Advice needed on setting up new home woodworking shop

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Forum topic by Midirons posted 09-26-2016 01:39 PM 2312 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 758 days

09-26-2016 01:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: home workshop

Hello All – I apologize for the log post. I am new to this forum and am getting back into woodworking/carpentry as I’ve now been retired for 3 years and have learned that playing golf 7 days a week doesn’t cut it for me mentally. So I am seeking advice on setting up a home workshop. I’ve done, what I think, is quite a bit of research, so I wouldn’t have to say “Tell me what to buy”.

Some quick background: My Dad was a finish carpenter and taught me quite a bit based on a Delta radial arm saw. He bought that saw when I was 11 years old and I kept it for projects around the house and moved it around the country with me. I gave it away, still working, when I was 55. I used it mostly for simple cross-cuts, ripping, and an occasional dado.

Now I am ready to get back into some wood-related projects. I have several lined up which will require the purchase of new tools and the replacement of others. These projects include: wood storage trays for golf carts; dollies for our large plants (there appear to be some great examples on this site); 2 coat racks; a small shelf project for a broom closet; and (this is the most ambitious) replacing the wire shelves and baskets in the MBR closet with wood. Lastly, I will want to make a few things for our grand kids.

I’ve read through as many posts on different forum sites as I could find over the past 10 days and I have what I think is the solution. I learned an awful lot in my research. But, I wanted to run this by you folks as you’ve got far more experience than I do and likely encountered the same issues when you decided to set up a shop. This is going to be a hobbyists shop.

Space – Right now, I’ll have an area measuring 6’ x 12’ in the garage that I can do what ever I want with. I can also move the golf carts out and have as much temporary space as I require. I am in the deep south, so cold weather isn’t an issue.

Current Power Tools – Craftsman Circular Saw – 12 years old (it was actually recalled due to safety issues but I still have it); B&D jigsaw – 32+ years old (it’s gotta go); Ryobi 208B Cordless drill; Bosch ROS20VS ROS; an old Dremel w/attachments; Dewalt DW100 Corded drill; Ryobi DSW1200 Finish sander.

Current Hand Tools – 2” – 6” C Clamps; 6” – 24” squares; stud finder; rubber mallets; an “okay” complement of hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, nailsets, etc.; 1/4” – 1” wood chisels; levels; 3” and 8” inexpensive planers; lots of glue.

So what do I need to get started? Here are my thoughts based on my research and I’d really appreciate your candid feed back. I believe I really need to replace my circular saw and jigsaw.

Circular Saw – I need to replace the Craftsman circular saw with something a bit more robust. The short-list includes the Dewalt DWE575 ($119); Hitachi C7BMR ($99); Bosch CS10 ($99); Makita 5007F ($119, but the HD folks tell me it will be on sale soon at $99); Makita 5007MG ($149). I am really leaning to the Makita 5007F although I’d like a Makita 5007 as it is one pound lighter.

Jigsaw – Seems like Bosch is the way to go. I found the JS470E to be a bit big for me, and think the JS365 would satisfy my work. Other possibilities include the Makita JV0600K & the Dewalt DW331K. The Bosch feels really nice in my hand. (Interestingly, the Porter Cable PCE345 ($60) felt best in my hand), My choice is the Bosch JS365.

Additional power tools would include:

Router – I figured a small trim router would suffice so I was looking at the Dewalt DPW611; the Bosch Colt: or the Rigid 2401 (comes with a free 1/4 sheet sander, but it’s out of stock). I dropped by a Direct Tools store where my wife purchases all of her garden power tools. They had a refurbished Rigid 2200 2 HP router and a 2201 trim router. The manager said he would sell them together to me for $170. That’s sounds like a reasonable deal as I can use them for a bit and if they work okay, I’ll keep them. If not, I’ll sell them and move on to something else. Any thoughts on this?

The other power tool I may (likely) need is a planer and the Dewalt folks seem to have the best offerings here – the DW734 ($400) and DW 735 ($600). There are others but I couldn’t find a whole lot about them. Those being the Makita 2012NB (found 1 thread); the Delta 22-555 (very good online reviews): and the Rigid R4331 (seems to be a decent planer). Any comments on planers?

My plans are to purchase in order: a planer, a band saw, a table saw, a drill press and finally a a jointer. (I did read that some folks purchase tools when they need them for a specific project. I kinda like that approach.) As I begin my journey, I’ll post what brand/model tools I am considering for feedback.

