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Tax Refund- Tool suggestion for new woodworker (bigger table saw? band saw? etc..)

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Forum topic by ngillam28 posted 04-27-2016 04:20 PM 815 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ngillam28

3 posts in 235 days


04-27-2016 04:20 PM

Hi All,

I’m fairly new to woodworking, but have been the family “Mr Fix It” and tool addict for a long time, so I have a respectable arsenal of tools going for me so far. I’m about to have a tax refund burning a hole in my pocket, and I can’t think of a better use than buying another tool. Problem is i’m torn as to what I should buy, I’m looking to keep it around $300 overall. But for the tool upgrades I’m considering then I’ll pay more because I can sell my old tool to make up the difference. Anyways- here are the tools I’m considering, I’ll leave it to the wisdom of the forum as to what the mist necessary of them is.

- Table saw (UPGRADE, currently have Bosch job site table saw. I’ve been eyeing the Grizzly Hybrid which runs about $800)
- Band saw (preferably smaller than 14” because I have small basement shop)
- Track saw
- Benchtop jointer
- Drill press
- Other suggestions?

Thanks in advance. I can list the tools I have if that will help, just wanted to keep my message short (somewhat).


8 replies so far

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ScottM

347 posts in 1614 days


#1 posted 04-27-2016 04:28 PM

I’d base what you get on what you’re working on and what you need to get it done. For me that’s the “tool acquisition strategy”. Not just buy because you can. But, or course, new tools are always awesome.

View AZWoody's profile (online now)

AZWoody

698 posts in 691 days


#2 posted 04-27-2016 04:35 PM

That’s a tough one on your budget. The Bosch saw you have is actually a very good saw for it’s class.
I had one for a while and when I upgraded, I went to a full cabinet saw. Taking little steps will keep you wishing for something larger.

If you keep the Bosch saw, the track saw would be a nice complimentary saw for breaking down large sheets and doing long cuts that might be difficult on the table saw.

Also, drill presses can come in handy. In your price range, there are many different ones that users here like.

Might stay away from the benchtop jointer. They tend to get bad reviews.

As for a bandsaw, you could find a good used one in your price range that will be better than finding a new one at the $300 you have to spend. Might take a little time, but those deals are out there.

As for other suggestions, what do you think you want to build? Rigid has a nice edge/spindle sander that I’ve used a lot. Or, you could upgrade your fence on the Bosch to a Vega. I had one on mine.

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

3695 posts in 1733 days


#3 posted 04-27-2016 04:48 PM

Honestly, I’m thinking you should bank your money for a while. Keep adding to it and get yourself a real good cabinet saw.

View KentInOttawa's profile

KentInOttawa

63 posts in 1263 days


#4 posted 04-27-2016 05:22 PM

The best measure of what you need should come from your experience. Having said that, here’s my 2 cents worth, along with a bit of an explanation.

You want the band saw from Wood Gears. You don’t want it because it is the best, biggest, bestest, most powerful, most… Noooooo, you want it because you have to build it yourself. For your $300, here’s what you’ll get:
  1. a fully functioning band saw;
  2. experience making a variety of different pieces using a variety of different techniques
  3. learning what tools and skills that you will need to do the woodworking that you want to do
  4. learning how to work around the tools that you don’t have
  5. the realization that you can use reasonable quality tools to make even more reasonable quality tools
  6. the realization that your future projects don’t need to be made entirely from select or premium materials
  7. the confidence to adapt plans and materials to your situation
  8. pride of ownership
  9. some change for a pizza and a 6-pack

There are other tools and places to get them, so search around for something that will help you in the future. I just chose this one because it is a reasonable choice (from your list) that is an addition, as opposed to an upgrade (eg – table saw). When you have the experience to know what your current tools’ shortcomings are, you’ll be able to decide if the benefits of a specific upgrade are worth the cost. Until then, spend your time and money on building experience and …

-- Natasha: You got plan dollink? Boris: I always got plan! They don't ever work, but I always got one. (http://bullwinkle.toonzone.net/rbplan.wav)

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7224 posts in 2843 days


#5 posted 04-27-2016 07:16 PM

As much as I like a good TS as the center of my shop, having a tool to provide a new capability will add more than a better TS.

