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Forum topic by edgarO posted 06-13-2010 06:01 AM 1720 views 0 times favorited 45 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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68 posts in 2323 days

06-13-2010 06:01 AM

Hey guys. Been lurking around for a while absorbing the mass wealth of info here. My dad and I are finally gonna try to setup a small shop in his garage. The goal is to try to build furniture for myself , just because solid wood furniture is so expensive. We have a table saw. and that is pretty much it. I was given a 400 gift card for home depot. I just don’t really know what tools exactly would be best to start building normal stuff like bookcases, coffee tables, nightstands. I was thinking about getting a ridgid router kit, some clamps, and a new freud diablo blade for the table saw. Should I look at a ROS? Thanks for the info in advance. Look forward to participating in this great community.

45 replies so far

View Chelios's profile


568 posts in 2484 days

#1 posted 06-13-2010 06:33 AM


You can do a lot with a table saw. Thinking about how I started I’d suggest taking project on with your table saw first then you will find out what you need next. Clamps…don’t forget clamps. Jet 90 degree clamps are really useful for the stuff you are looking to build. Jointer and planer are good if you want to have it easier milling your lumber. You can do it on the TS but it is not as simple.

Good luck

View a1Jim's profile


115171 posts in 2996 days

#2 posted 06-13-2010 07:19 AM

I guess the next tool I would get is a miter saw. then router and bits, then a band saw, then jointer,
And lots of measuring tools like,squares, rulers,t miters. marking gauges, and there’s always more.

-- Custom furniture

View MisterCat's profile


22 posts in 2341 days

#3 posted 06-13-2010 07:32 AM

Here is a list of tools that will give you a lot of options and you can probably afford most of them on your $400 gift card.

1. Corded drill. Don’t bother with a cordless one yet.
2. Circular saw. Look for things on sale, or Black & Decker. Avoid things like ‘worm drive’ ‘magnesium’ ect. Look for heavy solid footplates.
3. Orbital sander (deWalt or Bosch)
4. Jigsaw (Bosch, get one that takes the t-shaped blades, not the universal blades)
5. Plunge router (look for one on sale, as the high end ones will kill your budget)
6. A Ridgid drill press. (okay so we probably went over your $400 with this, but not too much)

And the one tool you’ll probably want that you couldn’t afford would be a joiner. Watch the classifieds for your area and you can probably find a good used one for less than $200.

Other places to shop:
Hit up for clamps. I like their straight edge clamps as well. has a pretty decent selection of hand tools.
Hit your local garage sales for wrenches, screw drivers, ect is really good for fasteners (screws, bolts, nails, ect)

Good luck!

View edgarO's profile


68 posts in 2323 days

#4 posted 06-13-2010 07:44 AM

thanks for the replies guys.
Chelios- Yeah I am trying to make a platform bed so the saw will get some use. maybe an outfeed table first.

a1Jim- Is there a miter saw you recommend? Because Harbor Freight has one on sale for 50.00. I was looking at the ridgid router kit. it is about 199.00 My father does tile and marble so we have a good amount of measuring equipment. but then again you can never have enough tools. thanks

Mistercat- I forgot to put a proper list. I have a corded and an 18v drill. I did look at circular saws but figured with a table saw it might not get much use? I dont know. Do you guys use circular saws alot.
an orbital was on the list there is a dewalt one for 89.00. The rest I have seen some on craigslist. thanks

View edgarO's profile


68 posts in 2323 days

#5 posted 06-13-2010 07:45 AM

There is a grizzly 6” jointer for 200. looks in good shape is this a good price?

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 2609 days

#6 posted 06-13-2010 08:12 AM

I think on a limited budget a planer is next most important if you’ll be working with hard woods. Big box
stores charge to much for their hard wood, and most hardwood shops you’ll have to do some slight milling
to get your lumber in shape. Also a router will be your most versitile tool.

On a skies the limit budget: planer, jointer, bandsaw, sliding miter saw, router (s) , chisels, sanders, clamps,
kreg jig…............................................................................................................................................................

