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Forum topic by RWininger posted 09-14-2012 03:55 PM 1696 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View RWininger's profile


23 posts in 2046 days

09-14-2012 03:55 PM

New to the site, but been stalking you from a distance, thanks for all the great info and the great attitudes towards each other and the willingness to help. so here goes my first post.
I am getting old so it’s time to start woodworking ;} I have all the basic stuff a man has and then some. I just got a router table; put it together yesterday, now I need some bits and a project for it. I guess my question is about Brands. Found an 8in jointer from Steel City for $1199 great price for an 8 in Helical Granite Deluxe Jointer. Just not sure on brand and customer service. Also looking at their table saws. Any input helps greatly Just so many brands to pick from. Jet, Laguna,stell city etc….. i do not want junk.
So i think i need a table saw, jointer, band saw, in what order should i buy. I will be bugging all of you allot.
Thanks Ron
Wales, Michigan

33 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2816 days

#1 posted 09-14-2012 04:32 PM

Hi Ron—Welcome!

There are so many used opportunities out there that I’d let go of the idea of new for now.

The grade of tool that suits you? It depends on what your goals are. As a pro, I tend to aim high here, so temper these thoughts with those who are serious hobbyists:

Table saw first. The bigger the better (read: safer) right up to and including the Unisaw and the Powermatic 66 (and others). Consider the Sawstop if its principal virtue resonates with you.

Jointer next. With it, you can make little boards into big boards. 6” is adequate, 8” is better. Helix knives would be of particular interest if you’re headed to exotic and highly figured woods. Traditional knives have economic advantages if you’re into mainline hardwoods.

Lastly Bandsaw, which is a portal for curves! 14” is adequate for most of us, avoiding the really tinny imports from 30 years ago.

Ready set go!



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2139 days

#2 posted 09-14-2012 04:34 PM

You better plan first what projects you’re going to do. From there, you can decide what tool to use in every project. It’s so impractical to buy a tool just to let it stay for a while and not use it. BTW, welcome to LJ, Ron!

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3124 days

#3 posted 09-14-2012 05:05 PM

Definitely purchase tools as you need them, as Surfside said.

With regard to “brands,” most all brands have their junk and their jewels. Brands like Porter Cable, DeWalt, Bosch, Laguna, Jet, Delta, Powermatic, Craftsman, Rikon, etc. would fall in this category. Brands like Black and Decker, Skil, and Ryobi are more geared toward the homeowner, so they will be mostly consumer-grade products, though if you look closely there will be a good product mixed in here and there (e.g. Skil will always have their great worm-drive circ saw).

Some of the products offered by these brands are chinese-made products, many of which are the exact same product offerings. Often times, Harbor Freight will have the same tool (Central Machinery) for a substantial discount compared to the named-brands. Their lathe, spindle sander, and band saw is an example of this.

A few companies sell Born in the USA, solid products and wouldn’t THINK about ruining their reps by selling inferior tools. Incra and Festool are the two big boys there, and their prices will often show it. In my case, I love anything Incra. For Festool, you have to judge if it’s worth the extra price…but the tools are reputedly tremendous. Lie-Nielsen enjoys this reputation among hand-tool users.

Other companies like Kreg, Woodpeckers, and Lee Valley will generally deliver solid to spectacular products as well.

In all of this you must read reviews and judge a tool’s quality by price…you do get what you pay for regardless of the actual brand.

-- jay,

View RWininger's profile


23 posts in 2046 days

#4 posted 09-14-2012 05:07 PM

Thanks Lee, all are above wallet size. Would like to stay around $1200 for saw. That way I was wondering about the steel city products, in budget but not sure about quality of their equipment.
Was looking at the Jet 14 In 1.25 hp band saw, seems to have decent reviews on that model.
Way to much to think about.
Surfside, your spot on, I don’t want to buy something just to say I have it
i need to come up with my first router table Project first,
Thank Ron

View RWininger's profile


23 posts in 2046 days

#5 posted 09-14-2012 05:26 PM

Thanks cosmicsniper, all are great points. just seems a little overwhelming starting out a new hobby. Comes down to trust in the reviews.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3124 days

#6 posted 09-14-2012 05:26 PM

Ron: Grizzly, Steel City, General, Shop Fox…would fall into the category of “some good/some bad.” Though somebody like Grizzly will also deliver some huge bang for the buck.

As for the other of purchase, I’d definitely get the table saw first…and I’d get a planer before the jointer, but that’s always a debatable thing. I still don’t have a band saw because I’m holding out on something big…and I have access to one if I need it. But the band saw opens you up to projects that you just can’t do without it…at which point it becomes indispensable.

Most people build their shops around the table saw.

Yes…definitely overwhelming!

-- jay,

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

28927 posts in 2303 days

#7 posted 09-14-2012 05:39 PM

Welcome to LJ’s!

As far as brands, How much they get used plays a part in that. If it is something that will be a prime tool, then spending more on high quality means more. Spending a lot on a minimally used item is less logical. not that you don’t want good, but you don’t always need great.

Should be articles here on most things:-)

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2238 days

#8 posted 09-14-2012 06:05 PM


Welcome to LumberJocks , a world of advise, opinions, and experiences, all shared without judgement.

