does size matter

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Forum topic by Shawn Masterson posted 477 days ago 814 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Shawn Masterson

1246 posts in 553 days

477 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: bandsaw lathe planer miter saw drill press jointer table saw sander

I have been upgrading the shop this last winter and was wondering how many of you have tool regrets that you wished you went bigger on.

Since I got started 10 years ago I have had 3TS, 2DP, 3 DC, 2 drum sanders, 3 planers, 3 miter boxes, and 3 but soon to be 4 jointers. all of witch were stationary machines. All of witch were resold to go bigger, and now that I finally dove into a 3phz rotary converter that opens all kinds of opportunities to upgrade to 3phz machines.

I am not rich by any means. all of the machines I have bought were used. I have build this shop on a house hold budget of less that $40,000 a year, so it took some real bargains and fixer-uppers. also almost every stationary machine I have ever bought, I have either broke even or made a profit.

I think my PM66 TS, 20” planer, 3HP cyclone, and my next jointer are lifers. As for the rest more to come.

I was just curious about what others have replaced along the road of setting up a shop.

15 replies so far

View Loren's profile


7276 posts in 2253 days

#1 posted 477 days ago

I really like having a 12” table saw. It allows cross-cutting
of larger furniture parts.

I always buy used machinery so while trading up is not
without hassles, I seldom lose money when I make a change.

The thing to watch out for is gimmicky “home shop” grade
machines. They lose much of their value. Jobsite tools
have their place, but they do wear out pretty quick
compared to the light industrial machinery sold by
Delta, Grizzly, et al.


View GT350's profile


265 posts in 586 days

#2 posted 477 days ago

I bought a jet dust collector with the two bags. I think it somehow sent more dust in the air than the machines produced. I replaced it with a cyclone. Another tool I wish I hadn’t bought is a Jet shaper. It works good but the table is too small and the fence only allows me to route on the edges. I think I am going to build a router table.

View NiteWalker's profile


2709 posts in 1182 days

#3 posted 477 days ago

I wish I had bought a cabinet saw from the start.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View unbob's profile


364 posts in 508 days

#4 posted 477 days ago

The prices of used heavy woodworking machines is so low, it just makes sense for me to go that direction.
The industrial equipment is designed to be rebuilt and maintained.
3phase motors are easier and less costly to deal with then ever before.
I do have metal working machines, that is a plus factor when going in that direction.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1246 posts in 553 days

#5 posted 477 days ago

nitewalker Why 2 cabinet saws

unbob +1 for 3phz . I only have $265 invested in my 10HP rotary phase converter

View Manitario's profile


2265 posts in 1488 days

#6 posted 476 days ago

I have a few tools that I’ve upgraded (DC, drill press and planer) and a few that I may eventually upgrade, ie. to a wider jointer and my 1.75hp TS to a 3hp TS. It’s easy to look back and say “I should have bought this…” but often lack of $$ and lack of knowledge have prevented me from buying anything bigger. For example, when I bought my first DC, a 1.5hp canister DC, I didn’t know anything about dust collection etc. I just wanted something to reduce the sawdust in the shop. As I grew in my WW I realized its limitations and eventually had the funds and the knowledge to buy a larger DC unit.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Elizabeth's profile


792 posts in 1748 days

#7 posted 476 days ago

I bought a 14” bandsaw and regretted not going bigger. Now I have two bandsaws, so it all worked out in the end.

View MrRon's profile


2731 posts in 1848 days

#8 posted 476 days ago

I knew a guy from “down east” who bought only old cars. He would drive it for two years, sell it and buy another. He never did any unnecessary work, but passed that along to the next owner to deal with. His goal was everyday transportation at the least cost. The same might also apply to machine tools.

View HorizontalMike's profile


6915 posts in 1519 days

#9 posted 476 days ago

Like Elizabeth I bought a 14in BS. At times I think I should have gone bigger, though this thing has 13in resaw capacity and meets all of my resawing needs. I think the biggest piece I have resawn was about 9 1/2in of so. I have to keep reminding myself that I only have an 8in Jointer so I do not NEED a bigger bandsaw. I truly believe that ones shop equipment suite is like an orchestra, in that all of the parts must compliment each others abilities/capacities.

That said, I still want a floor mounted drill press in the 14-16in range. I have put up with my little Craftsman 8in DP for over 21yr thus far. More importantly, I would like to upgrade to something that has a wider range of speeds, in particular ‘slower’ speeds than what I now have (600rpm). Cannot really take advantage of my Forstner bits because they will burn at that speed.

