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Deb Rebel
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Then there is http://woodgears.ca who sell plans to MAKE your own woodworking tools. We have gone this route. Some of the stuff is very functional as long as you are detail oriented and meticulous in the creation. In a production shop I would want all metal heavy duty tools, but in the interim for yourself or for the transition as you start your business, this may be the route to go. We have also purchased plans for several of the other items and they are great.

They are download-once-paid-for, print your own copies. The more you buy at once, the more of a discount you get. I don't get anything for promoting them!!! Just a satisfied customer of theirs.
 
Travis Johnson
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Sunshine McCarthy wrote:If my husband spends $95 on sunglasses he is very careful with them and they last 3 to 5 years. If he buys $20 ones they last about a month until he looses them. if something is valuable you take care of it, whether the value is monetary or sentimental doesn't mater.  As much as I dislike placing great value on items, if you don't value and care for what you have it goes to waist.


I agree with this reasoning, but suggest people take it a step further. Myself I am not into sandals, but a simple google search shows they are not complex in nature. I agree there is care given to something that costs a lot of money, but propose even more care is given to something that is handmade. Not only would the costs be dramatically less, the comfort level would be high since it is custom made, enjoyment would be derived from the research and build itself, and should they wear, replacements or parts could be made that are better then your original version.

Honestly there is a fine line between making something yourself and being worth the time to make it, but it is also a Catch 22. Before I retired (at age 42 mind you), I HAD to buy stuff because I just did not have the time to build or fix stuff. Ultimately I went out on a limb, retired and realized my financial needs were drastically reduced, simply because I have time to fix and make stuff that I would have had to buy before. But stepping away from a full time job takes faith...trust me I know...I fretted about it for a long time, but now that I have made the step...nope I would never go back into the workforce.

I guess what I am saying is, while I agree with the mantra that quality is cheaper based over time as a rule, it is entirely possible to derive quality products by producing it yourself which is most likely less costly than buying something cheap. Don't have sheep or wool in which to make socks? Barter with someone who does with jars of home made spaghetti sauce taken from your garden. Or need a pair of shoes, most Permies don't mind being different so try your hand at crafting Klompen's which I have heard are really comfortable. This year I have really changed my spending habits simply because my family of 6 (4 daughters under the age of 12 and my wife) must, all because of cash flow.

Over the years I have had one mantra that has served me well; "Whatever I Can Do Myself, I Do." It has made me creative and well-rounded I think. The more I do, the more I realize what I can do. That is simply confidence and I wish I could instill it in more people. Fear is what stops people, not what they are able to accomplish.
 
Deb Rebel
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Important EDIT I added at the top. Today CinDWood is having a sale, for example her 60" S loom for afghans is $55 instead of $76, for example. Go look today if you think you want one, or several!!!

I have damage in both hands from things over the years, and am fully ambidextrous, and actually changed handedness (the hand that works 'automatically' is the left, and I have to think about the right now for some tasks). I always had an issue with knitting though in my 20's wanted a fancy Aran fisherman's sweater and learned every stitch known to woman, with tension, then designed and knit the sweater. I have never worn it and it is worth probably $1000 now... but I got my dream sweater for $65 back in the 80's. These years the hands don't put up with the crochet hook and I haven't knit anything in decades.

That said,I invested in a bunch of hand looms. With pegs. Back about a decade ago. This was the best ever investment and I purchased everything up to a huge figure 8 afghan loom. Thumb loom on up, narrow spacing, and these allow me to produce items with speed and tension and relief for my hands. I make socks and hats regularly, from wool, unravels (unraveling a found item and reusing the yarn), and other things. The afghans take an hour to do four rows, five rows is an inch, and eats a LOT of yarn but they are SOOO warm.

I highly recommend http://www.cindwoodlooms.com/ ; and I see that she has upgraded things and her site is much nicer; but. The looms I bought back then are still going strong.

She is a nurse that had access to a cnc machine and would cut the looms part time... I think she's gone full time. The looms LAST and I get great looking stuff. On a hat, I can knit ribbing, double over, and get a professionally finished edge, then knit down as far as I need. I did one once with six strands of soft fuzzy and it turned into a helmet that has no wind chill issues and I was able to handle it just fine on the loom.

If you are daunted by knitting, look into this. In the 1950's my maternal grandfather spent two years in the hospital dying of cancer, and they made him a knitting board, nails around a slot in a piece of wood, to be able to wind yarn and make scarves. He made scarves for all his family (13 kids). The heirloom was found in an aunt's attic with half a green scarf still on it; and spawned a few of us making something similar and using it. The link is to a more modern, nicer, easier to use version.

I do strongly suggest though you buy the narrow spacing wherever possible. It will give you a tighter weave thus more warmth. Buy extra hooks! One more for every three looms you own. That way you will always have one. This is a six star of five star purchase if you want to make yourself warm.....

