Guitar Making Tip No. 183

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Guitar Making Tip No. 183 is about getting the most for your money when buying edged tools for the shop. An edged tool can be a masterpiece in the right hands, and a real pleasure to use. However, buying the wrong tools can rob you of that experience. Here is how.

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My Secret to Buying Great Edged Tools

guitar making tip number 183I am a huge advocate of saving money and being cheap. If you have read any of my books or articles, you know that. However, when it comes to edges tools, you can really do yourself a disservice going super cheap.

In the beginning, there are a lot of tools to buy, I understand the pain. I was there. I also know that I had to buy several things a second time, because the big sets I purchased were a pile of crap.

Do some looking around before you buy any edged tools. When it comes to guitar making, you really only need a few. A good way of making sure that you are getting the best tools is to avoid buying sets.

Instead, buy the tools that you know you need, and skip on the larger sets that have several tools. Here is the big reason for skipping the sets.

Sets Come With Tools You Don’t Need

In most edged tool sets, you are going to end up using only a small fraction of the tools. In a typical set, most people use a couple of the tools, and the rest are in effect a waste of money. This is where sets sound good in the beginning, but end up not being a good deal.

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If you look at chisels, you really only need a few at the most. A good 1/2″, 1/4″, and maybe a 1/8″ are all you really need. A nice set can have 8-10 chisels in the box, but you really only need about 2-3.

Instead of buying that set, spend about the same money on the 2-3, and get them from a higher quality maker.

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These tools will last longer, retain an edge better, cut nicer, and sharpen easier than any of the cheaper sets. For these and many more reasons, you will enjoy using them.

When you stock up on edged tools that are higher end, you set yourself up for an incredible experience in woodworking. A well sharpened, high end edged tool is like cutting wood with a laser. It’s incredible. Sadly, most new woodworkers and guitar makers never really get to know that experience. Here is why:

Poor and Dull Tools Trick You Into Thinking They are Inferior

When you use a poorly made and dull edged tool, you become frustrated really quickly. Plus, because you are new, you have no idea that the tool just needs some help in order to perform better.

You assume that the tool was replaced with modern methods because it’s inferior, and you give up on the “old method” of woodworking.

This happens a lot with edged tools. Someone tries a cabinet scraper with a poor edge, fails, and says “well, this is why they invented sandpaper, because these scrapers are awful.” They put the edged tool in a drawer, and typically never return to it.

When you have a bad experience, and add being a beginner to that, you can be cheated out of one of the best feelings in all of woodworking. Using a well made and razor sharp edged tool is simply amazing. Don’t let cheap and dull tools ruin that for you.

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brian forbes westfarthing woodworks llc owner

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