Rebuilding Power Tools Philosophy from Sawmill Creek
Is it worth it -- in terms of your time and money -- to do "do-it-yourself" fix-ups of your power tools? That was the theme of this discussion. - Editor
"I am starting to change philosophies on rebuilding power tools that won't be kept forever. After seeing how low Matt [another forum participant] had to resell his Unisaw he took hours and hours to rebuild, it doesn't seem worth it to disassemble every part, clean, and paint them when potential buyers won't even bid high enough to cover the cost of the paint, let alone the time. Guess my philosophy hence forward will be to put in new bearings, consumable parts, lubricate, and give a lick and a promise." - Rich R.
"I think a lot of it is due to the economy .. and I don't expect it will improve much for at least 4 years." - Bob W.
"Doing it for pure economic reason probably doesn’t make sense, but I think a lot of folks like to mess with stuff mechanical/electrical for the fun of it." - Jay R.
"Generally, people who put a premium on shiny, near-perfect, unworn things will just buy new. Once you have decided to buy used, you've decided to trade off condition for price. You have plenty of fellas who do what Matt did to his saw with cars, knowing that they will be selling at a loss when they decide on the next project. I would rather put that creativity, effort and time into my woodworking." - Johnny M.
The forum participant whose table saw rehab project was the impetus for the discussion chimed in with his own opinion. - Editor
"I did OK on it because I got it at a bargain price, got most of the pieces I needed at a bargain price, and was able to sell the original
motor and fence. I didn't make money, but I don't think I lost money either. And regardless, that wasn't my goal when I bought it -- pretty much bought it on a whim because it was cheap and I wanted a project. I had a week of lunch times and evenings and a snowy weekend tied up in it work wise and that was fun for me. It ended up being a nicer saw than I had at the time so I kept it and sold my older Unisaw. I'll probably do it again, too, if I stumble across the right machine." - Matt M.
Some commenters pointed out that they fix up old tools for non-monetary reasons. - Editor
"I buy cheap, usually hopeless, cases because my ego tells me I can bring the dead back to life. I play with them a while, enjoying the fruits of my labors as a reward and then sell it and begin the process over, usually having traded up for a slightly better hopeless case. It can be as addictive as woodworking itself, and in the end really costs but a pittance, yet you learn so much about what makes a quality tool. There’s nothing like doing a failure analysis on a 60-year-old saw to teach you what works best in the long run and what’s just a manufacturer's shortcut to getting the thing shipped
out the door. Funny thing is, the same strategy applies equally as well to my woodworking skills: doing furniture repair and restoration in my early years was a college that no one hosts, yet under the hood you discover masterful touches of craftsmanship that you incorporate into your own bag of tricks and techniques that work for you, to be called upon to solve a seemingly unsolvable design problem because you know, somehow, it can be done." - Hank M.
"Just my opinion, I think the specter of making money in this hobby ruins it for me. I do this to escape from real life, so I couldn't care less if a restored tool makes me money when I sell it because the pleasure of having a restored tool to use is where I put the value in the equation. Pretty sure my old Oliver band saw that I put pretty good bucks into is worth no more to somebody else than what I paid originally, but it is to me." - Steve R.
"The restore process is a nice break from wood, and I always like to take stuff apart to see how it works." - Cary F.
"When I rebuild an old machine I do it because it's a really cool, old machine and I enjoy bringing it back to life and seeing it function again. I could never sell it for what I put into it, but that's not even a consideration for me personally." - Kevin B.
Question About Using 1/4" Plywood to Make a Box from WoodCentral
A woodworker looking to build a storage box for some shop supplies wanted advice on what kind of joinery to use. - Editor
"This may be one of those dumb questions: I want to make a simple box to fit into a shop drawer to hold some parts. I have some leftover less-than-1/4" ply that I'd like to use. How would you suggest I join the edges? If there's enough surface area to do butt joints that will give me reasonable strength, I'd do it, just for simplicity sake, but I don't know if it would work. What are your suggestions?" - Derek A.
"If your boxes can tolerate it, use inside corner blocks for more glue area -- these are utility boxes, right?" - Henry
"Got a table saw? I'd do a finger joint, fingers the width of the saw blade. Quite easy once you get the jig set up and it makes a nice strong joint." - John
"Finger joints are a classic and will work well for this. If you don't want to get that fancy, how about rabbet joints? Rabbet about a third of the way through and then glue them up. You could also let one side run past and put glue blocks into the outside of the corners. Or, you could glue them up with Titebond® or whatever and then 'caulk' the inside corners with hot-melt glue.Really depends on how much of a beating the boxes will take in use." - Barry I.
After hearing those suggestions, the original poster came back to the forum and asked if anyone had ever made this kind of box before, and if so, what kind of joints did they use -- and how did they hold up? - Editor
"[I] made dividers for a friend's electrical and plumbing 'parts' drawers. Box joints at the corners, dadoes on the rims, half-laps at the crosses. Only the corners were glued so he could remove partitions to reconfigure the interior spaces." - Mark M.
"I've done it with Baltic birch, so tearout was less of a problem than with something like fir plywood. But your jig should provide backing for the plywood and prevent much tearout. I usually make a new jig each time; that helps keep the jig in good shape to support the wood around the cut." - John
"You could also put small glue blocks in the corners, if you don't need that corner space." - Bruce
"I've made dozens of small utility boxes, some as small as 3/16", using rabbet joints made on the table saw, the router table or by hand with a plow plane. Some receive very hard use. Not one has failed. Fast and easy. Need more durability, go with finger joints." - Brian G.