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Forum topic by maxwellllll posted 11-18-2016 03:28 AM 929 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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maxwellllll

17 posts in 393 days


11-18-2016 03:28 AM

Short-time lurker…first time poster here.

I’ve only been fiddling around with woodworking for the past six months or so, but it’s something I really enjoy. I’m currently about 90% hand tool oriented, due to both space and budgetary constraints. Other than handsaws and planes, I don’t have much in the way of equipment (using a 60’s era desk as my “bench”!). As far as what I’m looking to do, it’s currently just small project stuff. Long term, I’d like to get to the point where I could build “real” furniture pieces for myself.

We are in the final months of home design, and I’ve been able to carve out a bit of space just for me—it’s not a lot of space, but I’m hoping that it will work. What I’m trying to do is figure out what my future needs will be, for electrical planning, or just to figure out if there are any last-minute modifications to our plan that might help avoid headaches over the future. The room is 16’ x 8’ with an 8’ ceiling. Doors swing in on both ends that will cut off full use of about three feet of either long wall.

I know I need a good workbench, whether I build it myself or buy a pre-fab, I’d picture something in the 6’ range, taking up a good chunk of one wall.

Power items I’d consider more or less mandatory would be a jointer and a planer. I’m assuming that tabletop models of any of these items are not what I’m going to want long term (though I could be wrong?), which makes me lean toward looking hard at a combo jointer/planer, for space conservation, or maybe I could make do with a good standalone jointer and a tabletop planer…? I’m just having a really hard time with this, as it seems like my jointer (or combo) options are either relatively cheap (and not very well reviewed) items from Jet or Grizzly, and then a very rapid jump up to the very well-reviewed and very pricey Euro options (is there no U.S. version of the Axminster combos?!)

Other than those two items, a good bandsaw (Laguna, perhaps?) is on the list. I know that a table saw is considered by most to be an absolute must, but I’m leaning toward a track saw to save space…maybe a sliding miter saw for cross cutting.

One other thing: dust collection. I know I’ll need it, and I know it’s going to take up space. My assumption is that it’s going to take up a decent amount of the floor space, but I feel like there has to be a way that I can locate it either in the attic space or in some other way orient it “vertically”...?

I’m sure I’ve left a lot of things out, but hopefully this is enough info to get the great minds of lumberjocks going.

Thank you for any advice you can offer!


16 replies so far

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

1274 posts in 757 days


#1 posted 11-18-2016 03:46 PM

maxwellllll,

Since you are still in the design phase and have not yet firmed up your plans for outfitting the shop, focusing on the making the workspace flexible and workable is, to my mind, the top priority. It seems to me that ensuring an electric subpanel is installed in the workshop would be a good idea. If the subpanel is located near a doorway it would remain accessible and out of the way. Additionally if the subpanel is installed so that a new circuit can be added without having to cut away wall materials, those added circuits will go in without a lot of headache. I would think that a 100 amp subpanel would offer plenty of power for the shop. I am running infrared heat lamps and two 5 hp machines at one time with a 100 amp subpanel.

The second consideration is the location of the nearest bathroom. In addition to using the facilities, I frequently need access to water for a variety of reasons. Ideally the bathroom would be located where it can be accessed from the shop without having to track saw dust through the house.

A third consideration during the design phase is heating and cooling. Woodworking throughout the year is a more comfortable experience in a conditioned space. But perhaps more importantly, a conditioned shop can ensure glues and finishes work properly. Many require a specific temperature range to be effective. Also a conditioned shop can prevent some problems associated with wood movement. In my opinion, shop heating and cooling separate from that of the home’s heating and cooling is the way to go.

The last consideration is lighting. My preference is cool LED lighting (5000k to 6000k). If you can achieve 35 lumens per square foot, there will likely be plenty of good quality light, even for detail work. At this point surface mounted stripe lighting is probably the best option. If at some future time you decide to run ceiling mounted duct work for central dust collection, surface mounted strip lighting is easier to move around than lighting recessed into the ceiling when making way for the duct work. I would personally power the shop lighting from the main load center rather than from a subpanel in the workshop. This would reduce the power drain from the subpanel and would keep the shop illuminated when a new circuit is cut into the shop’s subpanel.

Once the space is finalized, a scale drawing of the space could be developed. Then the various tools you are considering could be placed on the scale drawing, making it much easier to determine whether and how well the space with the new equipment will work.

