Learning and Living the Experience


My brother-in-law, Bill, is building an RV-9 in his basement with my sister Jensie. You may have heard Bill on the other end of the Online Builder Hangouts, guiding the conversation and promoting the Facebook page. It’s a great opportunity for both Bill and Jensie to live the customer experience by asking for help, learning how to use all the tools, and figure out the best way to solve problems during the build.

They are starting where many new builders do. They have had exposure to the techniques, but solving problems that come up in their own shop is just different.

I always tell our customers, “Use the best tools that you can afford.” In Bill and Jensie’s case, they moved to Portland a year ago. In doing so, they left the convenience of a fabulous shop for a basement work area and the bare minimum of tools. Of course, the first step in the plans makes sure that you can do basic craftsman skills. “Fabricate X from a section of angle,” the plans state.

This early challenge in the build leads many of our customers to ask questions like, “Do I need a bandsaw, a belt sander, a drill press?” The answer is, “Need? No. Benefit from? Certainly.” Bill gained some mad skills and techniques making, and remaking, those brackets using a hacksaw and a file; and I believe that is Van’s point.

Bill and Jensie’s experience was the inspiration for our next Online Builder Hangout. We are going to show some tips and tricks on how to use simple tools to get great results. You may still want to have the fancy tools as they certainly make the job easier, but we appreciate that many folks are building on a shoestring, and quality is achievable for everyone with a variety of tools.

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