What else do I need in my shop?

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Forum topic by willy66 posted 04-13-2011 04:37 PM 1308 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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44 posts in 2023 days

04-13-2011 04:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question bandsaw jointer drill press

Hey All!

Had a shop for about 6 months now, and am pretty happy with my planning and progress so far. Now I could use some advice from people with more experience setting up and using a shop.

What I want to use the shop for is building furniture, (tables, bookcases, etc), and cabinets. I will use a hybrid mix of power and hand tools. Mostly I want to be able to mill the lumber to a reasonable stage, and finish off joinery and finishes with hand tools. As much as I love to work with my hand planes, there always comes a point during a project where u get impatient, and want to finish, and sometimes it effects the work.

Currently in the shop I have my Delta Unisaw (52” Biesenmeyer fence), Small Bosch Router table, Makita 10” Sliding compound miter saw, Dewalt 13” thickness planer (love it), and many hand power tools. Also I have a huge 7’x4’ outfeed/assembly/work table, and am restoring my Steiner cabinetmakers bench. Take a look at the pictures of my workshop at my profile.

Here, finally are my questions. What else do I need? I am thinking about a 6” jointer, a real router table (make my own), and of course dust collector. I am on the fence about making a HUGE miter saw station (8’ to left and right of the blade). But not sure how necessary it is with my table saw and sled? Maybe I will make a folding one like u see in the magazines, that only give you about a 4’ fence?

What about a bandsaw? Do i NEED one? A drill press?

What do u think guys? I know you will mostly tell me that I should buy as I find I need it, however I don’t want to use up room for the wrong things, then have to move things later.

Also with dust collection, I dont know if I should go with smaller unit and jump it from machine to machine, or a central unit, using up precious space in the shop.

Let me know what you think guys? Stuck so far.

-- -Willy, White Plains, NY

8 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2270 days

#1 posted 04-13-2011 04:47 PM

Hi Willy—

You’re asking a lot of questions, but I will give you one answer. (not likely!)

Get a jointer. They’re easy to come by. With a jointer you can make small boards into big ones. You’ll learn to glue and clamp. Six inch machine will work, but an 8 will give you a longer table, better results, and a wider smile on your face.

Likely your first efforts will be foursquare projects, so the bandsaw can come later.

Think carefully about your huge miter station. You really don’t need 8’ BOTH sides. And if you do make it big, it will be farther away from your workbench, and I think you’ll find that you’ll have frequent sequences where it’s cut, try, recut, lather, rinse, repeat, and walking over to that stand every time will become ponderous.

That’s my, ahem, one answer. I welcome reading other thoughts from smarter LJs than meself.

-- " 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 sras's profile


4363 posts in 2549 days

#2 posted 04-13-2011 04:56 PM

I only added tools when I found out that I needed them. You have enough to get started. It really depends on how you go about your projects. I usually would consider buying a tool when I had to borrow, rent or go to a friend’s shop to use a tool. The second time I did that was my indicator that it might be time to buy.

For example, lots of people have a jointer, but I have never gotten around to getting one. I use a hand plane to straighten an edge and have never felt like I needed to give up the cash or space for a jointer. I have not found that I needed to rent or borrow one for a project.

That said, one of the first things on your list that went into my shop was a router table. Building one could be a good way to help you figure out what else you need.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View a1Jim's profile


115172 posts in 2997 days

#3 posted 04-13-2011 05:11 PM

It’s not always what you need but what you want. A jointer is high on my list the wider the better, If your going to make furniture with curved parts you will need a band saw, My chop saw station is 12’ both ways and comes in handy but not completely necessary. Drill presses are a big help so I would put one on my list. I don’t know how I could do with out dust collection mine are HF and only $129 how can you beat it. When I wanted to upgrade I just bought a couple more,even with three units they cost less than one of the other units that do the same job. I have two of the three units mounted outside. At some point sanders will be something you want including edge,spindle,disc, and drum sander.

-- Custom furniture

View knotscott's profile


7145 posts in 2796 days

#4 posted 04-13-2011 05:30 PM

Everyone’s needs are different, so keep in mind how you like to work and what you’ll be building. I rarely use my miter saw for anything other than long molding, which is rare. My TS gives more accurate crosscuts for furniture.

