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Forum topic by gragian posted 02-22-2012 12:47 PM 1504 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View gragian's profile


7 posts in 3267 days

02-22-2012 12:47 PM

I recently got paid for some work done on the side and I have a dilemma (albeit a good one) about what to use the funds for. So I’d like everyone’s help in playing everyone’s favorite game – spend someone else’s money!

To start out, I already have a table saw, band saw, lathe, drill press, planer, 2 routers, a small variety of clamps, a spindle sander, belt/disc sander, jigsaw, dust collector, small air compressor/brad nailer, among a few other odds and ends.

In terms of the projects I like to tackle, I have started making furniture and would like to expand my scope in that realm. Some of the projects I’d like to start are a blanket chest, coffee table, dresser, etc (to give you an idea of my woodworking needs). I’m still fairly new to this craft, though, so that’s why I wanted to get everyone’s opinion.

I have approximately $2,000 to invest (I prefer that word to “waste,” “spend,” “splurge,” or any others with more negative connotations!), and have been researching the following items/types of items:

Festool Domino
Festool TS55EQ plunge saw
Festool CT26E dust collector
Starrett combination square
Lie Neilsen or Woodriver #4 plane
Lie Neilsen or Woodriver #5 plane
Lie Neilsen or Woodriver #7 plane
Lie Neilsen or Woodriver block plane
Mortise Pal
Grizzly 6” or 8” jointer
Larger air compressor
Hitachi brad nailer
Incra miter gauge
Clamps, clamps, and more clamps

So, if you were in my shoes, how would you divvy up $2,000? I’m open to any all suggestions, so if there’s something you recommend that’s not on the list, I’d like to hear.

Thanks much in advance for all the help!

12 replies so far

View Tyrone D's profile

Tyrone D

314 posts in 2480 days

#1 posted 02-22-2012 01:29 PM

Personally, I’d spend most of it and leave somewhere around 400 dollars in my reserves in case I’m working on a project and realize, “This tool would come in handy right now.”

Planers and Jointers go together and they cant really do the work as easily without eachother. I’d look into getting a Jointer.

When you have a considerable amount of money, the small things is what I’d spend about a quarter of my money on. I’d buy layout tools and clamps and small stuff that I wouldn’t have the money to spend on/only order one item.

-- --Tyrone - BC, Canada "Nothing is ever perfect, we just run out of time."

View DIYaholic's profile


19657 posts in 2822 days

#2 posted 02-22-2012 01:36 PM

The first thing I invested in for my shop was “MY HEALTH”!!! By that I mean Dust Collection and ambient Air Filtration. Without proper lung function, none of your other tools will work (unless your shop is automated. Lol).

You have plenty to invest. So, you MAY want to purchase a “ready to go out of the box”, name brand system. Do a search here on LJ & webwide, there is tons of info!!!

Dust collection & Air Filtration, that would be my first priority! It actually was. I’m just about to assemble my shop air cleaner today! ALL of my machines are able to be hooked up to my DC!

Once you have DC & air filtration, you’ll be able to breathe easier & for many more years to come!

Just my $0.02.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View 489tad's profile


3433 posts in 3158 days

#3 posted 02-22-2012 01:50 PM

I agree on the jointer and dust collection. You could build fixtures instead of purchasing speciality machines, such as a mortise jig, TS sled. It will save money and build skills. Plenty of great ideas on this site.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View jdmaher's profile


435 posts in 2726 days

#4 posted 02-22-2012 02:02 PM

You said you have a dust collector, right? Unless it’s so under-powered as to be useless, I don’t think I’d replace it. But maybe get a 1 micron bag for it?

From your list, I’d do three things. 1. Save $500 for later (anticipating WOOD) 2. Get a jointer (of moderate price, so maybe the 6”) 3. Get planes (block & #4, I love my LNs)

For me, that would be enough “investment” to satisfy my immediate toy-jones.

Then, build something and see if you really need any of the other things.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View brtech's profile


1042 posts in 3069 days

#5 posted 02-22-2012 02:04 PM

If you don’t have a good combination square, get one. Ebay is a good source.

Then I think I would go with Tyrone and get a jointer. CL might be a good place to look, but a new Griz is a good choice.

Clamps are good. More is better. You never have enough. If you don’t have at least 4 good quality parallel clamps, that would be next on my list, and unless you can total 10 or so with at least 24” of reach, you will have trouble with larger furniture glue ups. Pipe clamps are a good choice for additional clamping beyond your stash of parallel clamps, but I find myself reaching for my HF aluminum bar clamps a lot these days. A whole bunch of F style clamps come in mighty handy for smaller projects, and the quick clamps (Irwin) are great for lots of tasks.

If you don’t have a block plane and a smoother, I’d get one of each. The new Woodrivers are nice, but it’s much much cheaper to get a used Stanley and rehab it. You learn a lot about how planes work “fettling” an older Stanley, and they are really excellent tools.

If your stock miter gauge isn’t accurate or sturdy, get something else. The Incra is nice, I like my Osbourne a lot.

While I lust for a Domino (with vac) and the track saw, I think a lot of tools come before it. You list both the Domino and a Dowel Max. That suggests you don’t have something good to make joints. I’d decide which way I wanted to go – dowels or loose tenons, then decide how I was going to get there short term and long term. Of course the more work you do, you find both have a place, but when you start out, learning how to do one is a good idea I think. There are other options besides a Dowel Max, but it’s an excellent tool.

On the other hand, I do understand why you might want to get one really fine tool out of your investment. Whether that ought to be the Domino when your budget is $2,000 is questionable.

