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Forum topic by Chris posted 08-05-2010 09:49 AM 1604 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Chris's profile


8 posts in 2874 days

08-05-2010 09:49 AM

Hello everyone!

I’ve been lurking around this forum and others like it for years waiting for the day when I’d have the space and the resources to set up a workshop. That day has finally arrived, and before I do anything rash I thought I should ask for some advice from the experts.

I’m single and have a two car garage to work with (the truck can sit in the driveway). I’ve tried to be thorough about reading tool reviews, but I would like some more experienced opinions before placing orders. I’m looking at getting a table saw, jointer, planer, band saw, dust collector and drill press; and I’m limited to 110v electrical. My research seems to show that Grizzly makes the best bang-for-the-buck tools in these categories. Here’s my proposed power tool shopping list so far:

G0689 13” 2 HP Planer
G7944 floor standing drill press
G0555 bandsaw
G0715P 10” Hybrid Tablesaw
G0452 6” Jointer
G8027 1 HP Dust Collector
Hitachi M12V2 plunge router
Jet 1642EVS lathe (maybe…turning just looks like so much fun, but I’m trying to talk myself out of it)
Blades and whatnot (still a little fuzzy on band saw blades and router bits)
As many clamps as I can get my hands on

I also have a bunch of hand tools on the list: a block plane, jack plane, smoothing plane, a set of chisels, hand saw, grinder and sharpening stones…pretty much anything I could think of that I’d need.

My questions…First, am I overlooking anything that it would be a good idea to get? Second, are the tools I’ve selected reasonable choices, or are there alternates I should be considering? Third, am I going way, way overboard? Because I feel like I’m getting way too excited about this, and it might be clouding my already questionable judgement.

Finally, I get the impression from my research that for most types of hand tools, while the really high end ones are definitely better, even an inexpensive but reasonable constructed hand tool can be tuned to perform well. Is this the case? Are there any mid-tier or low-end tool brands that are recommended? I’d hate to spend a ton of money on planes and chisel at this stage in my development and ruin them through ignorance when I could risk less cash and learn how to properly maintain a tool at the same time (does that sound like rationalization?). For convenience sake I was thinking of ordering planes and chisels from Grizzly if I end up going with their other tools, as they seemed to get decent reviews (when I could find reviews for their hand tools).

On a separate but related topic, I’m originally from Michigan, but right now I live in San Angelo, Texas (Goodfellow AFB). I’m hoping there might be someone active on these boards from the region who can tell me where I can find wood. The nearest real hardwood supplier I was able to locate via the internet was in Austin 3+ hours away, and the local big box stores have practically nothing. I can always order wood online, but I’d prefer to buy it in person.

Anyway, whatever wisdom you all could impart to me is very much appreciated. I haven’t done any woodworking since I joined the military 10 years ago, and probably a few years before that, so I need all the help I can get. This site has already been a tremendous inspiration and learning resource for me. I’ve spent days here going through the forums and galleries. Thank you all for posting so much great information here every day.

9 replies so far

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3081 days

#1 posted 08-05-2010 10:41 AM

Sounds like you are planning to dive in head first and no turning back. I can’t speak from personal experience about the Grizzly tools, but they do get high reviews. The only other thing I would include with regards to power tools is a router table that you can mount one of those routers in. You can build that yourself of course once you have some tools. I don’t know anything about the Hitachi Routers. Personally, I am a Porter Cable Router fan and have quite a few. The Dewalt and Bosch Routers seem to be pretty good also. My main reason for liking the PC routers is that there are so many accessories and attachments available for them. The options are limitless for the most part. I don’t know if they are that best, but they are good and you can find all kinds of things to work with them. As for the hand tools, my personal recommendation, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money, is that you seriously consider used in this category. You can find some very good quality old (mostly pre-1950’s vintage) hand tools at very reasonable prices. You will most likely have to clean, tune, adjust and sharpen them. In the end, you will learn a lot about how the tool works and end up with something special. I work a lot with hand tools just because I enjoy it and my collection of them is ever growing. Most of the tools that I have are at least 50 years old with many exceeding 100 years in age. I have very few that I purchased new. I also have many that I have made myself. As for the lathe, I have a Jet Mini lathe with the bed extension. Jet tools are of excellent quality and this lathe is certainly no exception. Also, turning can be addictive so beware. It is a lot of fun. I am still mostly a beginning turner, but I discovered pretty quickly that I could do a lot with the lathe and a pretty basic set of chisels, but now that I am trying some more adventurous projects, I am adding attachments and accessories. It’s what we refer to as “the slippery slope.” Once you’ve started, it’s hard to go back. Once last thing, as for the shop machines, I would not discount looking into good quality used equipment. Most of the machines I have were aquired that way and they work for me.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2944 days

#2 posted 08-05-2010 10:54 AM

I am laughing at your quote… “He who dies with the most tools wins!” I rather be a loser.. probably he dies because he got a lot of debt to pay for his tools… stressed… LOL.
You can start doing woodworks with simple handtools. Buy those you need from time to time. You can develop more innovation and techniques when you have very limited resources. But if just win from Lottery, then buy them and get a good teacher right away. It is very dangerous to use all of those tools without learning from an experienced woodworker.

