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Forum topic by CplSteel posted 08-06-2012 08:35 AM 1239 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CplSteel

142 posts in 855 days


08-06-2012 08:35 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am starting to put some power tools in my shop, but I am trying to avoid buying cheap tools where I would regret the purchase after a year. Recently I didn’t purchase an old radial arm saw because I realized that while it can do lots of things: cross-cuts, miters, tennons, some dado work, ect… I would likely have other tools that could probably fill those rolls better, even though I could pick it up on the cheap. After all, there is a reason radial arm saws are not that popular anymore.

So, instead of asking your opinion on what I should buy, let me ask what you would buy, knowing what you know now, if you started over. Assume your shop burnt down and your insurance wrote you a check for $5,000. Knowing what you know now, what would you get. You are limited to choosing new tools at retail prices. If it is a jig heavy shop, include the cost of the jigs. Assume you managed to save your clamps, drill, chisels, hammers, measuring devices, etc… Focus on the power tools and their accessories including dust collection.

I ask this way because I have read a lot of threads where different tools are discussed in an apples to apples conversation. But that does not make much sense. For example there are many ways to cut a miter. You can use a miter saw (~$300, but you probably want a stand, built or bought, +$150) You can use a table saw with a sled (~$500-$3,000), or a handsaw and a shooting board (~ cheaper than the other options). But some of those tools are easier to use then others, provide additional options, etc…

More contentious, a festool tracksaw can rip and crosscut, compound miters, and make repeatable cuts with the right accessories, but you would probably turn to a router to make your grooves and rabbets, but because it can use the same track (with the right accessory) and your dust collection remains the same. Of course all of this can be done on a table saw, with the right accessories, and all of this can be done with a bandsaw, a miter saw, and a routing table.

So this is a question about systems of tools, not individual tools. Looking forward to see what you guys would do.


11 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2601 posts in 1042 days


#1 posted 08-06-2012 09:50 AM

tablesaw, bandsaw, router table.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Handtooler's profile (online now)

Handtooler

1098 posts in 822 days


#2 posted 08-06-2012 11:18 AM

Amen to Bondogposi, in that order. Being more specific, very good quality yet affordable; Grizzly G0691 table saw, Porter Cable 690 router reconditioned @ CPO for $109.00 put into a MLCS table saw right extension with power lift and aluminum insert, $619.00 SUMMER SALE. Rikon 18” or Grizzly 17” Polar series band saw. prices fluctuate. Hope you saved a GREAT workbench with super vises and dexign of your choices! Then 8” jointer, probably grizzly; then 12” or larger planer, Belsaw makes a fine product, most table models currently in production do great work. I’m extremely pleased with the Grizzly G0703P dust collector. You’ll enjoy a 12” compound miter saw, sliding if your budget allows with excellent Blades those also for your table saw. Forrest, Freud, and others. I find Olsen band saw blades made a terrific difference in my Craftsman band saw of the early 70’s along with new and better cooling blocks. The newer saws incorporate a much improved system. I’ve never afforded Timberline baldes for it. The Grizzly 17” saw uses 131 1/2” blades and they aren’t readily available, but saw shops that weld blades can supply you with your style of choice along with Grizzly of course.
:

The reason I keep mentioning Grizzly is I feel I get better reliability and quality at a reasonable price within my fixed income budget. Of course the “Top Of The Line” machines from Delta, Powermatic, Rikon, General and others; may do a slightly better job and last a bit longer, but I’m 72 and my shop will last me till I have to quit. Russell

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@msn.com

View Handtooler's profile (online now)

Handtooler

1098 posts in 822 days


#3 posted 08-06-2012 11:20 AM

Amen to Bondogposi, in that order. Being more specific, very good quality yet affordable; Grizzly G0691 table saw, Porter Cable 690 router reconditioned @ CPO for $109.00 put into a MLCS table saw right extension with power lift and aluminum insert, $619.00 SUMMER SALE. Rikon 18” or Grizzly 17” Polar series band saw. prices fluctuate. Hope you saved a GREAT workbench with super vises and dexign of your choices! Then 8” jointer, probably grizzly; then 12” or larger planer, Belsaw makes a fine product, most table models currently in production do great work. I’m extremely pleased with the Grizzly G0703P dust collector.

The reason I keep mentioning Grizzly is I feel I get better reliability and quality at a reasonable price within my fixed income budget. Of course the “Top Of The Line” machines from Delta, Powermatic, Rikon, General and others; may do a slightly better job and last a bit longer, but I’m 72 and my shop will last me till I have to quit. Russell

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@msn.com

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

1382 posts in 947 days


#4 posted 08-06-2012 02:36 PM

table saw $1550, jointer $1225, thickness planer $1095, router $500, shop vac $430 Total $4800

-- Art

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

7157 posts in 1374 days


#5 posted 08-06-2012 02:52 PM

Makes me look like a “Piker”: Tablesaw…$400 when it was new, Drill press…$70 (new) Router…$170 (new), Planer….$125 (it was on sale, but new) My “Jointer’ is a Bailey #8c ( $25) or a KK7 ($55).

Tablesaw just hit it’s 30th Birthday. Drill press is about 2yrs old. Router is a “kit” with both fixed and plunge bases. Bailey is going on 100 years old, the KK7…? Planer is a small “Lunchbox type” for when i don’t feel like using these…

They are sitting on my homemade router table. let’s see, oh yeah, also have a 12×37” Lathe ($90 new) and a small bandsaw ( @$90, used) There is a Electric Jointer sitting in the shop, a 6-1/8” Craftsman from back in the 80s, not running right now, need to be refurbished, and new knives. Still FAR below that $$$$$ amount, though….;-)

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View a1Jim's profile (online now)

a1Jim

112335 posts in 2267 days


#6 posted 08-06-2012 03:26 PM

Good measuring tools,Table saw,band saw,router table ,dust collector,planer, jointer, hand held routers.
I’ve never owned a track saw but they seem limited as to their use in comparison to a table saw, I would just build good out feed tables for my table saw at a fraction of the cost of a track saw.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7739 posts in 2338 days


#7 posted 08-06-2012 04:42 PM

The Festool track system is not unique to the brand. The dust
collection is very good though and this makes Festool excel
in installation work where a mess is unacceptable.