If there’s anyway you can fit in an 8” jointer, I think it’ll serve you better than a 6”....there are lots of rough sawn boards between 6” and 8”. Even a 6” jointer really adds a capability that can change how you work and the quality of your results. Everything starts out straight and square….and yowser, all of a sudden joints start to fit like they’re supposed to!

DP or BS is a toss up IMO, depending on what you do most. For curves and resawing a BS is great, but if don’t resaw, a jigsaw will cut curves just fine. A DP can double as a drum sander. Speaking of sanders, do you have one? ...a bench sander is a wonderful tool.

A DC unit is an excellent idea. It’s not too hard or expensive to run ducting from most of your tools to a single DC unit. Easier than moving the DC from tool to tool. I’ve got a 2hp Griz with a cannister that does a nice job, and it’s nothing fancy.

How’s your workbench? A good work surface is essential IMHO. A good router table is a wonderful asset too.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Dave's profile


11394 posts in 2260 days

#5 posted 04-14-2011 09:21 PM

I have a small input. What about the small stuff. A good sharpening method, a good set of squares, clamps, clamps, clamps, lighting, quality chisels, different blades for ts…. etc..
OH Yeah get some more clamps ;)

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 2579 days

#6 posted 04-14-2011 10:28 PM

Bandsaws are helpful for more than just curves. If you do small projects, the bandsaw is much better for cutting small parts.

Jointers are good, but you can edge joint lumber on a router table, table saw (with jig), or with a hand plane. Face jointing is awesome with a jointer (up to your jointer’s size), but you can actually do this with your planer and a sled.

So, “need” is really tricky term.

I have a nice miter saw, largely used for compound trim projects and chop cutting my lumber to size. But if all your work is done in the workshop, the miter saw kinda gets in the way. A good miter gauge for your Uni is likely more accurate for miters and you can always chop down your boards with hand (powered or non-powered) saws.

Yes, you need a drill press. You won’t use it all the time, but when you need it, there’s no substitute for it. Just wait to buy it until you need it…or wait on that good Craigslist deal.

Dust collection is tricky, but it’s better to err on the side of power. That said, a portable unit with removable hose will have a shorter run and therefore require less power. I just think it depends on space requirements. By the time you permanently mount one, complete with separator, you are taking up a lot of real estate.

As far as a router table, I have a Bench Dog extension wing for my Unisaw…and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Not only is it a big space saver, but it also extends the working area of my Uni’s table top. You can see a picture of it in my workshop.

Finally, don’t be in too big of a rush. Get the tools when you need them.

-- jay,

View willy66's profile


44 posts in 2023 days

#7 posted 04-15-2011 02:17 PM

I have a small input. What about the small stuff. A good sharpening method, a good set of squares, clamps, clamps, clamps, lighting, quality chisels, different blades for ts…. etc..
OH Yeah get some more clamps ;)

—No matter where you go – there you are ~dave~

Dave, I agree those are some of the most important things, and I have most of them. Maybe I need some more clamps. But what I am most concerned with is not actually buying the tools right away, I will buy as I need. I was looking to just get some advice on what its really critical in the shop. Mostly I just want to know what I should allot room for, as I continue to set up the shop. There may be an empty space for a year, reserved for a jointer, which is fine, but I’m not sure I need it (for example).

As I build cabinets, benches, etc, for the shop, I want to make sure I don’t use space, I will later need.

I agree, buy as you need..

-- -Willy, White Plains, NY

View willy66's profile


44 posts in 2023 days

#8 posted 04-15-2011 02:26 PM


Have a few questions. Have you used a dedicated router table to compare it to the Unisaw mounted one? What features does one have vs the other. I would love to mount it in my table saw saves a ton of space, but what about dust collection? Maybe you could send me a link to the particular one you have?

Also, what do you mean by using a sled with my thickness planer to face joint lumber? Do i get any different result from simply feeding it through alone? That’s a new one for me.

Have a drill press (dads old one), Just gotta go get it upstate.

Thanks for all the good input Jay!!!

-- -Willy, White Plains, NY

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