Am I on the right track with my thinking? Let me know if you need more info and thank you for your time. Best regards.

17 replies so far

View toolie's profile


2144 posts in 2773 days

#1 posted 09-26-2016 02:46 PM

You mention planers without mentioning jointers. As these are usually used as a team for dimensioning in milled material, did I miss something? A table saw would be high on my list, especially when considering a closet organizer. Serviceable RASs from the 60s and 70s are available through CL, which is where I’d do most of my tool hunting.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View Midirons's profile


8 posts in 758 days

#2 posted 09-26-2016 04:10 PM

Toolle – Yes you missed my ignorance of woodworking. I’ll look into the jointer.CL doesn’t have many, if there are any at all, in my area. I may have to purchase new but that’s fine. Thanks for taking time to respond.

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1598 days

#3 posted 09-26-2016 04:33 PM

Here is an 80 sq ft shop with a TS:

Build what you like. When you need a tool, buy it. Soon your shop will have all the tools you need.


-- Madmark -

View canadianchips's profile


2606 posts in 3142 days

#4 posted 09-26-2016 05:18 PM

I am thinking back to what BIG tools I started with 40 years ago.
Table SAW …...I live on mine
Jointer…...Goes well with table saw.
Drill Press
Miter saw…....sold my radial arm saw
Eventually I added band saws
I would buy jointer before the planer…...only because I do not use my planer that much.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View ajshobby's profile


99 posts in 2453 days

#5 posted 09-26-2016 05:37 PM

Sounds like you’ve got a solid thought process on what you are wanting to do. Depending on what you are planning to do about lumber is what will kind of dictate what you need for power tools. If buying from the borgs a table saw would be higher on my list for big power tools. If buying rough lumber a planer and jointer are going to be nessesary.

Band saw would be low on my priority since you look like your already going to use a jig saw for curves. Unless you need one for resawing lumber then a bandsaw is higher on list.

For what you said for your project needs id buy a tablesaw, jointer and planer from the start and then go with the buy as you need philosophy. Wood working is alot more enjoyable when you have square dimenentioned lumber. Have fun with your adventure back into wood working.

AJ in Mpls MN

View Midirons's profile


8 posts in 758 days

#6 posted 09-27-2016 10:00 PM

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful responses. I will replace my circular saw this afternoon. Looks like I should focus on the planer, jointer, and table saw next. I’m going to get started on a few woodworking projects this weekend so I hope to learn a lot about my needs as I progress through them.

Best regards. Forrest

View mudflap4869's profile


1849 posts in 1604 days

#7 posted 09-28-2016 12:38 AM

A good straight edge is a must for accurate cuts with a circular saw. Mine clamps to the wood and is set so the saw follows it. It takes up very little space but makes a great difference when used. I use mostly rough lumber so a planer and joiner is a must in my shop. They are both used daily. I wouldn’t give up my sliding miter saw for money, any angle including compounds.

-- Still trying to master kindling making

View Putttn's profile


115 posts in 2423 days

#8 posted 09-28-2016 01:38 AM

For what you are looking for you might consider a used Shopsmith. It will do all you want at a reasonable cost for used ones and most of them have a bandsaw available. I have Festool setup, a Kapex and a SawStop PCS and I still wouldn’t give up my Shopsmith. It takes up very little room and is mobile. I make small boxes and the bandsaw and drill press are perfect for my needs.

-- Bill eastern Washington Home of beloved ZAGS

View Midirons's profile


8 posts in 758 days

#9 posted 09-28-2016 10:16 PM

Madmark – Thx for the pic of your shop. I’m just using a 7’ 6” work table, a workmate and 2 saw horses. When I’m I’m ready to get a bit more organized, I’ll post a picture of what I’m thinking.

mudflap4869 – Did you construct a straight edge or did you purchase one? I was thinking of just constructing one using 1x’s.

Puttn – Hadn’t considered the Shopsmith, but I will look into it. From your handle I’m guessing you play golf. Don’t hesitate to PM me if you are in near the Alabama Gulf Coast area.

On another note, my Craftsman CS doesn’t sound to well so I’m going to pick up a Makita 5007MG tonight. (The best part of my day!)

