It’s important to know what your tools can do before you buy more of them. Many times, you already have the tool you need in the shop. There are also times when buying a new tool will not solve your problem at all. Knowing what your tools can do is the start. Here is how.
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Become Familiar With Your Tools
As you acquire new tools, make sure that you are spending time learning about them. Read the manual. Watch videos online, and do research. The more you know about the tools you have, the more they will be able to do.
When you are unsure about a technique, look at how it’s done. Watch several different people do the same process, and see if they are using different tools.
In some cases, there may be only one tool for the job. However, in several instances you will find people using all sorts of creative ways to accomplish the task.
Many times, you will see people using common shop tools for some of these processes. Most woodworkers are fairly creative.
They come up with all sorts of different ways to do the same thing. This is a huge benefit to you, especially if you can use a tool you already have.
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The danger in buying a new tool all the time is that you never really learn what your existing tools are capable of. Some woodworkers also think a new tool will make up for a lack of skill.
While some of the time a new tool will make a process easier, it will never make up for being a poor woodworker. The answer is not always getting a new tool. Sometimes, the best way is to just struggle through the process with what you have. It may seem frustrating in the beginning, but you will learn far more. Through this learning you will appreciate new tools when they come, and you will be able to use them better.
If You Really Have to Buy a New Tool
There are going to be times that you just need the tool. This is ok. If the tool you are after is something you can use for many different things, then it may be a good purchase anyway. A table saw, band saw, power sander, and many other tools are versatile enough to be useful for a very long time. You might even make your own tools, like my Heirloom Sanding Block.
When you get your new tool, make sure to spend time learning. Read the manual, play around, and watch some videos. Make this new tool as familiar as one of your old tools. In this way you will be sure that you are getting everything you can from the tools you have before spending more money.
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