Get the square, a jointer, some more clamps a couple of planes, and if you need it, a miter guage. Then look at what you have left over. Maybe the Dowel Max is the right next tool for you.

View gragian's profile


7 posts in 3267 days

#6 posted 02-22-2012 03:26 PM

Tyrone – I can definitely appreciate getting a slew of “small” things, such as clamps or whatnot. The problem is that it’s alot easier to buy $30 clamps than an $850 domino or a $500 jointer. Part of me wants to take a plunge on a big ticket item, knowing that I have that flexibility now and part of me wants to stock up on lots of little things, knowing that a bunch of clamps, layout tools, etc are going to impact my work considerably. I can’t decide!

DIYaholic – Well, I already have a 2hp dust collector and an air filtration system. I made sure to get that taken care of, since I (as you) appreciate my lungs.

489tad – Would you suggest that I go with a bigger jointer and/or spiralhead cutter? Or go smaller and get other items, too?

jdmaher – Well, I kinda already set aside some money for a wood “slush fund.” Haha. What other item would you recommend, if anything, to augment the jointer and hand planes?

brtech – It seems like a jointer is a common response. Should I go 6” or 8”? Is a spiralhead cutter a worthy investment? I have six 24” and six 40” parallel clamps, but you’re right – you can never have too many. The problem with the domino is that it’s so enticing and you don’t often get the financial flexibility to purchase one, but I agree that it might be more lust than love. Haha.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3061 days

#7 posted 02-22-2012 03:34 PM

On the frugal side, while the Incra miter is nice (I have the 1000HD), I find building and using my TS Super Sled to be much more useful and more used.

You need two to four 48” parallel cabinet clamps if you don’t already have four of them. I like the Jorgensen Cabinetmakers from the Big Box HD.

Personally, I would spend the bulk of the $$$ on a good 8in Jointer. I got lucky when I was looking and found a Grizzly G0593 8in w/ spiral cutter listed in CL for $700 just an hour from home. Usually you will find tons of used 6in, but on occasion an 8in will pop up. A year later I saw another (same model) come up on CL, again less than hour away. Keep your eyes peeled and be patient… or buy new if you feel like it. The Grizzly G0490 8in (standard 4-knife cutter) is just under $1100 delivered. Something to consider.

Add a lunchbox planer to the list. I have the Ridgid. Others really like the DeWalt, as well.

I would not go overboard on hand planes. You will need some, but be selective. Of those you listed, I would say you could get by with a #4 and #6. I would add some smaller block and shoulder/chisel planes instead. Remember, you will have a jointer and lunchbox planer for the heavy work.

You can rehab some older planes and have good usable planes from doing so, but IMO you will still have about 1/2 the cost of new invested in each refurb plus your effort. Everyone should do this at least ONCE, but beyond that only if you find the process/hobby addictive.

And I agree, at least $500 set back for “other” items that will come up.

ADDED: Since my jointer is a spiralhead cutter and my lunchbox planer is the standard knife-cutter, I can say I really see no practical difference in the results (very very minor cosmetic stuff). What I can tell you is that the spiralhead carbide cutters seem to last forever, PLUS you get four sides to each cutter! My personal opinion is that the spiralhead cutter, as a whole, will last maybe 5-10 times longer than the knife set in a standard jointer. But that is just my opinion.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3455 days

#8 posted 02-22-2012 03:47 PM

I also agree that a good jointer is a necessity. I have a jointer and I bought it with carbide spiral cutters and find it to be well worth the extra money for the much better cutterheads.
I notice you did not list a miter saw. I have a sliding miter saw and it is a much used tool in my shop. My crosscut sled cannot be used with longer stock.
the smaller priced items are easy to accumulate as needed.

View dhazelton's profile


2789 posts in 2443 days

#9 posted 02-22-2012 03:49 PM

I agree with the wood comment, and good quality blades. And if you make a dresser you probably want a good dovetail jig. Fine woodworking just tested shop vacs and the Festool moved the smallest amount of air, so I wouldn’t consider it.

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3116 days

#10 posted 02-22-2012 04:01 PM

Blow the lot before your wife makes you buy a carpet or something

If it were me, for that type of work


Mitre Saw

Track saw


Clamps 4×24” 4×36” 4×48”

If there’s any change, a biscuit jointer.

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3098 days

#11 posted 02-22-2012 04:05 PM

I’d also recommend a jointer. Swing an 8” if you can. Then a good couple of planes. A #4 smoother and a block plane. Have you looked at the Veritas skew block plane? It can function as a regular block plane, but also do a lot more.,41182,48942

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View brtech's profile


1042 posts in 3069 days

#12 posted 02-22-2012 04:35 PM

While I think an 8” jointer is great, I wonder if your first jointer should cost you more than $1000.
I got my 6” Jet floor model for $225 on CL. I do wish I had an extra inch or so every once and while, but it does seem to do the job. I also have abused it as I learned how to use it well.

I’m thinking you want a conventional 6” floor mount (longer bed, not the real small bench top models) with regular knives to start. Learn how to use it well. Learn what you need in a jointer. Then make another purchase of a serious tool, new or used, that really will step up your ability to make what you want to make. My $.02

I don’t agree with HorizontalMike on planes. I’m not a real hand tool guy, and my plane technique is, uh, developing, as is my collection. However, you can get a decent #5 and a decent block plane used for $25-35 each, spend a couple of hours fettling, as well as learning how they work, and have something that, while not in the class of a LN plane, is a good quality tool. It’s a WHOLE LOT less than a good new plane (Veritas or LN).

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