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Forum topic by BTimmons posted 563 days ago 1323 views 0 times favorited 41 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BTimmons

2062 posts in 1072 days


563 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: tip question resource

After generous gifts from family members, I’m struck with paralysis by analysis, and I need the collective wisdom of LJs help me out. Get ready for information overload.

As one can see by the paltry submissions to my projects page, I haven’t been at this for very long. But I’ve got a lot of ambition and I think that with some more investment in equipment and shop time that I can turn out some pretty good work.

What kind of work I like, and would like to do more of
  • I’m mostly interested in small to medium sized case work like nice jewelry boxes, liquor cabinets, that sort of thing. Tables are also another interest. I don’t have a lathe so projects incorporating turning aren’t on the horizon quite yet.
What I’ve got to work with:
  • I have an older Delta table saw, an XL-10, a pretty basic model. Factory fence, no upgrades except for a Freud combo blade. I have a 16 gallon shop vac with a Dust Right separator attached to the DC port. I’ll likely post another topic about designing a better DC scheme for this.
  • A basic bench from Grizzly, a gift from my parents. It’s plenty stout, and I’ve drilled dog holes in the top. The vise that it comes with is pretty sorry, though. The edge of the table that the chop closes on isn’t even 90 degrees to the top, and the chop itself is prone to excessive racking and wobbling. Yeah, I know it’s no Roubo, but it’s a start.
  • A nice old Stanley #4 smoother
  • A cheapo 9” Craftsman bandsaw
  • A set of basic Irwin blue handle chisels
  • A couple of reasonably nice handsaws including a Dozuki and another fairly cheap but good ultra-thin kerf razor saw that I can’t find a link to.
  • A basic bench top drill press that works ok apart from a finicky on-off switch.
The budget
  • I have a couple of Rockler gift cards totaling $275. And thanks to my ultra cool generous parents, I have about $500 in Christmas cash as well.

Things that I could really use

  • A Dewalt 635 planer. I would make a planer sled to surface both wide faces of a board so I wouldn’t need to buy a powered jointer, at least for now. At $629 new, If I were to use up all the gift cards I would have a difference of about $400, which would pretty much wipe out my whole budget. They come up every now and then on Craigslist, but if I’m gonna have one, then I want the new warranty or whatever else comes along with it. I know these are good planers and I could really use it, but I’m leery of putting all my eggs in one basket at this point. I also know that if I go in the opposite direction of this planer for now, it’ll mean a substantial investment in hand tools instead. Which brings me to my next point.
  • A jack and jointer plane. If I go the manual route rather than the Dewalt 635, it’s cheaper but it’s got an entirely different learning curve. I know surfacing boards by hand is a great skill to have, but I’m not sure which way to go. As reluctant as I am to drop a ton of money on the Dewalt, and as much as I enjoy hand work, I don’t want to spend all my time in the shop prepping and planing stock, since time is at a very high premium at my house. I’m raising a little girl who adores her daddy, so I can’t get away with vanishing to the garage for hours on end while she’s awake.
  • Sharpening gear. I know that the Worksharp 3000 is a great system. But I’m also interested in bang for my buck. Considering that it would take care of most of the gift card budget, I’m also interested in trying water stones like these. And at close to $80, that’s definitely a better price than the Worksharp 3000 at $200. I can see the merits of both methods, but I’m not sure whether I should opt for the convenience of powered sharpening, or being economical and doing it old school by hand. This site is full of reviews of the Worksharp, but has anyone tried these stones by chance? Would I better off spending cash on a different set elsewhere that won’t completely break the bank, and using the gift cards on wood or other accessories? All I know is that I want to get away from relying on the Scary Sharp method. DMT’s look nice but they’re a bit more expensive, it seems.
  • Layout tools like a Veritas marking gauge and a decent marking knife would be nice to have around.
  • Better chisels. The Narex line seems to be well liked, and fairly economical.
  • A better vise for my bench. Even something basic like this would be a little nicer than what I’ve got.
  • A bandsaw that I’m not ashamed of would also be welcome. I would likely opt for the Craigslist route there.
  • A nicer table saw is also something that I’ll have to look at eventually. Again, this will probably be a local Craigslist buy.
  • A router table would be great to have at some point. I have neither the router, bits, or anything else, so that would be an entirely new direction. But as with the planer, I’m not sure about spending all my budget on one particular area when there are lot of little things I’d like.
  • More wood!

So there it is, folks. If you were me, where would your priorities be? Because I’ve got about 10 different angels and devils on each shoulder telling me what to do. Thanks for any help and advice!

