My Gringo Workshop Project #2: Part 2

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Blog entry by thegringoww posted 06-04-2015 08:03 PM 1493 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Part 1 Part 2 of My Gringo Workshop Project series Part 3: part 2.5 »

$5,000 dollars! Is that what it take to build and outfit a workshop? Talk about a deal or a deal breaker!

As I stated in my previous post Part 1 “At first glance, I was like, the price isn’t too bad, but after reading the article, I started thinking about how much would those tools cost in today’s market. The piece also had me thinking about how many tools were not on the list at all.”

So, lets tackle my first statement. In the article from Fine Woodworking it gave the price cost for each of the tools in 2006. Lets look at those prices.

I have a couple of problems with the prices posted in the article. For starters the price do not include an average sales tax of the 50 states, and not to mention that it cost more than $5,000. I know what you are thinking, that is just petty and nonsense, but lets run a quick calculation on the price above with taxes and lets see if you still think the title should should have stated something different.

To start, I can not go back in time to find out what the tax rates was at that time of the article. I can only go off what is the average for the 50 states as of 2014, which happens to be 6.371% according to The taxes on the sub-total would have been $318 and if you add that to the total of $5,187 that would equal $5,507.

I am not rocket scientist, but they could have named the article “Set up shop for $5,500” since that would have been more realistic. I know it may sound petty, but if you are starting a woodworking business or becoming a hobbyist, and you think it is one price and it turns out to more than what you budgeted for, well blank up a creek you are – just saying…

Now, lets look at what they same or somewhat equivalent price would be in todays market. Since the last article did not state where they found that price, I decided to add two columns. One for where I found that price, and one if the same tool was available or equivalent. The last column could and should be debated on whether they are equivalent or not. Having stated that let’s look at the differences.

The first thing I noticed was the price without taxes was not all that outrageous in price differential. The second thing I noticed was some of the same tools were still being built and sold in today’s market.

Which I then asked myself, if the products was good enough back then to recommend to everyone, why has new products come out and they recommend those products to the consumer vs the old ones. Is it because they have not updated the product line or they found out later they were crap? This question makes me want to ask “How many licks does it take to get to the tootise roll center of a tootsie pop?”. Either way, some of us buy what is on the recommended list for this year, but rarely do we go back and look for what they previous recommended to see if they are still being sold.

The taxes turned out to be $362, add that to the sub-total cost and it is $6,044. Now, lets name the article “Set up shop for $6,000” :P

Now that I have tallied the information, lets dig into the data and see what the differences are.

Outside of the vacuum (which may or may not be the equivalent) it is not that big of a difference. I mean the major factor when you total the bill is 9%. Which, in the grand scheme of this, is not bad over 9 years. That works out to be 1% each year or more depending the vacuum you choose.

Let’s put these number in prospective if you were to compare this to the rate of pay increase of 2.9% according to Subtracting 2.9% from 1% or 26.1% 9 years from 9%. One could have ended up 1.9% per year or 17.1% more in your pocket over nine years. Now, the last statement could be debated tirelessly, but an increase of 1% a year is not half bad in purchasing tools.

Meaning, if you are needing to purchase a tool for your workshop business, but you do not have the money, you can tell yourself that you’re going to gain 26.1% in revenue over nine years isn’t over stepping your reasoning for putting the purchase on credit, or if you are needing to justify the purchase to your significant other. One could say that an increase of 1% in purchase price is not going to hurt your personal finances or you could use the excuse of “I am going to increase my productivity by 26.1% because of the tool”.

Bottom line is, just purchase the tool if you have the money or it is going to benefit you. But if you are needing a reason to tell yourself that you are doing the right thing, feel free to use one of these excuses from above :P

My last point is a stickler and pretty big one in my opinion. Why is it that they do not add to the list things like clamps, glues, screwdrivers, hammers and etc. Do people who write these types of articles think that these things blank themselves out of thin air? If, we were to add these sort of items to the list it could be easily over $6,000 or $6,500 dollars depending on how you look at this article.

