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Forum topic by JimmyH posted 06-08-2010 10:35 PM 1648 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JimmyH's profile


7 posts in 2933 days

06-08-2010 10:35 PM

First post here.

I am completely new to woodworking and have been interested for years in doing it. I have recently come back from a long deployment and decided to dive into the hobby.

I have read and read trying to figure out what to buy first. I already have standard tools like a circular saw, drill, etc. I am willing to buy quality and am relegated to standard 110v wiring due to living on base. Initially I was looking at buying all festool products (TS75, MFT3, CT22 Vacuum and a sander) and learning that way but I have decided that most beginner books and dvds that teach me deal with traditional tools so I decided to go with standard shop tools at first. I looked at the Steel City Hybrid but my wife wants me to get the Saw Stop (Contractor Series) and I am willing to drop the ~2400 to get it. It would be smart for me as a pilot to keep my hands in good working order should anything ever happen.

My main question is where to go from there. Should I get a planer, such as DW735, or maybe a bandsaw? Any help or advice would be well received.

I am looking at making furniture items, boxes, gifts and the like.



-- - Jimmy

16 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3672 days

#1 posted 06-08-2010 10:43 PM

what I did not know at first but soon came to realize is that powertools can get you up to speed- but cannot get you all the way to the very end. for fine tuning joinery, and finishing – handtools such as chisels, hand planes, and scrapers go a long way – and along with them, the sharpening materials and jigs to make them work properly. I would look into those as well.

other than that, a planer and jointer will help you get cheaper materials and mill them to your specs as opposed to relying on the lumberyard/BORG for straight and clear boards. in the long run, this would be a great investment. a bandsaw will help you mill/rip rough lumber safely and also let you cut curves – so if that’s something you’re interested, that would open up new possibilities for you.

if really boils down to what your next project is… one step at a time.

FYI. SawStop is coming up with a hybrid saw in the near future – if you havent bought yours yet- you may want to wait for it.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Boris 's profile


190 posts in 2938 days

#2 posted 06-08-2010 10:48 PM

Hello Jimmy, I am beginner woodworker the tools I have are a cabinet saw, jointer,surface planer,a router , lathe and hand tools, hand plane,chisels,and a dovetail saw, my next purchase is going to be a band saw ,it is a great tool to have

this is what I have, go for the saw stop

View Builder_Bob's profile


161 posts in 3083 days

#3 posted 06-08-2010 11:05 PM

Another vote for the Sawstop.

The contractor’s saw isn’t just safer, it’s the best contractor’s saw ever made.

-- "The unexpected, when it happens, generally happens when you least expect it."

View dfdye's profile


372 posts in 3060 days

#4 posted 06-08-2010 11:19 PM

Here are the important tool highlights that were really helpful when I started out my workshop:

Stationary/mobile base/table top tools:
Table saw (with router table cutout)
10” miter saw
drill press
planer (critical for prepping rough cut lumber)
Shop Vac (not sure where else to categorize it, so I am throwing it here)

Hand Held Power Tools:
dual base router kit (I keep the fixed base mounted to the table)
Circular saw
Jig Saw (If you get a really good one, you can hold off on a band saw for a while)
Cordless driver (I would go with a kit with other tools using the same batteries)
1/4 sheet finish sander

Hand Tools
block plane
1/4”, 1/2”, 3/4”, and 1” chisels
fine toothed pull saw/flush cut saw
hammer(s) (obviously!)
dead blow mallet (this is actually pretty important, IMHO)

Important Accessories I Found Very Helpful
Pocket Hole Jig
pipe clamps
biscuit slot cutting router bit
Cheap Forstner bits

I’m quite sure there are MANY more things I am leaving out, but this is a good start. As for your specific question about a band saw, I personally don’t miss having one all that much. I don’t re-saw lumber, and I use my jigsaw for curved cuts, so I get by pretty well without one.

Just my $0.02. Good luck getting set up!

