My world doesn’t just turn around designing decorative pillows. I’m also heavily invested in broadening my woodworking skills. After watching 5 minutes of a “DIY Home Makeover For Dummies” show on TV last night, I changed the channel. I couldn’t bear to see the mess they were making nor listen to how much money this young, inexperienced, couple were saving when clearly, they were using professional contractor’s tools that cost an absolute fortune… even to rent them!
I have learned the hard way, that often times it is cheaper to just “buy it” or “hire it”…
Looking for a birthday gift for my “sewing sister” in the garden shop one day, I admired a bird-shaped birdhouse. On closer examination, I decided that it was too small, poorly made and very expensive, 3 good reasons for me to make it myself.
On my way home from the office, I stopped at Home Depot and bought a How-to-make-a-cute-birdhouse book ($22). The list of materials included scrap wood, leftover paint, some nails and screws, and a few other bits and pieces. I stopped at a client’s construction site and delicately rooted around in the dumpster. I backed my SUV up to load my loot and it unfortunately sank to the rims in black gooey mud that also sucked up my left high heel ($175 shoes, $6 pantyhose, car wash $13).
The tool checklist included a saw, hammer, screwdriver, drill and paintbrush. Laying everything out on my workbench, I discovered somebody (maybe the dog?) scooped some of the drill bits and screw driver tips…
Back to Home Depot. Rather than buying the missing components, it was cheaper to buy the Home Project Kit ($39) that included 41 high speed bits, 40 bit tips, 10 power bits, 4 hole saws, 4 sanding drums and more… total of 149 rather dangerous looking pieces. I threw protective goggles in too ($10).
I broke into a real sweat hacking away at the plywood with a handsaw that someone (maybe the cat?) must have used to open a paint can with.
Back to Home Depot. It was intimidating standing in a congested tool corral where I was the only one that didn’t look like Mike Holmes. I tried to intelligently make comparison notes of the 13 circular saws on display. A sales manager interrupted his conversation with the guys to ask me what I was building. All heads turned. I was amazed to hear myself say quite loudly, “a basement”. The words were out of my mouth and it was too late to take them back. All heads nodded at his next comment… “you need tough tools for tough jobs” .
All the Mikes watched as he loaded up my cart with a circular saw ($179), belt sander ($159), paint sprayer ($325) radial arm and combination compound, chop saw ($799), and its matching extension table ($199). For effect I added a new framing hammer ($28).
The bird house pieces were cut and ready to assemble. I knew in the first millisecond of my downswing that I had too much hammer coming down on not enough nail. My whole fingernail popped up … then came the spurting blood, and the swirling white lights.
I contemplated buying my sister a bird bath. Instead, this time I went to Home Hardware and more determined than ever, I bought a small upholstery hammer, the kind that magnetically holds the nail for you ($14). I added a glue gun ($16) and glue sticks ($9)… just in case. Did I already mention the finger splint ($7)?
The moral of this story is “Don’t believe everything you see on TV… saving money can cost a lot”.