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Forum topic by jstewart posted 04-22-2007 09:11 AM 1349 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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141 posts in 4090 days

04-22-2007 09:11 AM

I’m just getting started in woodworking. I have a router, mitre saw, circular saw, 8 or so clamps (I know I need many more), and a brand new table saw. I’m already planning on getting a small air compressor and some nailers (finish, brad, stapler).

What do I want to do? Here are some examples from other LumberJocks. a nightstand , bookcases , dresser

I really like frame and panel case construction as well as most mission-style furniture.

The tools I’m considering are (in no particular order): jointer (or maybe just a good glue line rip blade?), planer, biscuit joiner, mortiser, drill press

Is there any particular order that you folks would purchase these in? Any items you could recommend good replacements for? (My budget isn’t that big.)

-- Joshua, Olathe, Kansas

12 replies so far

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4161 days

#1 posted 04-22-2007 11:56 AM

It sounds like you are off to a good start JS. Of your list, I would say you would want the planer and jointer first. Of course, those are some of the more expensive items too. The jointer can function as a planer, but only for the more narrow width boards. But, it would give you a true edge to start your cuts with.

Next probably the biscuit joiner then drill press, and last the mortiser. Again, depending on your needs, if you have something else that you can use instead, etc. The drill press can be used as your poor man’s mortiser, and then also allow you to use it as a regular drill press.

I bet you will be interested, like a lot of us, in the Festool Domino. A major purchase, but hear they are great. While they may work great for your joinery, I am not sure how they would be for a lot of face frame type work. As you build, you might find some items are necessary, while others are nice to have. It will depend on what you are making.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Wooder's profile


163 posts in 4186 days

#2 posted 04-22-2007 04:02 PM

JS have you considered aquiring some handtools, planes and such. Would be a great time to start stretching those arm muscles…and start the learning curve early.

-- Jimmy

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4097 days

#3 posted 04-22-2007 04:09 PM

You also may want to put a bandsaw on your someday list. My top 3 tools that get daily use in my shop are tablesaw, bandsaw and drill press. I have a jointer and a planer that get used every once in a while.

You may also want to consider some good hand tools if you do not have them. Good Block Plane, Japanese Hand Saw, Marking Knife, amd Combination Square.

If your doing any home improvement work, you will wonder how you got along without the compressor. At least that was our experience.

Rockler has 50” jet clamps on sale this month (if there are any left) for 2 for $50 or so. If you have a Rockler near by. This is about 1/2 off on some good clamps for projects like the ones you have listed.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4299 days

#4 posted 04-22-2007 04:14 PM

If you like to build with frame & panel, you should get this. A stacked rail & stile bit. I have one, & it sure works great. You need a router table for this.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4097 days

#5 posted 04-22-2007 04:14 PM

Also, a good next project would be a cross-cut sled for your new table saw. The one linked was made by gizmodyne

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4093 days

#6 posted 04-22-2007 04:44 PM

I don’t know how you feel about books as tools but I’ve read a couple of your posts and you seem to be very much in the same spot I was in a little over a year ago. I would recommend the two below as they were very helpful for me in deciding what to buy with the first chunk of change set aside for my tools.

Woodworking Basics: Mastering the Essentials of Craftsmanship” by Peter Korn_
This is a great beginner book. Korn talks not only about the tools and why important but also goes into the basics of joinery techniques. I should also mention hand tools get their due attention as well. One of the most important topics discussed is the milling of you lumber “four square,” an essential skill for all woodworkers.

The Basics of Craftmanship” which is a compendium of articles from Fine Woodworking magazine. Many of the same things but a few topics are discussed that aren’t addressed by Korn such as biscuit joiners and an informative chapter on buying lumber and the plywood construction process.

Both if these can be picked up on Amazon for less than $15 – 20 (each). Cheaper if you buy used. Your local Barnes and Noble or Borders would likely have them too. Hope this helps!

