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Jointer, Planer, and Table Saw... Rookie in need of advice!

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Forum topic by Nick90 posted 12-22-2015 10:26 PM 1555 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Nick90

2 posts in 354 days


12-22-2015 10:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jointer planer tablesaw question milling

Hello,

I am just starting out as a woodworker and I am in need of some expert advice and wisdom. I would consider myself a first generation woodworker (no one in my family that I know of has ever so much as thought about taking on a woodworking project). Therefore, I don’t really have anyone to go to for advice on this stuff. In the last year I have completed some basic projects; a workbench, bookshelf, and produce cupboard for my wife. I have decided to take on a few bigger projects in the future, such as a bed frame, a coffee table, and an entertainment center. I want these projects to be very precise and last us many years, so I have come to the realization that I need to begin upgrading my arsenal of tools.

Currently, I have a Skil compound miter saw (which I have been relatively satisfied with given the price, though I realize I will need to upgrade at some point), an old Black and Decker circular saw, a Bosch jig saw, and an 18v Dewalt cordless Drill. My shop is limited to half of a one car garage. I feel like my next purchases need to be a table saw, a bench top planer, and some sort of jointer because I want to be able to square up rough sawn lumber for my projects. I know the most efficient method is jointer-planer-table saw but I’m not sure I can afford that method all at once. I have considered going with a hand plane to joint one face and one edge, then using a bench top planer and table saw to do the rest. However, I am open to any alternative ideas.

I am still in college and my budget is kind of tight, but I am willing to wait and save up for quality tools rather than settle for something… well, like my miter saw. I have been looking at the Rockwell RK 7241S and the Rigid R4512 table saws. Also, I have been considering the Grizzly G0790 bench top planer or possibly a Makita. In short, a table saw in the $400-600 range and a planer in the $200-350 range. If you were just starting out and in my position which tools would you purchase for jointing and planing, and what advice would you give when purchasing a table saw?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to considering your thoughts,

-Nick


25 replies so far

View Mike's profile

Mike

406 posts in 2155 days


#1 posted 12-22-2015 10:54 PM

Welcome to the club Nick! I’m also a first generation woodworker. I’ve ran into my share of bad tool choices and also having to work with limited space. Here are some things to consider;

  • Bench top tools versus floor based tools usually aren’t constructed as well. Jointers are notorious for this issue. Planers are the exception in my experience.
  • A good 13” 3 bladed planer will go a long way. You can do a lot with fixtures and jigs if you don’t want to spend for the jointer too. Just keep in mind that a good jointer will reduce your work load a lot.
  • Buy yourself your final table saw now. I know a lot of people say that buy a table saw that you can replace as your first, I’m telling you to buy the best you can afford. I started off with a terrible contractor table saw and I struggled to make things. Once I upgraded it to my hybrid saw everything started becoming easier. Cuts were straight, miters were cleaner, and vibration was eliminated. Check to make sure that the miter slots are standard and not some weird configuration which will make it near impossible to create sleds and fixtures.
  • if you have the room and can afford it, get a 8” jointer instead of a 6” jointer. I think everyone that has a 6” will tell you that those 2 extra inches will make many projects easier to build.

Here is what I have in my shop for the most part:

The Craftsman Professional 10” Contractor Saw – Model # 21833
Ridgid 6 – 1/4” Jointer – Model # JP0610
Ridgid 13” Planer – Model # R4331

Good Luck!

Mike

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - http://www.lepelstatcrafts.etsy.com - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCppWfrYGXCr5lm9uW-Fpqqw

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breadman611

1 post in 354 days


#2 posted 12-22-2015 11:12 PM

what ever table saw you finally decide on, just make sure it is a left tilt saw.

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2326 posts in 1764 days


#3 posted 12-22-2015 11:38 PM

If money is a serious concern go for a 6 inch jointer. You will NOT plane on an 8 inch wide jointer if you plan on getting a lunchbox planer as well (the DeWalt is a good one). A 6 inch jointer with long bed will do what you need.

I’d even say skip the table saw for now. You can use commercially available or home made straightedges to rip stock down, and there are good right angle squares out there for crosscutting. Basically I’m saying there are substitutes for a table saw, but none for planers and jointers (other than hand planers and jointers obviously).

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conifur

955 posts in 619 days


#4 posted 12-23-2015 12:14 AM

Check where live, mill work shops, wood providers if they have a planer and or drum sander and if they would plane/sand for you. my wood supplier has both,plus they have a straight line rip table saw and resaw machine, and there charges are minimum. That said I have a 6 inch jointer and does all I need, plus in WI I hardly see used 8”’ jointers and they get a hefty price, 6”’ are a dime a dozen and cheap, dont get a bench top one, junk.
Craigs List is you best friend for used stuff. Here in WI I see whole wood shop being sold off as the retiree wants to head south to live.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

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Ger21

1047 posts in 2598 days


#5 posted 12-23-2015 12:32 AM

I would go for a table saw and planer, and wait on the jointer.
You can make a planer sled to flatten rough lumber in the planer.
And you can straighten the edge of rough lumber on the table saw by simply screwing a plywood straightedge to it (at the ends) and running it through the saw with the straghitedge against the fence.