I don’t have a Festool track saw anymore. I didn’t sell it because
I didn’t like it though. Even though I have other Festool stuff
and they are really superior tools, I am ambivalent about the track
saw and MFT system. I think the one from Eurekazone offers
more practical cabinet making precision with a more flexible and
incremental dollar investment. For installations, Festool is still
king due to the lightweight rails, systainers, MFT and dust
collection. It goes out of the truck and up the stairs faster,
makes the cut, cleans up and gets out.

My real question for you is what kind of work are you going to
do and in what materials?

See, furniture is different from cabinetry.

If you wanted to do fine furniture, a 6” jointer and a portable
planer, and 16” or larger band saw, a shaper and drill press
are more essential than a table saw to do a wide range of
work. You can cut your rabbets on the shaper and make
tenons on it too. Tenon cheeks can be cut with precision
on a quality band saw as well. A mortiser comes in handy
for furniture as well.

If you want to make cabinets and stuff like that out of sheet
goods, you’ll get more exact cuts with a track saw than
with a table saw that isn’t totally built out with extension
and outfeed tables. Such a saw will take up half a 2
car garage. I know it is great to flip a 4×8 sheet onto
a saw and make a square cut with it, but the space
such a capable setup consumes is too much, imo, for
a shop under 600 square feet.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View CplSteel's profile

CplSteel

142 posts in 855 days


#8 posted 08-07-2012 12:02 AM

Well, these are sort of the answers I was looking for. To answer some questions, my work is mostly furniture, but some ply is used/cabinet construction techniques depending on the piece.

For tablesaws, would you buy an aftermarket fence or stick with the one that comes with the saw? Is the Grizzly fence worthwhile?

I was thinking of the Grizzly 690 at $1450 shipped, then hold off on a a band saw (maybe a Rikon 14” deluxe for $1,000). I need to hold off on the band-saw because I would want to first get dust collection and a router, probably pick up a trim router like the dewalt and a Porter Cable to put in a table. All three will probably run ~$1,000. I am ok with simple router table fences, but I have never used a fancy router table fence. (The INCRA system is expensive at $600, but if the router table is built into the table saw then I can save $100 or so on the saw by getting the 30” 650 and build my router table into the table saw extension, and replace the fence with the INCRA system. (Though Grizzly’s adjustments being on the right side of the saw may screw up that plan). The MLCS options look interesting though.

If I go the TS centered rout I would try and get by with a thickness planner and no jointer by using a torsion box/shim method and squaring on the TS (~$500 for an ok dewalt). I can always pick up a jointer later if this proves to be more hassle then it is worth. This method allows me to pick up a tool now that I can afford without wishing, two or three years later, that I spent just a bit more. I would have to hold off on the miter saw and just use a garage sale circular saw/jig saw to rough out my cuts. Of course I would have to rip sheet goods down the same way because there is no way I can rip them solo on a TS by myself.

Keep the ideas coming, and thanks!

View Handtooler's profile (online now)

Handtooler

1098 posts in 822 days


#9 posted 08-07-2012 01:04 AM

Don’t forget to save a little cash to purchase Excellent to Fine router bits of the profiles you need and add to the inventory as the finances allow. Russell

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@msn.com

View Joseph Jossem's profile

Joseph Jossem

388 posts in 959 days


#10 posted 08-07-2012 02:15 AM

depends on what you are building
jointer
dust collector
table saw
bandsaw
sander
compressor
planer
best bet is to watch craigslist some really amazing deals if you are patient.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2874 posts in 1934 days


#11 posted 08-07-2012 05:39 PM

A good 3 hp cabinet saw would be at the top of my list. A Festool track saw is a good tool, but unless portability is an important issue, there are other ways of cutting sheet goods that are just as good; maybe not as convenient. I don’t knock Festool; I think they are 1st class in every way, but unless you must insist on the very best and can afford them, then go for it. I’m sure you wouldn’t regret it. Just knowing I have the very best is enough. I have been in the woodworking business for over 50 years and had the foresight to buy the best tools available at the time at prices I could afford. You, starting out don’t have the same choices I had. Most of the tools available to the consumer, will come from China. That could sway people over to the Festool quality brands. Remember the adage, “you get what you pay for”. If you buy Festool, you definitely will get what you pay for. If a Chinese made tool, you may or you may not get what you pay for. When you buy Chinese, you “pays your money and takes your chances”. I separate tools made in Taiwan. They are better than the mainland Chinese tools. I have all the tools I need, but if I were looking to buy today, I would search for good used machinery made in the U.S. of A. Japan is known for their quality, but because their economy grew at such a fast rate, they never got into the consumer tool race. The few good tools that were made in Japan, are now made in China and other countries where the labor market is better. Makita, Hitachi and Ryobi were good when made in Japan. Makita and Hitachi survived by maintaining quality and raising prices. Ryobi took the opposite path and choose to compete at the price level thereby sacrificing quality.

Sliding compound miter saws replaced radial arm saws. It is really a contractor’s type tool because it is portable (although heavy). In the home shop, they take up a lot of room. Bosch has a model that is more compact that any of the others, but still they are limited to the size of wood it can handle. The table saw will do everything a miter saw or radial saw can do and more.

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