I understand the desire around buying new tools but you can’t negate the fact that after 30 seconds of use that same tool is now deemed as second hand and considerably less valuable than when you purchased it. In many cases if the manufacturers brand isn’t desirable the value is instantly lost and is only worth its capabilities until it is disposed of for recycling.
Premium brands such as Lie Nielson, Clifton, Veritas for example will usually hold 50-60% of their purchase value in the used tool market but this is a big drop from that initial investment and similar to buying new cars. I can understand many will think the accuracy in new premium tools offers better performance but this simply isn’t the case when they are compared to tools that have undergone refurbishment at Tooltique. Our planes for an example are typically flattened to within these premium tools tolerences for a fraction of the price and will command the same value online even with some use as they are already purchased in used condition. Our planes also require very little, if any fettling which has generally been done during the refurbishment process.
Whilst I appreciate these premium planes are expensive to produce compared to cheaper brands and their attention to detail in their production it’s hard to see any reason to buy them other than to impress on others the size of someone’s wallet or for appearance. It’s often the case where impressions are important, premium woodworking courses being a fine example. I feel for the students who believe they have to follow suit to achieve the same results, they should know some of the best woodworkers I’ve ever met have never picked up a premium new tool.
A tradesman’s view, having worked with tools all my life, just like many others I know.
Tools say a lot about craftsmen but very rarely will someone turning up on a project with brand new tools impress others in the trade. Rather than impressing it usually signals ‘Novice’ so be wary of doing this, ‘you have been warned’! Don’t get me wrong we all have occasions where we may have a new piece of machinery but hand tools are usually built up over time and will have been put to work from day one. There is nothing wrong either if your budget can stretch to it, is to buy the best used tools you can afford, especially when they are likely to last a lifetime.
If you are starting out in the trades it’s really important that your work and your approach to it stands out, not your tools. With tools it’s the quality that is important and not how new or how shiny they are, quality can come in a series of aspects in regard of their maintenance, accuracy, maker and condition. A tools ability to function and having the right tool for the job will make your life much easier and safer.
For the same price as a a new premium jointer you can buy a good range of our planes, i’m yet to find modern chisels that hold an edge like the old ones and it’s no coincidence many other tradesmen can’t either. Many used old tools offer both value and quality, however it’s always worth factoring in the work and skills involved to get them up to our spec when you look around at prices.
Would I buy new hand tools? I can only say I wish that I could have bought them here back in the day. I used to buy old tools and clean them up myself, however they didn’t come up to the same standard as they can be bought here. My skill set in this area has developed so much further since we changed how Tooltique operated from it’s earlier days, the equipment we use here is often bespoke, to handle different tasks needed and the focus is very much on function.
This is really important when purchasing unrefurbished tools as the qualities needed have to be there, if not they have to be treated as parts. So often do we see people buying what they think is salvageable but often finding they have nothing more than a donor tool on their hands which would require significant effort and supply of correct parts to rectify.
Generally before we changed our approach towards accurate refurbishment with Tooltique on user grade tools these new premium tools had more appeal.
A good craftsman will make a fine tool sing for a lifetime and can make a lesser tool work for a short while, that’s the reality.