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Forum topic by CWWoodworking posted 10-05-2018 02:24 AM 1063 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CWWoodworking

184 posts in 383 days


10-05-2018 02:24 AM

In the past year+ I have transitioned into a full time woodworker. I make home decor items and furniture. Mainly end tables and a few dining tables. All wholesale so pretty high volume.

All of my machinery is pretty old and more hobby type than industrial.

Orders have been pretty good lately and I will have some cash for some goodies. I need some help deciding what to get(if any). Here are the machinery I was thinking about-

1. A true cabinet saw. Currently have a 20yr old rigid contractor saw. I works. That’s about all I can say about it. Was thinking about a Grizzly 1023

2. Spray equipment. I use a harbor freight set up know. It works, but I know it would pay for itself getting more efficient

3. Drum sander. This is on the upper end(over) what I was wanting to spend. Right now I am taking all my panels to my wood supplier who sands them for me, no charge. This is a luxury and a hassle at the same time.

4. Sit on the cash and wait. I know what I’m doing isn’t exactly a sure bet

So help me spends some money! Somebody’s gotta keep the economy going.


25 replies so far

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JAAune

1853 posts in 2521 days


#1 posted 10-05-2018 02:49 AM

New equipment is nice but I find I get the most payback from the $50 upgrades that take half a day to complete. Yesterday I setup the cyclone and the shop vacs (connected to Dust Deputies) to be compatible with plastic bags. I also created dust shrouds for the stationary belt sanders to collect almost 100% of the dust. Now it’s much easier to clean up at the end of a workday.

A $20 stopwatch is a good tool.

What I’ve been doing lately is making a whole bunch of small upgrades that either eliminate certain tasks or cut the time to do them by at least 50%. Repeat over and over again and after a year, the payback is phenomenal.

That being said, given the type of work you do, it might not hurt to investigate the Minimax sliding table saws. I picked up an older model for $500 on Ebay and it makes a lot of difficult tasks easy. It did take some getting used to at first.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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Woodknack

12431 posts in 2584 days


#2 posted 10-05-2018 03:42 AM

How good is business? The Grizzly is a good saw and a big upgrade but is not going to drastically improve efficiency. If this is business I want more than ‘better’, I want ‘better & faster’.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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CWWoodworking

184 posts in 383 days


#3 posted 10-05-2018 10:44 AM



How good is business? The Grizzly is a good saw and a big upgrade but is not going to drastically improve efficiency. If this is business I want more than better , I want better & faster .

- Woodknack

This is the reason I really want the sander. Currently that is my biggest problem. RO everything sucks. The furniture is the fastest growing area too.

But there are some added costs with install with the sander. On top of being the most expensive.

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splintergroup

2429 posts in 1426 days


#4 posted 10-05-2018 02:13 PM

Sanders are expensive, but in my opinion it is one of the biggest time savers there is. You won’t eliminate the RO, not even close (unless you opt for an expensive oscillating drum model), but the ability to get perfectly flat surfaces and perfect dimensions is what sold me. Be aware you will need to pay for the sander support systems as well (dust collection, floor space, supplies, etc.).

A table saw will make many things easier, but not really let you do more than you can’t already do. Keep your eyes open for a good used TS to save some cash.

Spraying is a great time saver, invest in a good setup and a food place to spray. If your projects are small, a smaller gun will make everything easier.

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GoingUp

23 posts in 451 days


#5 posted 10-05-2018 02:53 PM


3. Drum sander. This is on the upper end(over) what I was wanting to spend. Right now I am taking all my panels to my wood supplier who sands them for me, no charge. This is a luxury and a hassle at the same time.

My day job is at a small business surveying equipment and producing reports and efficiency is everything. How much time do you lose going to your wood supplier? Will he do this for free indefinitely? This seems like the obvious choice to me to avoid relying on the good will and work capabilities of others.

On the other hand, I don’t know your business. Maybe the sprayer would be the way to go, if it truly saves you time, but I don’t know how one sprayer would save considerable amounts of time over another (I’m not familiar with spraying, might be missing something). Like has been said before, take that money you have saved and pay yourself the half day to make things more efficient around the shop so your life is less stressful and more productive each day.

