Tools You Regret?

contraptionWe’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?

Category: Musings


  1. Khaled July 2, 2013

    All my craftsman tools.

    • nikko July 2, 2013


      The craftsman tools I inherited from my father are still going strong, but anything I have from them made this century has either broken or are now collecting dust.

      • Dave O'Neill July 2, 2013

        I have had bad luck with any craftsman tools I have bought. I won’t buy any Craftsman tool again unless I start hearing how good they are. I don’t see them improving anytime soon.

      • David July 2, 2013

        I agree with Nikko. My Dad wanted (and got for father’s day) a craftsman scroll saw (half the price of a Dewalt). This tool is how I got started in woodworking, and it is also perfectly fine. Sometimes you can get away with cheap brands, and in this case I like working with our craftsman more than the Dewalts our school has in the shop. The Dewalts have, in my opinion, an unnecessary feature (the top blade feed), and because of this, the blade does not stay as stationary front to back when moving. sometimes that is all you need is a tool to get by (at least until you can upgrade, as our craftsman tablesaw which I used for everything finally couldn’t preform as precisely as I’d have liked)

  2. Marco Cano July 2, 2013

    I bought a small circular saw from Rockwell called Versacut. I saw an ad for it, saw the video and impulse bought it. I didnt have a circular saw at the time. I should have bought an actual circular saw, instead of this gadget. Its nice, but very limited. Dont even get me started on the One-Time-Tools. Im a sucker for those

  3. Rapid Roger July 2, 2013

    I once bought an inexpensive (aluminum) tapering jig at a woodworking store. Once I got it home and looked at it and figured how it worked, I carefully laid it on a shelf and never touched it again until I finally threw it away.
    The thing was DANGEROUS and an accident waiting to happen. I then built my own tapering jig from plans in a magazine.


    • Dan Attencio July 3, 2013

      I have one of those aluminum tapering jigs too. I used it to make some beautiful tapered legs for a table project. Like you, I made my own much much better and SAFER jig. The aluminum one makes a great paper weight.

  4. Jack July 2, 2013

    About 12 years ago I saw a Delta mortising jig attachment for a drill press. At the time I had two old floor model drill presses (one of which was a Delta) so I figured the jig would fit at least one of them, which I could then dedicate to mortising. And the box had Norm’s picture on it! Long story short, the jig fit neither, and it is still sitting in the box in my shop. And I have since discovered that I enjoy mortising with chisels.

  5. I responded to the tweet, about some of the bench top tools I have bought in the past, including a table saw and a joint, both of which I bought floor model versions of and sold the old ones on Craigslist. I also have the aluminum taper jig mentioned earlier, used it for one project, then put it on the shelf to collect dust.

    Another one, harbor freight clamps. Now, admittedly, I knew they were junk when I got them. But since I was not in a position to buy a bunch K-Bodies (what I really wanted) all at once, I used them until I got my K-Body collection going. I am now trying to give these away.

    From my own past experiences, and having a parent who is a hoarder, I have actually gotten a lot more careful about my own tool purchases, and work really hard to resist buying a tool as an impulse buy. (Though not always successful) Anymore, most of my tool purchase come after determining that I will use, and after doing some research on the tools viability.

  6. A 9″ bandsaw. I bought it for my first bandsaw, it was on clearance and I wanted one in the worst way. It could barely handle 3/4 while cutting pieces for ADK chairs ended up getting a G0555 a few months later when i started my business.

  7. Martin Robitaille July 2, 2013

    Almost all my battery operated tools. I have Makitas, Dewalts, Black & Deckers and Bosh. I’m frustrated with the length of battery life. As I do not used them on a regular basis, the batteries die and can no longer get charged. I’m going back to corded tools. In my shop, I have a reel-spring loaded extension cord that is great. We use corded sanders, why not drills?

    I also am an impulsive buyer. I want it now. Thankfully, I usually buy the best (at least I think so). Unfortunately, there is always improvement that happens. For example, I bought a Laguna bandsaw. Love it. But not long after, they came out with the same model but with a brake. I now envy this new model.

    One thing I really think that did not live to its expectation is the inline profile sander by Porter Cable. Nobody likes sanding, but this tool adds to it. The sanding papers and profiles are not staying in place and paper keeps tearing. I’d rather sand by hand.

