Equipping Garage Workshop

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Forum topic by calicant posted 10-23-2011 03:09 PM 2204 views 0 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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30 posts in 2373 days

10-23-2011 03:09 PM

I am new here and joined to learn from what looks like a very enthusiastic community of wood lovers! I am hoping to set up a small workshop on one side of a 2 car garage with about $5k starting budget.

I have developed the notion that a table saw will be a key tool and I am considering buying a used Delta Unisaw listed for about $1500. Unfortunately, I don’t have 220V in my garage, and I would need to pay a fair amount on top to rent a truck and lifters to bring it home. Is it going to be worth it, or can I buy a cheaper saw that I can load into my Pathfinder by myself?

I have read quite a number of differing opinions and seem to be going round in circles.

32 replies so far

View JPB's profile


31 posts in 2495 days

#1 posted 10-23-2011 04:09 PM

What do you plan on building? Unisaws are really nice, but I imagine it might be overkill for a garage/hobby shop. That being said I’d sure like to have one!. I don’t think it would cost too terribly much to get an electrician out to run 220 to your garage, and it should be free to have somebody come out and tell you what it will cost.
Fyi, my used Powermatic contractor saw was too heavy for one person to load/unload alone.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4954 posts in 2458 days

#2 posted 10-23-2011 10:12 PM

That sounds like a lot of money for a used Unisaw, unless it’s the latest model introduced (in that case, RUN to buy it). Regardless, should you choose to buy it, you could just rent/borrow a small trailer to haul it on…maybe the seller can help you load. As for a cheaper saw, I used a Delta contractor saw for many years before I changed to a Uni. In terms of accuracy I didn’t gain anything…though the extra power is useful at times. So don’t discount a good contractor saw, and save the electrical money as well. You’ll sometimes see good quality contractor saws come up for sale, just be patient.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3034 days

#3 posted 10-23-2011 10:47 PM

If you’re going to be moving your tools around when you use them, that Unisaw is probably mre saw than you need right now. There are several contractor style, jobsite saws that would work well and be much easier to move around. Those fold up roll-away stands are really handy.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1554 posts in 2471 days

#4 posted 10-23-2011 11:33 PM

I have a garage shop. All tools on mobile bases made a huge difference for me. Please take a look at my link to see my set up. A uni would be great, but it is VERY heavy. If you took it apart you may be able to get it in the Pathfinder if your seats fold flat. I have a Craftsman Contractor saw that has done the job for me over the years. When it finally dies someday I’m not exactly sure what I would replace it with, but I lean towards a hybrid.

Good luck!

View calicant's profile


30 posts in 2373 days

#5 posted 10-24-2011 02:33 AM

Thanks for the quick responses.

My building interests include custom shelving/storage cabinets for bedrooms, custom audio installations for home theater and vehicles and framing the many artworks we bought travelling over the last 25 years.

I rent my house at the current time and will probably be moving in a couple of years so it isn’t worth running a 220V line. I saw one of the Unisaws at a friends workshop and it was strongly recommended by him, however, he uses it for business.

I’ll shop for a contractor saw. The Grizzly G0713 looks interesting and so do some of the Jet Proshop models. How important is a riving knife?

@Todd , I checked out your workshop. Very nice equipment and the tools look good too….;)

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1554 posts in 2471 days

#6 posted 10-24-2011 03:07 AM

Elvis voice on:

Thank you, thank you very much

Elvis voice off:

View ShaneA's profile


6909 posts in 2564 days

#7 posted 10-24-2011 04:28 AM

With a 5k budget and no real plans for 220 service, combined with what seems an aggressive price on the uni, I too would reccomend looking at contractor saws. Lots more bang for the buck in the used world. $300 in most markets could get you up and running. Probably w/o a riving knife. For new contractor saw you maybe looking at twice that. You may try to look at ridgid at HD, and try to use a 20% off HF coupon. Leaves more cash for other stuff, jointer,planer, wood and too much other to list.

View calicant's profile


30 posts in 2373 days

#8 posted 10-24-2011 06:01 AM

I’ll swing by HD tomorrow and take a look.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2936 days

#9 posted 10-24-2011 06:06 AM

Riving knife is very very important.

If I had $1500 to put into my TS
I would look long and hard at a 1-3/4hp, contractor style Saw Stop.
That’s the bottom end of their line, but they don’t make a bad saw in any style.

Having just finished outfiting my shop, I can say that $5000 might not fill out your shop with every thing you need. It will cover the major items, but, the Devil, as they say, is in the details.

It is possible to put together a much better shop with used equipment off Craig’s List, or similar sources, but it takes patience and time.

Don’t forget to include dust collection and quality saw blades, a good workbench, good quality hand tools, like chisels, planes, saws, measuring and marking tools, and CLAMPS. Along with hand tools you also need sharpening supplies and equipment. You can easily drop $2000 to $3000 on these items and most folks don’t think to include them in the budget.

Other tools I was surprised by how much I use them are my band saw, drill press, belt and disk sanders, japanese type pull saws, and my miter saw.

Good luck with your shop, and welcome to Lumber Jocks.

View jcv's profile


9 posts in 2412 days

#10 posted 10-24-2011 06:20 AM

I second the advice on craigslist. If you are not in a hurry to equip your shop some great deals can be had. It helps if you are near a major city and can move quick on a great deal. Some great deals on very old American made cast iron machines can be had that may need a little (or a lot) of restoration.

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3542 days

#11 posted 10-24-2011 06:20 AM

I would get some bids on 220 if you spend less than the $1500 for a table saw or buy a Contractors saw you can make it fit in your budget. Sometimes adding 220 can be done for $300 or less. At some point in time you will want to upgrade to a cabinet saw and then you will have the 220 in place. Like others have said I think if you go with a used table saw you can get a good saw for $750 or less.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View calicant's profile


30 posts in 2373 days

#12 posted 10-24-2011 11:37 PM

Didn’t get a table saw yet but I bought a bunch of stuff from someone about fifty miles away who was selling a lot of his work tools which were mostly just about a year old. He had a table saw but it wasn’t in good shape and he told me so himself.

Here’s what I took home.

Delta Planer
Delta Bench Grinder
Delta Drill Press on a table plus a Craftsman Drill Press workstation
A Rockler Router table with Makita router and plunger
Delta Compound Laser Mitre Saw.
Delta Oscillating Spindle Sander
Various bits and bobs

I was tempted to buy his Delta Jointer but I couldn’t fit any more stuff in my Pathfinder. Everything had manuals but it’s a worry that something might be missing. Hope parts are easy to come by if I need the odd nut or guide rod.

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 2975 days

#13 posted 10-25-2011 12:10 AM

One source for parts if you need anything:

Seems like you got some nice items there – they will definitely get you started and help you evaluate what you want to upgrade.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View calicant's profile


30 posts in 2373 days

#14 posted 10-25-2011 12:54 AM

Thanks for the link

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1554 posts in 2471 days

#15 posted 10-25-2011 01:03 AM

That sounds like a heck of a score. Now you need a Delta jointer and tablesaw and you hooked up! :-0

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