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Tools, tools and more tools....

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Just received my first MicroMark catalog. Holy smokes!!

 

This reminds me of when I first became a boat owner and later when I first became a RV owner. West Marine and Camping world sold more gadgets, do-dads, thing-a-ma-jigs and what-ja-ma-call-its than one could use in 3 lifetimes. As a dyed in the wool tool addict this type of paraphernalia is dangerous to be within a country mile of the house.

 

This newbie will be seeking the advice of you more experienced builders about which contraptions are worth having before I dish out any of my hard earned moola.

 

Dave

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Dave, There’s always something you gotta have “and my life will be complete”. You get it and never get around to using it. Those catalogues.... It always gets me fantasizing. MicroMark is good (fantastic service, good quality stuff.) Stay away at all costs from Lee Valley, its the road to degradation. 

 

Kurt

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I was a building contractor most of my life and the original "Tool Hound". I always liked the latest and greatest construction tools and still have most of them in my workshop even 15 years after I retired. I also have do leatherwork (special tools), custom case-making (special tools), metal work (special tools).

When I got back into modeling about 15 years ago, I found the MicroMark catalog. OMG! That opened up a whole new world of tools to collect. I was in seventh heaven. Even if I didn't choose MicroMarks offering for a particular tool (maybe I wanted a better quality or type), it gave me an idea of what was available out there. They also have some items I've never seen anywhere else. My collection still grows to this day. When I'm gone, my kids will wonder - what the heck is this for, and what do we do with this thing. 😁

 

EJ

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45 minutes ago, Kurt Johnson said:

Stay away at all costs from Lee Valley, its the road to degradation. 

I hope you are joking.  Lee Valley has an incredible collection of miniature planes and chisels that are perfect for model work. 

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7 minutes ago, Jack12477 said:

I hope you are joking.  Lee Valley has an incredible collection of miniature planes and chisels that are perfect for model work. 

I'm sure he was. That's certainly how I took it. In fact I'm anxiously waiting until later this month when Lee Valley get's the Veritas Mini Block Plane back in stock. 

 

Jim

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Jack, I meant that humorously. I have almost all their miniature planes and chisels. I keep checking for new additions. I was thinking along the lines  of temptation and self control. (I have very little). If get a catalog in the mail from them, I know I might be in trouble.

 

Kurt

Edited by Kurt Johnson
spelling

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Gidday everyone.

I too have a fetish for tools. It seems every flat surface in the shed and workshop is covered with tools. I have bought a lot of pegboard to try and get them off the various benches / work surfaces. I must get around to putting it up.

One of my most recent purchases was a D Shackle rated at 9 tons.  I hope to find a use for it one day.

I can justify my tool obsession to myself by having a lot of interests. Or my interests are an excuse for my tool collection.

Mark

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I may not add any wisdom to this thread but I have made some observations over some 40 plus years of woodworking and modeling. A kernel of thought started some 30 years ago when I witnessed an Irish cabinet maker visiting his daughter. He had to repair a Period High Boy chest he had made for her sometime past. He had a basket of tools; a saw, chisels, a couple of planes and measuring tools. He had to remake a drawer that was damaged. His repair was outstanding with this basket of hand tools. He is gone now but I still marvel at his skill.

 

Over time that memory has influenced my purchasing of tools more and more. I began observing what tools I used the most. It wasn't the gee whiz tools. It was the basic tools in measuring, shaping, trimming and the like. I do have a decent shop of power tools and I have to admit I have and love my Byrnes, Sherline and Lee Valley products and use them frequently. But by and large it is the basics that get used over and over.

 

Don't get caught up in that fever.

 

Joe

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I have to agree with you, Joe. The power tools are nice and save time, but there is no substitute for a well-honed edge tool.

 

The saddest sight I ever saw was a fully-equipped, large, warm, well-lit workshop with every conceivable 'Rolls Royce' machine tool you can imagine in it. All were in pristine condition - not a spot of dust or rust anywhere. It was a shrine of sorts, shown to me by the man's widow. He never got to use any of these wonderful power tools....

Edited by druxey

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"He who dies with the most tools, wins!"

 

That said, as a recovering tool addict, there are some tool rules that will stand you in good stead.

 

1. Never buy a tool until you actually need it.

 

It's just too tempting to grab the "latest and greatest" just because you "might need it some day." The more you have, the harder it is to find the one you are looking for, anyway.

 

2. Always buy the best quality tool you can possibly afford at the time.

 

As the old saying goes, "A cheap tool costs twice as much when you have to buy another one." Besides, good tools can always be sold for decent money, sometimes even more than you paid for them, depending upon how long you've had them.

 

3, An old (hand) tool is often better than a new (hand) tool.

 

"They don't make 'em like they used to." is generally true.

 

4. Store your tools in a well-organized fashion and always return them to their place as soon as you are finished using them.

 

They will be easier to find and you will save an amazing amount of time looking around "where you last left it."

 

5. Never loan a tool.

 

Whether you borrow a tool if somebody will lend it to you is up to you.  If somebody asks, your options are to politely decline or loan them one from your "junk drawer" that you won't mind never having returned!

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I quite agree with Bob's tool rules.   For the last year, I've been tossing catalogs away unread as I know what will happen if I open one.   Yes, I'm a toolholic and in recovery. It's hard to resist temptation.   

