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Forum topic by Odiferous posted 06-26-2012 02:07 AM 1850 views 1 time favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Odiferous's profile


105 posts in 2424 days

06-26-2012 02:07 AM

I’ve been wanting to get started with a shop for a couple years now, but it just wasn’t worth dealing with in small apartments. Patience has paid off, though—the house I’m renting came with a 16×24 shop with a RAS built into a nice long bench.

So now I need suggestions for what to put in the shop. I currently have very little in the way of tools, mostly what I’ve inherited as cast-offs or picked up for various home projects: a tiny Craftsman 8” table saw with no fence (well, there is one, but it’s useless), power drill, skil saw, delta 8” drill press, and an assortment of cheap hand tools.

I’ve got about $500 in my allowance to buy toys and materials. Right now I’m keeping an eye on Craigslist for a deal on a router or planer, but also trying to figure out what’s good to buy used vs. better off buying new. What would you buy?

Also, what’s the best steal you’ve found on Amazon? I have $50 on an Amazon Prime account I was hoping to spend before they start charging tax in TX. Rockler has lots of goodies, but the shipping is insane ($7 to ship a glue brush? Really?).

24 replies so far

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2519 days

#1 posted 06-26-2012 02:19 AM

Welcome to LJs, Odiferous. You’ll likely get a lot of recommendations on how to spend your money here. Of course, a big question is, what kind of woodworking do you think you might like to do? It sounds like you have a good selection of basic tools now. You might want to consider tools that offer lots of versatility for relatively low cost as an initial investment. A good router with a selection of bits comes to mind—you can do a lot with a router, with or without a router table (which can be built with the tools you have available now).

Good luck!

-- John, BC, Canada

View ShaneA's profile


7063 posts in 2832 days

#2 posted 06-26-2012 02:19 AM

A good used contractor TS. $250-300. Chisels, random orbit sander, sandpaper, wood…w/the rest. Good luck on the journey.

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2797 days

#3 posted 06-26-2012 03:03 AM

I feel like you can do almost anything with a table saw, router/table/bits, and a random orbital sander, in addition to what you have. No need to buy wood, as I find there are plenty of free options out there. Free scraps, pallets, heck even get some free furniture on craigslist and rip it apart for your projects. As budget allows get more tools, better tools, and buy wood.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Odiferous's profile


105 posts in 2424 days

#4 posted 06-26-2012 03:10 AM

The “kind” is still up in the air…I aspire to building “real” furniture eventually, but as to whether I’ll be in the power/hand/lathe tool camps will take time to see. For now, I’m in the “whatever makes sawdust/shavings” category, without dropping too much on super-specialty stuff that I won’t use if I run out of round-tuits.

For a first router, go big or small? I was tossing around the idea of something like a DWP611PK to get started, then later finding a larger, used, fixed base machine to mount in a table as I expand. Just concerned that only having the smaller router might just be frustrating if it can’t handle a larger job.

I know a lot of people live by their table saws—I’ve been loathe to think about one when it’s one of the few tools I already have, but I honestly can’t figure out much to do with a tiny saw and no fence. Every time I try to use it, I end up using the circular saw instead. Maybe it’s time to kick it out and buy a real one.

View waho6o9's profile


8539 posts in 2810 days

#5 posted 06-26-2012 03:32 AM

Fellow LJer has a bandsaw you might like.

View Rxmpo's profile


268 posts in 3979 days

#6 posted 06-26-2012 03:56 AM

Odiferous- I was in your position a few years ago and I would recommend a good table saw. CL has many really good options that are sold by people who thought about getting into woodworking and then changed their minds or time didn’t allow. I made the mistake of buying quantity of tools and skimped a bit on my table saw. It is my biggest regret. If I could go back, I would have allotted more of my funds to a really good table saw and waited on some other purchases. I also see tons of great band saws on CL all the time. Makes me wish I had waited to take the plunge on this purchase as well, since they are selling at a huge discount and look to be near mint condition.

I would also look on Amazon for your for a few good routers that you like and put them in your “cart” on the Amazon site. Once in your “cart” just keep checking the site and they will tell you if the price has gone up or down since you last checked your “cart”. I did this with a Hitachi 2.25hp variable speed router and bought it one day when I saw the price dropped from $120 to $81. That price only lasted for 1 day and because it was already in my cart the site alerted me to the price drop when I signed in.