Yes it cost me to invest in these time and hand savers, but in the end I have beautiful tools that work. And this was a cheaper source than all hardwood (composite fakewood and plastic) but. In this case overlook the materials....
 
Peter Ellis
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There is some great information in this thread, thank you all.  Some thoughts - angle grinders are used for drilling holes in mushroom logs because they go much faster than drills.  Get the adapter for the angle grinder and the dedicated bit for drilling the holes and get good bits and good adapters, but buy cheap angle grinders from Harbor Freight. Angle grinders burn out, cheap ones are Much less money.

Learn to re-handle tools yourself.  Hammers, axes, rakes, shovels, etc. Shape your own from greenwood, make them fit you.  Do them right and your home made handles will be much better than what you can buy.

Lots of things are not as hard to do as people think they are, trying some do it yourself is a really good idea.  Among other things, it helps you appreciate the real value in well made products when you go shopping   For another, it helps you figure out which things you can do for yourself, which you are better off buying and which you may be able to make for sale or barter on a productive basis.


 
Liz Hoxie
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Here's another one: WOMEN'S CLOTHES.  I hate it when my clothes wear out! The manufacturers seem to think that women must always look 20, even when there 54. We just lounge around and never DO anything.
I work with goats, so I need sturdy shoes and sandals because of weak ankles and a good tread because of terrain. I usually have to buy men's shoes, but it's hard to find men's sizes that fit. I depend on my footwear. I wish that I could find brands that work.
Hubby's seen me complain that a pair of shoes lasted only 2 MONTHS and is beginning to understand my problem.
 
Deb Rebel
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Liz Hoxie wrote:Here's another one: WOMEN'S CLOTHES.  I hate it when my clothes wear out!


Buy guys'. Often they are the same thing but cheaper. I have a thick waist to rest of figure, always have, and guys' jeans fit a lot better...

Liz Hoxie wrote: The manufacturers seem to think that women must always look 20, even when there 54. We just lounge around and never DO anything.


I watched this happen at one of the big regional merchandise marts in the late 80's when the lead of the boomers hit 40 and the designers brought out fringed spandex miniskirts and wetsuit material dresses and nobody bought. The buyers for the big stores didn't, the consumer didn't and there was no spring trend that year and everyone wore what they had or what they felt like. I sew my own or recycle preowned with creative sewing and repair.

Liz Hoxie wrote:I work with goats, so I need sturdy shoes and sandals because of weak ankles and a good tread because of terrain. I usually have to buy men's shoes, but it's hard to find men's sizes that fit. I depend on my footwear. I wish that I could find brands that work.
Hubby's seen me complain that a pair of shoes lasted only 2 MONTHS and is beginning to understand my problem.


Go to a really good shoe store, and get fitted properly and find a brand of shoe that will generally fit, and stick to it you want men's. (wider widths in men's, vital for me). I invested in a pair of leather cowboy boots that looked a lot like men's workboots with catspaw soles and a finish that needed mink oil. Which made them water resistant and fixed scuffs in the finish. I resoled them twice and reheeled them about eight times. Worth the fortune I spent in 1981 ($175) and lasted for over 20 years.
 
Liz Hoxie
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Thanks Deb. I needed that info. I feel sorry for young women today that are expected to be an ornament.
 
Deb Rebel
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Liz Hoxie wrote:Thanks Deb. I needed that info. I feel sorry for young women today that are expected to be an ornament.


You are most welcome. Good work shoes that fit often do cost but if you get true quality it will last. Catspaw is a brand name of a type of boot sole usually seen in workboots and cowboy boots. They do wear.
 
Travis Johnson
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Not to be a fly in the ointment, but sometimes "the most expensive" is not the best buy, but I suspect people know that. I guess if there was anything on this site that would be an improvement, would be a review section where people like us could suggest products be bought (or avoided).

An example of this is the last pair of boots I bought. As a farmer/logger/landlord; I live out of my boots and so I bought the most expensive boots I have ever bought. They were close to $400 yet they have been the most uncomfortable boots I ever owned, and in less than a year they started wearing out the sole, not to mention being extremely cold in the winter despite being insulated. The mid-range boots I typically buy were warmer, wore like iron, and incredibly comfortable. Lesson learned.

As for stores Deb, I had to laugh. A store near me...a regional one with a few stores in New England, had clothes of a style that my wife loved, but then completely changed. We walked in, took one look around at their "new look", and waked out. I watched a few others do the same thing. They are still open so maybe it worked for them, but I am not sure how. As for me, I am just waiting for flannel to come back in style and then I will be hip again. (Okay so maybe I have never been hip).

