Just got my bonus, what to buy?

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Forum topic by ErikinColorado posted 03-20-2007 10:47 PM 2120 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ErikinColorado's profile


31 posts in 4079 days

03-20-2007 10:47 PM

Hey gang,

I just got my bonus at work and while I’m saving most of it, I’m going to spend some of it on some tools . My quandry is, what to get? Here are some of my thoughts and a list of what I have. After that, I’ll open it up to y’all for your thoughts.

I’m setting up my garage workshop, and I need shop cabinets, so I was planning on spending some money on some plywood to build them. I have also seen the new Steel City tablesaw model 35601 on which SC has a nice price ($899) and a nice rebate ($100 off). I’m also considering some planes from Lie-Nielsen (LA block and #4 1/2 smoother). I suppose I could also get some of the new Jet parallel clamps everyone’s raving about.

I have the following power tools:
Ryobi 10in contractor’s table saw
Ridgid 10in miter saw
B&D 18V cordless drill
Milwaukee corded drill
Milwaukee circular saw
Craftsman jig saw
Porter Cable router
Porter Cable ROS

My only hand tools are:
Set of Marples chisels
A fair-to-decent Stanley block plane that I’ve had to tune the heck out of
2 western style hand saws

I’ve heard many of you say to buy the best tools you can afford, and also to buy tools for the projects at hand. Given that this will probably be my last substantial tool purchase for at least the next year, I would like to hear how y’all think I should spend some of my bonus. And yes, I am deliberately not telling you what my budget is.


-- Erik

31 replies so far

View Woodwayze's profile


63 posts in 4079 days

#1 posted 03-20-2007 10:52 PM

Hi Erik,

Buy what y’all need, and no more.
Don’t make my mistake, and wind up selling stuff you never got around to mastering.

But a Leigh jig would be good all the same!

John (UK)

-- Working fast helps you to arrive at your mistakes in spectacular fashion. (Me 2009!)

View jpw1995's profile


376 posts in 4291 days

#2 posted 03-20-2007 10:55 PM

Have you considered spending some of it on lumber? You could always build a few things with the tools you have, sell them, and then have even more money for new tools.

-- JP, Louisville, KY

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4266 days

#3 posted 03-20-2007 11:00 PM

I know where you could send some of that bonus if you are finding it difficult to spend!!!!! Welcome aboard….

I would consider a good 8” jointer

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4091 days

#4 posted 03-20-2007 11:14 PM

Hmmmm, Some suggestions.

An Air Compressor and Finish Nailer
A router table

I would look for a used 4 and 1/2 bailey plane and get a set of hock blades

I have and would recommend the Lie-Nielson low angle block plane, but would probably put it below a jointer and a planer in priority given your tool list.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4154 days

#5 posted 03-21-2007 12:05 AM

I like the wood idea.. increase the tool fund

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4308 days

#6 posted 03-21-2007 04:10 AM

And a belt sander
I’d get a lot of hand tools(the basics), just good ones they don’t have to be great. New and second hand ones. Maybe take some time and shop around.
Air guns and compressor!

View BassBully's profile


261 posts in 4090 days

#7 posted 03-21-2007 04:33 AM


First of all, you can start by purchasing me a jointer. Then a …

Just kidding. Actually, buying a bunch of lumber won’t do you any good without a jointer and planer. I would actually purchase those before a new table saw since you already have one. The reason is because you can purchase rough sawn lumber from a local mill at a much cheaper rate than say Menards.

I didn’t see that you have a band saw in your midst either. Those are always nice for cutting curves and also re-sawing lumber. I will often use my band saw to cut a small log to fit on my lathe or I’ll also use it to split a thick board in half and then plane the two pieces to the desired size. This can save money as well.

Good luck with your cash, if you can’t figure out how to spend it, just send it my way! :)

-- There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't!

View ErikinColorado's profile


31 posts in 4079 days

#8 posted 03-21-2007 04:49 AM

I can honestly say that by far the overwhelming consensus is a planer and a jointer, tools I don’t have.

