Ridiculous? No, but I did just buy a new lathe, which brings the
total up to 6, ranging from 2 pounds, up to 5000, along with 5 (or
maybe 6?) anvils, ranging from 40 to 400 pounds. One of my screw
presses fell through the driveway the first time I unloaded it.
That was pretty ridiculous.
On the sane side, one of the other lathes is all-but-sold, and a
second one will probably end up donated to a machinery museum when I
get it back together again, and two of the others are under 5 pounds
I think there are levels of ridiculous-ness. There are collectors
who just want a whole set of (X), or all of (X), and never plan to
use (X) That can get pretty ridiculous.
Most of us, I think, are pretty close to my situation: “buy while
you can”. Many of the tools that we need haven’t been made in years.
So they’re rare, and the supply isn’t dependable. So you buy it
whenever you can. That’s why I have 5 (6?) anvils: I picked up
another one at an estate sale a couple of months back, just 'cause.
It’s in iffy shape, and needs work (and is almost the same size as
one of my better anvils) but you never know, and besides, if I don’t
end up wanting it, one of my students probably will. So I grabbed it.
Equally, one of the little lathes: A boley with a couple dozen WW
collets for $50?? I’d be stupid not to get it. Eventually, I’ll
either set it up, or sell it. Either way, I guarantee it’ll be worth
more than $50 to me at that point. (and it’s small enough to live in
the back of a drawer until that happy day.)
I do have a theory about acquiring tools though: “The Black (or oily
brown) Hole Principle”. Once you’ve got a certain critical mass of
tools, they start attracting others. Once people know you “have
tools”, at a certain level of seriousness, they start giving you
other tools. One of my students gave me his old radial arm saw,
because he wanted it out of the garage, and he figured I could use
it. Same thing with my wood-cutting bandsaw, and tablesaw. (Sometimes
I think it’s sort of like bringing offerings to the wizard…)
Also, certain tools enable you to use tools that others can’t. For
example: my multimeter has allowed me to fix all sorts of other
tools that were headed to the scrap-heap because “they don’t work”.
Typically, it’s either a blown motor, or a fried switch. Easy
replacements both. In one memorable case, it was a thermal overload
that required the operator to punch it back in manually. Push the
button, and off it went. I’ve picked up all sorts of ‘dead’ tools
that way. A little TLC, and most of them have been with me for years.
(I didn’t actually end up with the tumbler with the thermal reset: I
told the owner about it, and let him keep it. That level of karmic
debt I don’t need.)
I have another thought as well: The PackRat’s Creed:
“I can do almost anything, with little or nothing. Therefore, I wind
up saving little or nothing, of almost anything.”
On to the scrounge!