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Forum topic by mjmac posted 07-08-2013 09:13 AM 1454 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 1785 days

07-08-2013 09:13 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am just starting out on woodworking and I am having a hard time figuring out what I need next. So far I have not done anything too complicated. With each project I find my skill and attention to detail increasing. I have a birthday coming up and it’s a good excuse to convince the wife to let me buy some more tools. Right now I just have a table saw. The next big thing I was thinking of was a router/router table. When talking over ideas for the next project we always seem to end up on some type of furniture. I’m looking to be able to make some corners look a little bit more presentable. I can make the argument for making a jig to use on the table saw and skipping the router for a band saw or a compound sliding miter saw. Essentially I want everything.

Here is a list of projects on our to do list:
More bookshelf space
Entertainment center
New kitchen table
Adirondack chairs
New shop bench to include the TS and other tools into (First one is great but of course I wish I had done it different)

I guess the best question to ask is if you had to buy all your tools all over again what order would you buy them in?

12 replies so far

View MyWayChipCarving's profile


49 posts in 1877 days

#1 posted 07-08-2013 01:19 PM

I have seen this question over the last several years on here. Everyone gives there advise. “you should start with X,Y,Z tools and then get A,B,C tools”. Here is the way I see it, take it for what it’s worth.

You have a project you want to do. Research the project, see what tools you will need for that project. If you can afford the tools to make the project easier get them, (hence, right tools, right job). If you can’t afford that certain tools to make the job easier, research it and see how it was done before high tech tools where made. This will increase your knowledge of woodworking and when you can afford the “big toys” you will appreciate it more.

I am a woodcarver. I have seen people starting out in carving, go out and buy the big sets of tools just because they wanted all the fancy tools. they end up only using half of the tools.

All in all, I suggest, buy what you need, when you need it and soon you will find out what you truely need. It’s a trial and error.

P.S. If your wife is anything like mine, there is no “convincing her”. In her mind, a saw is a saw. It does not matter if it is a table saw, band saw, scrollsaw or hand saw. All that registers in her mind is “saw”. You can talk till you are blue in the face, she will just end up saying, “I don’t understand why you need all these different saws but just go ahead and get it”.

-- Please recycle. Save the trees.......for woodcarvers!

View carguy460's profile


802 posts in 2335 days

#2 posted 07-08-2013 01:35 PM

Good advice ChipCarving…I’m new to this woodworking thing myself, and have found that you can get hung up on tools…in my case, I’m a 99% hand-tool woodworker, and I started out knowing I needed a few saws and a few planes and a few chisels…I got so hung up on getting a “full set” of planes, I spent a year finding and restoring a crapton of planes, only to find that now I really only use about 3 of them (of course, I got bitten by the collecting bug, so add that to the list of distractions!)

I’m sorry I don’t have any good advice here, except to echo MyWayChipCarving’s words. Oh, and yes, to the wife a saw is a saw…I bought a Lie-Nielsen Carcass saw thinking my wife would flip at the $150 price of a saw without a motor…she said “Oh is that all? I thought it would be like $500 at least!” If I had bought a tablesaw, she would have flipped out thinking it would be “only $500”...yep, a saw is a saw to her!

-- Jason K

View Bill1225's profile


125 posts in 2398 days

#3 posted 07-08-2013 01:41 PM

My best advise would be to get a high quality combination sqaure ( good lay out and machine tuning are the most important thing in my opinion)and make your own router table

View Douglas's profile


424 posts in 2559 days

#4 posted 07-08-2013 01:46 PM

MyWayChipCarving has it right…. just get what you need. Learn to use the tools you have. Rather than buying a bunch of stuff that you don’t know why you need them, try to get away with as little as possible. You’ll learn more and blow less $ in the process.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View GNP's profile


12 posts in 2502 days

#5 posted 07-08-2013 01:50 PM

I use a router on every project I’ve built. Get one of the two base routers, and use the plunge for hand held routing, and put the other base in a table. You can use your new router to build your router table. Stay away from the cheap routers, I’ve been down that road.

