New Power Tools , Why is it harder than buying a valentine gift

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Blog entry by Yupa4242 posted 04-17-2011 05:01 PM 3745 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hey Lj’s I have to say diving head first into the world of wookworking has been a treat and a major headache for me. When It comes down to power tools and the all mighty web and woodworking publications and public opinion a new hobbyist can drown before even building his first project.

Power tools are the cream of the crop these days so much to choose from makes the final choice that much harder to commit too. Heck even hand tools can be a challenge and there multitude of offerings. I think the Amish got it made with family heritage and know how there not spoiled but all that is available.

So my biggest dilema is I’m a geek and I love gadgets but also depend on know how of others and get lost in the maze of every single choice. It took me 6 months just to commit to a table saw for god sakes. I became lost in Woodsmith Shop,Yankee, and The Wood Whisperer spent more time worrying about my choice and the reality of can I even do this?

Example: First saw awesome little saw Home Depot had It was the Rigid model with a ceramic table cool I thought ceramic , hmm must be new tech right. Then to my discovery Craftsman mad a copy of that model and looked into that , that was until my Gradfather said “Stay away from Craftsmen there crap” ,What!? I thought Craftsmen stuff was quality. I brought the discussion to a local Wood store and got laughed at …. ok yes I’m a green horn.. I promptly went to the almight book store for answers and purchased “Dummies Guide to Woodworking” and read this book. OK fine I needed to learn some basics. Still new questions surfaced such as tilt design,type of table saw,good fence Oh for the sake of my sanity what next!!! Weeks went buy and working in the cable industry my eyes fixed on peoples workshops on a day to day basis soaking up and knowledge available and met quite a few woodworker all with there opinions as well. Ok months have gone by
and still no saw purchase. I was driving thru MO and saw this huge billboard for GRIZZLY Showroom , omg I was like a kid in a candy store look at all these saws!!! After my shock wore off my worry kicked in yet again and I left there more depressed than ever too many choices. Couple more months passed and reading and watching endless reviews decided the Steel City,Rigid,Craftsman and couple others were of the choice list when I discoverd that 80% of the hardware is all made from the same foundry in China. So I really want to get a saw that has a history but also that I can afford and China does not seem to be a real issue since nearly all table saws are made overseas. Ok then warrranty/cost/good tool for the money seemed like a better angle.
So final choices came down to Grizzly,General Inst,Jet,and Saw Stop they all have there pros/cons but finally decided on a Jet 30” JS-10 Proshop w/cast iron wings. This saw is bought local and serviced local if the need arise, the Grizzly had all I wanted for the money but horror stories of RMA and repairs were not for the beginner to worry about. I may buy a Grizzly 6” Jointer/spiral head later to give them a shot. All in all the Jet was more money but I met quite a few people that owned this saw and my family are happy with my final decision.

Example 2: Looking now for a good router have 2 in mind Bosch 1617EVSPK or the Dewalt DW618PK not that meesed up this time but a new problem yet again worry/decision/facts and both these units have developed what the community have declared flaws. But the flaws seem more like pesonal needs vs. industral tasks. The Bosch has had isses with shifting in the housing that is major for dovetailing and the Dewalt has about a 30% motor failure due to folks running unit on hard woods for long periods. But I could be wrong but 200.00 price range does not seem like a hard use price more like moderate use. Are there not better high end products that can handle the torque? I dont think I’ll be dovetailing anytime soon yet I think I can settle for the Dewalt as long as I pay attension to the task at hand maybe even buy an extended warranty. The Dewalt kit has been getting high praise.

I’m sure many here at Lumberjock’s have there own stories this site is huge and maybe I missed some info I was looking for but on the whole this is a great resource here. And I’m sure I’ll get better on the buying then the worry part of woodworking.

-- "If the Universe is Infinite, Then all dreams are real."

9 comments so far

View saddletramp's profile


1180 posts in 2666 days

#1 posted 04-17-2011 07:35 PM

Welcome to the shark infested waters. ;-))

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3463 days

#2 posted 04-17-2011 07:41 PM

I understand and appreciate your pain.
Like you, I did not know a good tool from a bad tool and some of the advice you get can be confusing.
I think it is best for you to sit down and decide what items you indent to make initially and select the appropriate tools you will need to accomplish that.
Many friends and LJs will offer their opinions on tools, and you must remember that all the advice can be biased towards their own likes/dislikes which sometimes reflects work on projects you do not have in mind.
The question is what are you going to use this tool for and what are your expectations? Top of the line tools are what many LJs may suggest because the work at WW for a job,not a hobby and have to have tools that are vastly accurate and will last a longtime with constant usage. The main thing for you is to find the tool that fits your need and is not dangerous to use.
As you will have been advised, Craftsman has lost it’s in quality over the past few years and also just about everything nowadays is manufactured overseas, making it difficult to come to a decision because sometimes the only difference between “brand name tools” is the paint color or logo.
I have become a big fan of Grizzly as they seem to have good quality control over their products and their support is second to none. Their tools represent (I think) good value and fit well into the amateur or Pro’s budget.
Router bits can also be a mind bender, but there again it’s a question of how much use you need out of a bit. MLCS has a good range of acceptable bits for medium usage, Amana probably have the best bits you can buy, and Feud bits are very good and so are Milwaukee – as they are manufactured by Freud. By far the best saw blades are indeed Forrest followed by Freud – hey take a look at Milwaukee blades – yep they are made by Freud too. I have a Forrest blade, but I also decided to purchase a cheaper blade to “save” my Forrest for really important tasks. So I purchase a Hitachi blade – made in France, and I was blown away how good it was, and I saved $80 by not getting a Forrest backup. The lesson in all this is that you will find recommendations that have never used an alternative product, which makes your choice very difficult. Even HF has some gems.
Good hunting in finding the tools that you need for your type of WW.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View Yupa4242's profile