P.S. I agree with Wanye on the sled. It was the first shop-made tool I built and really ups the safety factor. I still use mine all the time.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View gizmodyne's profile


1779 posts in 4089 days

#7 posted 04-22-2007 05:29 PM

I recommend the jointer and planer and the drill press. You can wait on the biscuits and mortiser.

But.. you can also build a ton of stuff with dimensional lumber a hand drill and the stuff you have. Buy a good tablesaw book and try out some small projects or outdoor stuff where you can learn from any mistakes but not have to look at it all day.

Plus: Get a good Starret 6” square ASAP if you don’t have one. Best tool in the shop.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View USCJeff's profile


1063 posts in 4068 days

#8 posted 04-23-2007 06:24 AM

It really depends on how you want to do the projects you suggested. You’ll have to have a way to surface and square your lumber. You mentioned your budget wasn’t as large as you like (who’s is?) so you probably don’t want to pay for fully milled lumber. I’d suggest the planer first. You could always use your tablesaw or router table as a jointer for most applications. If you really do a lot of mission style furniture. a mortiser would come in handy. There’s other ways to do M&T’s, but a mortiser will speed it up. I agree with Wayne in that a bandsaw probably should make the cut. At the least, a qualitiy jigsaw. Be sure to save up and get the good stuff. I have bought the cheap junk and it took the fun out of the project.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View jpw1995's profile


376 posts in 4297 days

#9 posted 04-23-2007 04:04 PM

Random orbital sander, pocket hole jig, jigsaw, more clamps, router table…. these are some lower dollar items you may want to consider.

-- JP, Louisville, KY

View jstewart's profile


141 posts in 4090 days

#10 posted 04-23-2007 04:20 PM

After reading all of your responses, I realized that I have a lot more than I mentioned. I already have a random orbit sander. That was something I picked up really early on. I also have a really basic pocket hole jig. When I bought my router, I got a free D-handle base. I’m planning to use the base from it (after removing the D-handle) to build a router table. I definitely need to pick up a good jigsaw since I won’t be getting a bandsaw for a while. And of course, clamps, clamps, clamps.

Lucky for me a biscuit joiner and mortiser are both small, movable items. A friend of mine owns both of these, so I’ll just borrow his for the time being. (He’s already agreed to this. I’m holding him to it.)

I hope to get some nice hand tools at some point as well. I considered buying a No. 7 jointer plane instead of buying a power jointer. Since those planes are so expensive, I think I’ll just pony up for the power jointer instead. I definitely need to get a good block plane for all of those times that I find I cut a rabbet just a hair too shallow. It seems much quicker to grab the block plane and go at it instead of putting the board back on the table saw. (I can also try to convince myself I’m getting a workout.)

Thanks for all of your responses. I clearly picked a topic that lots of people have opinions on. (I knew that all of your avid woodworkers were also avid tools shoppers.)

-- Joshua, Olathe, Kansas

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4097 days

#11 posted 04-23-2007 05:10 PM

Relative to the Jointer Plane. You could find an old Stanley #7 or #8 and restore it. Might cost you $40. I belive I paid $50 for my #7, but it is pre 1900 and about $30 for my number 8. Check out my Blog for more info.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View fred's profile


256 posts in 4098 days

#12 posted 04-23-2007 06:41 PM

It really depends on the type of projects you will be doing. For me it was a benchtop jointer. Relatively inexpensive as compared to the large floor models but I use it every time I rip boards or make just about anything.

Using the jointer gives me a flat edge on boards I am going to rip on the tablesaw. In making rails and stiles for cabinets, I cut them a little oversize and joint them to the proper width. If you have ever tried sanding work to get rid of saw marks, you will find out that the jointer does a great, fast and accurate job.

When I am ready to get another jointer, I will look for one of those big 8” or 10” floor models. But since my shop is relatively small (half a garage) the benchtop model will do for now.

After the jointer, the next major purchase was a benchtop 12 1/2” planer.

Good luck on your tool choices.

-- Fred Childs, Pasadena, CA - - - Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

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