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$500 Shop Upgrade !!! PLEASE HELP !!!

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Forum topic by OutPutter posted 10-10-2007 12:21 PM 5507 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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OutPutter

1199 posts in 3748 days


10-10-2007 12:21 PM

I have the following tools in my workshop:
Compound Miter Saw, Circular Saw, Jig Saw, Router (Fixed), Cordless Drill, Dove Tail Saw, Chisels (1/8 – 1”), 54” All in One Clamp, 6 12” Irwin Clamp/Spreaders

I plan to make a major upgrade to my tool inventory and need some good advice on where to put my money. Most of the work I plan to do in the workshop will be construction of small hardwood boxes in the approximate dimensions of 10” x 12” x 3”. I will be using dovetail joinery for the sides and gluing up panels for the tops and bottoms. I will not be able to afford much more than $500 in tools, equipment, etc. so, I have to be careful.

My priorities are safety, durability of the boxes, impact on the cost of the boxes, impact on labor required for each box, and anything else I don’t know enough to think of.

I’m considering: a table saw, band saw, jointer, planer, sander, Grrippers, LittleRat, Dovetail Jig

Please tell me what you think I should do. Thanks in advance.

-- Jim


34 replies so far

View gene's profile

gene

2184 posts in 3641 days


#1 posted 10-10-2007 01:04 PM

Hi Outputter,
I feel that you are going to get this response the most. (table Saw, Table Sax, Table Saw)
It’s the one tool that I would not like working without. I have a Delta contractor’s saw and I am very happy with it. The price range should be in line with what you plan to spend.
I hope this helps.

-- Gene, a Christian in Virginia

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 3919 days


#2 posted 10-10-2007 02:35 PM

I think the table saw will take most, if not all, of your budget. So, get the best you can afford.

Do you do your dovetail joints by hand? You might consider a dovetail jig, especially if you are going to be building lots of boxes. With the jig, you may want to get a new router as well (plunge and fix base). Both could be a labor saver, as well as time saver and consistent results.

Do you have a market already for your boxes? Do not forget your materials and supplies you will need. The $500 will buy you a lot of materials to start with. You might want to start your venture with a few basic items, and then add the tools as you identify your needs. If you are doing this as a business, you will go about it one way. If it is a hobby, then you will probably go about this differently.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View Dadoo's profile

Dadoo

1789 posts in 3748 days


#3 posted 10-10-2007 02:48 PM

Your 12” Irwin clamps are too short to clamp a 12” box…buy the longest ones you can as they will come in handy for other stuff too.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View jpw1995's profile

jpw1995

376 posts in 4055 days


#4 posted 10-10-2007 02:54 PM

I agree with Bill’s comment about business vs. hobby. If it’s just a hobby and all you are building are small boxes then you may be able to get more for your money if you just buy a bench top table saw. Then you could afford some more clamps, a dovetail jig, a mult-base router, or whatever you feel will be most useful to you. There are a thousand ways to spend $500 on tools. It’ll be up to you to decide what you ultimately need (or want).

-- JP, Louisville, KY

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mot

4911 posts in 3794 days


#5 posted 10-10-2007 03:41 PM

I think that most small shops should be built around a tablesaw. You can build them around a bandsaw if you’re proficient at using hand tools. The bandsaw would allow for gross dimensioning and resawing, allowing you to finish the rest on the bench. It’s a neat way to go if that’s what trips your trigger.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

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WayneC

13592 posts in 3855 days


#6 posted 10-10-2007 03:57 PM

Dare I say a few handplanes…. #7, #4 and a low angle block plane. Your going to need to mill your stock. Jointer and Planer would break the budget

You can handcut the dovetails or use a PC router jig. May need a good handsaw if your hand cutting.

Agree on the bench top table saw – if I was working with $500, I would start with http://craigslist.org

Also, I would check yard sales or flea markets for a couple of pipe clamps for gluing up your panels or drop the $20 or so (including pipe) for them at a big box store.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View gbvinc's profile

gbvinc

629 posts in 3704 days


#7 posted 10-10-2007 04:04 PM

Hmmm, boxes, eh? Given your current tool list and budget, I think I would take a peek at the Incra Universal Precision Positioning Jig, or one of it’s bigger brothers. This system quickly creates nice accurate dovetals and you would have $400.00 left over to put toward building the router table you will want. Here is a link to the tool I am yakking about: http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=11494&filter=incra This is also a link to a video showing the tool in action.

