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Forum topic by pete79 posted 11-13-2009 07:47 PM 1407 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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154 posts in 3339 days

11-13-2009 07:47 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

No, you don’t get to have whatever you choose here, but I do need help figuring our what my next purchase is.

I have about $250 to spend on anything that I can dream up for the workshop here. I currently have a 10” Craftsman TS with stock (bad) fence, PC 690 Router with assortment of bits, 10” Craftsman CMS, variety of drills, Dewalt Random Orbit Sander, and some other odds and ends for measuring, finishing, etc.

What I don’t have that comes to mind:
Drill Press
Router Table
Quality/Accurate TS Fence
Dust Collection (other than a shop-vac)
Workbench Vise
Jointer and/or Planer

Shop space is limited, and I am well aware that a quality piece of some of the above mentioned items may not be had for $250 or less. Take a look at my workshop as well and if anyone has ideas I’d love to hear them.


-- Life is a one lap race.

18 replies so far

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


722 posts in 3472 days

#1 posted 11-13-2009 08:00 PM

If you’re planning on staying with the Craftsman TS, upgrade your fence. The TS is the base piece of your workshop.

If you’re planning on upgrading your TS in the near future, then I’d go for either the jointer or planer.

A router table is probably more useful than either the jointer or planer, however you can build a high quality router table for a lot less than you’d pay for a commercial router table. There have been many examples of them from plain to fancy here on LJ from which you could get some great ideas.

Just my two cents. Good luck!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 3343 days

#2 posted 11-13-2009 08:02 PM

Hard to say, lots of individual items on that list will make a big difference in what you can do. I guess priority would be as follows

1. Reliable fence (doesn’t have to be top of the line)
2. Router table
3. Jointer
4. Planer

The fence is a must, unless yours locks front and back. If it lets you make stable cuts, great. If not it’s a big priority to upgrade it.

A router table is another must, especially since it can help you edge-joint boards. That can be done on the TS, but in general the router is easier, less set-up etc.

Jointer/Planer are almost always bought in the second wave of tools. Think of it this way

Walnut S4S – $8.00-$10.00 bf – Ready to use
Walnut S2S – $4.00-$5.00 bf – Need a jointer
Walnut Rough – $2.00-$3.00 bf – Need a jointer/planer

How much bf of wood would you need to pay for the $500 you’ll spend to get an okay quality lunchbox planer and 6” open stand jointer?

The only down side is once you have both then you’ll need to look at DC next. And once you start buying rough lumber you’ll likely need a decent Bandsaw for resawing.

My advice is keep your eye on local Craigslist and keep working on finding a good deal on fence, router table and then planer/jointer as you’re able to save more money.

View rustedknuckles's profile


160 posts in 3950 days

#3 posted 11-13-2009 08:03 PM

Ok, I looked at your shop pics and I figure you need a couple of things. Based on your location I would sugest insulation and heat. Or, if you wanted the toys instead, I would say you need more clamps. 12” and 24” “F” or some people call them bar clamps. You can get perfectly servicable ones in the $10.00 range. And when you think you have enough clamps, go out and buy a dozen more.

-- Dave- New Brunswick

View FatScratch's profile


189 posts in 3501 days

#4 posted 11-13-2009 08:04 PM

Just curious, what is so bad about the fence you have. The fence is certainly not a Beisemeyer, but it looks very similar to the ones used by Ridgid (they were built by the same manufacturers, I think) and are fairly good fences. Is the one on your saw that inaccurate? I’m just curious if they were constructed a lot differently.

I would pick a planer next, if it was me. People seem to be picking up great deals on planers lately.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3357 days

#5 posted 11-13-2009 08:07 PM

I think the best bang for the buck would be to get a Delta T2 fence for the TS and/or build your own router table. Depending on the type of table saw, I would consider a router table that incorporates into a table saw extension/outfeed table/assembly table. I haven’t seen your shop, but I would certain try to improve it by building stuff!!!

