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Forum topic by Fish22 posted 11-17-2009 03:32 AM 1268 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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83 posts in 3107 days

11-17-2009 03:32 AM

I am newbie and figured I should ask for advice when in doubt. I am currently in the process of setting up my shop. Currently I have my table saw, miter saw, jig saw, router, orbital sander, drill and other hand tools. Since my shop is on the smaller side (12 X 16) at the moment, I will be looking at benchtop tools. Eventually I would like to add all the items on my wish list, but initially, which of the following is best to have.

Drill Press
Surface Planer


-- Bryan, South River, NJ

16 replies so far

View RetiredCoastie's profile


999 posts in 3177 days

#1 posted 11-17-2009 03:37 AM

Welcome to LJs!
A lot would depend on what type of projects you would like to start with.

You might add a router table to your list and with the proper bits and a quality fence you can edge joint with the router.

-- Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

View Gary's profile


9331 posts in 3427 days

#2 posted 11-17-2009 03:39 AM

Welcome to the site. First, you asked a loaded question. Because of the way I work, I would get the planer. But, several guys here would go for the bandsaw first. Some even would want the jointer first, but, depending on just how you are doing your work, you can joint with a planer, or with a tablesaw. Kinda going to depend on how you want to work. If you are buying your lumber at one of the box stores, you won’t need a planer. If you are working on small projects, you may not use a jointer. If you like doing bandsaw boxes, that answers that question. I guess, just get ready for LOTS of opinions. Again, welcome.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Fish22's profile


83 posts in 3107 days

#3 posted 11-17-2009 03:48 AM

Retired Coastie, I did get a router table that was on clearance at 1 of the big box guys. It was marked down from $79 to $15.01. It was too good to pass up, even if it isn’t great. Maybe I can take some parts. I haven’t set it up yet, because we are remodeling our basement and until that is done, I have been evicted from my shop area.

Gary. Thanks for the heads up. Looking back I guess it is a loaded question.

Thanks again.

-- Bryan, South River, NJ

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 3801 days

#4 posted 11-17-2009 03:52 AM

I would buy in the following order but this somewhat depends on what type of project you will be creating. If you will be building furniture then…

1. 12”-13” Planer (bench top planer like a dewalt or delta)
2. minimum 6” jointer. This really should be a full size jointer. bench top jointers are a waste of money and are almost useless. You can pick up a nice used one if budget is tight.
3. Bandsaw. (I would do 14”) but this depends on what you are using your bandsaw for.
4. Drill press. Bench top model is perfectly fine.

By having a jointer and a planer you are able to mill your own lumber which drastically opens up the possibilities and allows you to buy rough lumber saving money.

View JasonWagner's profile


527 posts in 3174 days

#5 posted 11-17-2009 03:55 AM

Welcome Fish22 – you have about the same setup as me. I determined the drill press was next on my list because I can buy flat/finished wood or have a lumber yard do it when I buy it. Just got one a month ago. Next on my list (Christmas) is a planer so that I can buy rough lumber and mill it myself. There are a few ways to joint without a jointer. I will get a bandsaw at some point, but my scroll saw for curves and the table saw for resawing has been making the grade so far. I did a lot of stuff with just the tools you have now…it just depends what you plan on doing. See if you can add a router table to your table saw wing to save some space.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3347 days

#6 posted 11-17-2009 04:28 AM

Welcome Fish22. It really does depend if your going to buy finished wood or rough sawn wood as already mentioned. When I started out I was lucky enough to already a drill press because my Dad and I made a lot of things where a drill press was really handy. Mine still gets a lot of use in fact so much so it’s on it’s second motor.

From your list the order I purchased those machines in was a planer, a jointer, and then the band saw. I wanted to use rough sawn lumber so the planer was a necessity. You can save money when getting rough sawn lumber and you have more variety in choosing the boards that fit your needs for the project adn the grain pattern. If you’re going to buy the finished lumber then you might want to get the drill press or the band saw first. It really does depend on the wood you plan on using and what you want to do. A hand drill will substitute for a drill press in a pinch.