Green-Flannel-Logger.JPG
[Thumbnail for Green-Flannel-Logger.JPG]
 
Burra Maluca
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Travis Johnson wrote:Not to be a fly in the ointment, but sometimes "the most expensive" is not the best buy, but I suspect people know that. I guess if there was anything on this site that would be an improvement, would be a review section where people like us could suggest products be bought (or avoided).


We're working on it, we're working on it...
 
Casie Becker
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When I was younger my mother worked as a waitress to keep food on the table. (young widow with three kids, no family) Our budget was very tight, but she'd save up to purchase SAS brand shoes for work. This was a significant chunk of our budget but she felt the long lasting quality and comfort that let her spend long hours on her feet made it worth it.

A couple of years ago, I hurt my knee and after more than a year of not completely healing and the associated pain caused by walking funny; I finally took her advice and shelled out the money for my own pair. After less than a week in these shoes my knee stopped bothering me.

I've been holding out on commenting on them until I had a chance to see how well they held up to 40 hour weeks on concrete. I was well over two hundred pounds when this started (lost 30 since my knee stopped bothering me) and there is still no visible wear on the tread. The top is a little scuffed from me kicking things, but otherwise it isn't showing wear either.

I think their boot selection looks rather frou frou, but if you don't need boots they do have a good selection of work shoes for women, especially if you want bizarre color combinations. Nurses and waitresses have been one of their main markets for decades. https://sasshoes.com/

edit: adding link
 
Deb Rebel
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I do not advocate that the most expensive is the best to buy. The best made is the best to buy but sometimes that costs. When we purchase stuff I usually do a very exhaustive search to find what is going to work and weigh the price against what I get. I used to do high end costume jewelry and know all about price vs quality (the example was a sterling silver mounted toggle clasp chunky rose quartz and peridot necklace retailed by a very upscale store and not the blue box one, for $1,849.00 ... I ordered 3 import strands of each gem from my wholesaler, dug into my stock wire, hand sorted and hand chained the beads onto sterling wire and sold a close copy for $300 and made $200 profit-with paying myself $12 an hour. My matchup resulted in a better looking one than the original picture....They had price, I had quality)

@Casie Becker, when I waitressed in the first years of marriage, I bought Nursemates shoes and had them dyed to match the work uniform. The feet were used 14 hours a day to make ends meet, my lower end got better care than my hands and those feet rated their own pillow to sleep on. My feet were my livelihood, they got the full treatment.

My hubby has an issue with shoes, I will look into SAS for him. Thank you.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Great thread R. I'm picking up lots of useful information.

I am a fan of the SAS brand shoes too, Casie. My MIL always buys them as gifts for my DH. He wears them every M-F to work.

The MIL and her H also wear the same ones (called 'Bout Time). She has terrible issues with toes crossing under and over other toes. Her H has diabetes and that creates foot problems for him. These shoes have worked well in all cases here.

I have been lucky to have scored several pairs (different styles) for myself from the Goodwill. I wish I could find a pair in his size there. The next pair he gets will have to be bought by us , as his mom is no longer able to buy them - due to age. They are worth the extra money, so we'll have to save up and consider this an investment.
 
Liz Hoxie
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Deb, try Shoes 4 Crews for your husband. They are produced for restaurant workers and are VERY comfortable. They even stop you slipping on ice! The only problem is snow; if you get any in the tread, they might as well be slick soled and they track it in. Puddles form where they thaw. Great for in town, though.
 
Casie Becker
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Liz Hoxie wrote:Deb, try Shoes 4 Crews for your husband. They are produced for restaurant workers and are VERY comfortable. They even stop you slipping on ice! The only problem is snow; if you get any in the tread, they might as well be slick soled and they track it in. Puddles form where they thaw. Great for in town, though.


The company I work with actually has a contract where we can order from Shoes 4 Crews directly with a small discount. I averaged going through four pairs of their shoes every year (two pairs at a time to give the cushioning a chance to recover). I tried several different styles and they all had a short life. Most shoe companies that cater to the food industry or nursing have a non skid sole available. My SAS shoes do, and their tread has been much less prone to becoming clogged with debris. Add in the fact that my one pair is still like new after over a year and the long term cost is going to be significantly less for me. I do admit that if having more styles available for my work shoes were a driving factor, Shoes 4 Crews does have more styles available. I don't know where else you can find dress shoes with nonskid treads.

 
Deb Rebel
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My spouse is a big man with big feet, his ankles bow in, and he has had walking issues his entire life. He is also hard on shoes. I would not put him into foodservice shoes, he will have the insides walked over in a week. I have been buying him a particular New Balance shoe with extra ortho inserts and the shoes are not holding up for the price. I will look at the SAS shoes... thank you.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Speaking of shoes, my husband usually has a horrible time finding shoes that are comfrotable for his wide, flat size 11 feet. We used to buy shoes at our local Work and More store, but they were costing over $100/pair, and were still wearing out in less than a year (he's a phlebotomist at the hospital, and so does a lot of walking).