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

372 posts in 426 days


#2 posted 11-18-2016 04:08 PM

Build what you like.
Buy what you need.
Buy cheap at first, if it breaks, buy better.
Work your way.
If you like your shop – it’s right!

M

View MrFid's profile

MrFid

862 posts in 1742 days


#3 posted 11-18-2016 04:08 PM

I would say not to eschew the table saw in favor of a track saw, thinking that they’ll do the same thing. One major benefit of the table saw to the track saw is repeatable rips. If you need to cut multiple boards to the same width, there is no guarantee that the track saw will be able to match them directly. This is (maybe) more important than you realize right now. When you get into furniture building, you’ll find this to be a very helpful thing to be able to do. Without it, you’ll be fiddling around with getting things squared up and fighting a lot harder.
My advice would be that a table saw is maybe more important than a planer/jointer. Yes, those tools are very helpful, but you’ll need a large-scale dust collection system to operate them properly, and they can be worked around by buying dimensioned lumber. Yes, dimensioned hardwood is more expensive than rough cut, but the difference is not astronomical. In my opinion, you’re tying your hands more without a table saw than without a planer/jointer when it comes to making furniture.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Loren's profile

Loren

9630 posts in 3485 days


#4 posted 11-18-2016 04:45 PM

You can do quality work without a table saw,
but a small tilt-top model like an older
Delta is useful for cutting tenon shoulders. A
fine band saw can cut tenon cheeks, dovetails,
resaw, cut curves, etc. and removes less
wood than the table saw when cutting thin
strips. Saw marks are easily removed using a
planer or hand plane.

Other than that, table saws are real space hogs
when set up for ripping down plywood sheets,
so if efficient processing of sheet goods is
not a high priority to you, a track saw can
work pretty well.

Benchtop planers work quite well. Benchtop
jointers tend to be chintzy though.

View maxwellllll's profile

maxwellllll

17 posts in 393 days


#5 posted 11-04-2016 04:14 AM



maxwellllll,

Since you are still in the design phase and have not yet firmed up your plans for outfitting the shop, focusing on the making the workspace flexible and workable is, to my mind, the top priority. It seems to me that ensuring an electric subpanel is installed in the workshop would be a good idea.
{...snip…}
Once the space is finalized, a scale drawing of the space could be developed. Then the various tools you are considering could be placed on the scale drawing, making it much easier to determine whether and how well the space with the new equipment will work.

- JBrow

Really great advice here, JB. Thank you! I’m literally going to copy and paste what you wrote into an email to my architect.

MH

View JayT's profile

JayT

5455 posts in 2049 days


#6 posted 11-18-2016 11:07 PM

I also do a lot of hand tool work, have gone without a powered jointer and don’t feel the need to have one. It’s very easy to joint a straight edge with a hand plane and they are faster than a jointer for flattening a warped board to where it is ready to run through a planer. A powered jointer is one of the last pieces of machinery I would consider purchasing, unless it’s for a production shop.

The planer is a different story. Thicknessing lumber is a time-consuming and arduous task that I do not enjoy. A simple lunchbox planer has taken over those duties and it has helped to allow me spending more time on other aspects of woodworking that I enjoy more, such as joinery.

As far as the table saw goes, I did a blog post not that long ago about my decision to go without one. It might be worth a read before you make decisions about what machinery to purchase.

Good luck with whatever decision and direction you choose.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View maxwellllll's profile

maxwellllll

17 posts in 393 days


#7 posted 11-18-2016 11:12 PM



I would say not to eschew the table saw in favor of a track saw, thinking that they ll do the same thing. One major benefit of the table saw to the track saw is repeatable rips. If you need to cut multiple boards to the same width, there is no guarantee that the track saw will be able to match them directly. This is (maybe) more important than you realize right now. When you get into furniture building, you ll find this to be a very helpful thing to be able to do. Without it, you ll be fiddling around with getting things squared up and fighting a lot harder. {...snip…}


You can do quality work without a table saw,
but a small tilt-top model like an older
Delta is useful for cutting tenon shoulders. A
fine band saw can cut tenon cheeks, dovetails,
resaw, cut curves, etc. and removes less
wood than the table saw when cutting thin
strips.

