Why Older Tools Go Away

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As time passes, older tools go away. There are a number of reasons for this, some valiant, and some that are not as nice. By looking at the reasons that older tools go away you can see the benefits of bringing some of them into your shop.

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Older Tools Go Away for a few Reasons:

  • The new method produces results faster than the older method.
  • The newer tool is easier to use, and more people can learn it quicker.
  • The new version can be sold over and over again, making it more profitable.

why older tools go awaySomewhere along the line, companies and people got into a hurry. The faster you can do something, the better. In business, the bottom line drives this idea.

For businesses that make wooden items for sale, sometimes older tools end up being replaced with new tools that perform the same job faster.

In some cases this can be a good thing. However, in the age of mass produced furniture and woodworking, faster has also become cheaper in many cases.

For a craftsman, replacing a thickness sander with a three belt model that roughs, smooths, and finish sands a table top, this is a huge investment in speed without sacrificing quality. In a case like this, the new tool makes things faster without reducing the integrity of the piece. 

Replacing the Old with the Profitable

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why older tools go awayAnother reason older tools go away is because the newer version is easier to learn.

In the case of woodworking, this is a huge boost to the bottom line of tool retailers.

Very few people buy tools that require a very long time to learn.

In fact, most people buy power tools that take much of the effort out of producing work.

Older tools that are harder to learn are also harder for the manufacturers to sell. They are soon replaced with sometimes less useful tools that have a much smaller learning curve. These tools sell very well, and eventually the original version stops being produced.

why older tools go awayFinally, a reason that older tools went away that is not as admirable as some of the others. Some of the time, older tools do not have the ability to be sold repeatedly.

For a profit driven industry like tool manufacturers, a tool that lasts forever is a bad thing.

The easiest example is the cabinet scraper. If you take care of your scraper, and you don’t lose it, you can pretty much use it your entire life.

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Not only does it do a better job than sandpaper, but it also doesn’t require you to change grits to get to a final smoothness.

Sandpaper came around and eventually the scraper went away. Some of this is from the second reason I mentioned above.

A cabinet scraper is a little harder to learn. However, for the small time investment it’s well worth it. If you are making small to medium sized projects, and even some that are a little bigger, a scraper is a nice tool to use.

Not only does it leave an extremely smooth finish, but you can actually get done faster than by sanding.

With sandpaper, you have to change grits as you smooth out the surface. You have to sand the entire piece with a rough grit, then a couple mediums, and a couple fine grits. This all takes time, and you are going over the same area with each grit.

A scraper cuts right to an extremely smooth surface on the first use. This reduces your time involvement, and leaves a great looking smooth surface.

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The problem with a cabinet scraper is that it does take a little time to learn, and it’s not as profitable to sell as sandpaper. A scraper is a one time purchase, while sandpaper can be a monthly thing for the rest of your life.

Spend some time looking at older methods and tools. You may end up discovering something that changes the way you do your craft. These methods can sometimes take a little learning, but many times they will save you money.

If you have any questions on Why Older Tools go Away, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends online. It helps me reach more woodworkers, and share my love of the craft. Happy building.

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brian forbes westfarthing woodworks llc owner

  • 20 Years Experience in Woodworking
  • 7 Published Books Available on Amazon
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