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

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

3848 posts in 933 days

#10 posted 476 days ago

Going three phase will open up a lot of options …. especially at bankruptcy auctions!

The market of buyers is much, much smaller and the prices reflect that. You can often get a larger, industrial grade 3 ph machine for much less than an import grade 1 ph machine.

That said… you may want to inquire with your homeowners policy holder.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1246 posts in 553 days

#11 posted 476 days ago

home owners??? do you mean to cover the machines or because of the phase converter??? My shop is at least 75’ from the house. They Know about all the machines I have except the ROC and the planer cause I got them a few months ago. They are even ok with my wood stove. I really don’t see where they could have a problem, but the are in the game of screwing people. The way my agent put it to me was that my costly machines were pretty much safe from theft due to the weight class they are in. A fire could present trouble. I had concerns about how my policy read so I made them come to my shop and inspect the install of my wood stove, and I also made them send the underwriter to my shop to look around and tell me what was covered and what was not. we went through draws and shelves and tool cases and the only thing he said no on were my framing nailer and roofing nailer. He stated those were construction tool and not covered. he tried to give me crap about my welders but I proved to him that they were for personal use. I have Farm Bureau and they are pretty cool

View nwbusa's profile


1016 posts in 891 days

#12 posted 476 days ago

I like to buy my tools new, just personal preference. I have bought a few things used but ended up reselling them all, except for my Delta DC which will soon be replaced with a bigger cyclone. New tools I replaced, let’s see… replaced the Ridgid R4512 with a 3 hp cabinet saw… oh yeah, also replaced a used Delta 6” jointer with a Grizzly 8” spiral head. And someday, I’ll replace the Ridgid lunchbox planer with a 15” helical head unit. So yeah, I bought some early tools that will be / have been replaced, but it’s all part of the learning process.

-- John, BC, Canada

View TravisH's profile


215 posts in 540 days

#13 posted 475 days ago

Initially my tools were bought more in line with limited use for a homeowner, as at that time I had no real interest in spending too much time woodworking as any free time was spent chasing largemouth and smallies. Over the years, as we had kids, I find myself now more “tied” to being at home and end up spending more of my free time in the shop at the house.

All my tools have been bought new with the knowledge they would be replaced at a later date. These are not the tools I want, just the best bang for the buck tool for my current situation. Just solid tools, won’t fall apart, will do the job but take a little more care to set up and use to get a satisfactory result.

I won’t spend any major money on high end stuff until I get a different shop space (which won’t be at our current house). Because of the small shop and a single 110 line run to it I have the usual limitations and a difficult time investing too much money on any one item as the costs associated with being able to use those items grows and would never be recouped when the house was resold, as we are near the maximum value of a home in my neighborhood currently. New breaker, electrician, zoning, permits, building of a larger shop, etc…...add the additional loss of “yard” and it just doesn’t add up.

About a month ago ended up buying a new Craftsman 14 inch band saw (not what I wanted) but based on the fact it will do what I need it to do currently and at a little over 300 bucks wasn’t a huge hit to the pocket book so in five years I would have no issues giving it away or putting it on Craigslist today and taking a small hit if wasn’t capable of doing what I needed it to do currently. It replaced a little Delta band saw (used 8 years) that was mainly used for cutting out basswood lures and for smaller projects. The table saw is next to go (anytime), then the planer needs upgrading.

View helluvawreck's profile


15452 posts in 1471 days

#14 posted 475 days ago

I definitely think that size often makes a big difference. However, I also think that a person should not buy more machine than they can afford because you still need clamps, cutters, tools, etc, ect, etc. All of these sorts of things taken as a whole are very important and need to be in the budget as well.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View toolie's profile


1724 posts in 1233 days

#15 posted 475 days ago

i have found that size, for the sake of size alone, is over rated. i kept my two CI emerson built contractor TSs and sold the unisaw i refurbished. i found that there wasn’t much, in a hobbyist shop, that a unisaw could do that the contractor saws couldn’t do. a unisaw is better for production work, but i’m not in an industrial/commercial environment. so speed isn’t a consideration.

size, for the sake of increased capacity, can be important to executing certain operations more accurately, as in the case of a rip fence with longer fence rails. a 5hp TS in a hobbyist shop is overkill and potentially a misallocation of resources, IMHO.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

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