This is sort of what I expected to hear, and both pieces of advice sound like they have a lot of merit to them. One other thing that I should have stated (regarding specific power tools) is that, given that it will be over a year from now before I have my shiny new house & shop, I don’t want to make any sort of purchase in the near term that will make zero sense over the long term, so there is that to think about. The planer and jointer priority exists for me, because getting my work “S4S” has proven to be the most difficult part of my project work so far, so it’s what I feel that I currently “need”. But maybe I’d be better off more seriously considering some sort of “compact” table saw to do some of that heavy lifting for me….?? I’m thinking of something like the Sawstop Jobsite saw that would be safe (I’ve literally never used a table saw in my life), but that could be easily re-positioned in the case of longer stock or longer rips. Something to think about…

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

372 posts in 426 days


#8 posted 11-19-2016 04:32 AM

Take a ww class on the ts before you buy.

Do NOT try to learn safety on your own.

M

View maxwellllll's profile

maxwellllll

17 posts in 393 days


#9 posted 11-19-2016 02:13 PM



Take a ww class on the ts before you buy.

Do NOT try to learn safety on your own.

M

- Madmark2

Thank you for the advice, Mark.

Aaaaand, this is another reason why a table saw was lower on my list. I’m 40 years old, so a shop class isn’t really an option at this point.

View maxwellllll's profile

maxwellllll

17 posts in 393 days


#10 posted 12-06-2016 08:36 PM

I’m trying to figure out dust collection for such a small space. I’ve read a bit about different methods, and I’m wondering if I could get by with a mini cyclonic/shop-vac combo. If not, is there any way to house some parts of the system (slightly) externally? If I have a cyclonic separator in the room, could the actual vacuum be located in the attic or on an exterior wall, or is this a bad idea…?

View Richforever's profile

Richforever

757 posts in 3558 days


#11 posted 12-06-2016 09:57 PM

I get by fine in a small area with a tabletop planer and a jointer sled that I built. The tablesaw is a benchtop one on a folding stand. Critical for all of this is a couple of adjustable infeed and outfeed roller stands. Everything can be moved and stored out of the way when not being used. Jim Tolpin’s book The New Traditional Woodworker helped me a lot.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View EugdOT's profile

EugdOT

213 posts in 393 days


#12 posted 12-06-2016 10:05 PM

I second this


Build what you like.
Buy what you need.
Buy cheap at first, if it breaks, buy better.
Work your way.
If you like your shop – it s right!

M

- Madmark2


View maxwellllll's profile

maxwellllll

17 posts in 393 days


#13 posted 12-06-2016 10:12 PM



I get by fine in a small area with a tabletop planer and a jointer sled that I built. The tablesaw is a benchtop one on a folding stand. Critical for all of this is a couple of adjustable infeed and outfeed roller stands. Everything can be moved and stored out of the way when not being used. Jim Tolpin s book The New Traditional Woodworker helped me a lot.

The more I study up, the more I think I could get by without a jointer. Thank you for your thoughts.

So what are you doing for dust collection…?

View AshTheArtist's profile

AshTheArtist

28 posts in 374 days


#14 posted 12-07-2016 01:24 AM

You should buy one tool at a time and see how it takes up space. If I was in your shoes I’d buy (in this order)-

Festool MFT (complete kit) with track saw (replaces table saw and is also a work table). You can do repeatable cuts with parf dogs on MFT. Festool also have a accsesory for track saw for repeat cuts, cant recall whats it called.

Rockler wall mounted dust collector with their collapsible hose (only good for small shops like yours) with their dustright attachments for your tools.

Laguna band saw (compact solid machines). I have 14” SUV with 14” resaw and takes minimal space.

Dewalt 735 Planer (you can use it as jointer using a sled).

Other hand held tools as needed. Rest fill up with wood to play with :)

-- Ash @ touchwoodarts

View Richforever's profile

Richforever

757 posts in 3558 days


#15 posted 12-08-2016 03:05 PM

For dust collection, I use a small shop vacuum that has wheels. I’ve made wooden adapters for the miter saw and table saw that fit the hose on the vacuum so I can just pull it to the tool and stick the hose into it. For the router and drill press I can set the hose close to where I need it and it works fine. The band saw still needs an adapter made for it so the hose will fit.

The planer makes piles of shavings that I can use a dust pan and broom to pick up. (It doesn’t generate fine dust that hangs in the air.)

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

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