The portable jointers are notoriously loud, and have limited capacity. Can’t help but think you’d be better off with a used 6” stationary unit, or even a portable planer. Even though they do different things, I think a planer by itself can be more useful than a jointer by itself IMHO.

As for the others, what capability will they give you that you don’t already have? Let the answer be your guide….I got by with a jigsaw and a hand held drill for a long time before buying those tools. The homecenters will break down sheetgoods to manageable sizes for you….. I don’t own a track saw, so I definitely don’t think it trumps a better TS unless you have a specific need that it fills.

A router and router table are pretty darn useful and will add a ton of versatility that few tools can match.

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

View ngillam28's profile

ngillam28

3 posts in 235 days


#6 posted 04-27-2016 07:35 PM

Thanks for the quick responses everyone. This was my first time posting in the forum and I gotta say I’m pretty impressed. A couple of you mentioned holding out for a good cabinet saw, and thats what I’ve been leaning towards.

I don’t NEED any of these tools right now, but they could make life easier. I have a jigsaw that can do most of the work I would be doing on a bandsaw (not at the level yet to be resawing a lot of stock). The track saw just seems convenient, but my circ saw with a guide rail does the trick, I added a dust port from Eurekazone so that makes the dust control manageable for cold winters when I have to work indoors. I can use my router table split fence for jointing and have jigs for using a cordless drill with more accuracy. But its fun to imagine and shop for new tools nonetheless.

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ngillam28

3 posts in 235 days


#7 posted 04-27-2016 07:38 PM

I like your last two suggestions a lot AZWoody. Those spindle sander combos look like they make life a lot easier. And I could buy something with quality rather than buying something cheap just to upgrade it a couple years from now. With a vac or DC hooked up are you able to reasonably control the dust?

And I’ve thought about adding a Vega to my Bosch. Did you have any issues with weight/balance when you did?


That s a tough one on your budget. The Bosch saw you have is actually a very good saw for it s class.
I had one for a while and when I upgraded, I went to a full cabinet saw. Taking little steps will keep you wishing for something larger.

If you keep the Bosch saw, the track saw would be a nice complimentary saw for breaking down large sheets and doing long cuts that might be difficult on the table saw.

Also, drill presses can come in handy. In your price range, there are many different ones that users here like.

Might stay away from the benchtop jointer. They tend to get bad reviews.

As for a bandsaw, you could find a good used one in your price range that will be better than finding a new one at the $300 you have to spend. Might take a little time, but those deals are out there.

As for other suggestions, what do you think you want to build? Rigid has a nice edge/spindle sander that I ve used a lot. Or, you could upgrade your fence on the Bosch to a Vega. I had one on mine.

- AZWoody


View AZWoody's profile (online now)

AZWoody

698 posts in 691 days


#8 posted 04-27-2016 07:51 PM



I like your last two suggestions a lot AZWoody. Those spindle sander combos look like they make life a lot easier. And I could buy something with quality rather than buying something cheap just to upgrade it a couple years from now. With a vac or DC hooked up are you able to reasonably control the dust?

And I ve thought about adding a Vega to my Bosch. Did you have any issues with weight/balance when you did?

- ngillam28

I did have a HF dust collector hooked up to it with a 2 1/2 to 4” adaptor and it was ok, but not great. I am trying to figure a way to hook up a larger hose to it to really make it much more efficient at gathering the dust. Just an FYI, the edge sander part works the best. The spindle was a little iffy. The sleeve wanted to spin with just a little pressure, so you have to use a light hand when using that part of it.

As for the Vega, I had no issues. I did have to drill a couple holes for mounting the rails as they don’t match perfectly what’s on the Bosch. I did get the 50” rails I believe and if I had to do it again, I would probably go with the shorter ones. I don’t think I ever had to cut anything that was really that large. One thing I really liked about the Vega fence was the micro adjuster. That really is a great part about that fence.

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