Have you ever dropped tens of dollars or even hundreds on a woodworking tool or accessory that you never used? These are the tools that are collecting dust instead of making it… Maybe it was a deal too good to pass up. Maybe it was an accessory to your table saw or router. No matter how you came by it though, you’ve never found use for it.
The WoodNetter Mike C asked a similar question recently and we went and tallied up the responses to bring you the top five woodworking tools we buy but never use… And for the record “never use” roughly means “haven’t used once in the past year.”
Read through the list and let it be a warning to you… not that you shouldn’t buy any of these tools, but just to think twice before you do. Also, be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for an interesting theory… or even a conspiracy… about why we buy needless tools ;)
Disclaimer: This survey represents a single forum’s opinions. There are different prevailing methods at different forums so don’t take this as the be-all end-all list of what tools are important in woodworking!
First off, from the thread are the guys whose frugality goes above and beyond the call of duty. These are they guys who, to the best of their knowledge and memory, claim to never have purchased a tool they didn’t use. Never bought a tool I didn’t use: 5
And here are the top 5 woodworking tools we buy but never use:
1) Jigs: 12
Woodcraft Tenon Jig: 5
Kreg pocket jig: 2
Dovetail Jig: 2
Taper jig (well I used it once, does that count?)
dowel hole jig
2) Router/Bits/Kits: 6
Sears El-Cheapo routers
Cheap GMC router kit
Most of the bits in my first router bit set
3) Mortiser: 5
Delta Mortiser: 3
DP mortiser attachment
4) Scroll Saw: 5
5) Biscuit Joiner: 2
Any surprises there? I for one didn’t expect to see so many scroll saws. There was one guy in the thread who suggested that folks who didn’t use their scroll saws just didn’t know what they were missing.
Ok, so here’s the rest of the tools mentioned in the thread, followed by the conspiracy I mentioned earlier… ;)
Everything Else (in no particular order):
HVLP Spray gun
Pneumatic sander, nailers and other air tools
3 HF Mobile Bases
6″ Band Saw Riser ( I have installed it but have yet to cut anything over a few inches tall)
Stanley 38 fence
Delta drum sanding kit (duplicates most of my sanding drums)
hvlp spray gun
HF wet grinder
transfer punch set
hole punch set
Record #5 plane
hand held oscilating spindle sander
Table for jig saw that makes it a scroll saw.
jet wooden handscrew clamps
Stock miter guage that came with my table saw (never used it – just bought a higher quality miter guage that I use a lot)
The “Norm Abram Conspiracy” Explanation for Unused Tools:
This Woodnetter brings up a very good point…
Ok, maybe this is a complete coincidence, but do you see a trend here??? Take a look at the reoccurring tools:
Now think of the tools that Norm uses almost every show. Coincidence??? I think we may have watched one too many NYW episodes and thought “Oh ya, I need one of those!”
Cue spooky music ;)
How many purchased tools you never used?
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Either the folks surveyed in this are really into hand tools or are just making basic birdhouses. Some of the things listed here are MUST haves in my shop. Pocket screw jigs, tapering jigs, mortisers, plate jointers? Man, these are HUGE time-savers when I build any casework, chairs, tables, etc.
i think the rotozip should be high on the list – however they are really good at making a mess out of drywall.
I agree with the scroll saw. I only use it for very small things but the tenon jig and mortiser are to die for! I have the Delta in each case and while I don’t use it for every project, I would still be doing that rocking chair from last March… ; ) I would include winding sticks, marking knives and pantograph as pretty useless… yes, I own them and the gathering dust is authentic!