The decorative column this month is written about angle grinders. When I talked to contractors about what they thought was important, there were a lot of different answers. One contractor told me that he tends to buy tools for a project, not expecting them to last much longer than that. So he doesn't want to pay for the highest quality. His tools represent a way to get the job done and then move on to the next one.

Some contractors complain about their labor force. They buy good equipment and want it to last but their labor in the field doesn't take care of the equipment and the life expectancy turns out to be low. But even with the best labor force, most tools on jobsites probably don't get cleaned or maintained very much—especially electric power tools. I've seen workers on jobsites set power tools down in the mud. And if you set two tools side by side, one new and one used, workers will choose to work with the new tool.

Perhaps smaller companies take better care of their tools than the larger more impersonal ones. The investment is probably harder to make.

There are also people who love using tools and are proud owners. They do everything right: keeping them clean and maintained, and using them properly. For them it's also fun keeping up-to-date with the latest advances in the industry. I am one of those people.