Recently my resolve to save money and be good has somewhat fallen apart. I've been blowing payrise money on new tools, and generally talking myself into things that I should probably not be spending money on. It started out fairly reasonably, I decided to get a couple of new chisels, just to fill in the major gaps in my collection. And a few finishing products. Basically things that I believed would help me step up the quality of finish I achieve on my wood turnings.
So I got a roughing gouge, a bowl gouge, some sanding sealer, some sandpaper, a new safety visor and some calipers.
All of which came to about 80 quid! The chisels alone where £50. However at least they will last me a long time. And having had a chance to use them both, they are fantastic. Having a proper roughing gouge makes life a lot faster when turning square stock down to round. And the bowl gouge seems much easier and more stable to use than a spindle gouge. Admittedly they have different purposes, so it's hardly surprising that a bowl gouge is better for hollowing cuts than a spindle gouge, which isn't really for that. Also my new visor is cool, it's one of these things that sits on your head and you can flip the visor up or down. It's nice a clear, doesn't steam up from my breathing (unlike smaller goggles when wearing a breathing mask)
So all in all I'm very pleased with my purchases.... However there has been a knock on effect. You see now that I have a bowl gouge I have to be able to sharpen it. And there are all kinds of 'grind' options that people use with bowl gouges. And what I came to realise after a little while of trying to grind my new bowl gouge is that I have no idea how to do it properly. The hacked together jig that works well for my spindle gouge, doesn't seem right for the bowl gouge. And so I reached a decision, I have very limited time to spend in the garage, and I'd like as much of that time as possible to be spent doing the turning. So on Thursday I ordered a Tormek.... yes, I finally caved. That said I resisted the excessive, top of the range T-7 with wood turners kit (which is about £450 worth), and I even talked myself out of the still very pricey 2006 model, and settled on the pretty reasonable 1206. Well, I say reasonable...Once I'd bought a bowl and spindle 'jig' for it, and had been lured into buying a new tool rest for my lathe... it still cost a little over £200. All in all the lathe I got for free from my father, is turning into a fairly expensive obsession! (thanks Dad)
However I console myself that all these things have a high resale value, quality tools are still very expensive even second hand. And the Tormek is consistently found to be the best quality product on the market, even if the price is a premium.
I finally decided on the 1206 based on a very helpful review I found at the ukworkshop forums. It boiled down to describing what the difference between the 1206 and the 2006 is, given the 120 cost difference, it boils down to running only 30mins in every hour vs the ability to run continuously. A slightly smaller wheel but smaller == cheaper to replace) and a tough plastic body rather than a metal one. These are all very reasonable factors, and I can see why a professional, or small business would opt for the more expensive model. But am confident the 1206 will fill my needs. Plus of course all the expensive jigs will work on both, so if I ever decide to upgrade I should have no trouble selling the 1206 for a good price, and keep any jigs I accumulate.
Also this should give me many years of good service, and the improvement in sharpening of my tools should lead to benefits for any piece I try to turn, and of course any other 'normal' chisels/planes etc will benefit too.
Put like that it seems almost crazy *not* to have bought one :-)
Now I just have to wait patiently for it to arrive, which is always the most annoying part. No doubt someone will attempt to deliver whilst I'm at work on Monday, then I'll have to arrange to either be at home, or go get it from somewhere.
But then my life will be fulfilled and I will have no need to spend more money.
Yeah...right! I can already feel the geek in me feeling left out on the new toy front. With the Asus Eee PC 901 due back in stock at Amazon on the 11th of this month, and having spent a while earlier playing with an iPhone 3g, there are just too many cool things around, and I am clearly weak.
Perhaps if I manage to start a lucrative market in selling bottle stoppers, I'll somehow offset the vast cost of my various hobbies. Anyone want to buy any... I'm sure I can produce them for a reasonable price.