Good luck!!!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View edgarO's profile


68 posts in 2323 days

#7 posted 06-13-2010 08:27 AM

Bob its a very limited budget, 400 on a gift card and with fathers day coming up maybe an extra 200. so probably 600.00 total for now. Thats why I want to know the recommendations from a some of you guys that have already walked in my shoes. I keep an eye on craigslist and in pawnshops. hopefully to piece a decent shop together.- thanks

View CryptKeeper's profile


132 posts in 2369 days

#8 posted 06-13-2010 09:39 AM


Here is what I posted to someone else who had a very similar question.

A good tape measure and compass. You would be surprised at how far off a cheap tape measure can be.

A Hand Planer – You can joint the edge of a couple of pieces of 1×3 stock for guides then just add a couple of C-clamps (truckload sale .99 cents).

I use my circular saw all the time for ripping down sheet goods just add the saw guides mentioned above. Even though I have a tablesaw I will still use it to rip hardwood just make sure you get one with 15amp motor. You can make a zero clearance plate, to help minimize tear out, by attaching a piece of straight and hardboard to the bottom and lowering the blade through it. BE CAREFUL for this I like to place it on a couple of pieces of styrofoam.

A variable speed drill with a dial control for the speed. I tried to skimp here and bought one with trigger control and I found that I’m just not steady enough holding the trigger to keep a constant slow speed with large bits.

I would splurge on at least a 2hp router but anything much larger than that and it is really awkward to handle. Buy good quality carbide bits they will last longer and easily make up for cost. You can use your router in table with a straight bit as a jointer. You don’t need an expensive router table top (they’re nice) but you can get by with a ¾ piece of re-enforced plywood with laminate on top. I mounted my first table to the wall with hinges so that I could remove the router and drop it down when it wasn’t in use.

Jigsaw – great for making patterns for use with the router.

Clamps – Everyone says it and it is true you can never have enough. But buy them as you need them (or find them on sale.) I scored Rockler’s ¾ in. pipe clamps for $7.99 in there fall truckload sale but I only buy the pipe as I need it. One thing I think about here is I don’t buy 3ft pipe for a 2ft clamp. I buy a 5ft pipe then I have a 4ft, 3ft, or 2 ft clamp and in end it takes up less space than a bunch of short clamps.

Random orbital sander but depending on the lumber you buy a belt sander may be nice.

Other things to consider: chisels 1/8 in, ¼ in, ½ in, and 1 in, combination square, speed square I use this all the time for setting the base on my saw, framing square, sandpaper, glue, etc.

The list of nice to haves can go on forever but this would get you one your way.

-- Ron - Any day that I don't learn something new is a wasted day.

View CryptKeeper's profile


132 posts in 2369 days

#9 posted 06-13-2010 10:15 AM

I went over to Homedepot’s website to see what I would do with a $400 gift card and here is what I came up with:

Porter-Cable 2-1/4 Peak HP Router Kit
Model 892
DEWALT Jigsaw Kit
Model # DW317K
Store SKU # 589360
DEWALT 5 In. Random Orbit Sander Kit
Model # D26451K Internet # 100076641

Total: $357.97 + plus tax would just about eat the card.

If you could add a little bit to it I would drop the PC fixed base router and go for plunge router kit possibly:
Milwaukee 2 1/4 HP Router Kit
Model # 5616-24

going with this router kit instead of the PC your sub-total would be ~$433.97 + tax.


-- Ron - Any day that I don't learn something new is a wasted day.

View knotscott's profile


7145 posts in 2794 days

#10 posted 06-13-2010 01:38 PM

Desire is the key…beyond that there are lots of ways to accomplish a task. I think a router is an excellent idea…it’s the most versatile tool in the shop. A good blade for your TS is also a good idea.

After that it’s really a matter of what you’ll need to be doing and how you want to do it. If you’ll be using hardwoods, a planer is pretty useful to have….a planer is especially nice when used in conjunction with a jointer, but I’d go with the planer first.

