We’ve all done it. You’re flipping through the pages of a magazine or perhaps browsing a popular woodworking vendor’s website and you can’t help but be sucked in by the allure of a new thing-a-ma-jiggie. It could be a tool, a gadget, a shop-helper, whatever. After you take delivery of the item and put it to use, you quickly realize this particular thing could have been easily made in the shop (cauls, winding sticks, jigs, etc..). Or, perhaps, it just doesn’t live up to the hype (the latest gizmo from company X). Maybe, it’s something you realized wasn’t the best way to get the job done or you decided going the traditional route was the better option.
I am certainly not immune to this problem, but I consider it all part of the learning curve. I have plenty of things in my shop that I could easily live without. As evidenced by last year’s charity auction, I also have a desire to move the useless OUT of the shop to make room for the useful. Just because something isn’t useful to me, doesn’t mean someone else out there might not have a use for it. To each his own.
In the world of woodworking, innovation is hard to come by. Think about it. We are participants in a very old craft steeped in tradition. As a result, we are part of a very niche market filled with numerous modern companies that need to make real money. That means we often see the marketplace filled with solutions to problems that don’t exist or problems easily solved by other simpler/cheaper means. But there are times when a new innovation hits the mark, and the woodworking world is better for it. So I am personally thankful that companies still find it profitable enough to compete in this arena, even if some of the offerings are duds.
All of this is written to preface a simple question:
What tools/gadget/gizmos have you purchased that you now regret, either because you found a better way or because you realized you could have made the thing yourself?