    What I hate the most is spending twice for the same thing. Buying cheap and having to buy better after. I try to go best right away. It’s though on the wallet sometimes, but usually, you don’t complain about the tool, you’re not frustrated by it and don’t have to buy the better one after. And obviously, there is always the category of I did not know better. My first block plane was a Stanley, paid not even 20$ (new). That’s all the store had. Back then, I did not know about Lee Valley, etc.
    So I ended up buying a better one later. Does that count as not living to expectation?

    • That profile sander is junk, but the rubber profile thingies are useful on their own for hand sanding. Just forget the adhesive backed paper and wrap a strip of regular sandpaper around it, then you can shift it over a little to get fresh paper where you need it as you go along, which you have to do a lot.

      • Harry February 28, 2014

        I have one of those profile sands and it is junk, I got cheap on clearance.

  8. Lance McCullin July 2, 2013

    I also bought the cheep harbor freight clamps. It was all I could afford at the time. Know the are in the storage shed. Before I could use a card scraper I picked up the Vertos card scraper holder. Even with that I couldn’t figure out how to make it work. But after a lot of practice I was able to make it work. Now the Veritos card holder sits on a shelf in the box. The Rockler shelf pin jig was the biggest waist of money.
    There is also the countless straight edges, squares, ruler’s big box store tools that are such junk. But I didn’t know what tools to bye or what works for me. Its all a learning experience. With the help of the guild and the forum I get advice before I make tool purchase.

    • Brian Wadas March 1, 2014

      Harbor Freight has a clamp that works now.
      I bought 12 of them , returned the ones thst didn’t hold;
      ( because of their lifetime warranty) and the replacements (no charge) work great.

  9. Ed July 2, 2013

    My Radial Arm Saw. I took a class and the instructor was big on the RAS. I saw one on sale comparitivly cheap. So I bought it. Found that for most things, the setup is too time consuming to be productive so I rarely use it. Now it just takes up space that I desparately need. It is a nice tool, I just never was able to work it into my workflows.

  10. John P July 2, 2013

    Yeah. My first welder. I wanted one in a hurry. Got it home and didn’t realize the cooling fan wasn’t working properly. I finished welding, put it away in the garage only to see smoke a while later. Seems it got too hot and caught fire inside. After I stored it the flame and heat spread. Fortunately it was caught in time. A painful reminder that you get what you pay for.

  11. GaryCN July 2, 2013

    Senco Duraspin Drywall Screw Gun, just never worked very well in my opinion, I used is as a trade up for a Milwaukee fuel cell hammer drill.

  12. Mike from LA July 2, 2013

    Only regret the cheap tools! That and a 15 gauge brad nailer….

  13. Ray July 2, 2013

    Old craftsman 6″ jointer. Impossible (nearly) to make co-planar and the fence does not stay at 90 degrees when pressure is applied. This is a definite case where I’m going to have to use the 8″ excuse to upgrade.

    • Dan Attencio July 3, 2013

      I’ve had a craftsman 6″ jointer for over 20 years and it performs flawlessly, my only regret is that it is not an 8″ jointer.

      • Brian Wadas March 1, 2014

        Ditto to Dan’s post . bought mine in 1990 along with one from Harbor Freight, Craftsman 6″ won hand over fist in all areas. called HF and had them pick it up. The Craftsman runs with precision. Just followed the new blade install instructions and it was well worth the time.

  14. Matt July 2, 2013

    Bought the Bosch 1619EVSPK router. Judging by reviews it brilliant, however, living in the UK when its supplied with an American power supply has presented some problems…

  15. Tom Stephenson July 2, 2013

    A biscuit joiner. I was convinced I needed one to attach solid edging to plywood, so I bought one. I wound up just gluing and clamping the edging. The tool sat for 6 years without being used. Sold it on eBay and haven’t missed it.

  16. Jim July 2, 2013

    I have four that immediately pop into mind:

    A dovetail jig . The manual is translated into Chinglish — you know the type, it uses english words (usually miss spelled) in sentences obviously translated by someone with only marginal understanding of english vocabulary. — Anyway the manual is so badly written that to this day I’ve been unable to figure out how to use the thing so it sits in it’s box and gathers dust.

    A Triton Router. Nice router but after purchasing it I discovered that service and support is not available in Canada. I was informed of this by KMS Tools where I bought (and who still sells the router) — they don’t tell customers that you can’t get parts or repair.