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PPK

1199 posts in 1013 days


#6 posted 10-05-2018 03:35 PM

Heck yeah! It I was you, first priority would definitely be a good table saw. I’m very happy with my Grizzly, I’ve got the G0691 model. Drum sanders do indeed speed things up, but don’t eliminate RO sanding. My experience with drum sanders is that you have to pay a fair amount of money, else they are a royal pain. Even then, keeping sand paper from tearing up/burning is a chore…

I also agree w/ the others: Think about efficiency. Whatever will help you to spend less time. Don’t know what that means exactly for you.

-- Pete

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BroncoBrian

851 posts in 2162 days


#7 posted 10-05-2018 04:00 PM

Sounds to me like a great condition Unisaw or SawStop would be wise. 3HP, extension, and a good Dado set you are comfortable with and can change out easily. I can change the Dado on my saw in 3-5 minutes with a couple of adjustments. That will be easier once I get 2 or 3 standard thicknesses and stick with them.

The Grizz you mentioned looks like a great value. But I know how nice the SS is and if it was using any saw as much as you expect to, I would not hesitate to get the safer option. You won’t buy another saw for a very long time, if ever.

I too want a drum sander. That would save me a lot of time and allow me to standardize some processes.

Have you built a really good crosscut sled? That is a huge time saver and increases accuracy.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

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CWWoodworking

184 posts in 383 days


#8 posted 10-05-2018 04:35 PM


How much time do you lose going to your wood supplier? Will he do this for free indefinitely? This seems like the obvious choice to me to avoid relying on the good will and work capabilities of others.

- GoingUp

Its not that far, but the bigger problem is they do it on their schedule. Which pretty much never lines up with my production. Having it in house would make production much easier.

New spray equipment would not save any time. Just material.


Sounds to me like a great condition Unisaw or SawStop would be wise. 3HP, extension, and a good Dado set you are comfortable with and can change out easily. I can change the Dado on my saw in 3-5 minutes with a couple of adjustments. That will be easier once I get 2 or 3 standard thicknesses and stick with them.

The Grizz you mentioned looks like a great value. But I know how nice the SS is and if it was using any saw as much as you expect to, I would not hesitate to get the safer option. You won t buy another saw for a very long time, if ever.

I too want a drum sander. That would save me a lot of time and allow me to standardize some processes.

Have you built a really good crosscut sled? That is a huge time saver and increases accuracy.

- BroncoBrian

I only use my table saw for ripping. nothing else. That is why I thought the grizzly would work perfect for the price. I have a vertical panel saw also, so no sled needed.

What scares me is I get the sander, and 3 months down the road my TS goes out. My hardwoods bill this month is $1800 so you can image what kind of strain all that ripping is on a contractor saw.

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BroncoBrian

851 posts in 2162 days


#9 posted 10-05-2018 05:43 PM

I have a vertical panel saw also, so no sled needed.

A crosscut sled is not the same as a vertical panel saw. It is for repeat cuts, usually 16” or less, and with near perfect precision. I thought a panel saw was a rough cutting tool.

The Grizz would be great as an upgrade. I understood the volume you are working with and the use on the saw, that is why I suggested a better or safer tool.

Either way, good luck! sounds like you are making something out of your hobby. I am happy for you.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

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AHuxley

854 posts in 3525 days


#10 posted 10-05-2018 06:17 PM

A business requires an entirely different view than a hobby shop when upgrading, as a hobbyist all I have to do to justify a $5K bandsaw is want it for a business anything not making money is costing money.

Frankly, if you are only ripping then you should be looking at straight line rip saws which are safer and more efficient than a table saw.

You should be considering skipping the drum sander and moving to a widebelt again for efficiency. You may also want to look at the ROS you are using, there may be some efficiency and quality to be had there with higher end ROS like Mirka and Surfprep.

A Fuji or Apollo HVLP system with PPS may save time both in prep/cleaning time and finish sanding depending on what you shoot.