-- Brian Timmons, Big T Woodworks - https://www.etsy.com/shop/BigTWW - http://vimeo.com/98821147


41 replies so far

View Kreegan's profile

Kreegan

1452 posts in 733 days


#1 posted 563 days ago

Well, since you have a need for a vise and Rockler gift cards, I’d suggest one of these instead:

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=21523&site=ROCKLER

If you have a 20% off coupon, that’ll cost you around 80 bucks and it’s well worth it. I have a vise similar to the one you linked and lemme tell ya, it sucks not having quick release. This one is quick release and only 10 bucks more than the one you linked.

You can’t go wrong with the Narex chisels. I love mine and reach for them a lot.

Look at the stainless steel wheel marking gauge that Lee Valley offers. I picked that up recently and really like it. It has an oblong face that registers against the wood better than the round ones.

Look on ebay for a vintage Stanley #5 jack plane and a #7. If you put in the time to restore them (1-3 hours for both most likely), you can have a good user pair for under 100 bucks shipped.

Good luck!

View Don W's profile

Don W

14498 posts in 1154 days


#2 posted 563 days ago

I tend to go about my purchases different. I set the money aside and wait for a deal. But I also have some form of most of the equipment and its more uprading more than buying.

So my advice would be as follows, along with some questions you can ask yourself.

Don’t buy the $80 waterstone set. I’m not sure how you sharpen now, but buy quality stones. Everyone knows I don’t care for waterstones, but they do a good job if you have quality stones.

The dewalt planer is probably the best portable planer on the market. My question would be, do you need one of that quality for what you’re going to do? I used a $200 ryobi for several years with absolutely no complains other than it was a little slow. ( still have it, and it still works, I just don’t use it much )

lay tools you chose are good choices.

I’ve heard great things about the narex chisels and having a set of chisels is on my want list, but again, for me its an upgrade, so if you don’t have them, buy them.

I don’t like your choice of a vice. A vice is something you’ll use a lot. If its a good one you’ll use it without even noticing it. Don’t buy any vice with the cheap thin steel handle. For $20 more you can get this one, but it would be worth the extra to go to this one.

I would have recommended you buy a leg vice screw and make your own leg vice, but I couldn’t find one at rockler. Lee Valley has them though.

A router is a handy tool to have, even without the table. Once you have the router, you can make the table. Start with a mid sized and just buy the bits you will use.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7173 posts in 2234 days


#3 posted 563 days ago

What do you want to build?

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Don W's profile

Don W

14498 posts in 1154 days


#4 posted 563 days ago

Loren, look at paragraph 3.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Kreegan's profile

Kreegan

1452 posts in 733 days


#5 posted 563 days ago

Haha, Jinx! Hey, what do you have in the way of a jack and jointer that Brian might be interested in, Don?

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7173 posts in 2234 days


#6 posted 563 days ago

Ok. Small casework is easy to do with hand planes. Get a #5 and sharpening stuff. While thicknessing large
boards by hand is a drag, flattening boards is not
difficult once you get the hang of it and thicknessing
smaller pieces by hand is not a big deal.

A bench grinder set up with a white friable wheel works
well for hollow-grining plane iron bevels. From there
you can go to a 1000 grit water stone and then
to a polishing stone if you like.

A planer is nice to have but they are more similar
than they are different and there are a lot of decent
used ones available. I wouldn’t buy a new one
personally, especially a benchtop model.

I like Japan style marking gauges. You can make them
yourself easily. A marking knife comes in handy
(flat ground on one side).

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View sixstring's profile

sixstring

296 posts in 830 days


#7 posted 563 days ago

Sounds like you know best what your shop needs next… but my vote is for the planer. Mine gets a lot of use and I wouldnt know how to get along without it. I work with almost exlusively reclaimed material so my planer has done some wonders on otherwise ugly wood.

One small suggestion at Rockler is either the Wixey or IGauge angle finder (not sure what it’s called now…) Tiny little box with magnets that you stick to your TS or Mitresaw blade for setting up your cuts/mitres. Just got one myself (the iGauge) and I absolutely love it. My setup time is now much shorter and far more accurate. It was on sale for about $25 when i got mine. It’s a must have for the shop.

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

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4709 posts in 2469 days


#8 posted 563 days ago

I am not really a handtool guy (but I have done my share) so my thoughts might be different.

I can not imagine being without a router. You can mount it under a board for a router table.

Love my Wixey digital angle guide – weird, but I truly love it. Tool setup is now more fun.

A quality adjustable combination square – like a Starrett 12 inch. Expensive, but there is a reason. Not just because it is accurate, but because you can move it smoothly, and read it clearly.

I did not notice you mention a sander. Yikes, a random orbit is like part of my existence.

