Starting out fresh, on a budget. #1: A beginning.....

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Blog entry by Piemar posted 02-20-2014 05:20 PM 1532 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Hello. My name is Piemar/Tony. This is a new beginning of my journey with woodworking. Well let me tell you that I used to do woodworking when I was younger and had access to my fathers work shop. So this means that I am extremely rusty on my skills.

I have experience using some of what I consider to be the “basic” shop tools and some tools that are a little more advanced. This includes mitre saws, table saws, hand saws, scroll saws, planers, hand held routers, table top routers, air compressors, nail guns, and some other hand tools as well.

  1. Design a space/shed to work in.
  2. Purchase tools/equipment.
  3. Build stuff :)
  4. Improve skillset.

Current tools
Currently I dont have much in the way of tools. Just a Mitre saw, some drills, small air compressor, and some Ryobe One cordless tools.

Current Projects
As of right now I only have one “Project” going and that would be a club/treehouse for my kids. Started it last summer and I hope to have it in a playable state by the beginning of the spring of 2014, as long as there are no major funding issues. I would also like to start making some smaller projects for my kids and wife, such as jewelry boxes, toy boxes, and maybe a treasure chest or two for use in there club house.
I saw Andy's Art Boxes and I think those would be nice to make but with my current set of tools they would be quite a challange.

Now heres where you all may be able to help me. What tools/gear/brands would you recommend for a beginner on a low budget? And I know you all are gonna ask me what kinda budget is low? Well picture 3 kids and the one of them eating a little light for a few meals to get the next tool :) but seriously I might be able to stash $50-$100 every 2-3 weeks with out the wife getting too suspicious.
Im thinking maybe a decent midrange table saw, routing table, or joiner of some type. Please leave comments and let me know if my brain is going in the right direction.

-- "Why do you have 2 noses?" "Ones for blowin, ones for showin."

5 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3106 days

#1 posted 02-20-2014 05:39 PM

I would recommend that you get a basic set of hand tools first. Then I would add a basic set of portable power tools in the second stage. Finally I would add the stationary tools one at a time. You can build just about anything with a basic set of hand tools or portable power tools or a combination of both. You are going to need both hand tools and portable power tools anyways. When you start adding the stationary power tools you will have already learned a lot. To me this is a great way to build a shop and it will not put you under a severe final strain while doing it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Jerbone's profile


35 posts in 2162 days

#2 posted 02-20-2014 06:02 PM

I was not too far off from where you are last year. Minus the kids though. Anyway you would be surprised what you can build without a table saw. For example check out this chest I made with just a mitre saw and a few hand tools. Also I see you want to build a shed. Really the only major tools you would need are your miter saw and a skill saw. If I could offer just piece of advice it would be to avoid cheap power tools or any other kind. It can be tempting when you walk into harbor freight and look at all the different power tools in your budget. But the frustration of using a poorly made tool is almost without compare. Then when you have to spend more money to replace the crap too with a decent one, you spent more in the long run. Best of luck, I think a tree house is the best place to start!



-- Joining two of my passions, beer and woodworking,

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3816 days

#3 posted 02-20-2014 06:12 PM

I don’t know what area your end but many times I see table saws on Craigs list for $100-$150 these are not dream machines by any measure. IMO the first thing you need is a place to do woodworking a shed or lean to and then the most important tool is a table saw.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View BPatterson's profile


43 posts in 1839 days

#4 posted 02-20-2014 08:14 PM

After basic hand tools (hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrenches, vice grip, tape measure, combination/speed square, hand saw, level, clamps (harbor frieght has some decent inexpensinve bar and pipe clamps) etc) as mentioned previously, I would look into a decent corded circular saw. Then I would probably look into a decent jig saw and orbital sander. Next I would get a router and bits. You can build quite a bit with just those tools. I know you will probably want a jack plane, a set of chisels, and sharpening equipment at some point, but since I am not proficient with these yet, I dont really know where they should fall on the priority list.

Once you get the hand and portable power tools you can start adding the stationary power tools as needed. Most would probably recommend a table saw or band saw first, then maybe a drill press, planer and jointer. Of course this all depends on what kinds of projects you want to build. You may find that you dont need certain tools I have listed or you may find that my order is completely wrong for your needs.

While you are getting an actual shop built, I would get a pair of saw horses and some plywood or a solid core door so you have work station that can be taken down when not in use.

Good luck and keep us posted as your shop and tool collection comes together!!


-- Brandon ~ Aim Small, Miss Small

View Jake's profile


850 posts in 1870 days

#5 posted 02-21-2014 05:02 AM

As long as you have a mitre saw, and a decent circular saw – if you also have a cutting guide for that you are well on your way.

I built most of my furniture with just a circular saw, a cordless drill and a random orbit sander, I still don’t have a mitre saw and I have built all of my house furniture.. Honestly a good circular saw and a straight edge is all you need to get started.

I definetly agree with Jerbone – buy quality not price, I made that mistake with my orbital sander, bought a 50$ sander, used it for maybe 10 hours and it died on me, the papers kept flying off and whatnot. Then I gave up 160$ for a different model (I bought 125mm AEG – but I don’t know your US stuff). I probably have like a 150 hours on it and so far, no problems.

And that goes for all tools, especially a table saw, that is definitely something you want to have of high quality. Again – been there done that, got the T-shirt and would not reccomend anyone to follow me. :)

best of luck with all of your projects!

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

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