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OutPutter

1199 posts in 3748 days


#8 posted 10-10-2007 04:22 PM

All,

Thanks for the help. I’ve heard the argument that the table saw is the center piece of the shop. But, what if I can rip with my circular saw and cross cut with the miter saw? Do I still need a table saw to build a box? I’m pretty sure I’ll have to buy better clamps too Dadoo. I read an article about the amount of clamping pressure needed for a good glue up and the type I have can’t generate the amount of pressure needed.

I’m going to be giving the boxes to family so I just need to get them done while respecting my priorities of safety, durability of the boxes, impact on the cost of the boxes, impact on labor required for each box, and anything else I don’t know enough to think of.

I’m working on my prototype box now and doing the dovetails by hand so, I can do them all by hand if the money can be better spent on something else. But what is the best way?

What a dilema? I guess another way to ask the question is “If you couldn’t have anything but my equipment and $500, how would you spend the money so you could make nothing but boxes?”

Thanks again,

-- Jim

View Paul's profile

Paul

660 posts in 3850 days


#9 posted 10-10-2007 04:35 PM

It seems to me for a 10×12x3 exterior dimension box you would perhaps be using stock that’s less than 3/4” thick? Otherwise, there’s only 1.5” interior space?

Therefore, I would suggest a thickness planer be in the mix.

-- Paul, Texas

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 3843 days


#10 posted 10-10-2007 04:51 PM

I bought my son-in-law the Dewalt 10 in. compact table saw. http://lumberjocks.com/jocks/Treefarmer/blog/1564 I like it so much that it’s on my list for my next purchase. I spent $340 or so at Home Depot.

I like it for the rack n pinion sliding fence, and it’s great portability. It cut’s like a big saw too with some outfeed support added. It would be great for boxes.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

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WayneC

13592 posts in 3855 days


#11 posted 10-10-2007 04:56 PM

Limited to $500. If I was building for my enjoyment and as presents family and friends. I would probably go the hand tool route. Show off my craftsmanship in the work.

Tools
  • Good dovetail saw
  • Couple of good used handsaws
  • Jewler’s saw
  • Handrill (north brothers)
  • Set of handplanes

    • Sandpaper and float glass to sharpen
    • #4 Smoothing Plane – For finishing work (Bench planes would be Stanley type 11 restored)
    • #5 Jack Plane – Set up as a scrub plane
    • #7 or #8 Jointer Plane – To flaten stock
    • Record 043 or 044 Plough Plane – To groove for bottom panels and such (http://uk.ebay.com)
    • 60 1/2 or 65 Low Angle block plane
  • Cabinet scrapers, mill file, and burnisher
  • Pipe clamps for panels
  • Combination and machinest’s squares
  • Marking knife
  • Some form of portable workbench
Jigs
  • Bench hook
  • Shooting board
  • Planing stop

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 3794 days


#12 posted 10-10-2007 05:17 PM

Yup, with wayne’s example, then I go back to the bandsaw to allow for resawing. You can rip with your circular saw, cross cut with the mitre saw, resaw with the bandsaw, then dimension with the hand tools. Then you’re covered. Just an option.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

13592 posts in 3855 days


#13 posted 10-10-2007 05:26 PM

I agree Bandsaw would be a good choice given your existing tools…. You would get some increased flexability.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View jpw1995's profile

jpw1995

376 posts in 4055 days


#14 posted 10-10-2007 05:31 PM

Don’t forget glue, sandpaper, finishing supplies, safety glasses…..... The list just keeps growing. ;)

-- JP, Louisville, KY

View Josh's profile

Josh

119 posts in 3695 days


#15 posted 10-10-2007 05:38 PM

I have been setting up to make smaller boxes as well. I agree with Wayne on his suggestion to pick up hand planes. I have been picking up planes for a few bucks at different sales and having a good deal of fun with them.

I would also look at picking up a used table saw. Without a bandsaw you can set up a table saw to resaw. Picking up a used table saw will also stretch that 500.

The last must have for me would be a good table saw blade. This is the only thing I would buy new.

Good Luck.

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