    A Ryobi Benchtop Bandsaw. The thing is junk pain and simple. Poorly made, in fact the cast aluminum carriage that supports the upper wheel cracked after the 3rd use and Ryobi said they would fix it but I would have to ship it (at my cost) to their US factory. Cost of shipping was more than the bandsaw, so it too sits in my regret tool storage. I’ve never bought another Ryobi product since.

    A Dewalt Cordless Drill. The batteries eventually died and the cost of replacing a set of batteries was more than buying the drill new. A tool I’m glad I purchased is a Ridgid Cordless Drill. I registered the tool for the Lifetime warranty about 8 years ago and they just keep replacing batteries at no charge. I’ve never had to buy another set of drill batteries, they just keep replacing them at no charge. I currently on my 4th set.

    • Cal July 3, 2013

      I have to second your recommendation on Ridgid’s lifetime warranty, BUT having never bought one of their cordless products, I had no idea it applied to batteries.

      On the downside, you may very well have to make use of Ridgid’s lifetime warranty. I’ve had my stationary belt sander fixed three times.

  17. Tom July 2, 2013

    Being a bit of a cheapskate, I usually start out by trying to replicate the latest gizmo. Sometimes I realize I can’t make one as good as store-bought and go get one. If you think about it, making the jig or tool is often as much fun as making the furniture.

    Mark, this discussion begs the follow-up question: What tool did you almost pass up, thinking you’d never use it, but has become indispensable in your shop? Obviously, almost everyone on this forum has a table saw and drill, but what tool CAN we do without that we use with almost every project? For me, it’s the vernier calipers my Dad almost threw away. He never used it, but it’s never far from me when I’m working on something that requires exact measurements.

  18. alex July 2, 2013

    I bought some of those bench cookies from Rockler not too long ago and haven’t even opened them. Since my workbench is just cheap uneven plywood, I don’t even think they would grip to my table.

  19. Some years ago I bought an expensive DeWalt palm sander. The hooks-&-loops on the pad were so shallow that it would not hold onto the sanding discs longer than a few minutes. And no, I didn’t push too hard, burn it out, use inferior discs, etc. I replaced the pad three times. Finally, having decided that sanders were obviously disposable, I went to Lowes and bought a $ 39.00 Skil sander because it had the most aggressive-feeling hook-&-loop pad. It continues to work like a charm after two years of heavy use.

  20. Charles Wiggins July 2, 2013

    Most of my regrets are from buying cheap tools like a Buck Bros block plane from the BORG.

  21. Dave July 2, 2013

    Porter-Cable handheld spindle sander. I’ve had it for 8 years and I might have used it once or twice.

    I also agree with Martin Robitaille on the battery powered tools. I have a Panasonic drill that has never been kind to me in the battery life department.

  22. Bobbie July 2, 2013

    I bought a Legacy Ornamental Lathe. The vendor no longer supports this product.

    For those who are not familiar with these, the Legacy Ornamental Mill is effectively a jug for your router. You can do simple turning but you power the lathe. And I mean you literally power the lathe by turning a crank.


    • Agree, bought a Legacy ornamental lathe a few years ago and it was outdated 6 months afterward like a smart phone, frustrating thing is that the manufacture doesn’t support what they make but just keeps cranking out new models.

  23. Chris Schwarz July 2, 2013

    Tack rags! You can make them yourself.

  24. Jeff July 2, 2013

    … does my brother-in-law count?

  25. Mike July 2, 2013

    1) my hand tools. I want to use them. I really do. But I don’t have the skills. yet.
    2) a hand held bosch power planer. it was kind of expensive and is basically just a belt sander that specializes in ruining projects.
    3) my router table. it takes up quite a bit of space and I almost never use it. i user my hand held router on every project. but the one mounted in the table just collects dust.

  26. Tom July 2, 2013

    Being in a hurry to begin collecting tools, I bought a delta bench top jointer. I really wish I would have saved up a little more a shopped around for one with a bed.

  27. BRuce July 2, 2013

    Clamps, not from HF but lesser brands and right now I have some Bora quick clamps
    that I don’t like. I’ve god luck with cordless stuff, Millwakee and a Makita. Some anti kickback wheel thingies I never could get to work. Anything that doesn’t get used, gets sold for a few dollars rather than sit around. Any screw assortment, that is not a good way to get good screws

  28. Ken July 2, 2013

    My first real woodworking tool purchase was a mortising machine, after watching lots of David Marks. What was I thinking? It cuts a crappy mortise and I find it fairly useless. I am much happier now using my Lie Nielsen mortise chisels.

