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Thread: " Old machines, new machines, its still an expensive and time consuming hobby" quote

  1. #1
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    " Old machines, new machines, its still an expensive and time consuming hobby" quote

    In a reply to a thread on old machine refurb, Allen L put forward a view on woodworking as a costly hobby for young (men)people to get into.


    I thought this view merits some debate not that i totally disagree with Allens point of view, but i do think there is some room for leeway here.


    Thinking back here i have had several hobbys so far and i dont see that Woodworking has to be put into the camp of being percieved as expensive to get into and have fun doing.


    Lets compare some of the alternatives:

    Sailing.....used to race Catamarans....to do so you travelled each weekend and that plus accomodation plus entry fee and entertainment at the watering hole after boy it sure added up and left no room for anything else. It was also not quiet a family fun sport it was pitched as.

    Golf......got a few golfing buddies that make my spend at Lee Valley look like pocket change.....Just their annual green fees here cost nearly as much as i spent on all my machines and then each year there are the "gotta have new clubs, balls, shoes, and other clothing, plus the watering hole and dont forget the betting on just about every hole. Then competition fees and attending as a spectator any events in the area. You also have to travel to the course which is back at the gas pump and dont forget Caddy fees and tips.

    Fishing......now there is probably one that could be considered cheap to do and involve a young family but like any hobby if you gonna rise up in skill ....well sooner or later you into a boat and fish finder and rods and reels and oh boy the list goes on plus the licence fee each year. Never mind all the lures and bait and again the gas and travel.

    Hunting .......not much different to the fishing ....i would guess and even more costly if you ever think of getting one of the big 5 trophies....ask friends of mine what it cost for them to get a trophy antelope head they shot in South Africa back to Canada never mind the rest of the trip. But a young guy and his kids could go hunting in the woods for relatively low cost if the guy gets to know a property owner.

    Painting....well i got to see what that cost my mother when she was doing oil pastel and water colors and i guess compared to woodworking its perhaps comparable depending...

    Gardening well probably the cheapest....grass dont take much and a few seeds not that costly..


    But lets look at woodworking.

    You dont have to be putting down huge dollars and buying a sawstop. You dont have to buy machines at all especially as a young guy. In the hand tool department you can get to buy reasonable workable hand tools either second hand or new and you can buy them one at a time over time and get to build a great deal and have a great deal of fun and share it with the kids.

    Whats more there is something left over afterwards that carrys the memories and you dont have to even leave home or travel to do it.


    Allen i think the issue is more along the lines of the expectations of some of the young uns today. I cannot get over a couple i heard of here that when they got married and i mean in their early 20's expected to move into a home they owned. One family never had the resources for such a gift so the parents sold their home and used the proceeds to pay their half of the gift. Now thats just totally crazy and extreme but the young couple had no problem with accepting it.

    With all the marketing creating hype of what you gotta have to be "IN" or HIP.....its not suprising to me if they dont want to get going with less than the best.


    But i would like to think that we dont have the most expensive hobby to have fun with.


    Even in the wood department, my local lumber place always has shorts which you can do a great deal with if you have the desire. And dont forget there is always the Habitat Stores where incedible bargains can be had.
    cheers

  2. #2
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    People who get started in different hobbies do so for the enjoyment of it all.

    You are thinking like an experienced woodworker.

    Its not about getting a 1500 dollar TS, but it is about getting adequate equipment that you are comfortable with to pursue your dreams/goals.

    Ive been doing this for close to 6 years.

    I still dont have a wide variety of router bits, simply because with prices so expensive for quality bits, I only purchase as I need one.
    While the initial cost of starting up, may be acceptable, to continue woodworking its a non stop expense.
    Human Test Dummy

  3. #3
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    I have yet to spend on woodworking what I have spent in the past on:

    Musical instruments
    Golf
    Beer

    I'll probably catch up to Golf first, Musical instruments second and then Beer.

