John Steffen's Workshop

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Workshop by John Steffen posted 01-14-2010 09:59 PM 2650 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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John Steffen

218 posts in 3056 days

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John Steffen's Workshop John Steffen's Workshop  

Farmington, IL 61531
United States

I’m just starting to getting serious about woodworking, and have been afforded the opportunity to spend some money (about $2700) on equipment.

I start off having a few decent things in the shop that you get from being a home owner… A full set of wrenches, drivers, and sockets, a few drills, circular saw, and I even convinced the lady to let me get a DeWalt sliding miter saw along the way.

I’ve been shopping around for a couple months and have a pretty good idea of what I’m getting into. I’ve looked locally at what the box stores have, and while the price was definitely right, I don’t think I would get my money’s worth. I checked out the local Woodworkers Shop in the next town over, and they have the nice stuff (SawStop, Festool, etc). Unfortunately I don’t think I could get a lot of bang for my buck with them as a table saw alone could drain the bank. Finally I decided that I’d go with Grizzly on my larger items. I’ve read some good reviews about them (and a couple bad ones) but I figure I can get some above average quality stuff for an outstanding price.

So far I’ve got a cabinet saw (G1023SLWX) which is still in my dad’s fancy heated workshop, and the new picture shows the rolling base he fabricated for it. I’ve also got a (G0689) 13” Planer, a (G7946) Radial Drill Press, and a (G0654) 6” x 46” Jointer.

The next steps to having a real shop will be to re-wire my 3 stall garage for 220 (going to put up all new wiring to have plenty of outlets of 110 and 220. Then this summer I will hopefully get it cleared out, insulated, drywalled and have a new wall put up separating her stall from the other two.

The girlfriend already has a couple projects lined up for me, and I’m lucky to have her support in a hobby. She wants a entry-way bench with coat hangers which needs to have lots of storage for shoes and other entry-way items. I’m also planning to build new kitchen cabinets for our house in the next few years when we do the big kitchen remodel.

I’m looking forward to posting some projects and ideas I have worked up on paper or in SketchUp, and giving some pictures of when my shop gets going.

-- Big John's Woodshed - Farmington, IL

8 comments so far

View dbhost's profile


5712 posts in 3233 days

#1 posted 01-14-2010 10:21 PM

The nice thing is that the big expenses only have to happen once unless something bad happens, the bad thing is it hurts to spend the money…

I would suggest getting a good router like a Hitachi KM12VC combo, and a set of bits… Routers are kind of useless without bits!

I did the mortising attachment thing. Save your $$ for either a dedicated machine, or learn to route, or drill & chisel mortises… I personally went with the drill / chisel approach. MUCH easier for me to deal with than setting up and using a drill press mortising attachment. I do however plan on adding a dedicated mortiser when I get a few extra bucks…

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John Steffen

218 posts in 3056 days

#2 posted 01-14-2010 11:46 PM

Thanks for the tip on the mortising attachment DB. I’ve been indecisive on it for months, and still don’t know what I want to do about mortise joints.

-- Big John's Woodshed - Farmington, IL

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3823 days

#3 posted 01-15-2010 05:06 AM

Hank, this is certainly a nice start on your shop. I have always had a great deal of respect for both Grizzly’s line of tools and their customer service. Keep us posted on your updates when you get the chance.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View cstrang's profile


1832 posts in 3169 days

#4 posted 01-15-2010 05:58 AM

Your off to a good start, I look forward to some more pics as time goes on.

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 3362 days

#5 posted 01-15-2010 11:05 AM

Hey Hank,
We all started somewhere and that table saw is a real good start…well done.

View wookie's profile


154 posts in 3084 days

#6 posted 01-17-2010 11:42 PM

Hey Hank

I am close to you over here in Morton. Nice saw!

-- Wookie=Wood Rookie

View roughcut's profile


8 posts in 3057 days

#7 posted 01-18-2010 12:07 AM

Nice start Hank. I’ve been in the process of setting up a workshop for the past 4 years. I was faced with the same problem….not alot of money for the equipment needed. I too was hesitant on purchasing Grizzly tools. My reasoning was that if they were so much cheaper than the “big names” that they must be junk. I was wrong. I had the opportunity to purchase a 10 year old 8” jointer and a 15” planner from a proffesional woodworker that was upgrading to machines with spiral cutters. I was sold when he told me that he replaced the machines I purchased with Grizzly’s. My feelings are that if they are good enough to be used by professionals, than they should be fine for a beginner such as myself. I am very pleased with performance of both. I think the reason that they are so much cheaper than the “big boy’s” is that they will only sell to you direct and they cut out the middle man. As for the mortising attachment, save up the few extra dollars and purchase a dedicated bench top model. You will be much happier in the end.

Best of luck to you in your woodworking endeavors.


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John Steffen

218 posts in 3056 days

#8 posted 01-18-2010 03:13 AM

Thanks everyone for your praise and advice. I’ll be ordering a jointer and drill press (you all have talked me out of the mortising attachment) this week, and I’ll post some more pics when I get them. Over the weekend I got a DeWalt DW625 3hp plunge router for 199.99 to put in my table saw router port. I’d eventually like to have a dedicated router table with lift, but I’ll work with the plunge router for now.

Wookie, good to see some local folks on here. I’m from that side of the river, but am really liking the peace and quiet in Fulton Co.

-- Big John's Woodshed - Farmington, IL

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