December 28, 2010

Tool shop
When buying tools, I consider both the quality of the tool and the amount of use I will get from it.

A reader recently responded to a July blog post that talked about buying tools locally where you could get service. Brent pointed out that tool-buying decisions should include buying the best-quality tools you can afford. He also mentioned the importance of guarantees and availability of lifetime replacement.

Brent makes a really good point on quality. When it comes to tools that are high-use and high-wear, quality and dependability trump price every time. However, I often struggle with buying a high-priced, high-quality tool versus one that will get the job done when it will be seldom used and lightly at that. Call it my use-pattern context.

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As an example, I previously mentioned a company called Bad Axe Tool Works. The owner makes heirloom quality saws. Take care of one, and it will be something to pass down to future generations. I would dearly love to have one of his saws, but at $250 give or take a sawbuck or two, I have a hard time justifying it if I look at my recent use pattern. That said, I have a building permit for a small cabin this spring. As I look ahead, a really high-quality hand saw looks increasingly worthwhile. Of course with the Bad Axe waiting list, I better get my order placed sooner rather than later.

Next week, I will tackle reader Brent’s comments on guarantees.

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