Setting up shop

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Riversburg posted 10-11-2009 06:10 PM 1037 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Riversburg's profile


6 posts in 2568 days

10-11-2009 06:10 PM

Well guys, I’ve been working with lumber for many years in home remodeling, additions and actually built a small home in the country. Now I’m getting to within a couple of years of retiring and so I really want to begin working with wood. I have all the hand tools that you can think of but now comes the need for stationary equiptment. Right now the only stationary tool/saw I have is a late 1950’s DeWalt radial arm saw (that I am very proud of) that I was given by my Dad before he passed away.

I’ve decided that I can buy at least one power tool a year so that when I say goodby to my job, I’ll be able to start enjoying woodworking as much as I want to. So with all that said, I would really appreciate some advice from folks who really enjoy the field of wood working on where to start. Cabinetry, furniture down to bird houses (which is probably a good place to start) and at some point turning but not to start with.
I’ve just received my Grizzly power tool catalog (which to me is much like the Sears wish book from years ago).
If it were you, what equiptment would you start your shop with and please prioritize.
Keep in mind, I am not wealthy (but I don’t want to have to repurchase in the future) so if you could I would really appreciate it.
I’m sure I’ll have questions later about the right brands etc.
Thank you in advance!

15 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3240 days

#1 posted 10-11-2009 07:10 PM

Riversburg, if you want to go the power tool route then I would get a good quality table saw first before buying anything else. A good quality 3 hp cabinet saw, such as the G1024SL or SLX, depending on your shop size should be sufficient for your woodworking needs. Grizzly makes a quality saw and, depending upon your budget, you might also want to consider a Delta Unisaw, Powermatic 2000 or Sawstop. In this price range you will be getting a quality product no matter which brand you choose to go with.

Contractor style saws are more economical, but having used one for many years before upgrading recently to a cabinet saw, I have mentally kicked myself many times for not spending the money earlier to go with a better saw. A friend of mine, who is a pro, once advised me to spend the most money your budget will allow when buying tools. The few times that I have let price alone decide the brand of tool I have generally come to regret the decision later.

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

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 2976 days

#2 posted 10-11-2009 07:19 PM

I’m like Scott,. I had the grizzy 1023XLS when I had my cabinet shop and I kick myself for not hanging on to it. Tablesaw 1st. Bandsaw would be my second choice and then a router and router table. Don’t be afraid of Grizzly because they have great power tools and the best customer service too. I had a full shop of Grizzly and I still have my jointer, planer and dust collector. If you need any further advise please feel free to PM me.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3240 days

#3 posted 10-11-2009 07:40 PM

I agree with Jerry with one exception. Now that I am older (and much wiser, I hope) I would rank dust collection right after the table saw as a tool to purchase. It is not as glamorous as the other tools, and you can’t actually do anything with it other than empty the bag. But it does serve one vital role in the shop- protecting your health by helping keep your lungs clear. To me this is money that is well spent.

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

View a1Jim's profile


115171 posts in 2995 days

#4 posted 10-11-2009 07:54 PM

Scott and Jerry always have good ideas but as for me after a good table saw I would get a jointer first then dust collection then a planner then a band saw. It all depends on what your going to make how you work and the amount of floor space you have in your shop. I like all of the grizzly tools I’ve purchased they are great tools at good prices.

-- Custom furniture

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3192 days

#5 posted 10-11-2009 08:55 PM

I agree with the rest of the guys that a good cabinet table saw is number one. No less than 3HP, 50” rip if you have the room and plan on cutting a lot of sheet stock. I do not have any Grizzly tools but a lot of people really like them. I do not think you can go wrong for the price. Then a jointer, planer, band saw, drill press, router table,spindle/belt sander and dust collector. As far as what order, I guess thats up to you. Everybody has different ideas about this. I would probably buy them in the order I listed them if I could only buy one at a time. Have fun setting up your shop for retirerment! It’s Great!