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Makes me wonder if us tool_aholics have an edge in becoming the Irish cabinet maker? We are aware of our weakness and more wary because of it. Building with hand tools has some romantisisim to it.

People often ask me why I bother to shave with a straight razor with all the honing, stropping and using lather from a brush and mug. Instead of using the latest 6 blade cartridge razor and foam from a can. Tough to answer, but there is something about using a well made tool with the knowledge of how to use it.

But I'm getting off topic here.

It's great to have all of you here to advise a newbie on tool selection.

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7 hours ago, druxey said:

I have to agree with you, Joe. The power tools are nice and save time, but there is no substitute for a well-honed edge tool.

Ditto! which remind me I want one of those tiny brass thumb planes, I have some scrap brass....hmmmm

 

Michael

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If I can avoid it, I don't buy new tools. Either they are ridiculously expensive or not the same quality as pre-1960s ones. This applies to both, hand- and machine-tools. Just bought a couple of pin-vices, they were relatively cheap and the best ones I have seen on the Internet, but their finish still isn't as good as that of the ones I fished out of junk-boxes on flea-markets (unfortunately, I don't get to flea-markets very often anymore and flea-markets aren't what they used to be).

 

And: as I don't have the time to hone my skills with hand-tools, I have to hone my machine-tools ;)

 

A confirmed tool-junkie.

Edited by wefalck

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Yes it is. Having been a tool maker in a machine shop at one point, I have an appreciation for finely crafted tools, especially miniature ones. I don't know where this tool was made, but it is nicely made.

 

EJ

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1 hour ago, MM2CVS9 said:

Yes it is. Having been a tool maker in a machine shop at one point, I have an appreciation for finely crafted tools, especially miniature ones. I don't know where this tool was made, but it is nicely made.

 

EJ

Thanks. I've been waiting for Lee Valley to get these back in stock. 

 

Jim

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Guys and gals. Call me crazy and get angry with me but except for the power tools (of which I've only purchased one) I find Micromark "tools" very ordinary in quality and

often overpriced.

 

It also bothers me when they rip off the tools that others have designed and marketed but I know  other companies do this. Many suppliers are small cottage companies and supporting them may keep them in business which often benefits us.

 

That said I still purchase many products from them and have usually been satisfied. It's hard to beat their extensive selection of items I can't find anywhere else.

 

I hope this doesn't get me banned from this site...Moab

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    I always liked getting gift certificates from Micro-Mark for X-mas presents,  I can always find something on their web site that I can use.  I have one right now that is burning a hole in my pocket!

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Ditto on Micro-Mark's mediocre quality and high price point. Looking where you might not first think often turns up far better quality and far more reasonable prices. Jewelers' supply houses, medical and dental supply houses, watchmakers' tool outfits, even manicurists' and fly-tiers' supply places will always have something of interest. Micro-Mark now sells a six inch Tacro proportional divider for a hundred bucks or so. I bought one from them years ago for about half that price and, while serviceable, it's fit and finish is pretty much junk. Today, one can buy a seven and a half inch standard rack and pinion adjusting or ten inch top quality rack and pinion adjusting decimally-scaled set of proportional dividers with Vernier-adjusting to .005 made by Dietzgen, Keuffel and Esser, Bowen, or other makers of what were the finest instruments made in their day, in a velvet-lined hard case, for what Tacro's cheapo will cost, often considerably less, on eBay. The Micro-Mark catalog is a good place to discover that somebody is making something you didn't know existed before, but I've found them to sort of be the Harbor Freight of small tools. They do have some quality tools and materials, but at a high price. "Google is your friend." Odds are you may find the same quality product for considerably less elsewhere on line.

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This statement seems to apply to many other 'modellers' supply houses around the world. They have discovered over the last few years tools from other trades, as mentioned above, and that manufacturers often dump 'seconds' that do not fulfill the quality standards of brands on the market. You can find these e.g. von ebay without the mark-up of the modelling houses.

To be fair, such supply houses also market sometimes products that are made specifically for them and that you would not find anywhere else.

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On 11/2/2018 at 1:05 PM, russ said:

often times, I see something that gives me some inspiration for a simple shop tool/jig I can make myself. 

    Oh, you mean like the sliding table for their MicroLux table saw?  I easily made one from some scraps of tempered hardboard, pieces of pine, and some small recycled screws from my shop.  Cost me nothing but an hour or so of my time. :rolleyes:

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Sometimes it is something even simpler, just a quick jig for a simple task that I can make myself in a few minutes. Nothing to wonder at, but it beats spending the money and then waiting for it arrive. :)

 

Problem solving is one of the things I like about modeling. 

 

Russ

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    Speak of the devil!  I just got a new catalog from Micro-Mark in the mail today sporting another new offering called the Doctor DRYBooth.  For a mere $199.95 you too can own this 10 5/8" w. x 18" h. x 8" deep metal box. (basically a small oven)  Claims it will cut painted part drying time in half.  I don't know about you but with just a little patience I believe that I'll just save the $200. B)

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5 minutes ago, BETAQDAVE said:

    Speak of the devil!  I just got a new catalog from Micro-Mark in the mail today sporting another new offering called the Doctor DRYBooth.  For a mere $199.95 you too can own this 10 5/8" w. x 18" h. x 8" deep metal box. (basically a small oven)  Claims it will cut painted part drying time in half.  I don't know about you but with just a little patience I believe that I'll just save the $200. B)

Exactly. :)

 

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