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6 comments so far

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4549 days

#1 posted 06-05-2015 08:14 AM

Interesting comparison and surprisingly close after 9 years. Be glad you are not buying woodworking equipment in Norway. We pay outrageous prices here and with a sales tax (VAT) of 27%.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View thegringoww's profile


29 posts in 2381 days

#2 posted 06-05-2015 12:05 PM

Right! 6.371% of sales tax is not nearly as bad as 27% plus in Norway you have the an additional tax at the national level when you get paid, but those are some of the reasons you have government programs that pay for things like health care.

I would be most curious about how much in price difference you would pay for some of these tools. Would you provide that?

I know from being in Latin America for quite a long time. I have found that even with places that have high VAT the prices are sometimes what we would be pay in the states, but then there are some cases that it is completely expensive.

View Grumpymike's profile


2497 posts in 3530 days

#3 posted 06-06-2015 08:11 PM

If you were starting out at day one, why would you buy all of those tools? you wouldn’t know how to use them.
If you are an intermediate wood worker, you would already have some of them of them.
So your numbers are all arbitrary, and have little meaning except that they add up to the total of $5000.

What about the basics like wrenches, or screwdrivers, and hammers. None of the basic hand tools are covered.
you will need tape measured, straight edges, and other layout tools before you can turn on your power tools.

I just did an inventory of my shop for insurance reasons, you would be amazed at the real cost of our shops.

Building : 24’ X 48’ slab on grade stick frame, R-45 and R-30. 200 amp service. Comp roof. Stucco siding, dry wall text. and painted 2 man doors 1 insul. double gar door ...... $51,000
AC heat cool ...... $5,600
Ext paint and trim to match house ...... $2,250
Power tools ( see attach A) ...... $11, 227
Hand tools (see attach B) ...... $4,616
Misc. shop fixtures ...... $3,125
Shop supplies ...... $1,735
Lumber on hand ...... $1,137 ————————— TOTAL $80,690

So as you can see your whole article is unrealistic in the sense that you are spending $5,000 on power tools and planes, routers and such with out a bench to work on nor a place to put it.

I did find it an interesting read, but it is fantasy and fiction.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View robscastle's profile


8231 posts in 3419 days

#4 posted 06-08-2015 06:19 AM

For further consideration:

I have a table saw (and a bench) and without checking I would think that the accessories, various blades, tenoning attachments and the like then the PPE would have cost as much if not more then the original basic saw.
I know this is the case for certain with my shaper and its various attachments, cutting heads, jigs etc.
Then along comes the Drum Sander of which there is more in dollar value for consumables under the sander than I originally paid for it, so beware and have a read of Grumpymike’s post.

Maybe some people collect tools like stamp collectors and only look at them so they do not have the need for a bench, who knows!

-- Regards Rob

View thegringoww's profile


29 posts in 2381 days

#5 posted 06-08-2015 02:15 PM

Hello Grumpy,

Let me say thank for your response!

You might want to read some of my previous postings to understand that I currently do not have an shop as I have sold off 99% percent of my stuff and I am looking for something in Mexico. It should also be noted here, that I have been travelling for several years which is why I do not have most of the tools mentioned except for some power tools and some chisels, planes, etc…

This article was written after I read a fine woodworking article that stated exactly what those prices are. Meaning the original article did not take into account what you had to do for your workshop.

I believe the article is illustrating your exact point! Meaning I point out why they would write an article and really not address other intangibles…

Also, I was wanting to show that prices really have not gone up that much. I will be writing article part 2.5 after I got to really looking at those prices and saw that if I took out the vacuum the percent of how much the tools have gone up went up. The article will be small to clear up some of previous numbers

Don’t kill the messenger here. I am just a guy who wanted a tools inventory list to investigate the prices here in Mexico and compare them to the USA.

View thegringoww's profile


29 posts in 2381 days

#6 posted 06-08-2015 02:32 PM

Thanks Robert for reading the article!

I have to agree with you here! The people at the fine woodworking has left out a few items :P I have to say that it is not just the people at fine woodworking, but other people who write articles like this up. I guess what I am trying to get at here is the fact they do not have a complete tools list. Now, I realize that it is up to the woodworker to know what tools they want, but come on no hammer,clamps,router bits or screwdrivers in the article!

In part 3 of my article I will be discussing two websites I like and read.

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