Filling out the shop - Next Tool?

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Forum topic by Minorhero posted 06-02-2011 02:55 AM 1463 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2803 days

06-02-2011 02:55 AM


I am trying to figure out what my next tool purchase should be. I enjoy buying old tools and restoring them, so I always have a new restore in the offing. The trouble is, I’ve been doing this for a while so I have a pretty decent array of tools. I don’t want to buy a tool just so I can do the restore. I want to buy a tool so I could use it as part of my woodworking hobby. So I am looking for suggestions on what my next tool should be.

So far my woodworking has been limited to small things like boxes, cuttingboards, picture frames and a few small items of furniture like little tables etc. I would like to get into bigger pieces as well. I tend to work with a lot of 5/4 to 8/4 oak.

My shop currently has the following tools:

Walker Turner Drill Press
Parks Planer (12.5”)
Powermatic Model 60 (8” Jointer)
Walker Turner 24” scroll saw
Rockwell 14” Bandsaw
Dewalt 12” RAS
A newer model Dewalt 10” Miter Saw
HF Dust Collector
Router Table
Brodhead Garrett J-170 Lathe (12” swing over the bed)
Boice Crane Spindle Sander

There are three tools I am considering but I am not sure of their usefulness. The first is buying a bigger bandsaw to aid in resawing. So far I haven’t had any trouble with my 14” bandsaw so that one is rather low on the priority. Another option would be to buy a mortiser. Not sure of the utility of this either since I currently either use my drill press or my router and finish it up with my chisels. And lastly I am considering a disc sander / belt sander combo. Not sure how often I would use this either. What do folk use a disc sander for anyway? I mean obviously it is for sanding but what kind of sanding operation is it best used for? Am I better off with a disc sander, a belt sander, or a combo machine?

A lot of folk would buy a drum sander or wide belt sander at this point but that means buying a newer machine since the older ones tend be truly massive. I am trying to buy old machines because I like the style and they just tend to cost less. Any advice on the utility of these machines or for that matter the utility of a machine I don’t have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

6 replies so far

View getlostinwood's profile


224 posts in 2800 days

#1 posted 06-02-2011 03:06 AM

What about a shaper, Ive seen a few older ones on CL for reasonable money. depending on the work you do might give a little more range over your router.

-- The basis for optimism is shear terror

View Don W's profile

Don W

19007 posts in 2765 days

#2 posted 06-02-2011 03:06 AM

I’ve got a disk sander I made out of an old radial arm saw power unit. It works well for resizing and shaping. A few months ago I bought the ryobi belt that converts to a spindle sander. Its about $200 at home depot. Its a little underpowered sometimes, but well worth the $200. So in my opinion it depends on what type of sanding you want to so. A spindle sander is pretty handy for odd shapes, while the belt and disc are more for edging and flat surfaces.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2686 posts in 3120 days

#3 posted 06-02-2011 03:34 AM

I make the same type of things you do and I spend a LOT of time using a 6” wide belt sander. IT has a disc sander with it but I do not use it at all. (They burn the wood) I also use a drum sander.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3356 days

#4 posted 06-02-2011 03:44 AM

Incra LS positioner for the router…then make you a bunch of super-duper fancy double dovetails and box joints.

Otherwise, for larger projects, it sounds like you have everything you truly need. I guess I’d be more inclined to get tools that might increase the precision of your work, or speed up productivity (like from Festool).

-- jay,

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3272 days

#5 posted 06-02-2011 04:35 PM

Questions like this come up quite often. Implied in the question is an assumption that there is a particular set of tools that every woodworker should own. I disagree.

The tools you buy should be determined almost exclusively by the projects you want to do and how you want to do them. I have no interest in scrolling and, hence, I have no need for a scroll saw. I prefer loose tenons cut with a router and my mortise pal jig and, hence, I have no need for a mortising machine or a tenoning jig. Because I like to make my own loose tenons, I have a router in a router table and bullnose router bits of several sizes. Because I like to buy rough cut lumber, I have a planer and jointer to mill the lumber. I could go on.

My point is that you should buy the tools that best serve your particular needs and no one else can really tell you what you should buy next.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2803 days

#6 posted 06-02-2011 04:57 PM

A lot of folks got into woodworking either at an early age because someone in their life introduced them to it or because they took some classes at school. Other folks found there way into it as part of their job and worked under folks with a lot of experience who were able to guide their abilities a bit.

I have neither of those advantages. I got into woodworking almost by accident and do it as a hobby. Everything I know about woodworking I learned from watching videos online and reading forums.

I can easily so how someone who has been doing woodworking either full time for years, or as a hobby for a decade could develop personal preferences and get a good feel for what machines they absolutely need to have and which machines are superfluous.

As someone who picked up everything I know from videos I do not have that knowledge or those preferences. As a result I am constantly looking for better ways to make joints, size lumber, and generally make the whole build process smoother and easier. I do not know if a large bandsaw will be advantageous to my work because I have never used a large bandsaw before. The only bandsaw I have ever used is the 14” rockwell I bought as a pile of rust and rebuilt myself. As far as I can see a large bandsaw would only be useful for resawing bigger pieces of lumber, but perhaps someone who has a lot more experience then I do would be able to tell me about other valuable uses for it that I never thought of. I have never used a disc or belt sander before (other then my portable belt sander), I don’t even know what one would be used for, since I own a jointer, so making joints flat does not seem worthwhile. But someone that owns one might be able to tell me of a technique or use that I have not considered and that currently I employ other more time consuming methods for, etc.

I suspect that I am not alone with these problems which is why so many posts like this exist.

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