If you’re going to spend $600 on a table saw, you might want to seriously consider waiting for a used Unisaw to show up on Craigslist. It might take a while, but you’ll get a lot more saw for your money.

-- Gerry, http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/index.html http://www.jointcam.com

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Holbs

1379 posts in 1497 days


#6 posted 12-23-2015 01:24 AM

I’d say a planer would be your #1 target. Like Mike above, I too have the Rigid #4331 planer and highly recommend it. But if a new Rigid planer is too spendy, find any ‘ol planer on craigslist or local auctions for $100 or so to get you started.
Table saw. I love my Bosch 4100 contractor saw, though it does have it’s limitations. With the gravity stand, it takes up a small footprint in your area (that is a HUGE consideration too). Or a track saw to hold you over.
Forget the jointer for time being. Like Gerry above says, you can make a planer sled to hold you over. Use the saved money to get a random orbit sander or shopvac/dust deputy setup.

If I were in college and just starting into wood working, I would go hand tool route instead of power machinery to be honest. Cheaper and easy to move around from home to home.

-- Yes, my profile picture is of a Carpenter Bee! The name is derived from the Ancient Greek "wood-cutter"

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bearkatwood

1214 posts in 479 days


#7 posted 12-23-2015 01:32 AM

If you are tight on space and tight on money I would consider some combo tools, one such would be a planer jointer combo.
http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/842696/10inJointPlnr-wStnd-JJP10BTOS.aspx?gclid=Cj0KEQiAhuSzBRDBoZfG56bK9-YBEiQARiPcZTOK1yzSDA2bVLlnP13F2ONAle6eiZo-JaVHZNo8MIQaAt8-8P8HAQ

-- Brian Noel

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JohnDon

61 posts in 637 days


#8 posted 12-23-2015 06:37 AM

Let me add my .02 to the good advice already posted. IMO, a table saw should be your first purchase, and a good rip fence is crucial- you’ll have nothing but headaches with a flimsy, erratic fence. As a rule, the fence quality on smaller portable and contractor saws doesn’t come close to those on hybrid or cabinet saws. Unfortunately, you have the dilemma of balancing limited floor space with better quality (larger) tools.. BTW, not to quibble, but I don’t think a left tilt saw is essential by any means. As already noted, Craigslist is your friend. Be patient, and don’t settle for something less than you want. Also look at Searsoutlet dot com, which can have some great deals, though unpredictable.

Newer saws have better safety designs, such as a riving knife, and better dust collection.

While a jointer and planer are really nice to have, you can get into a lot of projects by buying wood already trued (S4S- “surfaced four sides”). It’s more expensive that way, but you can get going with projects that way.

One other tool you’ll want soon is a router. From what I’ve seen on CL, though, the price differential isn’t enough to buy used, rather than new.

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knotscott

7224 posts in 2843 days


#9 posted 12-23-2015 01:07 PM

I would definitely look to add a decent table saw to my arsenal as a priority, but would steer clear of a cheap benchtop like the Rockwell. I wouldn’t run out and grab the R4512 blindly either due to too many issues, but the fact that you’re considering a full size saw is good, and it tells me that you don’t need the portability of a smaller saw. The used market is the first place I’d look when buying a saw on a budget….full size (27” deep), belt drive, induction motor, and workable fence. If there’s nothing much in your area, I’d look to the Delta 36-725 over the R4512. Tell us your geographic location, and one of these folks might be able to help advise on a good used saw.

In addition to the TS, a jointer and planer are the best methods for dimensioning rough stock. The jointer flattens a reference face and squares an adjacent edge. A planer smooths to a use uniform thickness and replicates the reference face on the opposite side of the board so the two faces are parallel to each other. A planer can be coaxed into flattening a reference face with the help of a planer sled, so when money’s tight, I’d start with a planer over a jointer for that reason. Edge jointing can be done with a TS or a router in a pinch, as long as you have a flat reference face. Add a jointer later when you can.

The ABCs of Table Saws
other reference blogs

Considering adding a router some time soon….its the most versatile tool in the shop.

Here’s a look at someone flattening a face with a planer sled…the sled acts as the reference surface, so the planer duplicates that on the top surface of the board, which ultimately gives your board a flat reference face. Then flip the board with the new reference surface facing down and the planer will duplicate the board’s reference face to the opposite face of the board…result – two flat flaces that are parallel and at a uniform thickness. Edge joint and rip to width, then cut to length…it should then be flat ,straight, square, and exactly the size you want:

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

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2200 posts in 948 days


#10 posted 12-23-2015 01:40 PM

You’re wise to ask for advice, and believe me, you’ll get plenty here!!