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Karson's profile


35032 posts in 3819 days

#6 posted 10-11-2009 09:03 PM

I was thinking an 8” jointer as a minium. You have a radial arem saw so you could stay away from a table saw for now. After the jointer then a planer is the next step.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View BTKS's profile


1984 posts in 2883 days

#7 posted 10-11-2009 09:45 PM

Lots of good advice above. The points I agree with most is a good 3hp table saw first, personally I’d go for a router next then the jointer and planer. May go jointer and planer first if you plan on using lots of rough sawn lumber. BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 2965 days

#8 posted 10-11-2009 10:33 PM

All the post sound really good. I just have a few ideas I would add. First, my experience has been to buy good quality name brand machines such as grizzly but I have found buying off of CL have been my best. Just recently had a chance to buy an older rockwell unisaw for $400, it was just bad timing. A shop can be outfitted with great equipment off CL for probably 60% cost if you are patient and have the time to wait and are persistant to watch daily. Plus, heavy equipment such as shapers, table saws, jointers, dust collectors, etc, are built to last several years so coming off of CL is like buying at a discount while having your own personal set up man as the equipment comes already set up.

The other thing I would look at is buying a small to mediu sized shaper. Off of CL one of those can be bought for not much more money then a router table set up cost. Plus the footprint is minimal and wieght is substantial, plus induction motor. Then you can add shapers/router tables as you want.

Just my tidbit.

-- .

View SnowyRiver's profile


51452 posts in 2899 days

#9 posted 10-12-2009 11:08 PM

I would purchase a good quality TS first. This will be the workhorse of your shop. I agree with flyforfun, Craigs list and also Ebay offer great deals on new and used equipment. You just need to be patient. Take your time, know the retail cost, and have fun searching for what you need. If you are going to buy equipment over a long period of time, you will have the time to search these sites. I have bought much of my equipment on Ebay, both new and used.

Good luck !

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View thecraftsman's profile


9 posts in 2570 days

#10 posted 10-13-2009 01:30 AM

Save your money and buy the best cabinet saw you can right out from the start.
You can have your choose from Jet, Delta, Powermatic, Plus there are a few others out there.
Good luck

-- Eric, Illinois,

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3357 days

#11 posted 10-13-2009 01:39 AM

Definitely the first thing you need is a good table saw, then I’d look at a bandsaw. If you stick to dimensioned lumber from the big box stores, then you can bypass the jointer and planer for a bit It’s more expensive than rough stock, but will save you some time and money intially. You’ll also probably want a router, or two.

-- Working at Woodworking

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 2703 days

#12 posted 10-13-2009 04:01 AM

I agree with everyone above about buying a good table saw first. Your table saw will always be the heart beat of your shop. Take your time and don’t settle for just a price. When you have a quality table saw, with the right blade, a super accurate fence (50” if possible) and the best after market “T” square you can afford, you will be surprised what you can do with that one tool. After that, it will depend on what type woodworking you want to do.

-- John @

View grizzman's profile


7781 posts in 2722 days

#13 posted 10-13-2009 04:52 AM

i agree with most of the guys here, but do feel a good table saw is the frst tool of purchase, its the main tool of any shop…i have a delta myself and have never had to work on it since i purchased it 14 years ago…its right on…put a good blade on it… its very important, but grizzly does make some fine tools and there prices are good and they are great on service…as any owner will attest to…i wont go on because the others have pretty much given good council…just have fun with it…do some homework on how you want to set your shop up…the table saw needs to be the center..with plenty of room to cut a 4×8 wont regret that…..and if you need heat ..insulate from the get go…i heat with a wood regrets there either…good luck with it all…and i hope you enjoy your retirement…....

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Scott 's profile


103 posts in 2777 days

#14 posted 10-13-2009 05:45 AM

It’s tough to decide what to do first. Best advice I could give you is to find you some projects to start on that you can do with hand tools….mostly. Then, as your working on them, you will start to see what you would like to have to make things quicker and or easier. You may find that your fairly handy with a hand plane and a jointer isn’t as important to you as a router. Its different for everyone. You will most likely see that a table saw is a must as mentioned above but what type will depend on what you need to do with it and dust collection should be right at the top when you start making the big machine purchaces. Hope this helps.

-- Scott, South Carolina

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2592 days

#15 posted 10-13-2009 04:47 PM

I don’t know a damned thing about this stuff.

SINCE I don’t, though, I’ve acquired a LOT of used reference books on woodworking, jointery, the basic tools, shop set-up, etc.

You might check into a book called “The New Woodworker Handbook,” by Tom Hintz. I think it’s an excellent presentation for questions like yours. He goes over what you need, which to buy first, what kind to buy, pros and cons of each (bench saw vs. contractor saw vs. hybrid vs. cabinet … jointer vs. planer, etc.), and just about every other question you might raise.

I think I paid about six bucks … with shipping … for the book.

Have fun! I’m where you are … but without the gift of family tools … and without any knowledge or skills whatsoever :-)

-- -- Neil

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics