Tools first or results first: the cycle seems to have started

Ever since I became interested in woodworking as a hobby (which is not very old, just to point out), I scourged the net for more information. Sadly, there are only few wood working enthusiasts based in India and hence the relevant sources of information were few. Obviously, I had questions about the tools I needed to begin following this hobby and I spent some time trying to find out what all things & tools would be required . At one end of the spectrum I found some people making do with very little in terms of equipment and still turning out amazing stuff. At the other end I found people who had turned the hobby from wood working to collecting tools. There were elaborate drills with scores of drill bits, complete sets of screw drivers, pliers and other assorted stuff. Photographed and adorned on the bulletin  boards, they seemed more to do with comparison between school kids about who has the bigger collection.

I am still trying to figure out who got the things right. At some place in the back of the mind, it does seem so “cool” to go ahead and buy a couple of routers and circular saws and such. But till I am able to do justice to the few basic tools I have got, i want to avoid going into that trap. Particularly when it could turn out to be a difficult pursuit and I could end up with tools I am no longer interested in or not able to use.

In my case, I have just got the basic stuff currently. But I would love to hear views about what others think. Does it make sense to pick up projects which can be done with your existing arsenal of tools or should one select a project and buy the tools required to execute it.


About Writer

Being based in India, I will focus primarily from that perspective.
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4 Responses to Tools first or results first: the cycle seems to have started

  1. Kittu says:

    An Eternal struggle between wants and needs. Take your time in deciding what to do and what to buy. If you have real skills you will need few tools. To gain those skills one needs guidance and many many years. With all tools you need to know how to keep them sharp and well maintained. This is especially true with hand tools. They need a lot of practice and learning.

    Ultimately it will be your interest, your ability to learn, your workspace, your ability to devote time and the environment around you will dictate what you buy and what you learn. A little or a lot more it does not matter. What matters is that you get some satisfaction with this hobby.

    • woodenmint says:

      Thanks Kittu. Actually quite true, a tool is useful only when one is able to create something out of it. And much more relevant is your point about getting the satisfaction with the hobby itself rather than the tools one uses to achieve the result. Since I wrote this, I found so many things that people have created -in-fact- without any tools that connects with what you said.

      • Very true MS. The tools define what you can create out of them and it is the creation that provides the utmost satisfaction. A tool may help make a certain project. But there is also the question of skill and ability to use the tool. If one lacks it, then there is no point in owning the tool.

        There is also the question of whether you can use a tool in your particular environment. In my case, I cannot use anything that makes noise (I have already received complaints for hammering and the electric drill). So again owning noisy tools may not suit my needs on a long term basis.

        I buy tools on a need basis. And if I am sure I will not have the necessary skill to use a particular tool, I outsource that function. For example, I get my wood (mostly those that are 12mm or more in thickness) cut from my supplier. I have to skill or the space to own and use a table saw. But then if collecting tools is a hobby by itself, am sure it can provide the same level of satisfaction as creating something with it 🙂

        • woodenmint says:

          Thanks Somu,
          Yes its correct that tools be bought when one has the need as well as the skills to use them. I too am getting around to the same view.

          For the small projects that I have taken up till now, I did not outsource yet any work because it has not been very demanding really. But at the same time, I have also kept such projects which I think are too complex for my current expertise as well as tool set for the future because I know that I want to first get comfortable in executing small projects and build up my confidence before venturing further.

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