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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tool time, again.



Twenty two years ago, I bought a Makita skill saw. Over the years the power cord’s been changed 3 times. The spring on the blade guard was replaced at least four times. Even the motor brushes were changed once. I don’t know how many blades I’ve replaced.

My tools have a hard life. They get a lot of use and a fair amount of abuse.

It’s no wonder that the skill saw didn’t work a couple days ago when I was building roof racks. Yesterday an attempt was made to fix it. The power cord checked out. I tried to remove the cover over one of the motor brushes and the plastic cracked. At that point it occurred to me that maybe it was time for a new skill saw.

The saws I looked at ranged in price from a Black and Decker for $60 all the way up to a Milwaukee for $150. My dad used to use Black and Decker saws, but he’d burn them out at the rate of one per year. He didn’t seem to mind as he was using them 5 days/week working construction. The guys he worked with were a bunch of yahoos who destroyed a lot of tools. My guess is that he didn’t want to put anything too valuable in harm’s way.

As for myself, I’m too cheap to buy a cheap saw. I went with the Milwaukee. If it performs for half as long as the old Makita did, I’ll be way ahead of the game. The budget got stretched a bit, but at least I have a good saw.

Back when I’d bought the Makita I bought a number of quality tools. It’s a good thing that I did because there some awfully tight years since. At least I had good tools to work with. Had a cheap tool failed, I could not have replaced it, even with the cheapest tool available.

If times get tight again, at least my tools should still be around. In the mean time, I’m working with better tools. That does make a difference. The job goes better. Cuts are more accurate, and I’m not even as tired at the end of the day. Poor quality tools frustrate the heck out of me.

All my tool shopping was done at small local independent hardware stores and lumberyards. The local price on the saw I bought was actually a bit cheaper than the same saw from Amazon. Plus, I could handle the saw, check out its balance and quality. After paying for it, I could take it home and use it the same day.

-Sixbears

11 comments:

  1. Qaulity is cheaper in the long run.But most folks are only in it for a short walk.A lot of whats made today wont last half as long as what was made 30 years ago. my 1952 ge fridge in my garage has out lasted 4 in the house i inherited it from my grandfather and its still the coldest drink cooler ive seen.the only trouble with quality beside price is its geting hard to find.Personaly i see better at yardsales and flea markets than in stores.enjoy the saw

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    1. I only hope my new saw is of the quality I think I paid for.

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  2. I'm not familiar with the saw brand you bought but I've had Makita products for ever... a three inch grinder that I use for 'finishing work' for over thirty years... it's still going strong... thanks for reminding me...

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    1. I've a 3/8 drill I bought at the same time that's still going strong. It even survived a dunking in a barrel of water for a week.

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  3. I agree with Gary that quality is cheaper in the long run, unless you are an old fart like me and don't need it for the LONG run.

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    1. Very funny Dizzy. You ain't dead yet!

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  4. My theory is to first buy relatively cheap unless I'm sure I'll be using it a lot. If I wear a tool out, though, then I go for something better.

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    1. I'll buy cheap for a one time job I never expect to do again.

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  5. Good point...a poor man can't afford to buy cheap. It's a simple rule by which I live.

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  6. Good call passing on Black and Decker, that stuff is all pure crap. So is Dewalt now since they got bought out by... Black and Decker.

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