  29. Eric R July 2, 2013

    Those stupid blue handled chisel/rasp combo’s.
    God, what was I thinking?…

  30. ReLMAustin July 2, 2013

    Combination “squares” from the big box store… not square and only a proper rule if you measure and mark it yourself.

  31. J. Brewer July 2, 2013

    I bought a Rockler router table top and fence without thinking about where I could squeeze in a router table in my tiny shop. It turned out there was no place. I’m now going to replace the extension wing of my table saw with a router table.

    I also bought three Lie-Nielsen backsaws without realizing the handles were too big for my hands. Those saws are now gone and I have one lovely, versatile Bad Axe saw with an extra small handle.

    • Mike July 3, 2013

      I totally agree. I thought a router table was a “must have” and I almost never use mine.

  32. It was a rushed purchase and I’ve hardly used it…
    A Festool OF1400 EQ router. Bought about a year a ago and hardly used it. Funny thing is I just went onto thewoodwhisperer site now and saw the latest post, what a coincidence. I have mounted a large router to a bench and will use that from now on. And my brother in law is a avid woodworker also, & sharing tools is maybe the way to go, in this financial climate at the moment. So maybe in the future I’ll get another one or maybe the baby OF1010.

    • John Piwaron July 6, 2013

      Wanna send that OF 1400 to me? :)

  33. Cal July 3, 2013

    The Lee Valley / Veritas 32mm Cabinet Making System . It’s like a recipe for “How can we make cabinet making as unnecessarily complex as possible?” I continue to use the shelf pin jig on all the cabinets I build (I’d recommend it), but the doweling portion simply collects dust.

    I also have regrets over a used 20″ planer I bought. The seller assured me it was in “good shape.” I drove five hours (one way) to pick it up, only to discover that it had been ridden really hard and put away wet. I threw new blades in it, but it still blew chunks way too often, especially on maple. I decided I’d thrown enough good money after bad, dumped it, and bought a new King Industrial 20″ spiral planer. Lesson learned.

  34. Joe July 3, 2013

    my only good recent craftsman product was a gift, it is the bottle opener with the screwdriver handle. My regrets have not really been the cheap ones, but i knew I was better off before i did it. The biscuit joiner and profile sander for sure. Why are they still in my shop? and recently i found I have a dewalt jigsaw i forgot i bought. I wanted the Bosch for a project I was working on, but the local retailer was out and I bought it to get the job done. just nothing is solid

  35. Nick G July 3, 2013

    Mine is a handheld power planer that I bought in haste. I’ve since learned that between my bench top planer and analog hand planers I can accomplish what I need.

  36. Gene July 3, 2013

    My Radial Arm Saw, originally I thought it would be the best way to cut dados, I could leave the dado stack in the RAS and cut them from above the workpiece. Well now I cut them with the router and no longer use my RAS.
    Hello Craigslist……

  37. I just read all of them up to 7-2-13. I’ve done most of all that. Brand means little, there are duds in all of them. My experience with batteries is that you apparently have to use them every day, sitting kills them. Don’t buy cheap unless you have to or are OK with the idea it will fail when least expected. Check small print for bearing types; roller or ball bearings are great, sleeve bearings = poor and cheap. Research and comparison helps a lot. Caveat emptor rules the world!

  38. Adam Wachter July 3, 2013

    A 10″ Ryobi sliding compound miter saw. I was thinking of getting the Dewalt (should have) but went the cheap route and the cheap route it was. Trying to build a toy chest for my first daughter had me performing many cuts over again as the 0 degree setting was clearly not zero… That thing went back quickly….

  39. Randy Thurman-Keup July 3, 2013

    An inexpensive radial drill press. I thought the flexibility would come in handy, but I’ve never done more than just ‘normal’ drilling with it. It tends to flex a bit and if I had to do it over, would buy a regular drill press.

  40. GaryO July 4, 2013

    Both of my Powermatic band saws. One a 24″ and a 14″. These were both bought in the last 2 years and I wish they were gone. Nothing but problems since I’ve owned them. Powermatic was once the elite of the work horse wood tools, but since they went the way of the rest of the country in chasing cheap costs its hurt reliability and quality over all.

  41. Steven Reckner July 4, 2013

    I can’t complain since they were given to me but my hand planes i own like 5 different ones that were handed down to me and I just never seem to need them.