In general, the key is to identify the least efficient operation and work on that first, this is assuming that the quality of the finished product is where you want it.

Capital investments are always a risk but without them rewards will die off. That said you also need to have a reserve of cash or quick/easy credit to cover unforeseen issues like your most expensive piece of equipment dying.

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AandCstyle

3179 posts in 2461 days


#11 posted 10-05-2018 09:54 PM

The low-cost producer will be the successful one in the long term. Look at your cost structure and determine where your greatest opportunity lies, most likely that will be labor, aka your time. Which operations require the most of your time? What can you do to significantly increase your efficiency in those tasks? Put your money toward those items which offer the highest/fastest payback. These items might not require any new machinery, e.g. it might be a process change. As an example, would your stock supplier deliver to you rather than you picking it up? I hope these random thoughts help.

-- Art

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CWWoodworking

184 posts in 383 days


#12 posted 10-05-2018 11:12 PM

Thanks guys.

Brian-I have a slider chop saw station for small stuff, bigger stuff goes to panel saw. It’s pretty accurate. Not knocking sleds. I had one before the vertical. If money were no object, I would have a saw stop already. One of my suppliers carries them. I drool on them when I’m there.

I think I’m just gonna keep saving and get the sander when I’m more comfortable with the money. I work in 2 week schedules and this past one was a doozy(60 end tables just to start). So it’s natural to look for quicker options. I have a lighter schedule coming up and will re-evaluate after.

View Jared_S's profile

Jared_S

68 posts in 163 days


#13 posted 10-06-2018 12:38 AM

I’d be looking for a used good condition widebelt, SLR and some way to prep Stock for glueups (shaper/feeder, 4/5 head moulder/s4s moulder) whatever was cheap enough and you could power up.

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CWWoodworking

184 posts in 383 days


#14 posted 10-06-2018 12:50 AM



I d be looking for a used good condition widebelt, SLR and some way to prep Stock for glueups (shaper/feeder, 4/5 head moulder/s4s moulder) whatever was cheap enough and you could power up.

- Jared_S

Wide belt would be my first choice, without all the issues that come with it. In my area, I could probably find one, but it will be 3 phase. And I know this makes me look like an idiot, but I know nothing about machinery. So working on used stuff is just not my thing. Not that I couldn’t learn, but I just don’t have the time to tune old machinery. Not to mention a reasonable used wide belt is almost 3x the drum sander I’m looking at.

View AHuxley's profile

AHuxley

854 posts in 3525 days


#15 posted 10-06-2018 01:51 AM


I d be looking for a used good condition widebelt, SLR and some way to prep Stock for glueups (shaper/feeder, 4/5 head moulder/s4s moulder) whatever was cheap enough and you could power up.

- Jared_S

Wide belt would be my first choice, without all the issues that come with it. In my area, I could probably find one, but it will be 3 phase. And I know this makes me look like an idiot, but I know nothing about machinery. So working on used stuff is just not my thing. Not that I couldn’t learn, but I just don’t have the time to tune old machinery. Not to mention a reasonable used wide belt is almost 3x the drum sander I’m looking at.

- CWWoodworking

You are really going to have to rethink the not wanting to work on machines. If you plan to continue doing this to put food on the table you are going to have to become a machine adjustment and repair person it is just part of the job.

If you want to grow the business you really should be considering how to power 3ph machines. The type of machines you need for efficient production work tend to be 3ph.

In a business environment, it isn’t what the machines cost it is how much they will make/save you. You have to decide if building a better hobby shop or developing a production shop is what you want. Things like giving up on a TS and embracing a SLR when the latter is going to make you more efficient and more profitable when upgrading the former is only going to give you a shiny new toy. Hopefully, you are at least looking at a Woodmaster drum sander but even though they are the best they are painfully slow compared to a widebelt.

In the end find the biggest bottleneck in your full process and attack there but don’t do half measures make sure that bottleneck opens enough that it is unlikely to have to be upgraded until everything else has been upgraded as well.

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