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Forum topic by Michael J. Moore posted 04-11-2011 03:07 AM 2061 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Michael J. Moore

52 posts in 1560 days


04-11-2011 03:07 AM

I am putting together a small business plan/proposal and was wanting to get some feed back on some shop tools that are need for such an endeavor. I have been looking at machines by Laguna, Hammer/Felder, Mini Max, and Rojek among others and was wanting to get any feedback for how the brands hold up in small production shops. I was considering a few different things such as a Silding Table Saw, Saw/Shaper, 16” Jointer/Planer, Band Saw and 5 Tool Combo Machines and wanted to know any pros/cons I may not have considered. Any feedback would be appreciated. I know it’s a rather vague request but funds are limited and I may only be able to make the proposal once.

I look forward to getting any feedback.

-- Michael Jos Moore | Farmington, UT


26 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

7739 posts in 2338 days


#1 posted 04-11-2011 03:58 AM

Don’t buy the combo machines for a real business unless you absolutely
need the space.

If your business fails you’ll be crushed by the debt of investing in vanity
machines. I’m serious. Felder’s core market in N. America is affluent
hobbiests like doctors. Not tradesmen.

I’m not saying they don’t make good stuff, btw. They do – but if you’ve
never used a slider you don’t know what you’re getting into and you certainly
won’t know if a vertical saw or CNC is a better investment.

When and if you start making good money, upgrade to the fancy tools.

The WoodWeb guys, advising a guy who wanted to start a cabinet business
with 2 buddies wrote, when the guy asked about tools to get:

“regarding tools and machinery, if you have to ask, you have no idea what
you’re getting into”.

The used machinery auctions are in fact full of glorious machinery being
sold by people who started woodworking businesses with exactly no idea
what they were in for.

Without knowing the scope of work you have clients asking you to do
there’s no way to advise you sensibly on machinery.

I say get the jobs first and then upgrade machinery as needed. It should
go without saying that securing profitable jobs and having the skills to
complete them are far more critical to success in the business than
having a shop full of high-tech machines.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View cabs4less's profile

cabs4less

235 posts in 1452 days


#2 posted 04-11-2011 04:16 AM

i AGREE WITH LOREN COMPLETELY the biggest mistake people make when going from hoobyist to pro is they learn the hard way that hobbyist buy tools cause they want them pros buy them because they cannot do it with out them and the work load justifies the expense. If cabints is what your wanting to get into a table saw drill router pocket screw sander sprayer and a lot of jigs will build everything you can imagine as you get busier a jointer and planer nail guns and some door making bits ( you can always order doors most shops do) the big tools are nice but not needed

-- As Best I Can

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1540 days


#3 posted 04-11-2011 04:50 AM

Musical instruments? I make basses, electric. Can I be of any help?

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View ScottN's profile

ScottN

259 posts in 1369 days


#4 posted 04-11-2011 05:36 AM

I agree with Loren on everything…All except for the Felder comment. :( This is what I have… I wouldn’t quite call it a hobbyist saw.

-- New Auburn,WI

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ScottN

259 posts in 1369 days


#5 posted 04-11-2011 05:52 AM

It all depends on what type of work your going to do. For sheet goods and straight line ripping and every thing else you would do on a tablesaw a good panel saw will do. highly suggest a scoring blade.

wide belt sander. I have a 37” sander and I wouldn’t want it any smaller. HUGE time saver.

Shapers and…..hold on…I’m getting carried away. You can have 100,000 in your business, not sure I would want that type of overhead starting out. Overhead is usually what does a business in. I started with your basic hobby equipment and have been upgrading ever since. If I have a good year I get nice stuff, If its a bad year… maybe a new pencil sharpener.

-- New Auburn,WI

View Michael J. Moore's profile

Michael J. Moore

52 posts in 1560 days


#6 posted 04-11-2011 06:48 AM

Thanks for all the feedback everyone!