  42. Dave July 5, 2013

    The tools that have made me the most frustrated are my compound miter saws – I have tried 2 different models, but they never seem to be accurate enough and really gets too little use.

    The most useless tool I have ever bought was a 12Volt circular saw. I did use it once to build a loft for a dorm room – in the dorm room, but it didn’t cut very long on a charge and made an awful lot of noise.

  43. Russ July 5, 2013

    My regrets are:

    1. 1st table saw – A small Craftsman that had a fence that wouldn’t lock down straight, miter slots that weren’t standard size, an aluminum table that wouldn’t accept any magnetic jigs, and a small arbor that wouldn’t take a dado set. At the time I was new to the craft and didn’t know what to look for. Looking back, I struggled with it way too long before replacing it.

    2. Gizmos that advertise to fix a specific problem and don’t. An example are the little red rubber spout covers that look like small condoms. You can stretch them over a bottle spout and the stuff inside STILL hardens like a rock. What the heck was I thinking????? Or the stripped screw removers that won’t bite in the screw heads.

    I’ve made several other “bonehead buys”, but these are the ones that stick out most vivdly in my mind.

  44. Marc, for me it would have to be a 7.5″ miter saw I got when I was starting out. I figured the blade size would be enough to last me a good long while, but literally 2 weeks later I was already shopping for one with a 10″ blade.

    It’s not that the tool was bad; it’s just that I rushed the purchase, and so remember that experience badly.

  45. Todd July 5, 2013

    Mine was a 32/16 sander, takes up precious space so it needs to find a new home this fall.

  46. J. Goforth July 5, 2013

    Harbor Freight Scroll Saw and a Harbor Freight Biscuit Jointer. The scroll saw won’t accept anything but pinned blades and the biscuit jointer is a joke. I only paid $40 for it, but it was $40 wasted because it is made of plastic and the fence won’t stay perpendicular to the workpiece.

  47. Roger July 6, 2013

    A Sherwood 12inch combination plainer jointer… such thing as co plainer for that tool. I sold it and actually made money from it. Now have a hammer a3-30 that I could marry!

  48. Cindy July 6, 2013

    Grripper. The guy demonstrating the thing makes it look so easy. I hate it, it doesn’t grrrrrip if there is any sawdust on the wood. I was not able to get an accurate cut with it, even on short boards, even making sure it and my board are sawdust free. Much easier and more reliable to use a regular push stick, featherboards, etc.

  49. John Piwaron July 6, 2013

    Regrets? I have a few, but then again, too few to mention. :)

    Tools I regret outright – A Craftsman router bit sharpening attachment that mounted to the router to sharpen bits. A Craftsman doweling jig.

    Then there are the regrets born of use. Like the Robert Sorby bench chisels I have. They seemed good at the start, but after using them for a few years it’s clear that just don’t hold their edge long. I got a set of Lie-Nielsen to replace them. *Those* are what chisels should be.

    For the most part, I’ve avoided buying a lot of clunkers. I define clunkers as tools that I regret buying. I’ve had a tool or two that I came to realize that I’d outgrown it. It was good at the start but as my skill grew or I learned what it should do (but didn’t), I simply got rid of it in favor of one that worked better.

    The ultimate end for the router bit grinding thing was to disassemble it, toss anything that wasn’t aluminum into the trash and put the aluminum bits in the recycle bin.

  50. Chris July 6, 2013

    A wobble dedo blade and a bench top bandsaw. I always saw Norm use a wobble dedo blade, so it must be good – right? Round bottom dedos wasn’t what I was looking for. Norm never showed the effort to flatten them. The blade now hangs on my wall as a reminder not to rush into purchases! My benchtop bandsaw – who new I wanted to turn large bowls when I bought this 20 years ago!

  51. Brian McKnight July 6, 2013

    I have purchased my share of snake oil tools. The one that stands out for me is the saw blade that cuts & sands at the same time. The Final Cut. I could never seem to keep the sand paper on the blade. A good idea in theory.

  52. Yea I know what you mean Marc……I have a few of those items that looked like a great idea but end up hanging off a nail on the rafter. Last year bought, at great expense, a dovetail jig…….guess what haven’t used it yet and still cutting them by hand…..go figure!!!

