Interesting Times and Self Reliance in the New Normal Economy

Home workshop

Real wealth and self reliance can be found in a workshop like this by investing in lots of tools and the skills to use them
(details on this photo are here)

It's been an interesting week, and if you've been around here for a while you know that when I say interesting like this, I'm using the meaning inferred by the old Chinese curse of, "May you live in interesting times." While my computer was sleeping I was rather involved and, while so occupied, it made me think again of how important it is to be technically self reliant, like so many of us around here are or try to be.

Using just the last of a series of "interesting" events as an example, last night I hopped in my truck, an F150, turned the key and it cranked but would not start. A quick shot of ether confirmed it was a fuel problem and a brief search online pointed to a high probability of a fuel pump control unit failure which it turned out to be. This morning, while I was under the truck amidst the wet dirt (this is snow country) fighting corroded bolts, replacing the obviously damaged unit, (how it's been working up to this point is a question for another day), it felt good to be able to fix it.

As the economy continues to limp along in what's fast become the "new normal," those of you who don't have a well equipped tool box and the knowledge and skills to make use of it are at a huge disadvantage. While you may still choose to have someone else do the work because you feel your time is better spent elsewhere, in the example above, not only did I save the expense of a tow to the shop, a markup on the part and labor charges, just think of the time saved. A run to get the part plus an hour or so of wrench time and it's done.

If you're one of those who may be a little short of cash right now, you don't need to invest in gold and silver or some other item all of the smart people advise you to buy, invest in tools instead. Invest in yourself, that's always a winner and you don't have to worry about someone mismanaging your account. Learn how things work and how to fix them when they don't. It's a form of wealth that can't be stolen or lost, you always carry it with you, the more you use it the more valuable it becomes and you don't pay a tax on the gains. Technical know how is almost priceless, plus you'll develop a fine appreciation for some of the most arcane tools that will have others scratching their heads wondering what on earth you could possibly do with it.

If you don't know more at the end of the day than you did when it started, what were you doing? If you were applying skills you already have, you sharpened them. If your skills are lacking you can learn. Turn off the TV, stay away from Facebook and skill up!

Comments

  1. JeCo says

    “It’s a form of wealth that can’t be stolen or lost” – alzheimer’s would disagree with you :P

  2. B50 Jim says

    My parents gave me my first set of tools when I was 16 — a Craftsman Mechanic’s set with 1/2″ and 3/8″ drive sockets with ratchet handles and extensions, combination wrenches, screwdrivers, ignition wrenches and feeler gauges, a spark-plug socket, a ball-peen hammer and some other do-dads; plus a toolbox to carry it all. I used those tools first to fix my kart, then to work on Dad’s trucks and later my own cars, stock cars and all kinds of jobs. Of course I still have them and have added to the collection considerably over the years. They are my best investment and have saved me tens of thousands in repair bills on vehicles and home improvements. Having tools and knowing how to use them induces a person to try fixing things they haven’t fixed before, or even seen before. Paul is right; dementia aside, knowledge is the one thing nobody can take from you. I can’t imagine anyone not having at least a rudimentary knowledge of tool use — even apes and crows can make and use simple tools!

    • scritch says

      My parents gave me a Penncraft set! Same warranty as Craftsman, and I still use them, and have only lost one wrench. I did break a spark plug socket several years ago, so I called Penney’s to get a new one. The gal on the phone asked, “Penney’s sells tools??!!!???” I just laughed, said “never mind”, and am using a road-kill Thorsen socket.

  3. Duke Sandefur says

    Brilliant, simple, logical — which nowadays makes this nearly subversive. I tried somewhat unsuccessfully to impart this to my sons — then turned around and they had developed other skills and tools that I didn’t even know existed. Now… I learn from them.

    • Paul Crowe says

      One of the things I really enjoy is learning new software and more of the back end coding that goes into this website and others. Many of the most adept practitioners in these areas are many, many years younger than me, but that just means I have the older mechanical and electronic skills more common to others my age along with a growing set of the far newer software and programming skills the young seem to focus on. It’s a great combination and loads of fun, especially now that the robots are coming. I highly recommend it.

