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New beginner shop: what tools and in which order

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Forum topic by Spikes posted 04-12-2018 04:54 PM 2704 views 1 time favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Spikes

35 posts in 166 days


04-12-2018 04:54 PM

Hi,

per topic, I’m a newbie woodworker setting up a new small shop. As far as projects go here’s a tentative list of what I’d like to do:
  • workbench and some cabinets for the shop itself
  • sitting benches for outdoor
  • paintings and pictures frames
  • some carving for presents

I’m probably one of the cheapest folks on this forum and inthe past I’ve largely built stuff out of 2×4s (kin-dried pine), sanded ply, and some little bits of hardwood for decoration/finishing. All my wood for now has come from HD. I will have to figure out if and where I can get better wood that can fit my shallow pockets :).

Now to the tools. Please bear in mind that I don’t quite have a sense of how frequently I’d use what tools so I’m largely guessing from some minimal experience seeing others work and a few things I’ve built (for which I mostly only used the table saw). I’ve pretty much settled on the table saw and was thinking of:

  • a planer
  • I have two drills, one for holes and one for screwing. I probably need something to recess holes.
  • clamps. completely lost here of which ones I should get first and how many. lots of shop tours I’ve seen seem to have literally dozens of clamps of all kinds.
  • a jigsaw for all the wavy cuts (can’t afford a bandsaw)
  • rulers, squares (which ones?), spirit level
  • chisels (which ones?)
things that I’m considering skipping for now:
  • drill press, maybe a bad move, but see budget below… very tight, and I think I can get away with the hand drills for what I intend to do. wrong?
  • no planer, it seems possible to joint on the table saw, definitely edge joint, so I’ll skip on that for now.
  • I’ve seen a lot of recommendations to get an orbital sander, but I’m not sure, with the planer some manual sanding seems doable
  • I’m wondering if for now I can also skip hand planes
  • mitre saw also seems avoidable as I can cut bevels on the table saw
  • initially I wanted a router in the “basic kit”, but money is tight so may have to give that up unless I find a cheap one that makes sense.
  • what about hand saws?

After the table saw I’m left with about $1000ish which honestly I don’t think it’s gonna be enough so something will have to give. And I’ll need to spend money on a shop vac and some pipes to build a rudimentary dust collection system, I do care about my lungs!

does this make any sense?

thank you in advance for any input.

Spike

-- Don't worry about making progress, worry about practicing. If you practice you will make progress even if you don't want to.


40 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2880 posts in 2635 days


#1 posted 04-12-2018 05:04 PM

Ah, the eternal question.
And the answer is…..depends on what you plan on building.

If you plan on making mostly traditional items, like furniture, chairs, tables, etc., then you need the table saw, and since there are curves in a lot of furniture, I’d think on at least a low cost bandsaw, probably used.

Skipping jointer might be possible, you can joint right off a table saw if it is set up correctly, but I’d never think again about building furniture without a decent planer. Either the DeWalt or the Rigid both play to good reviews here.

Clamps, you can get a great small clamp from HF in 6” and 12” for $2.99 each and $4.99 each. I own about 60-70 of them.
Bar clamps. HF does sell bar clamp units, but spend the extra couple dollars for the better ones. 3/4” only, and then you have to buy the pipe from Lowes or Home Depot and try to buy longer lengths, which are cheaper, then cut them yourself.

Random Orbit Sander will serve you well. I love my Bosch units, with the HEPA on the back.

A large bench for layout. That is my bad spot, my sq. footage is poor, so I often find myself using my little bench and my table saw to make a larger bench.

I could keep typing on for a long time, but I will let others chime in.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Elwyn24601's profile

Elwyn24601

15 posts in 535 days


#2 posted 04-12-2018 05:10 PM

I believe with that budget you can get the vast majority of what you want. There will be plenty of people in the forum who will say CL is the way to go, and depending on your area and patience, it very well could be. However, if your in an area like me, waiting around a year+ for a tool is not in the cards.

Next, which order of tools you get will depend vastly on the projects you want to do. I would suggest only buying what you need for the project you are doing. That being said, after a table saw, A planer will pay for itself the fastest out of any of those tools, getting the consistent thickness and even prepping rough lumbers will not only be a godsend for convenience, it will help deepen your pockets by being able to purchase rough lumber.

You need chisels and layout tools (a tape measure, and combo square work great). At your budget, you will need to prep any chisels you buy and you are lacking a sharpening system, that is what makes your tools work. spend money here, you will be thankful (I run a trend diamond plate and a 6000 grit shapton stone. I have never needed more).

The orbital sander you are thinking of skipping, don’t. your time in the shop is precious unless you find hand sanding satisfying, get a power sander.

A great multi-tasking tool you are missing is a router. these can be readily found used on CL or pawn shops, any size will do, there are merits to all of them, but to start, a trim / 1.5 HP will serve almost all your purposes starting out.