If I was in your position, I would be thinking about the money you will have tied up in entry level machines, and what about moving?, what is my working environment?, will I be disturbing anyone with all the noise? etc.

IMO, you are a perfect candidate for hand tools ;-). Check out Paul Sellers, Renaissance Woodworker, Unplugged Workshop, etc.

You’re in the incubation stages decisions now need to leave you room for error. I would not tie up precious funds in machines that will be producing a LOT of dust and shavings and noise – no small issues to be reckoned with.

So I would be looking for 4, 5, and 7 hand planes and a cross cut and rip hand saw a set of chisels and a mallet, some marking/measuring tools. I would spend time learning to sharpen blade irons and hand saws so you’ll need some stones and files and maybe a saw set. You’ll need these tools to build your real woodworking bench!! (Check out the build by Sellers).

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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Swyftfeet

170 posts in 1639 days


#11 posted 12-23-2015 02:48 PM

Hi,

I am talking only from my experience as someone who got really nuts into getting equipment rather than wood working. I bought a cabinet saw, a 6” floor model jointer, a bandsaw, a drill press, a 3hp router; 13” planer.
Now I have used all of this equipment as some point, but it takes up a lot of room. When I was single & childless, who gave a crap?

You are married(if you live in a cold climate), you find that most significant others believe that at least a Car port is part of the marriage contract. Trying to fit all of the floor model stuff in a single carport along with cabinets and wood storage and a whole mess of other outdoor stuff isnt fun. Upon the birth of your children for the first few years, if chewing on it or playing with it isn’t safe it will find its way to the basement or the garage, which just compounds the issue.

If you are amazingly organized this wont be a big deal, I am more like ole’ Roy. I know where my stuff is 80% of the time because that’s where I was using it last. If you at all like me:

Do as some of the others have said and get a track-saw or a Circular with some guides. Get a hand drill and a dowel guide. Get a hand plane. Rather than buying 4 different kind of sanders, get a scraper. Get a router that can take a 1/2” bit, if you have a good straight edge you can joint most boards with it… Learn your hand tools. Buy stuff as you need it. You will definitely waste a little more wood, but you can put all your stuff away in one cabinet. Rather than using a bunch of floor model equipment for table space.

The stuff I am pointing out is stuff you’ll likely buy anyway if your really into it, and buying it first allows you to get quality projects out with a little more effort than having a full machine shop, and you will learn a lot using em. So make the decision of how valuable is your time vs. the cost of equipment. Is this a hobby you want to spend your time learning how to shape wood, or is it a means to an end? If you are under the impression that wood working is going to save you money, STOP NOW! -kidding slightly…

Have a very long talk with your wife as to what style she likes in this department. If she is all for Craftsman/Arts& Crafts/Contemporary pieces, your in luck, start buying gear. If she likes Renaissance/early american type stuff with all kinds of compound curves and what not, then go buy some antiques and refinish them.

Places where you shouldn’t short buy or buy inferior: Layout tools, you can use architectural/mechanical drawing stuff and probably get a better deal buying it from someplace other than a woodworking store…

Also what most people don’t point out is that the ability of your workbench to hold tightly whatever size project you are working on at all the angles you will need it, is probably going to have a greater affect on the outcome than the tools used to create it. A solid workbench that doesn’t rack, with multiple fastening methods is key.

-- Brian

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716

502 posts in 384 days


#12 posted 12-23-2015 04:21 PM


what ever table saw you finally decide on, just make sure it is a left tilt saw.
- breadman611

There is nothing wrong with right tilt. it is a matter of personal preference.

-- It's nice!

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MrUnix

4246 posts in 1666 days


#13 posted 12-23-2015 04:36 PM

what ever table saw you finally decide on, just make sure it is a left tilt saw.
- breadman611
There is nothing wrong with right tilt. it is a matter of personal preference.
- 716

I Agree… I have both right tilt and left tilt saws, and have no problems using either. And the right tilt saw has the advantage of having the fence ruler always accurate regardless of blade width or size of the dado stack.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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knotscott

7224 posts in 2843 days


#14 posted 12-23-2015 04:51 PM



You re wise to ask for advice, and believe me, you ll get plenty here!!
...

Yep….Especially if you participate in the thread!

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

View 716's profile

716

502 posts in 384 days


#15 posted 12-23-2015 05:30 PM


Do as some of the others have said and get a track-saw or a Circular with some guides. Get a hand drill and a dowel guide. Get a hand plane. Rather than buying 4 different kind of sanders, get a scraper. Get a router that can take a 1/2” bit, if you have a good straight edge you can joint most boards with it… Learn your hand tools. Buy stuff as you need it. You will definitely waste a little more wood, but you can put all your stuff away in one cabinet. Rather than using a bunch of floor model equipment for table space.

- Swyftfeet

Wait a minute ! So you want me to say good buy to my dreams of a brown or white truck showing at my driveway with a shiny new table saw inside ?

-- It's nice!

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