    I have friends who hunt. I may someday spend what they have spent.

    I have friends who fish. I may someday spend what they have spent.

    I have friends who fish and hunt. I won't live long enough to spend what they have spent.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
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  4. #4
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    Table saw, I worked for over 30 years with the old Craftsman contractor type table saw before I could treat myself to a nice big saw. My old Craftsman is still in use, gave it to my son-in-law. The only up grade I felt was necessary in all those years was putting on a better fence. There are all kinds of good used tools available that may show some ware but have lots of life left in them. Watch the papers and craigslist. And, as I am getting older, retired, I find myself using more hand tools, i.e., planes, chisels, spokeshave, hand powered drills just because I like the feel of using the. Never thought I would go that route.
    "We the People ......"

  5. #5
    Wood is expensive.

    ESPECIALLY for a beginner. I'm still a beginner. I don't have a band saw, planer, or jointer. I HAVE to buy S2S stock in the thickness my project requires. I don't yet know "a guy" and the local hardwood store guys don't know my name yet or even seem to recognize my face. Buying wood at $4-5-6-$15/bdft really begins to add up. 4x8 sheets of cabinet grade plywood starting at $50....

    I remember a posting from the past few days were someone was bragging they got rough cherry for something like $2.18/ft. They couldn't resist and just "had" to buy 100bdft. First off, that's $218 right there, second, my local hardwood guy has 4/4 FAS S2S cherry for around $5.50/bdft, third you've gotta be pretty invested to have room to store 100bdft of rough cut wood.

    I see guys making solid maple workbenches and I just kind of look at it like, "Wow, I hope you enjoy your $1000 workbench". But those guys were probably buying rough stock from their "guy" and it's really only $400 of wood to them.

    So to paraphrase Montgomery Scott... it's not the Tools, it's the Materials.

  6. #6
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    You bring up an excellent point, David. I think part of it has to do with location. In Los Angeles it's not easy (especially for a beginner) to find rough lumber, and surfaced lumber is pricey for sure. I've seen $7.00 to $10.00 per board foot for S4S maple or cherry. In other places, is seems there's a sawyer down every dirt road, and a truckload of hardwood is less expensive than a trip to the movies with the wife and kids. (OK, that's probably an exaggeration.) The high price of hardwood was part of the reason I gravitated to making trinket boxes and cutting boards when I was getting back into woodworking. Still, it was easy to drop over $100 just buying a few boards to make something, though.

    The high lumber prices were also one of my motivations for getting into woodturning. Most of the wood I use is free, other than my own labor to haul and cut it. (Of course, I still ended up spending a boatload of money for the other tools and accessories that go with woodturning.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    I have yet to spend on woodworking what I have spent in the past on:

    Musical instruments
    Golf
    Beer

    I'll probably catch up to Golf first, Musical instruments second and then Beer.

    I have friends who hunt. I may someday spend what they have spent.

    I have friends who fish. I may someday spend what they have spent.

    I have friends who fish and hunt. I won't live long enough to spend what they have spent.
    really?

    I spent approx 500-600 dollars on lumber, hardware and finishing supplies to build a 6 foot credenza.(5 bucks a bf for wood)
    The project took me 6 weeks, maybe 7 weeks.
    Not counting any expenses for machinery, electricity, or supplies such as blades, bits, etc.......thats 100 bucks a week.
    If I buy beer(I dont, mixing alcohol and my meds is suicide), at any local store, it runs around 75 cents a bottle for bud.
    Thats over 100 bottles a week.
    I dont think even when I drank beer, Id consume anywhere near that amount, not even half that amount, not even 1/4 of that amount, not even a 6th of that..
    Tack on the prices of supplies, break down the cost of machinery vs. the amount of years Ive had them, Id say woodworking is one very expensive, very time consuming hobby.
    People who have been working with wood for 25 years, Im sure their expenses now are much smaller since they dont have to purchase anything, like clamps, doodads, bits, etc........
    New comers, wow, every project seems like something new is needed.
    And hardware, another huge expense. Finishing products, another huge expense.