      • Duke Sandefur says

        Paul — It’s mind bending. The old thing about “if you don’t understand the instructions, find a 9 yr old” applies more and more. Many of the devices we employ in our lives no longer come with instructions or manuals of any kind — just assuming that the end user will find a kid to make it work for them. At least I still get the life-affirming phone call now and again asking me “Is it lefty-loosey..?” “Yes, Son…unless you’re messing with a one-piece pedal crank again…”

  4. Honyock says

    My tooling investment program started in 2008, when I noticed that my 401K was losing $200 worth of value for every $100 I put into it. It’s still fairly easy to find really good deals on really good used machine tools, the kind of tools that allow repair parts or prototypes to be fabricated. Now I run a side business making short runs of parts whose quantities are too small or lead time too short to farm out to the Far East.

  5. S. DeVoe says

    Right in my wheelhouse. I started out as a helper with my father, fixing cars and my first motorcycle at 12. I keep at it working in shops and fixing heavy equipment in construction. I began doing carpentry work as a laborer until I decided to go back to school so I would not have to be out in the sun when I turned 50. Good idea as it turns out. I kept all of my tools and I now have a garage full of tools that I can use to build another home if necessary, repair my motorcycles and trucks plus my wife’s and friend when necessary. I am an English teacher in a rural high school and guess what the biggest need is for graduates that are not going to college? Local businesses are looking for people that know how to use their hands and handle tools. It makes no difference if they are mechanics, carpenters, male or female there are jobs out there IF they do not mind getting their hands dirty. When they said “shovel ready” they really meant shovels. The education system has lost sight of the needs of the community and students are told they are failures if they do not go to college but that college degree is useless when all one wants is a toilet that flushes or a reliable source of transportation to work again.

    • B50 Jim says

      My story as well — worked in factory maintenance, then 6 years in an independent garage, didn’t want to spend the next 40 years under cars, back to college for a Bachelor’s degree in journalism — a good life choice. I work for trade publications to the plumbing/piping/valves/fittings market. Guess what? The plumbing trades, and all the trades, are crying for good people who can handle tools and do a job. There are good livings to be had for young people willing to roll up their sleeves. The education system is slowly catching on, and with assistance from trade associations, unions and manufacturers, no longer automatically pushes young people directly to college. Trade courses are again being taught and students of all backgrounds are learning the value of a trade career. The plumbing trade wants men and also is actively recruiting women — when a housewife calls a plumber and sees a woman at the door with a bag of tools, she is immediately more at ease. There is nothing wrong with a college education — mine opened the door to a good living — but it’s not the only way to go. Someone has to know how to fix the water mains, clear the drains, build the factories, wire a home, frame a barn, etc.!

      • JP Kalishek says

        Back during the Joe The Plumber kerfuffle I recall some pundit admitting that of the millionaires she knew as personal friends, all of them were plumbers who owned several trucks/vans who had others working for them.
        Of the few millionaires I’d consider friends and adding my former boss (sold the company recently) they all also work(ed) with their hands and none has a degree to their names.

        Outside of that, if one is gonna be poor, or tight on money and still want things it is best if you can make or fix them yourself. I hate my 98 Nissan for all its electrics, but I still have managed to pull solenoids apart and repaired them thereby saving the $130 cost for the replacement. Someone made it once, I can make it again myself if given enough time.

  6. Hans Mattes says

    The wealth we accrue by learning to understand, maintain, repair, and even modify the items surrounding us that we’ve become dependent on is more precious than dollars (or Euros or gold). It brings us a measure of the self-reliance that’s essential to being a adult human. Dollars just allow us to look to a more capable person to restore the objects we depend on and/or enjoy. Tools, common sense, and a willingness to learn not only support our devices — they support us.

    Great article!

  7. Paulinator says

    Excellent article and, as usual, excellent input from the fellow readership. Funny, I got exactly the same Craftsman life-time guarantee that B50 described above.

    Over the years, sometimes out of need – but often out of interest, I built tools. I work in R and D where addressing “tooling for production” is required to close-out the product development cycle, so that hobby had a pay-out. I’m currently chipping away at a design for a very compact and inexpensive CNC router that I’m going to build with my kids. It’s a trade off. I’m trying to rub-off on them some of the thought processes involved in product design while also trying to suck up some of the many skills that they bring to the table.

    ps, My wife’s little car ate its clutch while I was away. She took it to a garage. It hurts. Ouch. The pain.

