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Tools: Maintenance vs. replacement
plane, old tools, woodwork, galoot

I recently saw three Youtube videos by Tom Lie-Nielsen, founder and President of Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. His company makes some of the finest hand (non-electric) tools available today. The are replicas of traditional woodworking tools—better engineered than the originals. My only gripe about them is that they are priced accordingly :-(>

The videos were about how to resharpen and otherwise maintain woodworking saws. Most people today think of hand saws as a throwaway item. But in the old days (perhaps a century ago) this maintenance was considered perfectly normal. So Lie-Nielsen is explaining (quite well, BTW) how to maintain his product so you will not have to go back to him and buy another.

He was using his own company's saws for the demonstrations, but since they are are closely based on traditional western saws the techniques are applicable to any such tools. I have several old saws that I am trying to restore to good condition. I have read about saw sharpening, but actually watching the process, even in a video, has been a big help.

In contrast to this there was recently a discussion of cordless electric drills on an e-mail list I follow. It seems that the battery packs on these drills are good for only so many recharges. Then they have to be replaced. For the cost of a replacement battery pack you might as well buy a new drill. Planned obsolesence. You don't have this issue with Lie-Nielen's saws.

Incidentally, I have several "cordless drills" that are at least 1/2 century old and still work fine. A couple are pictured here:

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