  53. Dell Moore July 7, 2013

    I STILL haven’t really used my Port Cable dovetail jig, thought I still pretend I am going to any day now. I might actually have used it if they had a really decent instructional video… :(

    • Mike M. July 8, 2013


  54. Shane Clifford July 7, 2013

    When I first started woodworking I needed to clean up the faces of an uneven mortise and tenon joint. I went to Home Depot and bought a cheap buck brothers block plane. It is horrible, it didn’t work then, and no amount of sharpening has persuaded me to pick it up since. I now have a Lie Nielsen block plane which I love and have refurbished some other antique planes. I learned that low quality tools always end up costing you more in frustration, time, and job quality. An in this case, they didn’t even get the job done.

  55. Randy July 7, 2013

    edge ban trimmer. Seemed like a good idea but to this day i have never used it. I prefer to cover my ply edges with a 1 inch strip of hardwood.

  56. JeremyLP July 7, 2013

    Tell you what I don’t regret…. buying high quality hand tools.

  57. Mark Moyle July 8, 2013

    I bought a dovetail jig thanks to Norm Abram. It has never been used and how long has New Yankee Workshop been gone?

  58. Dean J July 9, 2013

    I own #7 and #8 jointer planes, both refurbished by me. I never, ever use them; I also have a jointer/planer in the shop, and “done right now” sounds better than “done in an hour”.

    I keep the planes just in case we have kids, as quiet will probably be a winner there. Maybe.

    • Morgan July 15, 2013

      Interesting on hating the #8, I use mine quite a bit. For most work, I use the J/P but then take a last swipe or two with the #8. Recently, I built a project with a birdseye maple face face-frame. Even with the smallest depth possible, I was still getting tearout. The #8 was a total baconsaver.

  59. don h July 9, 2013

    Worst thing I ever bought was a monetizing attachment for my delta drill press. Never got it to work at all.

    • The Mad Hungarian September 27, 2013

      I was going to ask what a ‘monetizing attachment’ was, and how i could get one for my drill press? But you said it didn’t work anyway, which has probably been most everyone’s experience anyway. . .

  60. don h July 9, 2013

    Oops. Meant mortising attachment. Hate auto correct. Lol

  61. Doug Nicholson July 9, 2013

    Biscuit Joiner. It’s a super nice Porter Cable unit that I’ve used on all of “Maybe” three projects in the appx 12 years that I have owned it.

  62. Blake July 11, 2013

    I’ve got a few one time tools I’ll probably never use.

  63. David July 12, 2013

    Used my dovetail jig on one project (sales guy at Woodcraft convinced the spouse that it would make a great present along with a router) router broke after 18 months. Have used my Roto-Zip saw more times than I can count to make those weird cuts. Thought that purchase would be for remodel projects only.

  64. Mike O'Brien July 12, 2013

    Marc, I know exactly what you mean. For me it is these: a 20 year old Delta mortiser ( never used); Leigh Dovetail jig (Thanks Norm, never used,rather do it by hand),; Delta Shaper ( used twice); Tormek Deluxe sharpener with all attachments ( used several times) quicker doing it by hand; many more hand planes than I really need ( just had to have those Stanley # 5 .734 and 4.256); too many woodworking books ( books don’t complete projects, the woodworker does); HVLP sprayer, easier to do a 3 part hand rubbed finish; a few too many high quality DT saws, my favorite being an inexpensive, vintage, Matt Cianci restored, Disston 14 tooth. I could go on, but the bottom line is this : ” it is the not the tools that make the woodworker, it is his or her quality results on their woodworking projects that do.”
    I need to have a tool sale for sure.

  65. Jean-Michel Paris July 12, 2013

    The only tools that I have regretted buying are those tools which were not the best quality I could afford.

  66. Paul Hanley July 12, 2013

    Like so many others…For me it was the PC dovetail jig. I never could get it set up worth a damn and in the time it at up on the shelf, I taught myself to do it by hand.
    I sold the whole pkg of stuff for 100 bones on Craigslist with a note that said ‘put this on the shelf and learn to do it by hand’. Some guy showed up the next day to take it off my hands and out of my shop. I was glad to see it go. (Thanks Norm)