Thanks again to everyone. Forrest

View clin's profile


929 posts in 1141 days

#10 posted 09-28-2016 11:06 PM

Everyone’s needs are different. For example, I do not have a jointer and have not needed one yet. That’s just me. I do joint edges, but have gotten by using a clamp on straight edge and then ripping on my table saw. This of course is only suitable for jointing relatively narrow pieces (I.E. edges and not board surfaces).

I’ve trued up board surfaces by using a sled with my planer and shimming the boards. Some experts online prefer this method. Though it is obvious it is not as convenient as a jointer and would not be appropriate for production.

Hand planes can be used for jointing (as they were before power tools).

My point is not to pick on jointers (it is an example), but rather to point out that there are often ways to get by without buying any one of the specific power tools. Some get a track saw and don’t bother with a table saw. Just depends on what you are doing.

It’s possible to not use any power tools at all.

However, in general, if you’re a power tool guy, I think a good table saw is a center piece of the shop. You’ll also want an out-feed table for it. Given your small shop size, you’d want that to do double duty as a work table. You might want to look at the Paulk workbench for something that can be setup and tore down quickly.

For your closet project, I’d want a table saw, though you could get buy with a circular saw and straight edge.

My general suggestion would be to buy things as you really need them.

-- Clin

View ohtimberwolf's profile


862 posts in 2497 days

#11 posted 09-29-2016 07:51 PM

YouTube can be a best friend when starting out. It is what a lot of us use in conjunction with this site. Many many years of experience here so stick around and use utube as an add on. Also, consider your location as related to rust on your tools, learn how to protect them. Glad you are here and teachable. larry

-- Just a barn cat, now gone to cat heaven.

View Midirons's profile


8 posts in 758 days

#12 posted 09-30-2016 05:20 AM

Thank you, clin and larry. I did take a look at a few of the plans on the website. I’ll take a closer look tomorrow. I think I misled everyone on the size of the area I have. I’ll be working in my garage. The 6’ x 15’ area can house fixed equipment. Then I could use one of the car bays to do whatever I pleased. That’s likely going to cause some sawdust issues so I’ll have to address that. I’ll try to take a picture of it over the weekend and that’ll give you a better idea of what I’m facing.

I hadn’t thought of utube but will take a look over the weekend. Larry – Good catch on my location. I’m about 3 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. Certainly could be some salt intrusion. (The lintels on the home we purchased last year are quite rusty.) Everyone have an enjoyable weekend. All the best. Forrest

View EricLew's profile


215 posts in 1511 days

#13 posted 09-30-2016 05:44 AM

As others have said, everyone’s plans, choices, and priorities are different. You know best what you need, in what order, based on your needs. The only piece of advice I will offer is, based on the size of your work area, when you get floor standing tools, make sure they are on mobile bases. My shop is about 2/3 of a 2 car garage, and I have two work benches, a table saw, band saw, jointer, drill press, dust collectors, lumber cart, a sanding and sharpening table, and they are all on wheels. Without that mobility I wouldnt be able to have half of them.

I wish you the best

-- I love the smell of coffee in the morning, and sawdust in the afternoon

View gawthrrw's profile


207 posts in 2592 days

#14 posted 10-01-2016 12:25 AM

I know a lot of people are scared of the Radial arm saw but it seems you already have experience using it. You could always buy another and it would take up less room than a table saw and you can use it as a jointer with a jig. Add a planer to that an you got yourself a good start. I have had quite a few of the older Dewalt Radial arm saws and after the initial pain of setting them up have not had any issues. Just a thought.

-- Rob, Dallas TX

View Holbs's profile


1959 posts in 2174 days

#15 posted 10-01-2016 12:39 AM

Do not forget regional auctions. There are billions and billions of auctions in the south & east as compared to out west. You will find goldmines at your auctions.
In regards to a table saw. You could surely get by with a diny contractor saw on the cheap. If gots the funds, I would recommend the bosch 4100 as it can fit on the gravity stand to store it away or to use in driveway. It was my main workhorse for 3 happy years.
Jigsaw…yep, Bosch. Top honors.
Planer vs jointer? I have both. But I lean towards a planer being more useful than a jointer.
Don’t forget about fliptop stands to help save space. Great projects here on LJ for that. I was crazy enough to put a lunchbox planer and 6” jointer together on a single fliptop that “mostly” worked :)

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

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