Just to clarify, I was referring to Guitar Speaker Cabinets rather than home cabinets so there is no confusion. I worked as a trainer for the largest buyer in the music industry for some time and am well aware of what small company’s market-shares can be. One of the bigest pitfalls for small music companies is their lack of ability to produce when big buyers come shopping.
My main concerns are over what people have found to be necessary start-up machines and what brands are worth it or not. I am trying to keep startup costs low and am trying to get beyond the college wood shop at over $1200 per semester. My father in law is investing in this endeavor and I am not wanting to overinflate or unestimate the feasible startup costs. My aim is for a fully function 1 man shop at under $7500 or worst case $10000. I do not want to sacrifice quality so a track saw and router table will not cut it because it would not be worth my time at such a slow pace.

Keep the feedback coming. It’s sincerely appreciated.

- – The “Real” Michael Moore

-- Michael Jos Moore | Farmington, UT

View mcase's profile

mcase

438 posts in 1819 days


#7 posted 04-11-2011 12:35 PM

Mij,

I would like to help out, but I need some clarification. Production shop? In my mind a production shop has several employees at least. My neighbor works at production shop – seven tables saws – 16” jointers etc. – where you have plan your cuts and schedule time on the machines so things keep moving. If you mean a professional specialty shop where your it with maybe a helper that’s a different animal. So clarify this for me and I can offer advice for what its worth. It would also be useful to know how large the stuff your planning on making will be – particularly how wide the panels will be and if you will be using plywood or solids for the most part.

View rhett's profile

rhett

699 posts in 2357 days


#8 posted 04-11-2011 01:58 PM

Get work first, then worry with equipment. Going into any debt, to start a woodworking business, is an extremely fool hardy plan.

Good Luck

-- It's only wood.

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1383 days


#9 posted 04-11-2011 02:05 PM

That post of Lorens got me thinking. The only people that I know that own Felders are doctors! I happen to be a physician myself, just not one of the affluent variety:) I’m more of a used JET kind of doctor:) I had never noticed that phenomenon before but in the cases I’m aware of, these purchases were definitely “vanity” purchases. Laguna has it’s own issues which are easily found here. MiniMax may be unique in the crowd that you list, as I’m aware of some hard-working MiniMaxs in production shops. Best of luck to you!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1383 days


#10 posted 04-11-2011 03:43 PM

^this was very informative and I thank you Cr1. I have to revise my comment about Felder and I certainly hope it didn’t offend any owners. I would love to have one of these impressive machines but I could never justify the expense as a hobbiest. These comments above should be very helpful to the original poster.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Loren's profile

Loren

7739 posts in 2338 days


#11 posted 04-11-2011 05:18 PM

Guitar amp speaker enclosures?

How are you going to cut the holes? You can do it with jig saws
of course, but that’s slow. You might want to get an Onsrud
inverted router or a big overarm router for cutting and drilling
all those holes. CNC is another way to do it. Onsrud claims their
machine is faster than CNC I think.

You may need air clamping gear to hold down templates.

Oh – you might want to buy a case clamp too. That’s a spend, and
not as much fun as a fancy tool, but it would be a smarter investment
for making speaker cabinets than a Format saw I bet.

If you’re really doing it right you’ll get doweling equipment so you can
squirt the glue in the holes, pop the dowels in, stick the cabs in the
case clamp, shut it, let the glue set while you get the next one ready,
then open the clamp and on to the next one. Unglamorous
woodworking but hella fast. The dowels mostly hold without glue
actually so the glue just has to grab and then you can take the clamp off.

Some guys do the dowels, load the clamp then nail/staple the corners
while the case is in the clamp. That’s real fast and high-quality except
for the little nail holes.

Small-shop guys bitch and moan about dowels, mostly because they
don’t have the machinery to do them right, but dowels are the way to
go if you’re doing this sort of manufacturing to a better quality standard.

Lots of speaker cabinets are glued and stapled. Staples and glue may
be all your customers are willing to pay for.

A plain old regular cabinet saw with a big fence will do for this. Get
the Format saw if you must, but your employees may mess it up. You
might want a power feeder to increase consistency from part to
part. It saves sweat, but increases accuracy in ripping too.

If doing dado joints, get a second cabinet saw and leave it set up.

You gonna do the tolex in house or not?

If so, you’ll want a spray gun setup for spraying the glue.

You’ll be dealing with heavy stacks of materials. A panel loader for the
table saw might be a good investment. A forklift maybe as well.

You’ll need staplers and an air compressor. Laminate trimmers. It’s
possible you’ll find a flush lipping planer useful. It definitely will be if
you take jobs making consoles for recording or film editing studios.

