Controlling the GAS (gear acquisition syndrome)

in #woodworking5 months ago

It almost does not matter what hobby or passion we may have. All of us, or should I say: most of us; don't feel there such thing as enough tools, enough toys, enough.


If I'm specific about woodworking or shop life in general, I have to say this particular conundrum is ever too real. More so because we tend to find online all sorts of amazing tools, amazing toys, that make the job at hand, or the hobby we love to partake of, a lot easier.

All that being said; I've been trying to put a hard break on this whole thing for a while. Which is to say, not fall into the typical trap of buying more and more things “just in case I need them” or worse.

I'm willing to admit that most of the times when I've purchased a tool compulsively, It never quite worked out as I pictured it inside my head. It was either not as easy as someone else made it look, or the learning curve took away the initial impulse to learn the skill way too fast. Which is why I think it's best to build up to it, build up to the need, if that makes any sense.

In the applying of these mental handbrakes I've had to come up with rules, with self limitations as to not fall victim to my own personality flaws. And the one that seems to work the best, at least for the past couple of years works something like this.

  1. I see a video of someone doing something amazing
  2. I wonder if I can too learn to do the same
  3. I observe the tools they have at their disposal
  4. I think about the tools I have and feel disappointment
  5. I wonder if there is another way
  6. I find the old school way of doing the job and usually get my mind blown
  7. I rethink the tools I have
  8. I realize my need is not justified
  9. I try to find a DIY more modern solution
  10. I give it a go
  11. I fail spectacularly a few times

Then a split on the road follows:

If I succeed at making something decent, something usable.


  1. I try to do even better
  2. I try to make jigs or tools that would facilitate it even more
  3. I rethink the tools I have
  4. Then decide if I should buy something or just be happy as it is.
  5. If I'm buying, Ill try to wait for as long as possible *
If I dont succeed and begin to feel too frustrated, too unable to enjoy the time and effort I've put into the whole thing.

fish soup.jpg

*1. I try to mentally rescue the things Ive learnt

  1. I try to recycle the materials used
  2. I try to feel gratitude for not having spent the money
  3. I promise myself to revisit the challenge in the future.*
Now, does this work all the time?

Of course not, but the point is that I seem to have developed a system of sorts, a system of self control. I remember, back in the day, when I was a young bassist lad, and in the search for better gear, for better tone, for more music, I ended up owning over 30 instruments, most never got played and that was just tragic.

Why share this?


I guess up until now, I had not tried to lay this out, to put in paper (metaphorically of course) what it is that I've been doing to not fall for GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) as it's commonly called.

**Does this mean I'm a mature neckbeard? **

Probably not… but baby steps… baby steps.




GAS is always an issue for musicians. We're looking for shortcuts to the skills and sounds we want. I do my best to resist, but I'll buy something if I have a genuine need. I just don't have room for lots more guitars. If you're not using something then it can make room for something you will.


My older brother at the moment has lost all control. Last time I visited him he had over 20 guitars in his closet... lol

I've not got quite that many, so far.

GAS is a very hard thing to overcome! I've suffered from it in the past. Mostly the biggest part of my life. It always had something to do with musical equipment. Microphones, mixers, guitars, amps, etc.

The way I was able to beat it into remission was getting married and having kids. But thats not a cure. Once the kids are out of the house. It will come roaring back just as strong as ever. But you will crave other things on top of the old cravings.

It's a horrible disease and there is no cure. I feel for you. I'm in the same boat.

well being broke (my case currently) helps a lot too... lol... but yeah, it one of those problems that never truly goes away huh?

Yeah. Being broke defiantly holds it back slightly, lol!

I have some issues with GAS myself. However, I am replacing my older, worn tools and adding specific tools that I have long been able to justify. A couple grand here, a couple grand there, and it starts adding up, so I have been approaching it with caution, and have almost finished the planned replacement and upgrade to my abilities.

Working on a high, slanted ceiling today, I had to make a jack to brace some paneling, and yearned for the drywall jack I used to have the ability to use to precisely position 4x8 sheets with ease. But I rarely am faced with a high slanted ceiling and find the expense - and the storage space - the drywall jack would entail insuperable. So, when I do face this issue, I will use a long plank with a crosspiece, as I did today, and sweat more.

A problem is that now I need to unload my old tools, and I'd almost rather donate them than hassle with it. I have like seven drills I don't need, and it's time to empty my excess bins of tools I don't need. Surely someone else would be grateful to have them, as I was when I got them.


oh man... that is the absolute best way of doing things... Ive done the same recently, given some of my old tools to a friend who is just starting. It somehow feels correct, like you didnt lose any money, you gave someone a little treasure.


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