  8. Domino says

    I am a pretty good backyard mechanic (thanks Dad)… old school though, and technology is moving so quickly!!.. I love You Tube.
    Two weeks ago my girlfriend discovered both headlights were out on her Prius. Two estimates were between $300 & $400.
    I went on You Tube and figured out how to fix them in 20 minutes, for $35, without taking the whole front end off like the dealership said…
    Not only do I have the self esteem, save the $$$, but I have been “lucky” for the last two weeks.. ha!
    Domino

    • JP Kalishek says

      you might run into an issue when it needs the battery pack replaced. Those will cost more than the bluebook is going to be for the car with good batteries.

  9. Dano says

    Started wrenching w/ Dad at age 8, he started me w/ my own tools from the beginning, I still have a few of them. Around age 13 I took a fancy to cutting chips so I took up machinist / tool making in trade school. You need your own precision tools in that world so you buy them as you can afford them. Still have most of them too.
    Today my son is 35 and I still buy him tools for Christmas and his birthday.
    Buy the best you can afford, life is to short for cheap tools.
    We are lucky in having a consignment / used tools store near us too.

    http://used-tools.com/

    Every week there is a new selection to choose from.

    • Paul Crowe says

      That store looks like a pretty cool place and almost any community could benefit from having one.

    • todd says

      There’s a place like that around the corner from my house. It’s where all the crack heads sell all their dad’s and other stolen tools.

      -todd

      • Paul Crowe says

        That’s too bad. There are always instances where people abuse a great resource, in some places more than others.

  10. Joe McDuff says

    Retired ten years ago, to a small town on California’s central coast. Hauled Dad’s old WW II Kennedy box and tools with me, plus tools which I have accumulated.

    After moving here, we found out a neighbor was the last riding mechanic at the Indy 500. Mr. Jim Dunham, 1935, powered to a win behind the first Offy. Boy did I find a hunk of history.

    Jim died three years ago, leaving all his worldly goods for an estate sale. I was first in line and went straight to the garage. Not much for sale, but we did find three Plumb ‘Pebble Texture’ spanners (1940′s) plus two pair of needlenose pliers. They are in the Kennedy now, alongside Dad’s tools. Equal respect, equal memories.

    –JMc

  11. dave says

    Yep sadly all to many people wouldn’t know even where to start to fix something like this. I may be a hack when it comes to these thing but unlike years ago there’s always someone a key click away will to share the info and what may be wrong. Investing in your own self pays off in the long run but far to many want simple quick solutions.

  12. says

    Paul ~ You’re ‘spot-on’ & this is an excellent article and, rather timely too. My first car, a used FIAT 600, red generator light came on; I knew what this meant but had no money
    as a late teen. For some reason, I went to the local community collage, spoke with the
    airplane engine instructor, who told me what was wrong [needed brushes] & how to fix it.
    Using the tools that came w/ the car, I was successful. But, he advised me to get some
    tools– I bought CRAFTSMAN & learned how to fix my cars ever since. Still have them &
    the toolbox but have added extensively since then. I’m also a believer in aquiring
    SERVICE manuals when possible as a guide. It may take me a little longer but if
    a machanic can do it, so can I. I’ve saved thousands over the years.

  13. zipidachimp says

    ever priced new loudspeakers? when my wife went into a nursing home 6 years ago, I moved my stereo into the livingroom (she liked TV). speakers sounded too small. new speakers would cost me $600+. Went onto the web, got some info from a DIY site, got some raw speakers, got some plywood, now have terrific-sounding music that is indeed “room-filling”, at a price 1/4 of retail. DIY is where it’s at !
    Thanks, Paul for continuing excellence.
    ps: Starting guitar lessons on the web at 69!

    • zipidachimp says

      pps: just noticed your ad on the right side for Advanced Auto Parts, they now offer motorcycle repair parts and stuff. How timely !

  14. Kenny says

    You forgot to mention the feeling of satisfaction as you stand there smoking a well deserved cigarette with blood dripping from your skinned knuckles as your recently repaired machine/appliance/etc does what it was intended to. And you know you did that

  15. says

    Paul, I enjoy a lot this kind of articles from you. Keep them coming!! :-)
    My approach is to try to develop a new skill every year. Welding, work with composites, learn how to use a new complex software, whatever… it worth the effort.

  16. G says

    I was a former Automotive master tech, so i have roughly 30k in tools and box. I decided to give up the job because it doesnt pay, but i will never sell those tools. It is a great thing to know that whether it’s the bikes, the cars, or randoms around the house, I have a tool and the skill to fix it. You are much more empowered to maintain you life in good working order. For those who are afraid to “mess it up” my question is this….WHY? Some one out there knows how to fix that. If they learned, why cant you? are they smarter than you? Dont ever be afraid to take anything apart. They are just bolts. They come out, they will go back in. With the correct tool and some research, there is nothing you cant fix, restore, save.

