You probably receive several monthly fliers from the tool manufacturers. If you’ve worked in wood longer than six months, the shiny things come in every few weeks. These insinuate that you’ll be a better craftsperson with their reverse bobtail jointing jig ( only $175.00). Of course, you don’t even know what a reverse bobtail joint is, but you’ll pour over the glossy pages with pure tool lust in your eyes. We refer to this as “tool porn” in the clinical community and expect it to appear in the next release of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The manufacturers wage war through their fliers, and we are the unfortunate targets. Examine the flyers closely. Note that the largest manufacturers sell pretty much the same stuff: vacuum and dust extraction equipment, jigs of all sorts, add ons for power tools, tools for the lathe addicted, and lots of little doodads you have to have.

They are primarily interested in people doing carpentry and cabinet work. The tools for this take up more room than most of us have in our entire homes, and the shops the tools are staged in reflect this. “Equip your shop with us, and all this will be yours!”

OK, I didn’t mean to pick on you directly. This winter, I too fell prey to the fliers and bought two jigs that have promised to make my table saw hum with precision.
Not until I emerged from the fugue and haze of tool porn did I recollect that the table saw is my least used tool in the downstairs machine shop. I am much more likely to use my bandsaw.

It would be best to automatically consign the darned things to the recycle bin on arrival. This way, you’d only go looking for a new tool or jig when an actual need cropped up in the shop. Remember, each of these things occupies storage volume. So, between infrequent uses, it has to be stored.

I’ve convinced myself. The glossies are going directly into the recycle without being opened. I already have enough storage issues, and the cost of the new doodads needs to get offset with either more efficient work practices or more significant profits. We can’t get rich making the tool makers wealthy, can we? So let us all go forth and sin no more!


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