Yes, you can skip hand planes. (though they are a joy).

Clamp wise, you will hear it all the time, you really can never have too many clamps. I started out with 2 bessey bargain f-style kits from HD. they served, and continue to serve me well. then pipe clams, 1/2” perform great for me and they are cheaper. like all other things, buy when you need them (or when a sale goes on that you can justify).

for your carvings, some gouges can usually be found cheap and on regular sale at woodcraft.

View Steve's profile

Steve

607 posts in 703 days


#3 posted 04-12-2018 05:36 PM

Which table saw are you getting? The reason I’m asking is because I’m interested to see how much of your budget that takes up.

View CRAIGCLICK's profile

CRAIGCLICK

117 posts in 194 days


#4 posted 04-12-2018 05:51 PM

I would forego the additional drill and just use a counterbit set for now, that way you can trill the hole and countersink at the same time.

https://www.woodcraft.com/products/milescraft-4-piece-counterbit-set

Clamps…you can NEVER have too many clamps…they are good for everything. I have even used them while working on cars. and I used one to hold a pillow block to an upright for a rotisserie bearing. Harbor freight is a good source as is craigslist. The 4 inch Bessey clamps are awesome.

If you buy jigsaw, buy a good one. You can get a benchtop band saw from Harbor freight for 139 bucks. Its far from perfect, but its definitely workable.

Don’t skip the sander and the router. Both very handy tools. even a cheap router will have you wondering how you ever did without it.

Hand planes…I don’t own one…but I want one just so I have something readily at hand for small jobs that I don’t want to screw up with my handheld planer.

Squares and rulers are a must. A speed square is indispensable. A decent quality combination square is very handy. A good aluminum straightedge is a great thing to have.

Oh…and a good fence for your table saw is also important.

-- Somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.

View revanson11's profile

revanson11

111 posts in 2454 days


#5 posted 04-12-2018 05:53 PM

If your were to ask my wife how many clamps I should have she would reply “he can never have too many clamps”.

-- Randy, Central MN

View Spikes's profile

Spikes

35 posts in 166 days


#6 posted 04-12-2018 05:59 PM

thanks all for the answers so far. I’ll pay a visit to HF, there’s one about 1hr away from me. Yeah CL is generally great, but not where I am, so will probably have to rely on HF and HD.

Got the point about the clamps, I guess I’ve seen so many variations I’m not sure what to get. there seem to be a lot of trigger clamps going around, but they all feel like cheap plastic.. clutch style seem nicer and more robust. That said I have quite a bit of steel pipes laying around so pipe clamp may be a winner, not sure if there are negatives to them. I feel I’ll need angle clamps too or something else to square boxes… and toggle clamp for the gig needed to edge joint on the table saw.

And fair enough about the sander and router, I’ll try to find both, altho I’m still unsure about the budget. Elwyn you said I should be able to fit it all in, but a planer alone seems to run for around $400, that’s half of the budget left.

Steve, I’m getting a ridgid r4512, see this thread: http://lumberjocks.com/topics/270857

-- Don't worry about making progress, worry about practicing. If you practice you will make progress even if you don't want to.

View CRAIGCLICK's profile

CRAIGCLICK

117 posts in 194 days


#7 posted 04-12-2018 06:16 PM

The R4512 is a decent saw with a decent fence. Just make sure you align the fence and the blade to the miter slots.

I would wait on the planer and just start with dimensional lumber that won’t require a lot planing. You might want to use THAT money for a miter saw (which will see more use).

Routers can be found used for decent prices (from 75 to 175 bucks) on Craigslist. You don’t need anything too fancy to begin with.

-- Somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.

View CRAIGCLICK's profile

CRAIGCLICK

117 posts in 194 days


#8 posted 04-12-2018 06:17 PM

FYI, I’m a beginning woodworker, so I’m just kinda going by my current needs based on the stuff I’m building right now.

-- Somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.

View Elwyn24601's profile

Elwyn24601

15 posts in 535 days


#9 posted 04-12-2018 06:44 PM

that is correct, the planer will eat about half your budget. many other things will come in significantly less especially when bought from HF or CL. Ridgid 4512 is a great saw, it is the one I set my father up with.

Planer: 400
Router: 85 (ish)
Chisles (irwin): 30
Sander (ryobi): 30
Sandpaper (80,120, 220): 30
Sharpening System: 160
drill (used, corded): 50
Jigsaw (used, corded): 60
Combo square: 23 (bora magnetic)
HF clams (6 and 12”, 3 each): 21

Total: 889.

Should leave you with some cash for either a new or used shopvac and lumber

View Spikes's profile

Spikes

35 posts in 166 days


#10 posted 04-12-2018 06:59 PM

wow thanks, that’s a great breakdown.

Another question is blade for the table saw… again read enough online and you’ll find every opinion and its opposite, so I can’t make up my mind if I should buy a “better” blade, ie a diablo or WWII and/or specific blades for ripping vs doing ply, or stick with the one the TS comes with. thoughts? that’s gonna be another $100 I think.