-- jay,

View pete79's profile


154 posts in 3339 days

#6 posted 11-13-2009 08:08 PM

Dave – thanks, you’re like my wife who says “why don’t you get a bunch of small things”. Haha – I couldn’t agree more, except that insulation is a project that’s already underway, and clamps have a funny way of finding their way home in my trunk on the way home from work ;) so that’s also “in progress”

Keep the suggestions coming.

-- Life is a one lap race.

View Dragonsrite's profile


136 posts in 3596 days

#7 posted 11-13-2009 08:14 PM

Here are my thoughts…

A drill press is definitely nice to have. I’ve been getting by with a 10” bench mount.

Make your own router table. Doesn’t have to be fancy, but it could be if ya like.

TS fence … more work, but you can fake it lining up both ends if ya have to.

DC system; I use multi-shop-vacs myself. It works.

Workbench vise; I don’t have a woodworking vise of any sort; just a 6” heavy-duty typical vise so I can’t really say how handy they are to have around. I’ve seen a few posts here & there to make your own.

For me a jointer & planer is nearly required since I use almost exclusively reclaimed wood.

I see looking at your workshop that you have a small band saw already.

I’m thinking about what you can make vs what you can’t, so I guess I’d be looking at the drill press, jointer & planer. If you keep an eye on craigslist you should be able to pick up one or all three for the cash on hand.

-- Dragonsrite, Minnesota

View rickf16's profile


392 posts in 3780 days

#8 posted 11-13-2009 08:14 PM

I’d go with a drill press. It can multi-task. You can add a mortising attachment to it. With a good table and fence, you’d be able to drill holes for shelf pins. Can also be used as a drum sander. Might be able to find a used one for a song and still have enough left for the mortising attachment. Building a router table into you TS wouldn’t take more than scrap materials you have laying around your shop.

Just my 2

-- Rick

View FatScratch's profile


189 posts in 3501 days

#9 posted 11-13-2009 08:14 PM

Pete, you mentioned you are thinking about dust collection – I would suggest building a Thein seperator, as a lot of people here have done. They are cheap to build, not too time consuming to construct, and work remarkably well. I recently made one out of a free old trash can, and $8.00 worth of material.

View rustedknuckles's profile


160 posts in 3950 days

#10 posted 11-13-2009 08:17 PM

Funny how clamps do that ain’t it. I guess I am still thinking like your wife, spending $250 on a quality tool rather than on something that you should really spend $600 on makes more sense to me. How about a nice hand plane? Lee Valley could eat that quid up in no time.

-- Dave- New Brunswick

View CharlieM1958's profile


16280 posts in 4417 days

#11 posted 11-13-2009 08:27 PM

I agree with the votes for drill press. You can get a good benchtop model in that price range. Also, a bandsaw would be a good choice. Even a benchtop version gives you a lot of woodworking options that you just don’t have without it.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3776 days

#12 posted 11-13-2009 08:59 PM

#1 upgrade your table saw of fence(good money after bad for most crapman saws)sorry but true in my opinion

#2 portable planner

#3 jointer

#4 band saw

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View pete79's profile


154 posts in 3339 days

#13 posted 11-13-2009 09:52 PM

While the idea of a new “toy” is very exciting to me, I’m starting to think that Dave and Jay are right and I either need to focus on something small, or basic inprovements to the shop itself.

The tablesaw fence may not be the greatest, but I manage to make straight/square cuts with it after lots of careful measurements and adjustments, and I buy S4S stock for now so I can probably get by without the planer.

Perhaps I’ll spend my money on a lot of wood and continue to practice using what I currently have while making a router table and some workshop cabinets. I’m a big fan of “mastering the basics before moving on”.

-- Life is a one lap race.

View EricS's profile


11 posts in 3737 days

#14 posted 11-13-2009 11:24 PM

You didn’t mention what hand tools you have, but how about picking up a nice low angle block plane (LV or LN)?

Or maybe getting yourself a high quality TS blade?

You could spend the extra cash on the small, basic improvements you have in mind.

Just a couple thoughts.

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 4022 days

#15 posted 11-14-2009 03:23 AM

Drill press and assortment of accessories would be my vote. I keep a keen eye on craigslist you might be surprise what 250.00 can buy now a day’s. Blkcherry

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