When to Buy, and When Not to Buy – FREE Worksheet from “Hybrid Woodworking”

Click on the image for an 8.5 x 11 PDF of this worksheet.

Click on the image for an 8.5 x 11 PDF of this worksheet.

This worksheet from Marc Spagnuolo’s new book, “Hybrid Woodworking,” is an excellent analytical tool. It’s also pretty self-explanatory. Just click on the image, print it out and put it to use!

Here’s a little more explanation on how to score your decision for each tool you are considering, with quotes from the book.

1. Functionality. “Does the tool bring something unique to the table and is it a multi-tasker?” Compare the tool’s functionality to that of the tools you are already using for the same tasks.

2. Efficiency. “Will the tool make specific processes more efficient?” To score this section, you can even time yourself with comparable tools and calculate the difference.

3. Accuracy. “Will the tool increase my accuracy?” Sometimes this depends on your level of skill, and sometimes it really is the tool.

4. Gratification. “Will the tool add to my enjoyment of woodworking?” This factor can be played like a wild card. That is, if the first three scores are low and do not reflect the intangible benefit of enjoying what you are doing, then give the tool a high score here!

Multiplier. The default multiplier is 5 for a total possible score of 25 in each of the four categories. But you can customize the multipliers to reflect greater or lesser weight you would like to devote to certain considerations. Just make sure the total possible score for the four categories is 100.

Purchase threshold. This is the second way to customize your results. Decide for yourself, based on budget and overall tool-buying philosophy, the total minimum score that you believe is necessary to justify a purchase.

TWW_059_Tool_Buying_ListHere’s how this process played out for Marc when he was considering purchase of a rabbeting block plane. Click on the image at left for a larger view.

What are the tools you are going to consider with this worksheet? Tell us in the comments below, so you can get even more feedback from the community!

And if you haven’t already ordered your copy of “Hybrid Woodworking,” do it now in our store.

Dan Farnbach

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Woodworking Daily
Dan Farnbach

About Dan Farnbach

Dan apprenticed and worked in two professional shops during the years after college. But sweeping shop floors only goes so far toward learning woodworking. These days Dan is online editor for Popular Woodworking, and is learning new skills every day. He divides his time between Boston and Maine.

4 thoughts on “When to Buy, and When Not to Buy – FREE Worksheet from “Hybrid Woodworking”

  1. Eric R

    Too late for me.
    Plus, like Gareth, I’m too old to worry about waiting for the right time to buy.
    If I can afford the tool, and I even THINK I will enjoy using it, I’m getting it.
    Not enough vices left to spend it elsewhere. lol

  2. Gareth00

    Well…..at 61 and given up drinking & smoking, one of the few pleasures left to me was window or “what if” woodwork shopping. Reading this article just wee-weed all over that guilty vice too. What a dreary world some people would have us live in.

    1. SeanT

      I would offer that this is simply another tool.

      For some of us, it is a useful tool to help make purchasing decisions. For others, it would not be useful. I suspect that you are in the latter category.

      Just because you would not find it useful does not diminish its utility to others any more than our need for such a tool dictates that you must use it.

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