If you could walk into a well lighted workshop with plenty of proper electrical outlets and every hand and power tool at your finger tips, what would you most enjoy building?

With possibly the exception of a lathe, most any woodworking disciplines can be accomplished with a good assortment of hand tools.
That being said, power tools can speed a mundane task on to a more interesting phase of your project.

More to the point of your question. What will you need to mill your stock with?
Most shops have a decent power saw at it’s center, albeit a circular saw, table saw, bandsaw or mitersaw and again, this will depend on which disciplines or types of woodworking you are most interested in.

In my opinion if you are setting up a power tool oriented shop, your next consideration should be an adequate Dust Collector, for the safety of your health and your shop.

The rest of your tool collecting will again depend on your preference of favorite projects to build.

In regards to Brand preference, you will find that there are very few Brand snobs here on the LJ site, as far as every tool in the shop being one brand.
Of course there are specific tools which certain companies have always been considered as the leaders of the industry, but even those have comparable competion which have dedicated followers.

The process of researching on-line and magazine Tool Reviews, also you will find great reviews here at LJs in the REVIEW tab, is a smart way to the process of elimination or to at least narrow down your choices, and when you just feel you can’t make that final choice without user input, bring that specific dilemma back to the LJ family and post your question here on Forums.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Grandpa Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2598 days

#9 posted 09-14-2012 06:07 PM

“not that you don’t want good, but you don’t always need great.”

Nicely said. Perfect, concise articulation of my thoughts on the subject.

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2139 days

#10 posted 09-14-2012 06:25 PM

That’s a good point, Ron. This is the most important stage when you start woodworking, deciding what tool to use and what brand. Though some may have learned the lesson after a very bad purchase. But it’s better to have a great start by choosing a great tool to work with.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View RWininger's profile


23 posts in 2046 days

#11 posted 09-14-2012 06:49 PM

What a bunch of articulate fellows you all are. This has been a daunting task for many weeks now.
And still I cannot decide on witch way I need to go. Keep reading and looking for now. Would like to have the table saw in place in the next few weeks.
Thanks Ron

View HorizontalMike's profile


7749 posts in 2879 days

#12 posted 09-14-2012 07:38 PM

My biggest suggestion when buying anything New:

1. Do NOT buy their bottom line or ”entry level” model. Buy two model higher on the food chain.

All of these companies, driven by competition, will offer a bottom-end piece that more often than no, will have way too many “issues”. This could be in the form of poor machining, poor setup, mismatched parts, and more.

2. Consider buying a used 6” jointer (NOT new). There are tons of them that come up on CL all the time. For example just check out all of these in the Flint area:
FWIW, I actually got lucky and found a $700 8” Grizzly G0593 on CL when I was looking and it was within an hour of my home in Texas. If you can be patient and you just might find what you need for much less than new price.

UPDATE: Also when buying used, if the product is only 2-3 years old, most of the bugs will have been worked put and/or corrected before you get it.

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

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2650 days

#13 posted 09-14-2012 08:26 PM

varmit…figure out what you want to make! It dictates the tools that will let you do it easier. You can always add with the “toys” later (we all have them but in truth many seldom get used).

If you are planning on a full-blown cabinet shop, you need the full compliment. If you plan on small boxes, then the answer changes. Personally I think a decent TS is #1, followed by a decent miter saw, then a decent drill (what did we do before cordless I have to wonder) then more clamps than you can imagine.

From there it comes down to what you want to do. Router(s), air compressor to run nailers (which means you need to buy the nailers also plus all the different size nails) but you can keep your vehicle tires properly inflated also. Then the jointer I guess if you want to deal with rough lumber (first step before you would move to a planer) but if you choose finished lumber carefully, then probably skip that tool and go directly to a planer. My drill press gets used a lot more than many non-woodworkers would imagine.

Brands??? My guess is 90% come from the same Asian factories and differ mostly in color. Hence the advice above to keep an eye out for older used equipment. On the + side, I know the difference in the quality of the cast iron. On the – side, parts can be hard to find (but when they were made, I think it was easier to fabricate many of your own parts without buying replacement parts). Things tended to be pretty simple back then.

View Raymond Thomas's profile

Raymond Thomas

189 posts in 2184 days

#14 posted 09-14-2012 11:17 PM

First off, WELCOME to LJs!!

I won’t offer any advice on which tools you should buy first although you did say you got a router table and now need router bits. You could literally spend hundreds of dollars on router bits alone. You need to decide what router based project you want to do, see which bits are needed and then decide which brand you want to go with. You can buy router bits in sets or individually – let your first project be your guide a making that decision.

Buy the best quality your budget can afford and start from there. If you buy cheap, you will find out very quickly that is an expensive route to go.

-- Raymond, Charlotte, NC -------- Demonstrate the difference!

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2759 days

#15 posted 09-14-2012 11:40 PM

Welcome. You’ll get a lot of good help from this forum. This article is worth reading for beginners.
Youtube and other woodworking sites like WWGOA and Wood Magazine have a wealth of info from tools to tips and techniques. Myself I like Ridgid tools. Good bang for the buck. Not the best but often rated best value. I have to spend wisely and am mostly happy with their products. If I were going to invest big bucks in one item it would be a table saw. I guess in the end just buy the best that you can comfortably afford.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

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