Monday, December 10, 2007

Finding the Middle Path

Recently, I got this interest for a Festool ROTEX, a $460 sander/polish that hooks up to the vacuum. I did research and found a comparable machine from Bosch for $260. I justified that spending this would make me a better woodworker because sanding is much easier and quicker and a lot healthier since it is dustless, at least that's what I got from the promotional video. Then I summed up the additional expense of all the extra accessories that is needed to make the system useful. I would need extra abrasive disk, pads, vacuum attachments, a place to store all of this. This added up the price and the little tool that would help me do the job turned into a burden. I would have to use this a lot, or it would have to improve my skills by a tremendous amount to justify the purchase. I thought about how I had made the rest of my projects without a sander and realized that my smoothing plane and my two cabinet scrapers and a $2 sanding block were all I ever needed. Desire is a powerful force to deal with. My desire to be a better woodworker, created a desire to get sander. This path would lead me to a large shop filled with tools I cannot master, and that would be a waste. Now, on the other end of the stick, depriving myself of good tools will leave me in frustration as I push wood with a dull chisel. I’m quite sure that mastering the cabinet scraper and the hand plane is the next logical step. So no new tools for me. Is this way of thinking, the path to better woodworking?