the doodad will cut time, add control, leap tall buildings, and make the ladies swoon. Thousands of dollars spent to compensate for less time in the saddle. Woulda been better off working a few hours less overtime, saving that money and spending those extra hours on the trail enjoying the hobby.

I did the same thing again when I got into golf by buying a set of clubs marketed to help my slice, and drivers guaranteed to go farther straighter, along with a putter for accuracy. And after a few weeks at the driving range getting accustomed to them, sure enough my slice improved, my drives when farther, and three putting became rarer.

And then some old golfer we picked up at the course to make a foursome commented, “do you really think it was those clubs or the little practice at the range that made those improvements?”.

Doesn’t’ it suck when old farts like that point out the obvious stuff you’re blind too?

OK, raise your hand if you’ve ever been similarly motivated to part company with hard-earned dinero? A push-button fix for a skill you lack. I’d like to snark that was the GenX way, but I’m quite sure it’s a time-honored technique

It’s a strange mentality that seems to permeate hobbies – that as beginners, we can buy something that’ll make us better at a skill without having yet learned said skill.

I’m getting to the point now where people are asking “should I buy this” and “what do you think of that?” Maybe it’s the old motorcycle salesperson in me, maybe it’s perspective from the little bit of experience I have under my belt, maybe it’s that money is much dearer in your late 40s compared to your early 30s, but my first thoughts are, “Why does this person want this? Is it to learn a skill or avoid learning a skill? Is it to get something done or avoid having to do something?”

You see, if you’re wanting to get satisfaction in tool purchases, motivation matters. It is possible to buy a good tool for the wrong reason and be disappointed in the long run. I think back to all the tools I regret buying; the reasoning behind those purchase usually comes down to avoiding learning something. The $200 dovetailing jig (not including bits and routers), used once and put up to collect dust. The mortising attachment to make a drill press do what it shouldn’t. The handplane fence to hold the tool at 90. All bought to avoid a little learning stuff which in the long run I ended up having to learn anyways.

And what’s worse is that hindsight has shown me time and time again these skills I was avoiding really didn’t take that much time or effort to learn. But when you don’t know, you just don’t know.

Of the types of tools you’ve been most dissatisfied with in your woodworking career, can you say in hindsight that it was the tool or the unrealistic expectations brought about by poor purchase motivations?

— Shawn Graham
From popular woodworking blog
I find out of long experience that I admire all nations and hate all governments- Steinbeck
Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2015, 09:26 PM
joejeep92 Male joejeep92 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Kansas
Posts: 111

Couldn't be more true. You can buy a lot of really shiny stuff for a variety of reasons and not know how to poor piss out of a boot.
Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2015, 09:06 PM
Jjr's Avatar
Jjr Male Jjr is offline
Master Pontificator
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: NWLA
Posts: 837

Advertising, sight and desires often overpower the brain, at least until reality sets in.

Been there, done that, and got that T-shirt too!

Most people become more cautious with age in their purchasing, questioning the validity of the purchase before parting with their money, but a few never seem to gain any wisdom.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2015, 05:16 AM
randallhilton's Avatar
randallhilton Male randallhilton is offline
Grand Master Pontificator
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Fort Worth TX
Posts: 1,443

MissouriFree, an Excellent story you have shared!

I might simply add the law of diminishing return on investment to the thought process:

A poor quality tool can cause more harm than good. A good quality tool can get the job done in the right hands. But the difference between a good quality tool and a top quality tool might be negligible.

An example: I have a fondness for knives. I look for good steel and solid craftsmanship but I shop at a reasonable price point. At my price point I can have spares while still having decent quality. That gives me much more satisfaction than having a snob brand but only one available.

Use less, lose less, weigh the benefits, count the costs.
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -2. The time now is 10:11 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 1996 to Present. Backwoods Home Magazine, Inc.