  17. Pizza says

    Couldn’t agree more with Kenny’s comment. I think the sense of having control over your environment and circumstances is priceless in a world where it’s increasingly easy to feel powerless as things get more complicated and less tangible. Great boost for the self esteem.

  18. scritch says

    I’m definitely no big (or even mediocre) brain in economics, but it seems to me that human wealth in aggregate comes from four sources: raw materials, energy, food, and the value we add to the first three. It’s becoming clear that our days of cheap raw materials, energy, and food are coming to a quick end, and until we can change our source of cheap energy, the best way to improve general (and individual) wealth is to keep improving our ability to add value to the first three wealth sources.

    Also, there’s nothing like good pandemic to increase raw resource availability for the survivors.

  19. Steve Timble says

    Paul –

    It’s great to read this after an especially challenging week. Makes me smile inside and out.

    In an effort to add something here that hasn’t already been said better in the posts above, I want to mention that working with your hands, fixing your broken things and creating new things where little or nothing existed before gives you a great appeciation for the people you pay to fix things you can’t fix yourself.

    Even if you’re handy & smart, chances are you’ll need to hire an expert to adjust the Desmo Valves on your Ducati or do artisan’s work taping and mudding your drywall. Having done these things myself allows me to know good work, require good work and makes me feel good about paying the right experts to the job right. All of this builds a great community where working with your hands and fixing things have true & real value. Where hardwork is rewarded and where do-it-yourselfers & professional experts can live productive, meaningful and joy filled lives.

    Thank you for making my day.

    Timble

    • jim harrell says

      Paul, again you have pontificated on another kernal of a subject I have been grappling with for a decade. There are so many facets to this subject I think a book could be written that would or should be required reading for the up and coming generations. Whether its plumbers, electricians, carpenters or closest to our hearts mechanical motorheads there is an ever increasing void to fill the crafts and trades needed in our common every day world.

      I like many who have posted started with the Craftsman starter kit that has now grown to three gargantuan boxes with all the toys and tools for plying the craft of building “stuff”. But net of all this I have two concerns paramount to this subject.

      First, how do we rekindle in our up and comings the lack of wood shop, auto mechanics, metal shop, drafting etc. when they have been eliminated in most all schools even to the extent that here they are eliminating cursive writing. These classes back in the day spawned the many crafts and trades that many are retiring from today and are not being filled. These tradesmen for the most part have made very good livings and I know of none who are destitute.

      Second, food for thought, how many in the audience would encourage their youngsters (male and female) to attend a craft school that would teach hands on the subjects of carburetors, ignition systems, wiring, upholstery, general maintenance? (Even oldsters would be welcome).

      You see having put 70 clicks on the odo I will be sent to pasture having spent most of my trek plying fixing and building stuff. AND I think it would be fun to impart such real world experiences to eager youngsters.

      Making stuff and fixing stuff is not going away!

      Great article!!!

      • Paulinator says

        My son and I were involved with Cubs when he was younger. The annual KUB KAR races were big event in the calendar. I set up a “builder shop” for the kids since a lot of the kids (and parents) just didn’t have access to the necessary tools and equipment. What a HIT! No lack of interest there.

  20. Tin Man says

    Well I see its time for another of my OLD GUY rants….. Most new cars and a lot of Bikes are filled with Electronics that can not be serviced, just replaced. Most HIGH Tech Engines cost more to rebuild than the used Car or Bike is Worth, Granted they last a long time but look out when they Break, Big Bucks. I’m very glad I grew up with small block Chevys and Harleys, They are just about the only Classics that are rebuildable with out spending more than the vehicle is worth.

  21. dan says

    This at first glance is somewhat misleading because you are encouraging people to take risks and attempt difficult sometimes dangerous tasks especially for beginners! Why not! GReat read! THanks!

    • Paul Crowe says

      Many jobs people are reluctant to attempt are often not difficult or dangerous at all. Intimidating perhaps, because the person doesn’t know how to do it and they imagine all sorts of mysterious and challenging procedures lying ahead when, in reality, it’s a straightforward, step by step process. “Nothing is hard when you know how to do it” applies here. The first time is harder because every step is new, but when you’re done, you’ll be saying, “That was easier than I thought it would be.”