    and then, since this thread is about the old machines, well, how desirable is an old machine to someone who is just getting started, not knowing much about woodworking machines. Buy a decent machine, for 200 bucks, but if it needs repairs and parts, maybe for a beginner, it isnt such a good deal, especially if you dont know much about old machines.

    must stop viewing this through eyes of someone with experience. Have to look at it like youre just starting.
    Last edited by allen levine; 04-27-2012 at 08:41 PM.
    Human Test Dummy

  8. #8
    Well here is my view on it.

    I grew up woodworking. My father was a cabinet maker. We were a do it yourself family. We only had people do work for us if it entailed a tool that was cost prohibitive for the job at hand meaning only will ever be used for that particular job and never again.

    I got my first table saw by building a kitchen for some one. That was my payment for the job as far as labor went. It was a top of the line craftsman contractor saw with cast iron extensions and belt drive. I built the kitchen with my skill saw upside down under a piece of plywood and a 1 x 4 for a fence.

    I bought cheap power tools and I do mean cheap till one day it snapped that I was wasting more time and money trying to get these to work than just spending the few extra dollars to begin with on the better tool.

    As for router bits and saw blades I only by what I need when I need it. I've been doing this a long time (30 plus years) and have nowhere near the router bit collection some people have that have been doing it for less time. I just know how to get the most out of what I have by thinking outside the box as far as needing to get a certain profile from what I have.

    Shoot my first try at re-sawing my own veneer for the sides of my kitchen cabinets I did with out the benefit of a wide belt or a drum sander. I used my trusty old porter cable 4 x 24 belt sander and the panels turned out just as good as if I used a $1000 plus machine to do it.

    I'm always searching the web for different and better ways to do things by using the tools that I have. I've also been fortunate enough to get some side jobs that bought some of the tools needed to do the job and I've also just went ahead and splurged on some tools just because after all these years I was just plain tired of making do.

    So as far as I'm concerned wood working is an inexpensive hobby compared to hunting, fishing, golf and boating. With those you spend the money and not necessarily accomplish what you set out to do but with wood working the tools you buy will have other uses around the house along with the fact you have built something that will last a lifetime.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by allen levine View Post
    ...Thats over 100 bottles a week...
    A relatively light week back in my heyday. The fact that I quit drinking sure made it easier to afford woodworking (even though the woodworking came a few years later).
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  10. #10
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    I think we get into any hobby out of wanting to learn and congregate with our peers (as well as meet new ones). I grew up having a wood shop to play in and having all the basic woodworking tools at my disposal. Though my dad being a carpenter, didn't do a lot with hardwoods and figured grains. I was probably 12 or 13 before I saw my first piece of maple in his shop and later years before he bought any oak. Most things he built were for utility purposes.

    I myself didn't really get into woodworking until it was out of necessity. I was about 22 working on the deck of my apartment trying to build some shelves out of some scrap plywood. Most of my cuts were done using a B&D Jig Saw that probably vibrated the entire deck along with me as I cut the boards. I didn't have the room for a TS and they didn't make any smaller than a contractor size anyway. As I've needed tools I've purchased them. I did go through the phase of buying just to have it, but anymore I try to find ways to get by with what I have and use them to the best of my ability. Like Alan, I usually try to spend the money for the better tools when I know I'll be using them often.

    As for my hobbies, I've always tried to do the things that I want to try. Some I've enjoyed, some I've really tried to enjoy, and others I just didn't enjoy.

    As a matter of fact, I was at a funeral today. One of the gentlemen speaking said "Do the things you want to do in this life"...then he said..."to keep the Minister from having to make stuff up when they talk about your life" How true is that? They didn't have to make anything up for the funeral today, our friend Don lived a very good life and had a lot to show for it. I hope I get to live out the rest of mine without changing much.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

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