-- David from Indiana --

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3033 days

#5 posted 06-08-2010 11:20 PM

Hi Jimmy, welcome!

Here are the tools I’ve accumulated over the last year and a half, leaving out the circ, jigsaw, etc. I’m now at the point where I can do just about anything and no longer feel limited by my tools, except for turning. I’ve ordered them in the order I would get them now if I were doing it all over again:

Sawstop (I’d second PurpLev’s recommendation to wait for Sawstop’s 110V cabinet saw…pretty close in price to a decked out contractor saw)
router and table (table doesn’t need to be very fancy)
14” bandsaw
13” thickness planer
6” jointer
Spray finishing setup
12” drill press (handheld gets you a long way, but eventually you need the accuracy of a DP)

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3098 days

#6 posted 06-09-2010 12:33 AM

Everyone has their own opinion. Here’s mine – -

The core tools are as follows: table saw, miter saw, planer, jointer, router, hand held drill and random orbital sander.

If you have a need to cut wood in something other than a straight line, a jig saw will suffice when you are starting out.

Most other tools depend on what type of work you do and most other tools are nice to haves – not have to haves. For example, you don’t need a lathe if you do not plan to turn. While I like my drill press, most of the time I could get by with a hand held drill unless I needed very good precision or I wanted to drill a big hole with a forstner bit. A dust collector in nice – but it is not essential. Various sanders are nice (belt sander, disk sander, oscillating spindle sander, etc.) but a good random orbital sander will handle most of the flat work.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View DAWG's profile


2850 posts in 3160 days

#7 posted 06-09-2010 02:59 AM

Like richgreer said everyones got one so here’s mine in order of most needed.

Tablesaw (you need this first no doubt.)
Mitersaw (you will use this on any project you make.)
Router (you can make projects without it, but you won’t want to after you get it.)
Clamps (you’ll probably never have enough, but you’ll need these for most projects.) WOODCRAFT has a sale right now on a set for $99.99 which is a great deal.(if you can swing it two sets would be a great start.)
Jointer,Planer (these will help you improve your projects.)
Orbital Sander
Drillpress (you can substitute this with a drill.)
Bandsaw (when you can get it it’s great, but you can use a jigsaw.

Not many people can go out and buy all these at one time, that’s why I listed them in order of(my opinion). Also there are alot of small tools for Fathers Day, Birthdays and Christmas.

-- Luke 23: 42-43

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3797 days

#8 posted 06-09-2010 03:23 AM

A lot depends on what you want make and how much room you have to work in. I am a cabinet/furniture maker and have a 14 X21 shop. You can check out my workshop and see what stationary equipment I use. As far as power hand tools I have 2- routers, 2- cordless drills, 1- hammer drill, 1- laminate trimmer, 1- belt sander, 1- orbital sander, 1- 1/4 sheet sander,1- saber saw, 1- cordless circular saw, 1- nailer, 1- pin nailer, 1- brad nailer. Have fun!

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


405 posts in 3045 days

#9 posted 06-09-2010 03:29 AM

my recommendation is close to the others. Table saw first. Then I’d go with a good precision miter gauge rather than a miter saw. I use the Incra 1000HD but there are other great ones as well. My miter saw has rarely been used since I got the Incra. Those two things will get you ripping and cross cutting (along with a host of other common tasks). After that I would recommend either a jointer and planer (or combo machine) as those will greatly increase the available stock you can use and actually reduce costs by allowing you to buy rough stock and mill it yourself. Next would be a good router and build a router table so you can profile material (and another host of tasks) and/or a bandsaw for re-sawing and curved cuts. Finally, never underestimate the importance of dust collection. If you have all the above list of tools, you’re also going to have huge piles of sawdust/shavings.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View dfdye's profile


372 posts in 3060 days

#10 posted 06-09-2010 05:57 AM

Greg makes a great point about the value of a good miter gauge on a table saw, but I find using one difficult for long, thin stock (like most moldings!). I find a miter saw more convenient for these cuts, and for repeated cuts that rely on stop blocks. Also, using the miter saw allows me to keep a dedicated crosscut blade on one tool without having to worry about frequently switching blades on my table saw (yes, I could just use a good combo blade, but I haven’t gone that route quite yet) Yes, all of these things can be done with a miter gauge, but like I said, I simply find the miter saw more convenient.