The reason I am considering a new table saw is because I’ve got the $99 Ryobi job from Home Depot, that my Dad got for me a few years back as my first “real” power tool. I’m at the point now where I am either going to spend the time and money to build jigs and devices to make that saw workable for my level of woodworking (novice, but getting better), or buy a new saw. Meaning, I’ve already put on a new Freud blade and I’m just about to finish building a Biesemeyer-style rip fence to fit my little saw. Next up is a wraparound outfeed table. Add up all that and I’m way over the original $99 cost. But the saw works. Part of me says get something I don’t have, like good hand tools or a bandsaw or planer & jointer, and part of me says get a bigger better table saw to replace what is arguably the weakest tool in the shop.

Thanks for the advice and comments, please keep em coming.

Erik, dazed and confused for the moment

-- Erik

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4091 days

#9 posted 03-21-2007 05:05 AM

Another option is to look for good used tools on Craigs list . A table saw upgrade should be pretty easy to find in the Denver area.

This Jet for $500 is a good example. I would guess it is already gone…

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4154 days

#10 posted 03-21-2007 12:01 PM

and don’t forget to check out what you can get through LJ so that Martin can get some income to support the site.
Gotta cover all of your options!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4293 days

#11 posted 03-21-2007 01:47 PM

If you decide on a Bandsaw, check on this one.Rikon

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View PhilosopherSteve's profile


43 posts in 4079 days

#12 posted 03-21-2007 02:48 PM

I know how you feel, I got my bonus and I wanted to go out and buy tools.

It looks like you’ve got a decent start to your tools. The can certainly do many things you’d need already. I’d second the need for a planer. If you don’t want a jointer too, you can always cobble up a jointing sled for a planer (I’ve done it with fair success, but if you’ve got a lot of stock or long stock, it’s gonna take a while)

I would really recommend a good router table. A solid table with a good split fence and some t-track for miter gauges and other attachments can open up whole worlds of possiblities. There are decent models to buy, plus a lot of plans. If you’ve got space, think about a complete router cabinet – it’ll give you storage and control dust/noise. I didn’t build it, but I hear a lot of people like Norm’s from New Yankee.

For what it’s worth though, some of my bonus kinda, sorta went to an Xbox 360. Hey, the controller could be considered a hand tool, right? Anyone? However, the rest is probably heading for a shed, a much needed electrical upgrade (I couldn’t plug in bandsaw right now!), new roof, fence for the sheep, etc.

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4230 days

#13 posted 03-21-2007 03:02 PM

Don’t piss around on a 1 1/2 hp table saw, when you cay buy a 3 HP TS for about a $1,000 and not have to upgrade for years.

I bought what i thought was a 3 HP table saw and it bogs down when cutting thick (1 1/2” or thicker) material. WAIT ! It even bogs down cutting 4/4 Oak.

IF YOU’RE DOING THIS AS A HOBBY BUY A SMALL HOBBY SIZED SAW. If you’re doing this for a living or you plan on doing a lot of different things, buy the biggest best saw you can afford so that it doesn’t become a hinderance in the future, and doesn’t consume any more thought

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4155 days

#14 posted 03-21-2007 07:27 PM

I was going to suggest sending me your bonus, but sounds like others got there first.

I would say even if you bought a new table saw, you would probably be making jigs, outfeed tables, etc. for it too. So I do not think that would be a cost saver in those terms. Does the Ryobi still fit your needs? Can it still handle the cuts you do now? Is it accurate? If so, then the jointer and planer would be first on my list. Otherwise, the table saw would be a great start. Maybe even a cabinet saw, if you have the room.

Band Saw, Air compressor, nail gun, router table, Leigh jig are all great items as well. It is just a matter of priorities and of course dollars.

Let us know what you pick.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Drew1House's profile


425 posts in 4081 days

#15 posted 03-21-2007 08:07 PM

I would also call your local high school and find out where they buy their tools… Then go to the same source and find out if they sell used tools… Here, with they bring used stuff back from people and tools and sell on consignment… the schools are upgrading to sawstop saws and trading in barely used equipment on new stuff. I got my jointer which was new 4 months before from a guy through them who was upgrading to a 10 inch for $1000. The powermatic PJ882 jointer is listed on Amazon (these guys are an amazon supplier) for $1700 bucks…

-- Drew, Pleasant Grove, Utah

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