-- Bert

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3032 days

#3 posted 08-05-2010 10:59 AM

Grizzly tools are generally a great value.

Is the 110V limitation really a limitation (i.e., can you not have 220V installed?)? If not, I’d say definitely do that as you’re severely limiting your tablesaw, bandsaw, jointer, etc. Maybe not right when you get started, but down the line.

You will probably want to add a riser block to the G0555 to increase your resaw height to 12” instead of 6”. Get it up front so you don’t have to junk your 93.5” blades and can buy 105” blades from the get-go. For blades, a great resaw blade is the Woodslicer from Highland Woodworking. Timberwolf blades are also well regarded – you can buy them direct from Suffolk Machinery (great people to ask about what blades you should get).

Go with a slightly more powerful dust collector. The Harbor Freight 2HP model can be had for $140 with a coupon. It’s a steal. Many of us have it – sometimes HF is a pain but in this case, it’s a good buy.

Reconsider your choice of router. Understand that a) you will eventually have more than one and b) you will eventually have a router table. A plunge/fixed kit might be a better choice for a first router – the option of a fixed base is nice for handheld work when you don’t need to plunge.

Lastly, you might be going a bit overboard…lol :) But it sure sounds exciting!

-- 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 3096 days

#4 posted 08-05-2010 02:21 PM

First, I will endorse Grizzly. I have a Grizzly planer (G0604X) and lathe (G0462) and I think they are very good machines at a very reasonable price.

Second – I advise you take it a little slower. You’ll have a lot to absorb and a lot to learn when you start out. Turning and flat work are like 2 almost completely different things. I would advise you wait a while on the lathe. Focus your energy on flat work and improve your competence and confidence there before expanding into turning.

It takes some time and effort to learn to turn.

If you decide to go ahead with the lathe initially then you really need a good method to sharpen your cutting tools. Please don’t try to freehand. I’d recommend a slow speed grinder and a sharpening jig like the Wolverine. Of course, you also need cutting tools. You don’t need the really expensive stuff but don’t waste your money of the really cheap stuff either.

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

View Gary's profile


9333 posts in 3455 days

#5 posted 08-05-2010 03:37 PM

Wellcome to the site. As you can see, it’s easy to get advice and guidance.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3058 days

#6 posted 08-05-2010 03:59 PM

Chris, you asked “am I overlooking anything that it would be a good idea to get?” Uh,....Wood! LOL! Just joshin!! I wish you all the luck in the world! Looking forward to seeing your projects.

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View Chris's profile


8 posts in 2874 days

#7 posted 08-05-2010 04:32 PM

Thanks for the advice everyone!

doc: I’ve looked into used tools, but unfortunately the area I’m in appears to be a desolate wasteland in terms of woodworking. I haven’t seen much of anything worth considering within a 3 hour radius, and I’m almost phobic of buying something I haven’t see, and traveling all that distance to look at a tool that may or may not be in good working order would really cut into the value proposition.

Bert: I had a good teacher. I used to spend a lot of time in my Grandfather’s woodshop. It’s been a long time, but I’ve used all of the tools I’m thinking of getting except the lathe. I could certainly use a refresher, though. Hopefully I can find someone local to show me the ropes. I didn’t win the lottery, but I’m reenlisting, and my careerfield gets a bonus. The shop is sort of my reward for living in dormatories and foriegn countries (5 years total in Korea) for the better part of the last 7 years.

Live4ever: Unfortunately my new place is a rental, and while the landlord is fine with me putting tols in the garage, he isn’t keen on me updating his electrical system. Good call on the HF dust collector, I think there might even be a store in town. I’ll take a look at the router issue. My granddad said if I was only going to get one at first to get a plunge, because you could use it in a table as well. Is this not the case?

rich: That’s exactly what I keep telling myself, lol. It just looks like so much fun, though. Plus being able to turn spindles…as you can see I’m losing the battle to convince myself not to get the lathe. I certainly have a lot of time (really, a lot. One of the many mixed blessings of being single), and as for effort…lets just say I can be a bit compulsive when I decide to learn something. Ah well, maybe my willpower will surge when it’s time to buy.

Gary: Thanks! I’ve always been impressed by wood workers’ willingness to help each other out. I really appreciate it, and hope I can give something back in the future.

Cozmo: I haven’t forgotten, I just need to find a good source. Does anyone have experience with online hardwood dealers? looks good, but the lumber comes S2S, which I’ve been advised against. Is that really an issue? Gramps says if the wood warps and there’s no extra to plane off it would be a problem. It seemed like a reasonable explanation, but a second opinion would be helpful.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3096 days

#8 posted 08-05-2010 09:39 PM

There are several good sources for good hardwood lumber online. I will just plug one, my favorite, Bell Forest Products.

I think the website is just, If I am wrong, just google them. They are in Ispemin, MI (upper peninsula).

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

View Chris's profile


8 posts in 2874 days

#9 posted 08-05-2010 11:52 PM

Thanks Rich!

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