And yeah will definitely need a shopvac, I was actually thinking two, one to have free on hand and the other to wire up with some PVC pipes as a poor man dust collection system. I don’t quite fancy the idea of having to replug the shop vac every time I move to another tool, but maybe it’s one of those things I’ll have to put up with as I try to save money.

-- Don't worry about making progress, worry about practicing. If you practice you will make progress even if you don't want to.

View Spikes's profile

Spikes

35 posts in 166 days


#11 posted 04-12-2018 07:04 PM

Craig,

thanks for chiming in. Why would you recommend the miter saw over the planer? most of the 2×4 cuts I’ve done in the past on a miter saw I can do on the table saw with the witer and tilting the blade if I need to. The only benefit of a combined saw (not just a miter saw) I’ve seen is when dealing with much ticker wood, say you laminate a bunch of 2×4s to make a really solid leg and want to cut them all together to dimension after lamination.

-- Don't worry about making progress, worry about practicing. If you practice you will make progress even if you don't want to.

View Elwyn24601's profile

Elwyn24601

15 posts in 535 days


#12 posted 04-12-2018 07:53 PM

save the blade for a later date. the one that comes with your saw isn’t the best, but it will cut wood. Given that you are cutting mostly 2×4, you’re going to build up the pitch quickly on any blade. when you do decide to upgrade, go for a thin kerf blade IMO. it will let your 1.5 hp saw chew through thicker/ harder stock easier. I cannot say I have used the WWII, I know there is a fan club here, I hope I can join it one day. I run two thin kerf blades on my saw a dedicated rip and a fusion combo blade. the combo blade lives in my saw, I run the ripping blade usually at the beginning of projects or when I have nicer stock that I want to treat nicely for rips.

View CRAIGCLICK's profile

CRAIGCLICK

117 posts in 194 days


#13 posted 04-12-2018 08:09 PM



Craig,

thanks for chiming in. Why would you recommend the miter saw over the planer? most of the 2×4 cuts I ve done in the past on a miter saw I can do on the table saw with the witer and tilting the blade if I need to. The only benefit of a combined saw (not just a miter saw) I ve seen is when dealing with much ticker wood, say you laminate a bunch of 2×4s to make a really solid leg and want to cut them all together to dimension after lamination.

- Spikes

Well, most of your wood is going to come from HD. As such, you’ll be buying dimensional lumber so you can get the wood in the dimensions that you need, so a planer will (for now) be fairly superfluous. Once you start buying lumber at a sawmill or lumberyard, or you start using reclaimed wood and you need to plane it down to a dimension you need, then the planer will become indispensable. By that time, you’ll have saved up the money for it.

In the meantime, a decent miter saw will give you a way to make fast cuts without spending a lot of time on setup…and while it’s possible to make good miter cuts on a table saw, it’s way easier to do it on a miter saw.

Personally, I’ve found that the mitered stuff I cut on my miter saw is way more accurate than the stuff I’ve done on the table saw, especially given the setup time. In addition, crosscutting a 12 inch piece off of an 8 foot long 2×4 on a table saw has a pretty high pucker factor.

Just my thoughts on it. For that matter, you can spend the 400 bucks you’d spend on the planer on several smaller tools OR one really good hand plane and have money left over.

If I

-- Somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1835 posts in 2110 days


#14 posted 04-12-2018 08:27 PM

The projects you listed could be done with a circular saw, square, straight edge, manual miter box/saw, ros, hand drill – been there done it. Still using a cabinet and workbench made 30yrs ago with those tools. Yes more expensive tools makes it easier/quicker, but you are on a Budget, and nothing you listed requires “fine furniture building” equipment or skills. Cheap squares can easily be made square- dont waste mony there.

Many, including me, consider a TS the start point for getting into the bigger tool race. A jig saw and router are next. Cheap chisels, like Aldi or HF are all you need to start, they dont have to be perfect. Cheap diamond stones from HF or somewhere, or use sandpaper. A bench grinder is a good shop tool to have, make it an 8” slow speed with Al oxide wheels for $110. You can upgrade over the years. When you want to start doing good panel glue ups it ups the ante – you need well jointed edges and most TS really arent good enough, but a hand plane takes care of that easily if you know how. A router table starts to come into play, and you need to decide how you want to do joinery. Its an educational journey – enjoy!

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2032 posts in 2759 days


#15 posted 04-12-2018 08:43 PM

Yes, Aldi (the grocery store), carries (if you can call it that) pretty good chisels about 1 week out of the year. One box comes in and they sell out within the week. I have 3 sets, though 2 would be plenty. Eight dollars for 4 chisels – metric widths. Good enough steel. Can’t beat that deal. Some time in June usually they have them – maybe connected with Father’s day. Actually 1 set is plenty.

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