Last year, we were at Lowes and saw that they had shoes for sale. He bought two different types, and still hasn't worn out the first pair.

These are the ones he got, and they only cost $30!
They aren't waterproof, but can be waterproofed, and look nice enough to wear to church with khakis. They are more comfortable than many of his $100+ shoes, have lasted longer, and are a whole lot cheaper!

The other pair he got are these. They're $10 more and seem to be waterproof. He's also really happy with the comfort of them, though he just now started wearing them so I can't speak to how long they last.

Edit: Thought I'd add, just now my husband was putting on the first pair of shoes I mentioned, and he said, "How are these only $30?! I've never had a pair of shoes this cheap last this long! Scratch that, I've never had a pair of shoes this comfortable in my life. There's no pain! I can wear them all day or just for a minute and it doesn't matter--they are always comfortable! I should buy like 30 pairs so I always have them even if they stop selling them!"
 
Deb Rebel
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@ Nicole Alderman, they look great but they don't go anywhere near my hubby's size. Hope someone else has smaller feet (they go up to 12) and can enjoy these. Sale is still on as of the time I'm typing this.
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r ranson
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When I started this thread, I was thinking about money.  Spending more money up front to save money in the long term. 

Reading everyone's contributions, I realise that 'spending more' isn't about money.  Sometimes the best quality thing is quite affordable moneywise, but it takes other investments to be the best. 

Spending more can mean
- time to research which item to buy
- effort to learn about what you are buying
- understanding personal habits and finding a product that fits your personal style
- discovering if the item/company fits with your ethical standards
- learning how to use your item in a way that gives you the best performance
- caring for your item
- considering the afterlife of your item

Funny you should mention shoes.  My city shoes have about as much glue holding them together as is possible.   They are about 12 years old and let's face it.  I need new ones.  I've been looking for about 14 months now, and can't find ones that fit me and my style.

If I buy shoes that are hard to lace up, I won't wear them.  Waste of money.
If I buy shoes that don't fit my feet, I'll still wear them, but it will cause me pain and I don't like that.
If I buy shoes that aren't good quality, then I'll have to buy shoes again this decade - not something I want to go through again for at least 5 years.
When I do buy shoes, I usually buy leather.  My shoes have lasted this long (10 years before needing any glue or letting water in) because I learned how to care for leather.  They lasted the extra two years because I learned about repairing leather.  They were $90 shoes, after all, I'm not going to leave them to their fate. 
As for the current shoes, what will I do with them?  I'm thinking as a herb planter.  Maybe as shoes loose their usefulness as foot protection, they could be scattered in the herb garden as decoration?  Most of the shoe is natural leather, so they would just rot over time. 

These are some of the 'spending more' that come to mind when I think about which new shoes to get. 
 
Deb Rebel
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If the shoes are leather they can be raided for craft, for repair of other items where you need a small piece of leather... I raid our thrift store for black suede in any form and recycle for beaded cabochon backing.

Quality also means looking at a second life for the item if it can't be maintained or after it breaks or fails and can't be repaired.

I agree with the original premise which is that sometimes if you look to the investment in the quality of whatever item, it only 'hurts' upfront and over the life of that item, more than repays the pocketbook by durability and usefulness.

In a related I now buy foodstuffs I need and can't grow direct bulk. Why pay $11.50-$13.00 a pound, or maybe $9.50 out of the bulk bin that everyone else can handle and mess with; or $7.30 a pound delivered to my door. The first few options I can go to the store, purchase in smaller quantities and bring it home... but also buy more often than the 50# batch delivered to my door. I have to deal with storage but that lasts three months and saves me that many trips to purchase. It costs to store it securely, yes, but I have long since recouped that by overall savings. (time, money to get to the store, the higher price to purchase smaller amounts).

My kitchen utensils and pots, pans, cookie sheets, etc, a lot are stainless steel. I invested in them over the years and some are over twenty years old and still going strong. Paying $200 for a sheet cake pan hurt, but 20 years later that sheet has cost me $10 a year so far, and should last another 20 years easy. $5 a year, it's very sturdy and durable, exactly what I invested in. A quality item that would last.

Just do your research, invest your $ carefully, take care of what you buy, and that is when you're getting your best returns.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Figured I'd post an update on my Darn Tough socks. I'm really hard on socks (for example, wool socks from Costco got holes in just a month or two). Last August, I ordered multiple pairs of Darn Tough socks from Amazon. Four or five socks got holes in them after a year of hard use (I ordered 6 pairs and pretty much only wore those socks all year), so about two weeks ago I mailed 3 pairs of socks to Darn Tough. It cost me $3 to mail them. Today I received in the mail three new pairs of socks! These socks usually cost $25/pair, and I got three new pairs for 3 dollars! I am very pleased!
 
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