Still, I definitely agree with Greg that a good miter gauge is a valuable tool in the shop, and one of the lower priced Incra gauges can be had for a lot less than a miter saw. If you are willing to build a good fence and some accessories for it, the miter gauge should indeed do most things a miter saw can do!

-- David from Indiana --

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3132 days

#11 posted 06-09-2010 01:45 PM

I second Purplelev’s comments. If you are interested in furniture working, a jointer planer will eventually become essential. You have more options when you can work with rough lumber from a sawyer than with the usual offerings at the big box stores. I also agree that bench chisels and a sharpening system are essential if you desire to move into finer projects. You will need them to create and clean up more sophisticated joinery such as mortise and tenon and dovetail joints. Many project plans include a list of required tools and cutting accessories and you should build up a pretty good collection as you go.

Welcome, good luck, and enjoy


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View supervato's profile


153 posts in 2952 days

#12 posted 06-09-2010 06:09 PM

I agree with evrybody to. But i have to say my jointer/planer and thickness planer and table saw by far get the most work hand down. Its amazing what a good table saw will do along with all the different jigs you can by or make for it can do.

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3219 days

#13 posted 06-09-2010 06:24 PM

I just started this hobby a year ago and I started out with just a jig saw, circular saw, and hand held drill and slowly have been purchasing tools as I find out I actually need them. I agree with Purplelev’s suggestions, hand tools like chisels and such go a long way.

While I am no professional, I do have a few suggestion for starting out. It all really depends on what you’ll be doing. Unless you want to resaw wood for bookmatching panels or milling lumber from logs, a bandsaw isn’t truely needed right away but I sure as hell use mine all the time ;) If you plan on milling your own wood from rough lumber, then I strongly recommend you getting a planer AND jointer. I’ve only been able to purchase a planer so far, so all my flattening one side of wood is done with hand planes. This isn’t a bad thing, but takes significantly longer when you have lots of boards to flatten. I would give my left <cough> for a jointer lol.

I know its very tempting when starting out to make sure you have the correct tools and good brands, but you can have your money go much further if the brands are still very good but not top of the line. For your profession, a sawstop is probably a good choice, but Festools are very expensive, although I’ve heard nothing but good things about them. Dewalt 735 I’ve heard is also an excellent planer, but so is the Ridgid 13” for half the cost. That savings right there can get you another nice tool. Just stuff to think about, but that doesn’t mean buy cheap tools if quality is affected. While I’ve managed to make it work with a crosscut sled, I regret my table saw purchase everyday and can’t wait to upgrade it.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3159 days

#14 posted 06-09-2010 07:00 PM

I suggest you plan on choosing most of your early projects toward setting up a shop that is fun & safe to work in. First, don’t plan on pushing full sheets of plywood through your table saw – full sheets seem to be 4 times harder to work with than 1/2 sheets. Second I think an outfeed table for your new table saw should be at/near the top of the list. A pocket hole jig can provide a lot of joinery solutions for these types of shop projects.

-- Greg D.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10525 posts in 3452 days

#15 posted 06-09-2010 07:36 PM

First, let me offer my sincere gratitude for your service!
Does the NAS have a wood Hobby Shop?
If so, I’d suggest trying a couple small projects there to gauge your interests, i.e. case work, boxes, turning, solid wood vs ply., hand work vs machine, use of routers and router tables…etc. Usually the guys and gals that oversee the Hobby Shops are fairly knowledgeable….then, agian???
There are a myriad of ways of cutting wood to a desired shape without huge outlays of cash.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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