Help please knowing which table saw, router, planer, and possibly a band saw and jointer to buy.

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Forum topic by BrianBP posted 07-16-2013 08:17 AM 1556 views 1 time favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1977 days

07-16-2013 08:17 AM

I know computers well and which parts are good, but I’m new at woodworking. Still learning. So, what are some recommendations? I don’t mind buying used or refurbished so long as I know(which I don’t yet) what to look for to make sure the tool has good functionality and isn’t broken / dangerous to operate. I’ve browsed Craigslist, but I don’t want to buy anything that is cheap in quality and will end up becoming a bad purchase for me later.

I’ve read planers can square both faces of lumber through the use of a sled for the initial planing, then running the board through again with the flat side down(without the sled). Then use a table saw to square the edges. About how much time does a jointer save? I’m interested in buying a jointer too if the efficiency is worth the price.
Also interested in possibly buying a band saw now or probably in the future sometime as it seems nice and versatile to have.

Will someone please help me find quality tools? I live in the Louisville, KY area.

I’ll try to answer any questions ASAP pertaining to helping me.

Thank you very much.

11 replies so far

View CalgaryGeoff's profile


937 posts in 2682 days

#1 posted 07-16-2013 09:02 AM

Hey this will be a fun journey. It’s exactly how I started into this hobby. I was fortunate to have space and resources to purchase anything required to start this hobby properly. So I was green as grass and learned along the way. Every tool i have works great. Anyway I’d be more than willing to help out. As it was a long learning curve but fun. We might be able to save a few moths of time and effort by focusing on the direction you seen your wood working hobby going and get equipment as required. I’m not working so have lots of time to help.

Send me a PM and we can go from there if your interested.


-- If you believe you can or can not do a thing, you are correct.

View lateralus819's profile


2241 posts in 2090 days

#2 posted 07-16-2013 09:52 AM

Id recommend trying to joint lumber with a plane. Not too hard to learn and its quiet and cheaper.

View knotscott's profile


8147 posts in 3576 days

#3 posted 07-16-2013 09:57 AM

What to get is somewhat dependent on what you’ll build. For household stuff and furniture type projects, the table saw is the heart of most shops, so that’s where I’d spend the most time and money. If at all possible, I’d go with a full size, with a belt drive induction motor, and a nice fence (or buy it cheap enough to justify adding a nice fence). The ABC's of table saws.

A jointer is undoubtely the best and most efficient tool for flattening a reference face and squaring an edge. I personally love having one (just a 6”)’s usually step one in the process, but I read about other folks surviving without one. Other methods are less effective and more time consuming, but can work. I do think getting a planer first makes sense, but it’s best to get both if possible. Your call.

A router is the most versatile tool in the shop…..highly recommended! It can do things that many tools can’t. The features for hand held are different from table mounted….if possible, it’s better to buy two. Smaller, well balanced, comfortable are key for hand use. Powerful, variable speed, topside conveniences are preferable for table use. You can always get a mid size 11-13 amp router with variable speed that will work for both hand and table use. Lots of good brands….pick what feels good to you and/or seems like the best deal. Milwaukee, PC, Bosch, DW, Hitachi, Makita, Triton…even the lowly Craftsman and small HF routers get decent comments as decent bargains. Be sure to get one that accepts 1/2” shank bits, and buy decent grade bits. My best bits are Whiteside, Infinity, Eagle America and Freud….good bargain bits are MLCS, Price Cutter, Woodriver, Stone Mountain, Woodline, Grizzly (watch for sales).

A BS is great too, but a decent jigsaw will cut curves nicely until you’re ready and more knowledge to make a good BS selection.

A DP is another handy item, but it’s less of a priority than some others because a hand drill works well until you’re ready for a stationary model.

You’ll need a decent work surface…..flat, solid….a nice bench is a good early project, but it’s one of those “takes one to build one” items. You can get creative with old doors and what not until you’re ready to build or buy one.

You’ll want some clamps. I find the low priced Harbor Freight metal Pittsburg bar clamps to be a bonafide deal….6”, 12”, 18”, etc. The parallel jaw clamps from Bessey, Jet, Woodcraft and others are super, but are expensive….grab a couple on sale some time. Pipe clamps are strong and handy….you add your own pipe for length so can be a cost effective way to get long clamps. A couple of the quick grip type clamps from Irwin, Wolcraft, etc., are handy too…the HF version of those are pretty flimsy though.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View toolie's profile


2148 posts in 2829 days

#4 posted 07-16-2013 10:20 AM

i’d echo KS’s comments and suggest reading many WW forums to start recognizing which brands and models of the various types of tools you’ll be purchasing provide the best values. for example, rikon makes great BSs (10-325 and 10-345) while grizzly is well recognized as providing the best bang for the buck in TSs, BSs, 6” jointers and drill presses, among others. Laguna is a top brand that’s pricey and their customer service seems to get too many negative comments. jet and powermatic, owned by the same parent company, were formerly good, made in america brands that are now average tools at above average prices and almost never score as top tools in comparative tool tests.

this is one of the fun parts of woodworking. the journey up the learning curve is almost as much fun as making sawdust.