A decent work surface (workbench) is pretty critical. A decent hand drill is always useful. A good wwing book (The New Woodworker Handbook), sand paper, clamps, basic measuring tools like a combo square, straight edge, and tape measure, a couple of chisels, and maybe a block plane are all pretty nice basics to have on hand. You’ll probably want to branch out beyond what HD offers, but you’ll have no trouble spending your gift card there!

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

View edgarO's profile


68 posts in 2323 days

#11 posted 06-13-2010 04:07 PM

Cryptkeeper- Thanks for the informative post. I like your list of purchases at HD. I am going to try to see if I can get them to take a HF 20% off coupon.. As for the router in store they have a Ridgid R2930 kit for 199.00. Does Ridgid make pretty good tools?
Knotscott- yes I have been going to estate sales trying to find some old stanleys on the cheap. No luck yet.
We have a few measuring tools already. If anybody is interested harbor freight has a 60” solid oak bench for 139.99 on sale. Its originally 200. dont forget to use a 20% coupon !

View Greedo's profile


470 posts in 2379 days

#12 posted 06-13-2010 05:10 PM

dang tools are cheap in the states, you lucky bastards! for $400 in belgium i can’t even get the 900w bosch router. actually i bought that router on ebay this weekend for $200 with over 30 bosch router bits, together those things are worth new way over $2000.
so i would say keep a close eye on auction sites, i’d take a used professional tool anytime over a brand new cheap tool.
but i understand that buying pro tools from the start is tough on your budget, but if you catch the microbe then you will go for for those tools sooner or later anyway.
i’d say the no1 tool to buy next to a tablesaw is a stationary planer, if you want to save the most money that is. rough unplaned wood (over here at least) is half the price of ready to use wood.
you can do alot with a router, but you can perfectly do without aswell. can’t do without a drill or sander though.

View CryptKeeper's profile


132 posts in 2369 days

#13 posted 06-13-2010 07:38 PM

I didn’t see the Ridgid router kit on the website but I have never owned nor used any of their hand power tools. I have used some of their stationary tools in a friends shop and they seem pretty good.

One thing I do know about the Ridgid line is if you are not satisfied with the product HD will stand behind it and make you happy.

I’m head to HD this morning so I’ll stop by the tools and see what the Ridgid kit offers but another LJ’er wrote a pretty good review on the Ridgid kit – I’m curious now.

-- Ron - Any day that I don't learn something new is a wasted day.

View uffitze's profile


199 posts in 2374 days

#14 posted 06-13-2010 08:07 PM

Take a step back and think about first what you want to make, and second what the steps are in making it.

For most furniture, the first step is to joint and plane to get your stock into as close to a perfect rectangle as possible.

So, given your budget limitations, I would suggest picking up a Hock iron and making yourself a wooden bodied plane. With your plane, you can flatten up one side of a board, and then run it through the lunchbox planer that you are going to pick up at HD. So, with your new plane and planer, and your tablesaw, you’ll be able to make stock that is ready for joinery.

As far as tools for joinery … a few good chisels, a sharpening system, and a hand saw are all you really need. (Plus a bench of course.) And, with experience, you’ll learn what you need to work.

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3192 days

#15 posted 06-13-2010 08:26 PM

I mainly build cabinets and furniture. You can look at my 14 X21 workshop to get an idea as to what tools I use to do this kind of work. The order that I would buy them in, is the best 10” cabinet grade table saw you can afford, 10”-12” sliding miter saw, 14” band saw, shaper or router table, planer, jointer, drill press, Spindle/belt sander, mortise machine and drum sander. There are a lot of different ideas as to what should be bought first. Let your projects determine what order you buy your equipment and power tools in. As far as power hand tools, I have 2 – cordless drills, hammer drill, cordless skill saw, 2 1/4 HP router with std/plug bases, saber saw, laminate trimmer, air – nailer, pin nailer, brad point nailer, dovetail jig. clamps, clamps and more clamps. Looking forward to seeing your shop grow.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

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