View JayT's profile


5632 posts in 2210 days

#6 posted 07-08-2013 02:13 PM

Great advice on the first post. Always keep in mind that there are multiple ways to do almost any woodworking task, so it will be up to you to decide what works best for you.

As an example, what is the “best” way to make a dado? Some people will set up the dado stack in the table saw, others will use a router table, someone else will use a hand held router with a straight edge guide and others will get out their #45 hand plane. All will end up with the same result—a dado.

Each of those people will give you different advice as to what tool to buy. All will be right in some fashion, so your task is to figure out which is right for you. Buying a dado stack is a waste of money if you will use a router. Buying a combination or plow plane is a waste of money if you prefer to run dados on the table saw.

Research the different ways to do the project you want to build next, figure out what will work best for your style of woodworking and then decide if you need additional tools to complete the project.

Good luck, be safe and make sawdust.

Edit: My wife is similar and she cannot figure out why I need more than one hand plane or how hand saws are different. My response is usually to ask why she needs more than one pair of black shoes. I recently showed her the Bad Axe saw I would like as a birthday present and she said “Write it all down in detail or you’ll get the wrong one”. Gotta love her!

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View fredj's profile


186 posts in 1817 days

#7 posted 07-08-2013 04:07 PM

Just as there’s more than one way to skin a cat, there’s more than one way to do almost anything. How much time you have to put into something counts for a lot. I’d see a router as a must have, and as GNP said, get two bases and a good router. After that a band saw. Then a jointer. Maybe I should post the question : If you had to do woodworking and could only have three power tools what would they be ? For me it would be a band saw, a router, and a lathe.

-- Fredj

View helluvawreck's profile


31092 posts in 2866 days

#8 posted 07-08-2013 04:49 PM

If you are in a tight for money don’t forget that you can do a whole lot with just the common hand power tools. A basic set of hand tools is good to have too.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View MrFid's profile


874 posts in 1903 days

#9 posted 07-08-2013 05:02 PM

If you plan on doing a lot of routing using a table, I’d suggest making your own router table. Search this site for Router Table, and you’ll come up with a lot of good ideas. They can be done on the cheap as well. One thing that I did with mine that I am glad I did was use melamine for the top, then back it up with a layer or two of plywood or MDF underneath to ensure flatness. Mine has stood up to shop rigor for a few years with no problems. That way, you can use your birthday money for something else you need.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View GT350's profile


368 posts in 1981 days

#10 posted 07-08-2013 07:43 PM

Looking at your project list I would get a planer and jointer, you can then buy lumber that is not surfaced on all sides and save a lot of money. I would then buy a non-sliding compound miter saw and good blade, a lot of people don’t like these but I use mine on every project. You will also need a router for most of these projects. After that as needed would be a bandsaw, router table, and maybe a lathe. Don’t forget to think about hand planes and a few hand saws, you can usually get these real cheap at garage sales.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15353 posts in 2617 days

#11 posted 07-08-2013 07:56 PM

I admit this won’t be helpful, but I look at your list and think “jack, jointer and smoothing plane, a good set of chisels, a block plane, a couple marking gauges, marking knife, a pair of dividers and a mitre saw setup will get him where he wants to go.

My till includes two routers: the Stanley #71 and the Stanley #271.

I’ll go away now. Good luck and let us know what you decide! :-)

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

644 posts in 2152 days

#12 posted 07-10-2013 03:54 PM

I’m with Bill on the combo square. Throw one of those in there as well. It was the first tool I ever bought. I didn’t know why I needed it at the time, but was just going off of a list of first tools that I found somewhere. I use it in every single project. Absolutely invaluable in my opinion. And mine is the cheap one from Lowes (I’d really love a Starrett, though).

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

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