Fair Woodworking

May 18, 2013

Handtool Economics Part 2

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog,Favorites — fairwoodworking @ 12:18 pm

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I’ve got to hope that any regular reader of this blog already knows who made this plane. If you don’t, stop reading and click on the picture to discover one of the few blogs in the world that really matters.

I’ll wait…

OK, welcome back. Last time, I decisively convinced all of you that LN planes are not overpriced, so we can safely move forward. Way forward.

I’ve always wanted one of Konrad’s planes. I came close to ordering one a few years back, but the timing wasn’t right (and I’d just ‘accidentally’ dropped six bills on a set of chisels).

That was back when money seemed to grow on trees. Since then, the economy has left most of us a little lighter in the wallet, so new tools are a little slower to make their way into my shop.

Let’s face it, most hobbies seem to cost money. Unless you collect belly button lint, you are going to end up spending money on your hobby. Hand tools are no different, it won’t cost you as much as… Say yachting,  but I still need to eat.

These days, just like most of you out there, it’s not so easy to spare the funds required for this hobby.

Over the past decade or so, many fantastic tool makers have popped up. Some have flourished, and others have struggled under the weight of back-orders, others have flourished under the weight of back-orders.

I’m just another customer, and I don’t have ANY inside information on ANY tool makers, but if my change in buying habits are at all like the rest of the hand tool community, tool sales must be down.

The thing that bothers me is that not every retail market in our lives is suffering from the down turn in the economy. When I drive by my local coffee shop the line up of cars in the drive-through blocks traffic just as bad as when we all thought we were rich.

Over the past years, I’ve incorporated an adapted approach to finances vs. hobbies.

As an example, I can’t function (literally) without my morning coffee. It’s not a grumpy thing, it’s a drooling moron thing. There was a time that I was known by all the coffee shop staff well enough that my coffee and donuts were waiting for me at the till. I made a financial choice a number of years ago to make my morning coffee rather than buy it at the coffee shop (and skip the donuts). I’d forgotten what a savings this small thing makes, so do let’s have a look.

An extra-large coffee would cost me $2.00 each morning. Multiply that by 365 for a yearly cost of $730.00

A container of Folgers coffee lasts me at least a month. You can get it on sale for $7.00 so we stalk up. Multiply that by 12 for a yearly cost of $84.00

That one change of lifestyle saves me $646.00. I won’t include saving $417 in donuts I didn’t need. (Holly Crap!!! that would be a thousand dollars a year!!!)

You can walk out of LN with even their most expensive plane, or a full set of chisels (you didn’t want the chisel roll anyways) for less that $646.00.

I guess the problem here is that it would take years for this little scheme to pay for one of Konrad’s planes, and I really would like one of my own some day. That’s why I always make a lunch rather than eat out, get movies from my local library (Free) rather than pay $12.00 each at the Theaters, and a number of other things that I won’t get into.

Some people may say you shouldn’t have to sacrifice these things, and I’m not saying you should. It’s a question of likes vs. value.

I’d really like a jet ski, but I value woodworking more. I really liked skiing, but I valued woodworking more. Golfing is fun but I’d rather be woodworking.

I really dislike making my own lunch, and coffee, but I value our niche tool makers more.

If me not supporting my local coffee shop and fast food joint, keeps one small tool maker from closing up shop and going back to their desk job, I’ll gladly keep the home brew percolating, and the bread maker bread-maker-ing.

It’s no sacrifice.

So I challenge you to get out there and look for some tool maker that you like (that you really, really like), then consider if there is anything else in your life that you value less than that tool makers existence.

Let’s keep our hobby strong, because even in a recession, coffee still does grow on trees… or a bush… or something.

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1 Comment

  1. Amen and Thanks!

    Comment by Al Flinck — May 19, 2013 @ 7:21 pm


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