ChetlovesMer

Do you need your tools to "match"?

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I am definitely not a "matcher", although I do love the looks of a shop where all the stationary equipment matches and all the hand tools (mostly planes) all match. When it comes to buying, though, there are usually one or two specific reasons why I buy a particular item, and 'color' usually is not one of them.

I look at it like owning stocks. Understand what your buying and know why you own them. The 'knowing' part is just different for different people,

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All this making tools match talk reminds me of when I was a mobile mechanics tools distributor. I was a Mac Tools distributor and my competition was Snap-on and Matco guys not to mention Craftsman and other brands.

Some of our customers would not buy anything but one brand period and others didn't care what name was on the tool as long as it served the purpose. We would try to get customers to stick to our individual brands of course because it meant money in our pockets, but it seldom worked.

One guy had the real answer, a can of "FLORESCENT GREEN" spray paint! He bought any brand of hand tools that seemed to be the right tool and cost and then immediately spray painted it FLORESCENT GREEN! It didn't matter if it was a $75.00 Snap-on ratchet handle or a $1.00 Craftsman socket. I ask him why he did that and he just said "So I can see it and know that it is mine and cut down on loss in a dark area and  who would steal something painted that color!?!?"

I haven't resorted to that idea in my one man hobby shop yet but, the "loosing something in a darker area" leaves something to think about.  :P

 

Rog   

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My father ran a machine shop where each person's tools were painted a different color.  Usually just a stripe on the handle.  He always knew who had left their tools out at the end of the day, and if you borrowed someone's tool it would remind you to return it.

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I think trying to match tools is ridiculous.  It would only be possible if you bought them all at once.  I have tools that I acquired over a lifetime, actually several lifetimes if you consider I still use some of my Dad's tools.  Plus I like to dabble in vintage planes and chisels.  Matching tools seems like a fool's errand, there has got to be things that are way more important to worry about.

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I have all of my tools, hand and power tools, from two brands: Cheap, and Used.

 

Do I love the look of a beautifully designed, well-lit and coordinated shop like Marc's? Of course. Have I spent WAY too much time on something like Grizzly's shop planning tool having some "if I had a really big budget" fun? Oh, yeah.

 

But right now, I have next too zero budget, so many of my tools are driven entirely by the 'best value for least money' Craigslist value at the time I was shopping. 

 

That said, I am a bit of a 'completist.' (if that's a word.) I have a friend who was buying Marples chisels during the time that Irwin was replacing the Marples name with Irwin. He had eight chisels. Seven said Marples, and 1 said Irwin. Drove me nuts every time I looked at them.

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Geez, I didn't realize the number of tools that you could have which might "match" or not. In my shop yesterday I happened to notice that my forstner bits don't even match. I have 6 Frued bits, 3 Bosch bits, 6 Steelex bits, 1 Porter Cable, 1 Rockler and 6 more which whom-ever the brand name was has worn off. Then I looked at all my router bits and there was even more variety.

 

It would probably be more economical for me to buy more Forstner bits and/or Router bits in a set, but it looks like I am far more of a "I need this bit for this project" type of guy and therefore I end up with the variety I now have.

 

I did notice that most of my hand saws are Veritas. But even those weren't bought in a group. They were purchased one at a time. I guess I'm just not smart enough to take advantage of volume pricing.

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All my stuff matches.  Between the chips, gouges in the cutting surfaces, rust from winter storage, missing parts from kids playing with them (teenagers acting like toddlers do not mix with tools.  Just FYI) and scars from being dropped, every tool looks alike.

 

Beyond that.... If it works, and I can afford it, and I have a place to store it, I'm good.

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All my stuff matches.  Between the chips, gouges in the cutting surfaces, rust from winter storage, missing parts from kids playing with them (teenagers acting like toddlers do not mix with tools.  Just FYI) and scars from being dropped, every tool looks alike.

 

Beyond that.... If it works, and I can afford it, and I have a place to store it, I'm good.

 

hahaha i think thats just about all of us unless your crazy rich buy it new and never use it.  good point jhop

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I don't go out of my way to "match tools". Most of my hand tools (planes, chisels, mallets, screwdrivers, etc) don't match, I buy what works.

My power tools sort of match. I buy brands that experience has shown me over the years are reliable, dependable and worth the money. Look around my shop and you'll find a fair amount of DeWalt, Porter Cable, Delta and Ridgid tools. I never set out to by a "full set" of any brand, but I know these tools to be qulity, dependable tools.

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I think you guys are just jealous that I now have a complete set of LN bench chisels hanging proudly next to my complete set of LN mortise chisels :)

Dustin (not Justin!)

Dustin (sorry, I think I'm the one who type-o'd Justin.)

 

Technically we'd be envious not jealous. ... Sorry, my mom was a librarian when I was growing up and forced the difference between jealousy and envy into my skull. I also know the difference between "less" and "few". That and 10 dollars will get me into a movie.

