Which tools to buy?

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Forum topic by Hunter12 posted 05-15-2013 09:47 AM 914 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1262 days

05-15-2013 09:47 AM


I am new to the site, but have been reading reviews etc for some time. I have been in wood working for a while but only really do it as a hobby and making furniture for my own home. I have a table saw, router, a belt sander, and a hand sander and most of my projects have been made with just those tools.
I now have a bigger work space, and a $1000 budget. I spent $300 of that already on a bandsaw from HF.
which leaves my $700 left to spend. I would like to know how you would spend the remaining $700.

I am leaning towards cheaper tools or used
I am leaning towards a HF dust collector (new), Porter Cable drill press (new)and planer. ( looking at a used Makita 2012nb for $350, but not sure how old it is.) That woulds about wrap up my budget.
Maybe I should go to a bench top drill press, and a cheaper planer and throw a miter saw in the mix?

Would like your opinions..


PS…. Love the site, lots of knowledge on here….

11 replies so far

View Sandra's profile


6933 posts in 1499 days

#1 posted 05-15-2013 11:12 AM

Good morning,

I am a hobbyist also, and have followed some of the great advice I’ve received here.
By far, the best advice I’ve received regarding tool purchase is ‘buy the best you can afford’.
This doesn’t mean going for the top of the line industrial model of everything, but it’s also not buying the cheapest.

I have a bench top Delta drill press that serves me very well but I had to wait a bit to find one used. I also have a new Ridgid 13” planer that I love. Because jointing and planing are so important to getting any project off to a good start, I’d personally not buy a used planer unless I were able to run some boards through it before purchase.

So my humble suggestion would be to buy a new planer, and a used bench top drill press.
With a bandsaw and a table saw, you can function quite nicely without a miter saw for now.

Good luck

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View helluvawreck's profile


22713 posts in 2291 days

#2 posted 05-15-2013 12:28 PM

I would start collecting a basic set of hand tools as well as a basic set of portable power tools. You would be surprised at what you can do with portable power tools and hand tools without any stationary power tools at all.

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 JamesT's profile


102 posts in 1336 days

#3 posted 05-15-2013 02:17 PM

With care and an eye on craiglist, you should be able to get a bench top planer, drill press, and the HF dust collector. If you have anything left (after hooking-up the DC) invest in clamps.

-- Jim from Doniphan

View Tennessee's profile


2410 posts in 1939 days

#4 posted 05-15-2013 02:32 PM

From my standpoint, first and foremost you are ready for a planer. It makes such a difference. If you take in any kind of rough sawn wood, the planer is invaluable. After resawing on your bandsaw, instead of sanding down the finish over 20-30 minutes, the planer takes a fine cut off in about 1 minute.
I used a Rigid planer for 11 years before I finally got my Grizzly Spiralhead 15” planer, courtesy of my M-in-Law, and even today I still keep the Rigid set up, since sometimes I need to run smaller stuff than the Grizzly can handle. And the blades are resharpenable on the Rigid. I bought all of four sets of blades in the eleven years, and one set is still in the shrinkwrap. Must have sharpened them 20-30 times each. Used one of those horrid Rockwell 625 sharpeners with the big soft stone on top, but it got the job done.

And to be honest, I got rid of all my benchtop drill presses. I bought a Central Machinery standing radial drill press years ago, the same as the Grizzly now, and recently bought the Porter Cable standing drill press. Put a big table on the Central, and now I can do about anything I need to in drilling with those two, including putting on sanding wheels to mimic a tabletop cylinder sander.
That would be the most bang for my buck.

-- Paul, Tennessee,

View Hunter12's profile


3 posts in 1262 days

#5 posted 05-16-2013 08:00 PM

Thanks for all of the input, sounds like a good rigid planer and a drill press are next on the list.
Some good points made, a planer is useless if it doesn’t leave a good finish, so might want to spend the money there. Dust collectors are relatively inexpensive, can probably keep using my shop vac for now.
Drill press, undecided about floor standing or bench. But i do know it need to have a low speed for drilling, and higher speeds for drum sanding. I do know by bench is filling up… ( I forgot to mention I have a small sander, scroll saw and a grinder, but hardly use them)

Thanks all, again for the great input.