Unless you’re doing work with solid wood you don’t need a jointer or
a planer.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Michael J. Moore's profile

Michael J. Moore

52 posts in 1560 days


#12 posted 04-11-2011 06:43 PM

mcase - It will be more of a professional specialty shop since my only co workers will be my 4 sons when they get old enough. Right now I have only one helper when needed. So yes any feed back would be appreciated. Also I love the bed in your projects.

cr1 - That is a great wealth of info and helped very much, thanks!

Lee - I would love to see some of your work. I have not constructed a bass yet only solid body electric guitars up to this point but if time and money allows I will be taking a class in Acoustic Guitar Construction.

Loren - You seem to know what you’re talking about when it comes to my neck of things. Totally great feedback!
• Ideally, since I work with 5’ x 5’ 3/4” Baltic Birch Panels for covered cabinets, I believe a Sliding Table would be the best investment for processing those goods as opposed to using a Cabinet Saw and Circular Saw. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong but Sliders can do all the same functions as a cabinet saw and then some.
• I cut my holes with a dedicated router with a circle jig affixed to the base. Again Ideally I would work off a Pin Router or CNC machine but for cost sake those things will probably come in a later phase of the business.
• Now a Case Clamp & Wood Welder are two things I have not heard of yet, what brands make them? (Now I hope that does not make me regret spending $500 on an Akeda Dovetail Jig and another $500 on and Jet, Jorgensen, and Woodpercker Clamps.)
• My finger jointed birch cabinets will use a covering and yes this will be handled in house. This may be the only area I hire another employee for since it is more of it’s own thing and can be rather time consuming.
• The forklift is covered.
• Brad Nailer, Stapler, and Compressor are a must I am just not sure what brand to go with and if I should go with a combo unit or not.
• Laminate trimmer in the form of a dedicated router with flush trim bit is covered since I messed up a case trying to do it with a router and fence with a straight bit. (I was just being inpatient and trying to save money.)
• I will be working with hard woods for guitar bodies (13” to 15” wide) and bespoke speaker enclosures (10” to 14” deep), which is mostly what I have done up to this point and why I am tired of paying $1200 a semester for something that may be able to be had in a combo machine. My only concern about these units is that they are blade fed and I don’t want that affecting some of the AAA plus tops I put through them.

So just to state, for the sake of conversation, here is my outline of machines that I am predicting.
1. Cabinet Saw & Track Saw or Sliding Table Saw (combo or not)
2. Dovetail Jig
3. Drill Press
4. Multiple Routers
5. Router Table
6. Duct Collection System
7. Miter Saw/Radial Arm Saw
8. Nail Gun
9. Stapler
10. Compressor
11. 16” Jointer/Plainer
12. 18” Band Saw
13. Oscillating Spindle Sander
14. Multiple Clamps

If you see anything that is missing please feel free to buzz in.

Again, thanks everyone. All the feedback is greatly appreciated.

-- Michael Jos Moore | Farmington, UT

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1383 days


#13 posted 04-11-2011 06:48 PM

Are you totally sold on the combo jointer/planer? Have you considered a drum sander? I don’t own one but I know it would be a real time saver (TimeSaver pun partially intended) :) Good luck!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Michael J. Moore's profile

Michael J. Moore

52 posts in 1560 days


#14 posted 04-11-2011 07:03 PM

Bertha – I really feel that a Drum Sander would be overkill at this time and 1/32nd at a time is too little of a bite when you need to mill your own stock. I really wish that wasn’t the case since I have this old 50s Powermatic Model 50 6” Jointer that is inspiring to look at but just not that practical for the size of pieces that I am working with. The combo just seems the way to to since I don’t have any hand planes to handle 1 piece guitar bodies. Thanks!

-- Michael Jos Moore | Farmington, UT

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1383 days


#15 posted 04-11-2011 07:08 PM

I see your point. I think the combo machines vary greatly in quality. I almost bought the smaller JET combo machine myself but the reviews were simply too mixed to inspire confidence. Ooooh, that PM50 is certainly eye candy. It’s been on my want list for a long time now. I’m really envious of this exciting time you’re enjoying and I really wish you the best.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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