no tablesaw, jointer or planer in the workshop- router vs. hand tools vs. none

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Forum topic by nadavpev posted 03-12-2017 06:31 PM 2900 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View nadavpev's profile


7 posts in 590 days

03-12-2017 06:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question bandsaw router joining milling

I think my question was already spoken about, but not exactly..
I’m an “aspiring” woodworker with a not-very-big repertuar of small projects. I really feel like I need to expand my ability to be independant, mainly being able to get wood from the store or from any other source and mill it without being so anxious about tensions being released, cupping and twisting the wood. I’d also like to have the ability to make mortise and tenon (preferably blind) joints.
My current tools:
6.5” bandsaw, jigsaw, orbital sander, drill+screwdriver, chisels
I really dont have a budget for a table saw, jointer and planer. I dont really have the budget for even one, semi-professional tool- about 1000$ (I don’t live in the states and the volts here are different so i prefer buying from here, and things cost about 60% more here generally)
There are 2 paths I had in mind, both begin with rough-cutting on the bandsaw:
1. jointing and planing with a router. Might be a bit tough for small pieces, but having a decent router would probably be really great. Also making a jig for mortises.
2. Buying either a lie-nielsen LA jack plane (.62) or a jointer plane, and some other nice hand tools (saws, some better chisels) and of course sharpening equipment. This is probably a lot harder and demanding, but it “feels better”, if you know what I mean. Seems to me just as a nicer way of non-production woodworking… I wonder if it’s less flexible than a router.
an example for a project I find interesting to build and representative of what I want to achieve is matt cremona’s bassinet:

I know its also a matter of personal feel but I’d like to know what you think.

Thank you!

-- Alright, that's the last jig I'm gonna build. From now on I'll start making furniture!

4 replies so far

View cicerojoe's profile


64 posts in 3594 days

#1 posted 03-12-2017 07:03 PM

Well I think you have to ask yourself the question, why am I wood working? What are my physical limitations? Don’t get too caught up in thinking about possible tools you might need in the future. Just take it one project at a time and get the tools you need as you do this.

Much of the problems you describe in dimensioning can be solved by careful stock selection, and/or finding a lumber dealer that will do S4S milling as an add on service for you.

Regarding specific tools, look for a number 5 bailey type plane with a nice machined frog. Sharpen up the blade and don’t skip a strop or with metal polish You need a saw. You have chisels. I would suggest a rip and crosscut hand saws. Get yourself a circular saw, some good blades, make some jigs for it.. A small trim router is probably enough tool. You will be limited only by your imagination.

-- John from the Cherry Valley Studio in NY

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3796 days

#2 posted 03-12-2017 07:50 PM

Considering you have a band saw, you should
know that virtually all furniture making can
be accomplished with a band saw, some chisels,
a jack plane, a square or two and perhaps a
back saw for cutting tenon shoulders, precision
cross-cutting being the one sawing task the
band saw cannot be coaxed into doing well.

An electric router is a much easier tool to get
good results with than a router plane and also
it can do a lot of other things well.

View Markmh1's profile


86 posts in 592 days

#3 posted 03-12-2017 09:18 PM

I think Cicerojoe summed it up.

If I were in your position I’d try to get a circular saw with a couple good carbide blades. A circular saw will take a lot of drudgery out of your work.

I’d also build the most awesome workbench that could ever be. Being able to hold the work properly will cure a lot of evils.

I wish you all the best.


View mummykicks's profile


109 posts in 1951 days

#4 posted 03-14-2017 05:19 PM

A track saw and router, with an attachment for the router to use the track, a straight bit (1/2 in plywood bit maybe), a round-over, and a flush cut bit can all be had for under $1000.
You can buy the saw and make your own track as well to save some money.

Use hardwood ply and edge trim with hardwood and you can build just about any piece of functional furniture with that set up.

Nobody other than woodworking snobs cares whether the piece you made is from solid wood or not. They either like the way it looks or don’t.

Otherwise go the hand tool route (watch paul seller’s you tube vids). You should be able to get a decent set of planes for the various tasks for under $1K, especially if you buy used. It will take you much longer, but it certainly can be done, and done well if you have the patience and energy. You will still spend much more for your projects due to higher material costs compared to the ply/trim route.

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