And yes you can have the mill joint it and plane it for you but that may negate some the cost savings of rough sawn lumber, at least around here. They might charge 25 to 50 cents a foot so on an 8 ft board that can add $2 to $4. Doesn’t sound like much but it adds up. Four 8 ft boards will add $8 to $16. Some places may even charge per pass so multiple passes to flatten a board or get it to the thickness you want can add up fast.

Hence the reason I bought in the order I bought. I wanted to use rough sawn lumber and I wanted to mill it myself. Before I got the jointer I did pretty good with just the planer by choosing the rough lumber the straightest I could find it. Now I can be less picky especially if I’m going to cut the board into shorter lengths (do that before it’s jointed and planed) and even with the warp have enough on each piece to then get the thickness I want.

A planer really gives you a lot of flexibility in that you can mill the thickness to what you want and not have to design around what you can buy.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View Mark's profile


1807 posts in 3268 days

#7 posted 11-17-2009 05:01 AM

i have the same situation…but what my method is keep the workbench as open as possible. The only tools i have on my workbenches is my mitre saw and my scroll saw the rest is on the lower bench. my table saw is off to the side but i just slide it to the centre or outside when i need to use it. the method anyway is the less tools on top the more work space/less clustred

-- M.K.

View iamwelty's profile


259 posts in 3110 days

#8 posted 11-17-2009 03:05 PM

Don’t think I could live without a drill press… they are cheap as can be… why not just get them all though… You’ve been a good boy…

-- There is a fine line between eroticism and nausea...

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3456 days

#9 posted 11-17-2009 03:37 PM

I would get a copy of the book “Setting up Shop” It has a lot of good info and can help you make an informed decision on what your tools needs would be. There are a lot of variables to answer your question. What are you planning on building? It is cabinets, you will need a good table saw. Is it small boxes? Is it fretwork? Get a copy and read it, I think you will be amazed how much info is needed in making that decision. You have started in the right place by asking here, there are a lot of talented people here and they all have good ideas and opinions, but remember those opinions are their own. Please dont misinterepet this post as being negative. Its not, the book is very good and has helped me a tremendous amount

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3280 days

#10 posted 11-18-2009 01:23 AM

Of the list you gave us, I would get the drill press. Jet makes a very nice bench-top that is pretty new to their line for about $300. Yes, there are cheaper versions out there, but as I will always say, you get what you pay for.

That said, I agree with Ken. There is no way to answer this without out knowing what you intend to do.


View Brian024's profile


358 posts in 3394 days

#11 posted 11-18-2009 02:26 AM

Like some guys have said, it depends on what you build and your situation. Do you use pre-surfaced lumber or are you looking to start using rough lumber? Do you build shaker style with a lot of straight lines or custom stuff with a whole bunch of curves?

I have the same situation as you, my shop is about the same size and I currently have about the same tool list. A jointer is nice to have but when you are in a small shop a jointer takes up a lot of real estate, I was really looking at getting one but I couldn’t do it because it took up so much room. With the planer, you can build a sled and use that as “your jointer” when cleaning up the first face. But like I said, do you use pre-surfaced or are you thinking of using rough lumber?

A band saw is a great machine to have but like I said, what kind of work do you do. It’s great for re-sawing, curves, and much more. I don’t know how many times I have said, “I wish I had a drill press” when trying to drill a straight hole with a hand held drill. Plus you can get drum sanding attachments and a mini “spindle” sander.

My opinion order would be planer, drill press, band saw, and jointer.

View a1Jim's profile


117087 posts in 3571 days

#12 posted 11-18-2009 02:32 AM

I would buy in this order

Band saw
Drill press
of the items you asked about
but I would put a router table before the jointer if that’s something you need.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Fish22's profile


83 posts in 3107 days

#13 posted 11-18-2009 02:58 AM

Thanks for all the different advice. Like I said, I am new, so a lot of the projects I have in my head may be for down the road. Initially I plan on building a couple of book cases and other needs around the house and the shop of course.

-- Bryan, South River, NJ

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3347 days

#14 posted 11-18-2009 04:21 AM

Jim he mentioned he bought a router table already.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View frostwood's profile


38 posts in 3181 days

#15 posted 11-19-2009 07:11 AM

I think you might find the Drill press most helpful.

-- With each new day, celebrate life. Love God with all of your heart. Share Jesus with those around you and make a positive impact on those you meet. Bob

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