You get what you pay for

IMG_2953(1)I’ve been on the hunt for a bandsaw.

OK, I guess I should give a little bit of background. I’ve been a woodworker for a while. I began by learning at a small shaker reproduction outfit. Dovetail machines, Delta Unisaws from the golden era and other power tools that the owner bought when he got home from WWII.

It was a great, albeit dangerous place to get my feet wet. But I didn’t have the chance to learn the finer points of woodworking. I’m not sure I even saw a chisel in my year there.

Then I moved on to learn cabinet-making from a two-man shop in a neighborhood with almost daily shootings. The sound of the old English banding machine became as normal as the daily duck and cover.

I later moved on to work at a woodworking magazine. That’s where I learned about handtools. My education started over.

That’s the beauty in chasing a craft that has literally been around since we were just lizards crawling around yelling about our political opinions. There is always more to learn.

After I took a bit of time off, I decided to start building furniture again. I have no power tools. Well, that’s not completely true. I restored my papaw’s old table saw a few years ago but I think that it shares my own affection for my fingers so I am leaving out of the mix.

I started with a bench. I built a Nicholson bench without using power tools, but I am no Luddite. I’ve been around some amazing woodworkers (particularly at the magazine) long enough to know that both types of woodworking tools have their place in the shop.

And now we’re back to the bandsaw. For me, that was the first power tool I needed. It’s just so versatile. You can resaw some thick stock and a few minutes later rough cut dovetails (which I admit I probably won’t do).

So after months of searching for a good deal, I found a man selling his dad’s old bandsaw for $50. Helluva deal, I thought.

It’s a 14”, no-name brand from before I was born. But it runs and it cuts wood and I’m not building furniture professionally. I knew I would have to set it up properly and buy new blades, so that cost doesn’t bother me.

But, about an hour after unloading the bandsaw in my garage, I broke the upper blade guide. Upon inspection, I found that it was inevitable. The guide was made out of the same poured metal that you find in screws from box stores that sale hardware and diapers.

So my cost more-than doubled. Oh well, I would rather spend decent money and only have to buy something once.

You get what you pay for, and it goes both ways.

IMG_2953(1)Benderdryl Woodworking

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