I’m a tool guy… to say the least. I’m not one of those tool guys that shines my stuff or fusses over it all the time, I want the functionality. A lot of better tool guys might look at my stuff with disgust when they see how dirty and unmaintained it looks. I respect my tools and keep them running perfectly but I’m not cleaning chips after every use or setting mats over them when not it use. I like to use them so I want them in use, or ready for use at all times. It’s the same for both my metal shop and my wood shop. All cutters are sharp and all machines are aligned, straight, lubricated and ready to go. So this brings me to my latest temptation, a lathe.
I was telling another tool guy friend (that makes me look like a complete hack) that I was in the market for a good three jaw chuck for my lathe. He said he had one but it had a Clausing lathe attached to it. He just bought a sweet Haas NC tool room lathe. So Erik and I ran out to his shop to check it out. Currently I have an old South Bend that’s in great shape and does everything I need just fine. The Clausing on the other hand is bigger and heavier and I thought it would be nice to set it aside for the really high precision jobs leaving the South Bend for Framebuilding specific duties. So my friend Jeff quoted me an outstanding price and even offered to deliver to my shop and help me set it up. So like any husband that’s terrified by the wrath of their wife, I told him I’d check with Loretta and get back to him.
I told Loretta what great deal I found and why we needed the machine and asked her what she thought. She’s not as tool crazy as I am so she doesn’t have the emotional pollution to sort through on decisions like this. She made it pretty obvious what the right answer was and I have absolutely no argument for her. Bottom line, how will the investment into the lathe make Strong Frames money. At the end of the day, this is a business, not a hobby and every penny we spend needs to make money or it will be a hobby and I’ll have to go get a job. So as much as I want it I’ve told Jeff I’ll pass and I’m glad I did, but man would it be nice to have.