Like most woodworkers, we have a limited budget. When working on a project that requires a technique for which we don’t have the ideal tools, we have often made the decision to either buy the lowest cost tool that might work or to try to use another tool that was not designed for the task. Sometimes this has worked out, especially if we will seldom use this method again, however typically we have regretted it. At best, these decisions may have cost us time or a project that is less perfect than we would like. We have also found any poor quality tools end up getting replaced with better quality ones eventually.
Using a good quality tool, for a function that it was actually designed for, not only often saves time, but makes the task safer and much more enjoyable. We have found that good quality tools that are carefully used and maintained, often don’t lose much value if we decide to eventually sell them after getting good use out of them.
One of Bridge City Tools Works catchphrases is that “Quality is Contagious” and we have come to believe this. We find that using high quality, well designed tools, not only makes it easy for us to do quality work ourselves, but that they also inspire us to improve our work to increasingly higher standards.
Of course, another alternative in some cases is to make the tool yourself. We also do this from time to time, and it can be very enjoyable. While we have never regretted any of our forays into toolmaking, when we have looked at the time we’ve spent on making high quality tools, we have usually concluded that purchased high quality tools are reasonable value, once time and effort that the design includes has been considered.
Here are some of the tools we have built over the years:
Thanks Kevin – if you ever want to build one of those squares, there is an article in Popular Woodworking Magazine from the fall of 2011, written by John Economaki of BCT that describes the process.
Those are some beautiful tools! The inlay on the squares is a great contrast