Patience is your friend.

View CoolToolShed's profile


71 posts in 2399 days

#7 posted 06-26-2012 04:00 AM

Clamps, clamps and more clamps! Seems like you can never have enough!

-- Chris in Maine -

View 1woodchucker's profile


15 posts in 2397 days

#8 posted 06-26-2012 04:06 AM

Congrats on the shop! Here is what I would do…

Be patient and watch Craigslist like a hawk; since you have waited this long, a few weeks or months for that matter might land you an incredible deal on enough tools to make something besides kindling! I have tooled up a few shops this way, finding bulk buys for twety cents on the dolla

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2869 days

#9 posted 06-26-2012 07:01 AM

Pawn shops can be nice for getting tools for cheap…sometimes. I got a 10” mitersaw for $35 and I still use it 3 years later.

View Woodknack's profile


12455 posts in 2613 days

#10 posted 07-05-2012 04:48 AM

Since you already have an RAS I would hold off on the tablesaw and buy a PC router, maybe with a plunge base; plus some decent chisels like Blue Marples. Buy everything else as you need it. If you want to build furniture there are things you will do with every project… saw and join. So your priorities are sawing (which you can do on the RAS), truing (jointer & saw), thicknessing (planer or hand plane), and joining (chisels, drill, router, saw, clamps).

-- Rick M,

View MrUnix's profile


7100 posts in 2432 days

#11 posted 07-05-2012 06:51 AM

A lot depends on what type of work you want to do.. a carpenters needs are a lot different than a furniture makers! That said, I still believe that a table saw is the base tool needed. When I was a young pup, my first ‘plug in the wall’ tool was a cheap home depot (their Ohio Forge house brand) table saw that I used and abused for years and years until it finally just fell apart. It was all I could afford at the time and I used it for everything from building cabinets to a shed in the back yard.

I wouldn’t just jump in and start buying stuff based on recommendations from others who may or may not be doing the same kind of stuff you want to do. You already have a good start, even though the tools may not be the best. Start doing some work, figure out what kind of things you want to build, and the tool requirements will become fairly obvious as you go along. And remember, you don’t always need the absolute best to to do some pretty impressive work.. I proved that to myself with that cheap little ohio forge table saw!


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View jeff's profile


1132 posts in 3698 days

#12 posted 07-05-2012 09:23 AM

i recommend a workbench/outfeed table,clamps and a decent table saw.keep your eye out for a good deal on Craigs list.have fun… Jeff

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View dhazelton's profile


2803 posts in 2530 days

#13 posted 07-05-2012 12:09 PM

If you are on a limited budget I wouldn’t replace things you already have – you can do a lot with the tools. I think you need to think about what projects you want to do and figure out how to make them with those tools. I’d say to just use your circular saw and straightedge (the factory cut side of a piece of plywood) for your rips – and a rafter square does the crosscuts, no need for a new table saw just yet. Sawhorses and a cast off door make a workbench. Things you don’t mention are dust collector/shop vac or an air compressor /finish nailer combo. You might want to buy some consumables like glue/screws/sandpaper/shellac and some nice lumber as well. Just remember that while a new router would be nice, none of the half million dollar pieces you see on Antiques Roadshow were built with a router, so we all need fewer tools that we think we do.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3714 days

#14 posted 07-05-2012 12:27 PM

There isnt anything you cant do with hand tools. Look at the beautiful pieces they made 200 years ago. That aside, if you want to build a shop with power tools, the table saw is the heart of the shop. It will do most of the work and its the tool that should be the best that you can afford. You are wise to look at Craig’s list and Ebay. There are a lot of great used table saws on there.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View sixstring's profile


296 posts in 2476 days

#15 posted 07-05-2012 04:17 PM

I agree with starting with a tablesaw, but as you mentioned, your circular saw can do a lot of work. Dont spend money before you know what you need. Pick a project that you can complete with what you have, maybe a picnic table or planter box or anything that doesnt require a perfect finish or complicated joinery.

Doing one project will get you thinking about other projects and the exact limitation you have at the moment. If you find that you need a router to complete a project, then you know what you need to get.

Start with outdoor stuff and make do with what you have. Craigslist and some ingenuity can supply the rest.

-- JC Garcia, Concord, CA : "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission..."

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