  22. Britman says

    I bought my first socket set 44 years ago at age 16 (where did those years go). Still have it and it travels in the right saddlebag of my ST1300.

    The metal case has had tob e straightened a couple of times but all components work fine.

  23. Bart says

    I am fortunate to spend winters in baja, where virtually all stuff gets fixed by locals. Cars, motos, appliances, even moderrn flat panel TVs I have seen repaired with nothing more than the minimal tools and local labor. It is a powerful lesson of how little it takes to live well instead of how much it takes.
    Travellers from up north fret for days while waiting for parts to arrive by bus, while the locals drive/ride on with their beater cars and rancho trucks that always seem to get where ever they need to go. They can fix almost anything almost anywhere, it is amazing to watch!

  24. spectator says

    Is it “SELF RELIANCE” when you can refer to thousands of manhours of people all over the country dealing with broken F150′s through the internet?

    Is this the answer to a depressed economy or is this part of the reason that the economy is depressed or not rebounding?

    This anecdote tends to show that we don’t need as many tow truck drivers, local mechanic’s shops or other support personnel. If you do a write up about your experience repairing your truck, and you put some pictures up on a forum, I don’t need a lot of support staff either.

    • Paul Crowe says

      Is it “SELF RELIANCE” when you can refer to thousands of manhours of people all over the country dealing with broken F150′s through the internet?

      Yes, and it’s also called using a tool. The Internet is a tool today, just like using a service manual was in previous years, but it’s even better, it’s like a service manual with notes in the margins. No one’s doing the work for you and you certainly don’t have to follow their suggestions, but if you want to get the job done promptly, you might be wise to look at the accumulated experience of all of those other hands on guys who have been down this road before.

      As a Moto Guzzi owner, I also have a book called “Guzziology” by Dave Richardson that’s a treasure trove of hard won knowledge of tips and hints about working on Moto Guzzis. I might learn some of it on my own, slowly, and in some cases perhaps painfully and at great cost, but Dave wrote the book to share his knowledge and experience with others. It’s extremely helpful and valuable, sorta like a printed version of an Internet forum.

      The internet, books and socket wrenches are all different kinds of tools. You still have to want to use them and then do the work yourself, otherwise they’re just a collection of useless things. Being self reliant means ready and willing to take the initiative and do what needs to be done, it doesn’t mean isolating yourself from everyone else and reinventing the wheel.

      • spectator says

        My point wasn’t that it’s not sporting to use the internet, or that the internet isn’t a fabulous resource for diy’ers and consumers alike, my point is that the fundamental change in access to information makes a certain amount of support staff redundant today, which I’m reasonably sure detracts from our overall economy because people purchase fewer services. I don’t think that an uptick in tool purchasing has nearly the same effect as a downtick in service needs, because as everyone points out, most highquality tools [and even some less than high-quality tools] last longer than our individual consumer lives.

        I’m not saying what you did is bad at all. On the contrary, I think it makes lots of sense. I am suggesting that the attitude itself may contribute to a lack of economic growth because of the lesser need for specialized service personnel.

        • todd says

          The person who calls a service person to do the work for them is not the same person that looks up how to do it him/her self. Those two paradigms will always exist regardless of the tools available.

          The number of DIYers is definitely shrinking – as is the number of people who can drive / ride anything with a manual transmission. There’s definitely a growing trend of people wanting things done for them, contrary to your assertions.

          -todd

        • Paulinator says

          I’ve been struggling with the concept of “economic growth” for some time now. We should use the “misery” index, as we’ve been witnessing a mass extinction of the middle-class in the western hemisphere. Maybe a new metric known as the “accelerated concentration of wealth” curve is more relevant today. However we title it, I think self-reliance and the “barter economy” will enable the rest of us to enjoy lifestyles that will otherwise certainly become less attainable in the future.

          • Paulinator says

            ps. I’m re-jetting the carbs on a friend’s bike tomorrow. Today, I fixed my boss’ Jeep swing-out spare tire mount. I bought a set of sealed deep groove ball bearings as drop-in replacements for the open tapered roller bearings that were continuously bleeding rust and finally seized up. What goes around comes around…but it gains speed.

          • Carolynne says

            What I have been struggling with is the whole idea of economic growth that is done solely for the sake of economic growth. There is so little thought that goes into what we really need to live happy fulfilling lives. Instead our lives are filled with buy buy buy consume and throwaway. Perhaps its time for us all to get a grip and start being more realistic and practical about what we can afford both personallly and as a society.

