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Tools you should never own

A.J.'s last post got me thinking. When I started out in construction, I wanted to have every tool in the book. At that time, I was working for an architect/contractor who built the houses he designed. I was his foreman and my ego dictated that I be able to do anything.

We usually "subbed out" things like electrical, plumbing, insulation, drywall, masonry and the like. But we did most everything else. We formed and poured foundations, framed, roofed, built doors, cabinets and did all the finish work and sometimes, even the painting.

As a result, I had tools for just about every trade needed to build a house. I even had tools to do the things we usually let go to subs. I always wanted to be able to do a quick fix or mod on the plumbing or hack in another electrical outlet if we needed one without having to wait for another contractor to get back to the job. So I had all the tools needed to do those things. And we always needed to touch up the sheetrock so I had all those tools, too.

The problem was that, by simple virtue of having the tools, I was always called on to perform those tasks. So I could easily find myself outside on a hot summer afternoon, pouring and finishing a driveway, instead of inside in the shade cutting trim. I wised up after a while and that was when I realized that if you don't want to finish concrete, you should not own the tools to finish concrete. I gradually divested myself of things like concrete tools, roofing tools, drywall tools, etc. After that, not only was I much less likely to be asked to fix a hole in the wall, I had more money to buy tools to do what I really wanted to do.


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