Adam Savage on Refurbished vs. New Tools and Tool Replacement Sadness

In this installment of “Ask Adam,” Adam Savage answers two very important questions: When should you bother to refurb a tool vs. buying a new one and does he get sad when he has to replace a beloved tool/machine that dies.

He likes antique tools IF they serve his purposes. As he points out, older tools were often handmade and he prefers the hand-feel of many older tools.

He also uses this conversation to reiterate his general philosophy on buying tools (which I share): If you’re new to a tool type or unsure how much you will use a certain tool, buy the cheapest (well-regarded) tool. But once you know that tool type is one you will use a lot, but the best one you can afford.

And yes, Adam definitely feels nostalgic for old tools he gives away or has to replace (who doesn’t?), especially if that tool shows the wear and tear, the story of its use and the projects that it enabled. He gets over some of this by giving the tools away to friends and associates knowing that they will make their own stories with those tools.


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