Reply by crank49

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Posted on Help...New shop set up...what tools should I get first?

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4030 posts in 2968 days

#1 posted 07-10-2012 06:02 PM

Wow, you appear to have been infected by the toolaholic virus. LOL Most of us can relate.

You said you have only a small space. How small ? 8’ x 12’, half of a 1 bay garage, half a 2 bay garage ?

A few good quality hand tools you didn’t mention, but are almost necessities. A block plane, a couple of good chisels ( a 1/4” and a 3/4” are good for starting out), squares, tape measure, a couple good accurate etched steel rules (12” and 24” or 36”), xacto knife (for marking), a bevel guage for marking angles, a good level and some hand saws. I have a Jorgensen Pony Pull Saw (Japanese style) and this is my most often used saw.

You will be needing clamps, the size and type depends on what you build, but I’d want at least about two each of 6”, 12”, 24”, 36” of the “F” style and a couple 3/4” pipe clamps with 4 ft pipes. You can swap out the pipes for different lengths. Some spring clamps are handy as well. It really doesn’t matter which clamps you start with, you will never have enough, or the right kind. That’s just the way it is.
- I like the Jorgensen clamps that are sold at HD and other places. They are mostly made in the USA, a plus for me. Many others here like the Bessey brand and they are good too. Even the Harbor Freight “F” style and pipe clamps are okay. Not as well finished but they work and are cheap. Keep an eye out for Craigs List clamp deals.

I would not spend money on an electric hand planer. Kind of a “one trick pony”. A better investment would be a good drill press and some good brad point and Forstner bits. I would strongly recommend a floor model. I never heard anyone with a floor model say they wish they had a benchtop model. The reverse is heard quite often. The larger benchtops (40”+ tall versions) are okay, but cost almost as much as a floor model anyway. Things to look for are: longest stroke possible, 3” minimum, able to be slowed down below 200 RPM for drilling large holes with Forstner bits, max height between chuck and table, at least 16”, and biggest swing possible, 12” minimum. I’ve had two small benchtop models and they are severly limiting. Another good opportunity to shop on Craigs List; but beware, 90% of drill presses on CL are the little benchtops that people are trying to get rid of after they got a floor model.

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