Wood is always a nice thing to get too.

Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Don W's profile

Don W

14498 posts in 1154 days


#9 posted 563 days ago

Yea, Brian’s got a gorgeous #4 smoother. No sanding required.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View crank49's profile

crank49

3325 posts in 1558 days


#10 posted 563 days ago


Jorgensen 41012 10” Professional Woodworker’s Vise would be my choice.
They cost around $150, but they are powerful, solid and DO NOT rack.
Actually mine is a Groz, but I can’t find them any more and the Jorgensen is as close as I have found.

I’m going against the grain here but I do not like any of the vises called “Front vises”, like the one in this link
http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=21523&site=ROCKLER
Every one I have tried had a racking binding problem.

I haven’t found the metal handle vs wood handle to have anything to do with the quality of the vise. Makes the feel and look different, but not the quality.

You need a good low angle block plane and I’m going to suggest adding a shoulder plane, like a #92. Also, a good #5 will be a great addition. I’d go vintage Stanley for the #5. They are quite common and therefore affordable.

Home Depot sells a little Marples pull saw that I find indispensable. They are around $12-13 now, used to be $10, You can use it to flush cut dowels, adjust dove tails, separate box lids from bodies, and a dozen other little tasks. Very handy little saw. Has a very thin blade with around 22 tpi I think.

For a powered planer, Ryobi is low dollar entry level and I haven’t heard anyone complain about their quality. Ryobi is the company that invented the portable planer, after all.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View BTimmons's profile

BTimmons

2062 posts in 1072 days


#11 posted 563 days ago

Ok, it seems fairly evident that I may be overdoing it regarding the planer. I guess I was thinking of getting one that I won’t want to upgrade anytime soon. But I suppose that even with a cheap used one, I can always get boards glassy smooth with my #4.

Other suggestions are good so far.

Loren – I do have a cheap 6” bench grinder that does a passable job grinding initial bevels. I’ve been practicing on some older flea market chisels so I’m getting the hang of hollow grinding by hand.

Kreegan – Don’s page is the first place I look when considering planes! He’s where I got my trusty #4 from.

Don – So you advise against waterstones. Alright. Do you think I’d be better off with the WS3000 then?

sixstring – I do have a digital gauge, and I agree that it’s great to have.

crank49 – Thanks for the vise advice. I’ve used that Marples saw you mentioned. They’re good to have around, but not as my primary saw. These ones are pretty much the equivalent of disposable shaving razors.

-- Brian Timmons, Big T Woodworks - https://www.etsy.com/shop/BigTWW - http://vimeo.com/98821147

View Don W's profile

Don W

14498 posts in 1154 days


#12 posted 563 days ago

To clarify what I wrote, a thin metal handle. I agree. I have a Wilton 7” with a metal handle and it worked well. It was the bigger handle, probably 7/8”.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View BTimmons's profile

BTimmons

2062 posts in 1072 days


#13 posted 563 days ago

Hmm. That Wilton does look fairly badass.

-- Brian Timmons, Big T Woodworks - https://www.etsy.com/shop/BigTWW - http://vimeo.com/98821147

View Don W's profile

Don W

14498 posts in 1154 days


#14 posted 563 days ago

I don’t advice again waterstones, I just don’t like them. I use DMT’s and oil stones. My shop is not heated when I’m not in it, so between freezing, the mess, and the constant flattening, I don’t like them.

That said, you probably don’t worry about freezing, your not sharpening as much as me (with my restorations) so the flattening won’t be that much of an issue, and oil stones can be messy to.

I like the DMT’s but read this.

I also wouldn’t advice against the worksharp, although I don’t own one, but i would advice to get the stones first. If you have a bench grinder that does a decent job, just get a “good” 8000 grit stone. Water or Arkansas it doesn’t matter. With either you’ll need a way to flatten it. The oil stone just takes a lot longer. I bought my oil stone in a flea market, flatten it when I bought it and haven’t had to flatten it yet, but I only use it for final sharpening.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View BTimmons's profile

BTimmons

2062 posts in 1072 days


#15 posted 563 days ago

One stone I have acquired is an ultra-fine ceramic stone. Got it at a flea market. Not sure what the equivalent grit would be, but after 1500 grit paper on granite, this stone leaves a beautiful mirror on any edge.

Also, regarding waterstones, I hadn’t considered the freezing problem. You wouldn’t think that would be a problem in Texas, but it does happen. The last couple of days we’ve had snow and temps in the teens. Another advantage for the Worksharp.

-- Brian Timmons, Big T Woodworks - https://www.etsy.com/shop/BigTWW - http://vimeo.com/98821147

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