One day may workshop will be fully equipped with only the finest and highest grade tools from Jet, Sawstop, Festool, Powermatic, etc. But for now I’m using mostly Craftsman powertools with some Ryobi and other brands thrown in.
I try to buy the best quality tools that I can reasonably afford. Most of the time that ends up being Craftsman, sometimes not.
So why did I buy the tools I have and why did I buy them in the order I did?
Versatility over precision.
At least that is how I buy tools now. I am blessed to have a father who is a DIY-guy, and he taught me how to do many things. So I grew up knowing who to use tools. As for woodworking I worked for a carpenter during summers in High School, so I became familiar with the “tools of the trade.” This and my Father-in-law’s fully equipped workshop helped a lot while building my inventory of tools.
The theory is that a Table Saw can do more than a Miter Saw. Yes a Miter Saw can do some jobs better than the table saw but it can’t match the versatility of the table saw.
The same is true of the band saw vs. scroll saw. I debated for a long while which one of these tools I would add next to my shop. It came down to the fact that a band saw can do more tasks than a scroll saw. I absolutely want a scroll saw in the near future but at the time a band saw allowed me to do far more than a scroll saw would.
This has been my theory of tool acquisition for a while, and it seems to be working for me. Sometimes a job comes and there is a specific tool needed. Like when we redid the bathroom and I needed a wet/tile saw. But for the most part this system has worked pretty well.
I’m now at the point to where I am buying tools for specific tasks. There are some big ticket items in my future; Jointer, plainer, lathe, etc. However, as I’m getting more precise, the tools are getting smaller and less expensive. Many times it’s just a matter of getting the right blade/bit and making the right jig for the job. I’m also adding more hand tools to the line up.
What are your methods of buying tools for woodworking or whatever your trade/craft/hobby is?