116 posts in 2629 days

#3 posted 04-18-2011 04:36 AM

Thanks for the replies greatly and humorously welcomed. I spent better part of the day searching for parts for “The Ultimate Router Table” Shop Notes #100 Almost got all the hardware even found some sales on MDF,and hardboard at Menards. The shock factor was 80 bucks for a white piece of 48×96 laminate… I’m now wondering wether to swallow my pride take the stuff back and just buy the Kreg Router Table and Fence System. Ever since I saw this plan I wanted to build it and I did not care how long it took. But its gonna cost me well over the cost to buy a precision table. Again I’m asking “I thought it was cheaper to build your own stuff rather than buy it” this is fairly depressing…

-- "If the Universe is Infinite, Then all dreams are real."

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2661 days

#4 posted 04-18-2011 05:51 AM

Well I’ll agree that craftsman’s line of table saws leaves a bit to be desired. At least the ones I’ve seen anyway. However, I wouldn’t toss the entire brand overboard because of it. There are plenty of craftsman offerings that represent a great value to the hobbyist/casual woodworker.
Take a biscuit joiner for example. Most hobbyists don’t use a biscuit joiner very often. SO it might not make sense for someone to buy a professional quality tool that will mostly remain idle. Sears sells the model 17539 that is pretty well respected by most people that have used it. Reg price is $99, but it can often times be had for $85 or less on sale. Porter Cable and Makita models will cost double that. I’m not saying the PC and makita tools aren’t worth the asking price. I’m sure they are. But I don’t own a furniture making business, so the additional quality that those brands might offer isn’t important to me. I need something that will cut a handful of biscuit slots 1-2 times per year. The $85 craftsman meets my needs.
I also own a couple craftsman routers. They sell for well under $100 and have never failed to do what I needed them to do. I’ve often thought about moving up to a more expensive brand/model, but can’t seem to justify replacing a tool that works plenty well for now.
I should also mention that after my USMC enlistment, I spent 4 yrs as an auto mechanic while I finished college. I own a lot of $nap on tools, but also a fair amount of craftsman too. I had a craftsman flex head ratchett that I preferred over a $80 snap on model. I used it nearly everyday of those four years, and it worked every time. I have a lot of respect for their automotive hand tools.
All that said, I think the average craftsman tool is plenty good for the average hobbyist. The exceptions being table saws and band saws. But craftsman’s failure to hit a homerun with either of those key, high-profile products lines has made the entire brand suffer. Throw in the lackluster help that is often found, in Sears stores, and its no wonder a lot of people have walked away from craftsman.

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3130 days

#5 posted 04-18-2011 09:05 AM

Maybe your over thinking this tool thing if your “still diving into woodworking”. Maybe it doesn’t really matter if it’s a Ford or a Chevy as long as it gets you down the road….....

-- mike...............

View Yupa4242's profile


116 posts in 2629 days

#6 posted 04-18-2011 04:17 PM

Yeah I’ve been told by me friends I do that quite alot High School was a @#$%^ for that very reason. After sleeping on it I’ve decided to plow forward with the router project. As for my table saw purchase JET now has a hold on my saw for some reason ? ! Are the daring me to cancel them and by Grizzly sheesh!

-- "If the Universe is Infinite, Then all dreams are real."

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2868 days

#7 posted 04-19-2011 09:32 PM

Start with a small version. It will teach you a few lessons. The first is what do you want I the functionally of say a router. Dont buy so cheap it is not safe. But start on the low end. Before you dive into the planner and joiner, do you have a dealer that will s4s your lumber for you. I have box store versions [and a harbor freight 15 miles from my house] of a lot of hand tools and that helped me decide what my needs were and I have upgraded to better. IMHO

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Yupa4242's profile


116 posts in 2629 days

#8 posted 04-20-2011 04:35 PM

Well i started a project in the blog section and will update as I go along but I decided to build the thing :)

-- "If the Universe is Infinite, Then all dreams are real."

View Yupa4242's profile


116 posts in 2629 days

#9 posted 04-23-2011 06:48 PM

Fairly annoyed got a workshop and no table saw yet called Woodcraft and they said some saw orders can take several weeks to over a month …wtf>>> are you kidding me !! Annoyed as hell I am when you order from Grizzly it’s less than a week ….. Home alone this weekend and no saw :( Got a call from Home Depot and they said the Dewalt DDW618PK is backorderd until late June .. ah crap !! This is so frustrating!!

-- "If the Universe is Infinite, Then all dreams are real."

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