I don't understand the matching thing, but I totally get the pride thing. If you look at your rack of chisels and feel a pang of pride growing in your belly, hey, who am I to shoot that down? I have something like that with my LN bronze number 4. My wife bought it for me and yeah she could have saved $50 by getting the iron plane, but she loves me and got me the bronze. I don't think it works any better than the iron, but every time I look at it I smile and that slightly elevated mood seems to help it work even better.

I image the same thing is true of your chisels. The slightly elevated mood you're in by looking at the matching rack probably does make them perform better. I mean after all the concept works in golf. The clubs you "like" always seem to perform a little better than the technically identical clubs you "don't like".

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The only times i would prefer to match is for smaller power tools. I do this mostely because they are more likely to share hardware, design characteristics and quality. This just makes repairs easier and everything a little more predictable. Hand tools and heavier machinery i really dont care, i wouldnt sacrifice quality, usability etc for matchig handles.

Plus i dislike the idea of constrainig myself to brands and prefer having a deversified shop. Only if there is no difference in quality, price etc is when i would go for matching tools.

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I'm even worse with my clamps (or at least equally as logic-less). I sold off all of my non-matching clamps, all of which worked like new and were decent clamps, and bought a full array of Bessey Revo parallel clamps. Sure, they all clamp the same in the end, but they sure do look pretty all lined up in a black & red row on my wall clamp rack! 

 

I have to be the definition of obsessive-compulsive!

 

Dustin

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Since i just started woodworking within the last couple of years, most of my tools are all hand tools with the exception of my miter saw and table saw, and a drill for the most part.. I have a little bit of OCD when it comes to things being in there proper place at all times, but most of my tools are not matching... I didnt go out and buy the most expensive things i could find, I started out buying what i needed for a particular project and have added to the collection.

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Chet, Chet, Chet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please. You have to keep your voice down. I have been trying to convince my wife that I REALLY need a new set of clubs to take my game to the next level.

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Nope. You can bet that if I bought all Festool gear they would change the color from green to blue. That would really mess up OCD so I just don't care.

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Nope. You can bet that if I bought all Festool gear they would change the color from green to blue. That would really mess up OCD so I just don't care.

 

Dustin here (the guy who started all this hoopla, with the Japanese chisels ad), and I will say that it does annoy me that all of my Festool systainers don't match because the older ones have the two thumb latches, and the newer ones have the rotating T-Loc. I have seriously considered buying new T-Loc systainers and selling my old latch-style Systainers, but haven't gotten there yet!

 

This desire is actually mixed with some logic, as the new T-Loc design is just great compared to the old. So it's not just looks in this instance.

 

Dustin

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Like you say, the newer T-LOCs have better functionality, not just an appearance change so it's not really changing just for that.

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Dustin, don't kid yourself...you know those old latches are keeping you up at night!  :)

 

I do tend to purchase/aquire things of the same type/make...mostly for hand tools, but not for everything.  I do have a lot of Ridgid tools because that's what my budget was 10 to 15 years ago...and none of them will break down so that I can buy something new! 

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Dustin, don't kid yourself...you know those old latches are keeping you up at night!  :)

 

I do tend to purchase/aquire things of the same type/make...mostly for hand tools, but not for everything.  I do have a lot of Ridgid tools because that's what my budget was 10 to 15 years ago...and none of them will break down so that I can buy something new! 

 

I am definitely less OCD when it comes to my "cheap" tools. For example, when it came time to buy a trim router for a project I was working on, I went with a Ridgid because it was given very good reviews in Fine Woodworking (even better than the Festool trim router) and was only a cool 100 bucks at Home Depot. It is bright orange and in no way matches my Festool 1400, Porter Cable 690, or Triton table router -- but it doesn't bother me one bit.

 

But when it comes time to buy hand tools, I only buy the best because I am beyond the days of becoming frustrated with low quality hand tools (been there, done that). So if I'm going to buy a $350 smoothing plane or a $130 hand saw, I demand that it matches my other $350 hand planes and/or $130 hand saws :)

 

It would be a very different story if Lie-Nielsen didn't make top notch tools across their entire lineup-- but they do. If I can get a great quality tool that not only works wonders but is also great to look at, AND matches it's brother sitting next to it, then why not?!

 

Dustin

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I found that the Veritas saws fit my hand very well, so I'm going to keep buying that form factor until I need a saw they don't make.  And the quality is very good, but not priced too expensive.  I'm sure the Lie Nielsen and Bad Axe saws are a joy to use, but my Veritas work well for me for now and aesthetically match.

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Texfire brings up a good point.  I have a Veritas DT saw, that works very well.  As I push deeper into hand tools, I am seeing the need for a cross-cut saw, and have been researching them.  Taking cost out of the equation (hard thing to do), I am leaning towards the Veritas saw, because I know it will do the job well, and it will match my DT saw.  Not just in aesthetics, but with how the saw feels and balances (in theory anyway) when I go to use it.

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