View chrisstef's profile


15489 posts in 2430 days

#6 posted 05-16-2013 08:08 PM

IMO a planer is much more valuable when paired with a jointer. A planer will not take the twist or cup out of a board, it’ll just make it thinner. My work became much better once I got my jointer. Square sides are certainly not over rated ;)

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View ShaneA's profile


6430 posts in 2022 days

#7 posted 05-16-2013 08:26 PM

While I had a planer before a jointer, I will say that nothing has helped me achieve better results than a jointer. If the pieces are squared to begin with, you will find the project comes together quicker, easier and better. Since most jointers have an induction motor, it will make them a little less risky on the used market in my opinion. But a planer and jointer are excellent additions. Good luck.

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3073 days

#8 posted 05-16-2013 08:43 PM

I believe that a better approach than the “I have X amount of $ to spend – what can I buy with it” is the “let me start woodworking and find out which tools along the way could be useful and helpful to me”. that way you don’t end up with things you don’t really need, and also, have the cash to get what you need – when you need it.

that said – dust collection is a good thing to have.
sharpening supplies and materials are a necessity
a set of chisels and hand saws (coping saw for example)

As an added note – I vote for finding old used machines over new cheap (hf) machines – 99% of the times (with a few exceptions). you end up getting a much much much much higher quality machine that not only will perform better, but will last you longer and will retain it’s resale value over time as opposed to lose it almost completely.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View MrFid's profile


793 posts in 1328 days

#9 posted 05-16-2013 08:59 PM

+1 to purplev. Start by thinking about what you want to make, and decide what tools you’ll need to get the project done. I’d personally feel pretty empty-handed without my chisels, both of the “beater” variety, and the finer paring and bench chisels. Don’t bother to get a whole set of the nice ones at first, just buy them one at a time as needed. Also, if you’d rather not spring for the jointer, you can do a lot with a shooting board, a number 4 smoothing plane, and a bit of time, patience, practice and a very sharp blade.
I also vote for buying used (either through craigslist, ebay, or a used tool store if you’re lucky enough to have one nearby. I have a good one.) I find the quality of older tools to be on par with the priciest new ones with a little TLC in most cases.
Not sure of the scale of your operation, but for mine a good shop vac with a dust deputy is more than enough for DC for me. Granted, I only have a small shop, but my dust deputy is among the most amazing things I’ve seen.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3317 days

#10 posted 05-17-2013 02:39 AM

my only advice to you

Never use the word “Cheap” again in a sentence as it implies thoughts that often go South

Always use the words “less expensive”, they head North


-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Hunter12's profile


3 posts in 1262 days

#11 posted 05-17-2013 03:40 AM

Sorry moron,
Being politically correct is not my thing, I call cheap tools, cheap. I call expensive tools, expensive.

I find there is no misunderstanding that way.

A Ferrari is “less expensive” than a Mazaratti, but I cant afford either….... I need cheaper. VW or chevy
is the question I am asking.

Mrfid and Purplev,
I didn’t mention I do have a good assortment of hand tools. I have chisels and files etc, i use frequently.
I have been wood working for a while, I have several projects on my list, Adirondack chairs out of cedar is under way. I need to build some chest of drawers for my kids. A dining table and chairs, I have a router table and lift under way as well. I need to build a new headboard for a king size bed ( the one I have built wont fit in my new house.) Hand tools I can budget for easily and get them here and there.

Basically I feel the need for a drill press ( need to decide bench or floor standing) Planer, joiner, dust collector,
would like to have a lathe but that is not a priority as it would be least used.
I cant afford all at once, craigslist is an option, but I live in a small town, not a lot going on.

If I could find older tools, I would definitely jump on those. I would rather have a 30 year old drill press than a brand new made in china job.,... just hard to come by around here.

Anyway, I have a lot to think about, and I appreciate all the advice.

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