Reply by knotscott

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Posted on Help please knowing which table saw, router, planer, and possibly a band saw and jointer to buy.

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8122 posts in 3496 days

#1 posted 07-16-2013 09:57 AM

What to get is somewhat dependent on what you’ll build. For household stuff and furniture type projects, the table saw is the heart of most shops, so that’s where I’d spend the most time and money. If at all possible, I’d go with a full size, with a belt drive induction motor, and a nice fence (or buy it cheap enough to justify adding a nice fence). The ABC's of table saws.

A jointer is undoubtely the best and most efficient tool for flattening a reference face and squaring an edge. I personally love having one (just a 6”)’s usually step one in the process, but I read about other folks surviving without one. Other methods are less effective and more time consuming, but can work. I do think getting a planer first makes sense, but it’s best to get both if possible. Your call.

A router is the most versatile tool in the shop…..highly recommended! It can do things that many tools can’t. The features for hand held are different from table mounted….if possible, it’s better to buy two. Smaller, well balanced, comfortable are key for hand use. Powerful, variable speed, topside conveniences are preferable for table use. You can always get a mid size 11-13 amp router with variable speed that will work for both hand and table use. Lots of good brands….pick what feels good to you and/or seems like the best deal. Milwaukee, PC, Bosch, DW, Hitachi, Makita, Triton…even the lowly Craftsman and small HF routers get decent comments as decent bargains. Be sure to get one that accepts 1/2” shank bits, and buy decent grade bits. My best bits are Whiteside, Infinity, Eagle America and Freud….good bargain bits are MLCS, Price Cutter, Woodriver, Stone Mountain, Woodline, Grizzly (watch for sales).

A BS is great too, but a decent jigsaw will cut curves nicely until you’re ready and more knowledge to make a good BS selection.

A DP is another handy item, but it’s less of a priority than some others because a hand drill works well until you’re ready for a stationary model.

You’ll need a decent work surface…..flat, solid….a nice bench is a good early project, but it’s one of those “takes one to build one” items. You can get creative with old doors and what not until you’re ready to build or buy one.

You’ll want some clamps. I find the low priced Harbor Freight metal Pittsburg bar clamps to be a bonafide deal….6”, 12”, 18”, etc. The parallel jaw clamps from Bessey, Jet, Woodcraft and others are super, but are expensive….grab a couple on sale some time. Pipe clamps are strong and handy….you add your own pipe for length so can be a cost effective way to get long clamps. A couple of the quick grip type clamps from Irwin, Wolcraft, etc., are handy too…the HF version of those are pretty flimsy though.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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