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

View curliejones's profile


179 posts in 2467 days

#5 posted 07-16-2013 11:32 AM

Budget and Method – clarified.
There’s lots of decent tools out there, and then there’s the very nice tools that will hold up to production work. Your budget determines what can be recommended. Your time frame sets the method for acquiring the tools you want to start with. There are lots of opportunities to buy from others who dipped their toe in and decided that woodworking was not for them and you may spend just a little more for better tools that were hardly used. A really nice table saw is a good place to start. I’ve been upgrading my old Craftsman stuff (35 year old) and buying todays version of what is probably similar quality tools – I’ve bought a Ridgid table saw, jointer, and lunchbox planer all used (barely) and from different owners, but this took some time to find. They all get decent reviews from other LJs. You may get lucky and find someone who bought several Powermatic power tools and didn’t put lots of time on them. If they are well kept, you might score well. To digress, it’s how much I wanted to spend. I put new tires on my old 14” band saw and cleaned up my old floor drill press, both 30 year old imports from Taiwan (jet branded) since these do not see near the use of the aforementioned tools. – Good bits and blades go a long way toward making any tool shine – it’s where “the rubber meets the road”, so to speak. Buy new decent quality and take good care of them. – I’m often amazed at the number of “shop in a box” ads where someone wants to sell all their tools for one price. I usually feel it’s a mistake because woodworkers on a budget are often trying to upgrade one certain tool, maybe two. Therein lies an opportunity for a newbie to perhaps score big! – This website is a great place for woodworkers of all skill levels as well as budget levels to acquire not only knowledge on methods, but also on what tools are good, better, and best ($$). My advice – read, read read and consider what hand tools fit in (my current undertaking) with using those power tools. Best of luck on your journey, oh, and don’t forget to read, always getting a 2nd or even 3rd opinion before you jump.

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"

View knotscott's profile


8147 posts in 3576 days

#6 posted 07-17-2013 09:52 AM

Still with us Brian?

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2713 days

#7 posted 07-17-2013 10:54 AM

BrianBP this is a great question with a broad range of answers and avenues, I think it all comes down what others have mentioned your budget and what knotscott mentioned what you plan on building,

I started off buying cheap tools and what I mean by cheap, what I could afford at the time but if I had it to do over I would have done it differently, now this is just my experience with buying cheap you take a great risk in a loss of precision, everything you do in woodworking needs to be precise, I started off with Harborfreight tools in which I’ve already replaced them all, HF is good don’t get me wrong but it depends on what you are buying.

Knotscott mentioned Tablesaw that is an awesome start almost everything you do revolves around a tablesaw and again there’s a lot to choose from.

Jointer: you can get by without one for a period by using your table saw to get 90 degree edges only your blade has to be 90 degrees to the table.

Planers: A 13” planer is idea, I’d put this as one of your most needed tools, I’d suggest staying away from Ryobi on this one as replacement blades are hard to come by.

Bandsaw: 14” or bigger and the Grizzly makes a decent bandsaw for the price.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View toddbeaulieu's profile


819 posts in 3204 days

#8 posted 07-17-2013 02:20 PM

I’ve been slowly building my collection through CL.

Love my 3HP Jet cabinet saw that I paid $650 for. There are sexier units, but it’s my work horse.

LOVE, LOVE my 8” Star Sales (old knock off) Jointer that I paid $250 for. It looks brand new and I use it constantly.

Miter saw … actually it’s a tie between this and my table saw for usefulness.

Oh boy, I forgot the router table. Ok maybe it’s a three way tie! You can’t live without one. I highly recommend a router lift. You will be doing lots and lots of adjustments and bit changes and redos. Without a lift, depending on the table and router, setup can be miserable. You can’t go wrong with a Porter Cable router. I found one in a basic table with an old Rockler lift for $400.

I have a cheap 733 DeWalt planer that I paid $200 (or less?). It’s not the best planer out there, but it works. I’d love a big solid four poster some day, but again … it works, and I use it on almost every project, along with the jointer.

Band saws … I have two: a new Rikon 305 (10”) and a really old Grizzly 18”. In my opinion, a band saw MAY be a luxury if you’re on a budget or space is limited, but let me tell you, when you need one it’s awfully handy.

Dust collection IS A MUST.

So .. as for choosing specific units … if you’re on a budget just keep your eyes peeled on CL and get good at searches. Deals come up all the time. My opinion is that a new hobbyist (like me) doesn’t NEED anything fancy to get started. In fact, you don’t even know WHAT you need yet, so you should start with inexpensive (but in good working order) pieces and grow into it. Experience will make future upgrades obvious.

Good luck and don’t get overloaded and frustrated by the process.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3848 days

#9 posted 07-17-2013 04:39 PM

Woodworking can balloon into a costly hobby. Some
of us do work for clients so our investments are
justified differently.

I buy used machinery. That way when I want to
upgrade I can usually get rid of the machine at
no loss, though I’ve usually put some time into
tuning it up and the new owner gets a better
machine than I did when I acquired it.

If you look around you should be able to find
used machinery for sale by knowledgeable,
honest people who will deal with you fairly.
Join a local woodworking club if you like and
ask about acquiring machines.

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3067 days

#10 posted 07-17-2013 05:27 PM

If you are just starting out and money will be a big object then I advise you to get a small basic set of hand tools first and then get a collection (one by one) of basic portable power tools. After these two steps you should buy the stationary tools one or two at a time. You’ll also need to build an inexpensive work table and a few woodworking clamps shortly after taking step 1. The point is that you can do a whole lot with the basic hand tools and a whole lot more with the portable power tools that you acquire. Besides, even after you get a few stationary power tools you’re going to use hand tools and portable power tools with them anyways. This is the way I did it and I’ve never regretted it. In fact, I don’t think that I could have done it any other way.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View knotscott's profile


8147 posts in 3576 days

#11 posted 07-19-2013 09:21 PM

”Will someone please help me find quality tools? ”

You’ve received some good input. It’d be better if you participated in your own thread to some degree….it generally gets you more help, and that way we know whether or not you’ve seen the replies.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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