  67. Like many, the very few times that I’ve bought a lower quality tool instead of the more expensive one that works well.
    Case in point: I needed a new palm finish R.O. Sander to replace the old “worn out because it’s not collecting the dust” PC model I had. Went to Woodcraft, and lusted after the Festool 125, but $270!, and the price of the sanding disks! So I settled for another new PC model for $80. Brought it back to the shop, and it didn’t work any better than the old one. I needed good dust collection, so back to Woodcraft, and sprung for the Festool. Wow! What a difference! Not only did it sand dust free, but the quality of the sanding was vastly superior! And the variety of sanding disks, each for a particular task, and they seem to last and last and last! The actually do a much better job, and in addition never seem to wear out! And the sander! I can even sand edges and not get any round over!
    Lesson learned: Pay for it once, and do a quality of work unattainable with lesser tools, or, pay for it over and over and over again every time you pick up the lesser tool, and do a much lesser quality of work. Nuff said. Like they say about Festool: “We only have to sell you the first one; after that, you’ve already sold yourself on the next, and the next, and the next, and the . . .”

    • DrTebi November 14, 2013

      The festool sanders truely are amazing. Apart from using it for woodworking, I have recently used it to sand down a patched up wall. This would normally result in tons of fine ugly white dust from the drywall and plaster, but the festool sander with its dust collector kept everything to a almost nothing at all. They also vibrate less than others, which makes it much more comfortable when sanding many pieces.

      Festool is expensive, but it is very good value in the end. Here you really get what you pay for.

  68. Michael July 12, 2013

    Any powertool from harbor freight. So glad I’ve made the switch to festool & powermatic

  69. Robin Dobbie July 13, 2013

    Anything from Skill or Black & Decker.
    Irwin clamps from Home Depot.
    Craftsman table saw.

  70. Giuliano July 15, 2013

    My pet peeve is the Ryobi table saw that I purchased when I wanted to experiment with woodworking. I hate it!

    However, I actually do not regret buying it, because I paid $90 on Black Friday and I wasn’t sure if I would get into woodworking. Now that I am into it, I’m saving for a hybrid Grizzly, and I don’t feel like I wasted those 90 bucks.

    I think that I would have regreted buying a Grizzly to begin with if I found out that woodworking was not for me.

    I agree with the others that we should invest in quality tools, and sometimes it is better to have nothing than having a crappy tool. But if we just want to get a feel for a new hobby or technique, maybe it is worth considering a cheap tool.

  71. DKD July 16, 2013

    So sad to hear guys blaming SOMEONE ELSE for their poor tool purchasing choices … I have made many purchases with my heart and not my brain, no one to blame but me !

  72. A Leigh D4 Dovetail Jig. I think I have an aversion to reading a book in order to use a tool. I admit, I didn’t take the time to learn the jig, but I seemed to take too many test cuts to get it right. I hated wasting that much material to get a joint. It turns out the only dovetails I have ever made are on my workbench drawers. They are hand-cut and crude, but still holding together 15+ years later. Maybe I’m crazy, but it just didn’t work for me.

    On the other side of the coin, I worked in a cabinet shop in Phoenix and made a lot of half-blind DT drawers with a Porter Cable jig and router. Neither EVER changed settings – Dedicated and always worked! Anyway, I got into building guitars and never got around to building any nice furniture with dovetails (not yet!)

  73. Sly July 31, 2013

    Cheap chop-saw from Axminster. Built down to a price instead of up to a spec. No soft start, flimsy fittings and a Chinese blade that wandered everywhere except the desired mark. Cost me 60 quid to replace that from the word go. Using the saw is like firing an artillery piece; I actually have to psyche myself up before I press the button, then BLAM! 0 to 500 in 0.003 seconds. I’m actually looking forward to the day that sucker dies on me and I can rush out and get something that won’t have me shot for cowardice.

  74. Dennis August 19, 2013

    Old rusty plane and handsaws. – Some become jewels after the rust is removed, and other turn out to be badly cracked, pitted, warped or possessed.

    My first table saw. A Skil 3500 table saw. I pick one up a a garage sale for $25. Works great, but the tabs for the Zero Insert broke off and there’s no way to add new ones.

  75. The Mad Hungarian September 28, 2013

    My 6″ jointer purchase. True, it performed faithfully all the functions of a jointer, in a 6″ manner. But i ended up upgrading to an 8″ jointer just a year after buying the 6″ one. I would’ve bought the 8″ to start with, but i just couldn’t find enough room for it and also didn’t have any 240v circuits available. But necessity being the mother of invention and all that, eventually room was found and circuits were installed. That big 8″ jointer does seem a bit out of scale in my little garage though.

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