  25. says

    Hi,

    Perhaps you already know this wonderful book by Matthew B. CRAWFORD : “SHOP CLASS AS SOULCRAFT” which will confirm what we think.
    Interesting to see the changing in some people minds facing growing economy which makes things always more expensive.


    Stéphane

  26. Rick says

    My Dad was a child of the depression & passed on to me the importance of being capable of taking care of everything myself. I always thought thats the way it should be & never had much use for all these soft-handed helpless people that never bothered to learn to do anything except sit in front of tv and push buttons. Thanks Dad.

  27. jaxl650 says

    I’m going to throw a wrench into the works here (pun intended). I largely agree with this thread and the comments supporting it. And I fully appreciate Paul encouraging us to do more, fix more, and try more.

    However, at some point you have to make decisisions about how you spend your time. I have a job, and make money, partially to be able to benefit from the skills of others. So how do you decide when you do something yourself, and when not? If you own an old house, an old car, and a motorcycle or two, you can pretty much find limitless fix-it tasks to do, and I like doing them as much as the next persion, but you can’t do it all. So how do people here make those calls?

    • Bart says

      Jax,
      I think what you really mean is how to make better decisions about how to spend time or $$. There is a little yellow-green book called “Your Money or Your Life.” It helped me make better choices about how to spend money and time, the premise being a straight-forward way to evaluate what one really expends in time and energy to have a disposable dollar. It helped me make enough good decisions that I was able to retire early and rewrite my equations for my money and time.
      Servicing my KTM is so expensive I learned how to do all the work myself. But I have just started using a laundry service ’cause its cheap and saves me so much time, and I’ve been doing laundry since grade school!
      Its really about how to make better choices with what we have at our disposal on this blue marble.

      • jaxl650 says

        Thanks Bart,

        I’ll check it out. This subject very much interests me. Total self-reliance, in my opinion, is a myth – show me the person on this thread that grew and weaved their own clothes, grew their own food, and forged their own tools. So we all have to figure out that balance of DIY and bartering with others, there is hardly any way around it (and my parents were depression-raised too). I’m actually reading “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” (another book recommended here) right now, and a central message is to get REALLY good at rare, valuable skills – partially by focused, disciplined, practice – to achieve the success necessary for high job satisfaction. Can you really do that while you’re involved in lots of DIY projects? I think there is a tension between those two messages. I think you have to pick and choose, and part of those choices are economic, and part of it is what you enjoy doing. If your DIY stuff and your career line up, great, but if not, you have to prioritize.

        • Bart says

          I learned that we trade our lfe energy for $$. Life energy = $$. Then I learned how much life energy I was actually expending for a dollar. I think that is what you mean by an “economic” choice. You sound like someone who is at a point in life to be amenable to the ideas in the book I recc’d.

          I did stuff that was “so good”, but it takes a hell of a lot of life energy to do it, and you have to have a good objective way of evaluating that to make good/better choices.

          Today, I made a headboard for our bed from really nice salvaged pine that survived through 3 mexican hurricanes, ’cause I like woodwork, cause i needed a headboard, and ’cause now I have time to choose to do it vs. go buy one, which woulldn’t be anything near as cool as what came together today.

          I am the “carb guy” for the area, if a bike or quad or car (or mexican rototiller) has a fueling problema, they all come to me. That is a rare valuable skill here, something I’ve been doing for a long time. Before that, it was destruction of WMD stockpiles and putting together Intel fabs, both of which are rare valuable skills that are now in low demand, so watch out for that, the skill has to have a reasonable demand too.

  28. says

    A roll-a-round tool box makes a lot more sense. Putting tools on the wall limits you, both by space and by place. A roll-a-round tool box makes a lot more sense. You can move the tools to where you need them and if you need to add tools, say that Japanese Standard screw driver, you don’t have to rearange the whole room.

  29. says

    Or how about a place that has all the tools you need and the instructors to teach you how to use them, for a monthly membership fee?

    Tools you can borrow, skills you cannot. Tools are also expensive, and you need space to use them. Whereas a learned skill never gets forgotten. Money spent on learning is a lifetime investment. We want to bring back “shop class for everyone.” So people not only know how to do things, but also have a place to do them! Take a look: http://www.vocademy.com