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Forum topic by 5KIPPY posted 08-12-2013 01:51 PM 1624 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View 5KIPPY's profile


8 posts in 1721 days

08-12-2013 01:51 PM

Hi folks:

I’m a new woodworker just starting to get into woodworking as a serious hobby. I got started doing small projects around the house for the kids buying low cost (poor quality) tools along the way and it’s something I’ve really started to enjoy. I’m now ready to say goodbye to the junk tools and begin converting my garage into a real woodworking space and need some advice. As all of you guys already know I imagine, there are a lot of big tools out there! Where do I start? What tools should take top priority? Right now all I have is a small terribly inaccurate bandsaw, an equally terrible bench top drill press, a bench top drum sander and several decent Dewalt hand tools (drills, circular saw, orbital sander, etc).

My first big project is going to be building work tables, cabinets, etc for the shop. After that I’m interested in trying my hand at furniture. So where to start with the big tools? Going forward I’m looking at purchasing quality tools that will last but don’t have a good idea of which tools are more important than others.

- Table Saw
- Larger/better Band Saw
- Compound Miter Saw (sliding important?)
- Router Table with Router
- Larger/better Drill Press
- Planer
- Jointer
- Dust Collection

How would you prioritise these items? Please help this “noob” get started!


-- 5kippy

10 replies so far

View Gary's profile


9328 posts in 3402 days

#1 posted 08-12-2013 01:56 PM

Table saw. You will do more work with it than the other tools. I have a compound miter that I rarely use. I use the bandsaw on limited basis. My .02 cents

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Shane's profile


294 posts in 1780 days

#2 posted 08-12-2013 02:34 PM

Table saw, then jointer, then planer in my opinion. Best to be able to get your boards flat and straight before you start doing anything to them, unless you want to pay more for them from the home center to have them do that for you. (which is a possibility)

View fredj's profile


186 posts in 1787 days

#3 posted 08-12-2013 02:38 PM

I don’t know what your budget is, but you get what you pay for, so as rule get the best you can afford.
I’d say a full size left tilt table saw 3hp motor and add to the TS a sliding side table. The sliding table makes it easy to crosscut both plywood and solid stock, plus compound miters can be cut with it. Also cross cuts with the side table are safer and more accurate than with a RAS. 6” or 8” dado set. A good band saw (14” at least) and a jointer. I’d recommend a router or two, or at least two bases for the same router, a standard one and a plunge base. Add to that an edge guide with micro adjustment. Set-up a table to take either base. I’d put a planner ahead of a drill press. But a drill press can be set up with a hollow chisel mortise attachment, and planner can’t.
Then my favorite machine of all a lathe, which was my 1st machine. Burgels advise is dead on as to getting boards flat and straight, however there’s more than one way to skin that cat. I’d like a bigger planner.

My two car garage is cramped with a big table saw, sliding side table, band saw, jointer, planner, lathe, miter saw, RAS, drill press, router table, hollow chisel mortise machine, bench top TS (for the road) air compressor, and my 1st TS which is also a 10” and right tilt and small enough to pick up and move when I need to rip long stock, but not big enough for one person to cut full sheets of plywood or add a sliding side table to. I work on a small table in the garage when I can. When need be I move myself and hand tools to my work bench out on my back porch. No room for it anywhere else.

-- Fredj

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 1989 days

#4 posted 08-12-2013 02:45 PM

There is a really good thread out there about if you had to choose 3 power tools for your shop, what would the be. Im stuck at work and its a hassle to find while on the phone, I’ll try to find it when I get home.

Generally speaking, I would say a table saw is a good place to start, it’s definitely the center of my shop.

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2546 days

#5 posted 08-12-2013 05:22 PM

How I’d do it on your list:
- Dust Collection – Even a shop vac will do; it’s what I use for now.
- Table Saw – Buy the best saw you can afford, preferably something with cabinet mounted trunnions.
- Planer – Wish I hadn’t waited so long for this one. $348.99 shipped from amazon. Great planer; I love mine.
- Router Table with Router – Pretty much a tie with #3. I wouldn’t be able to woodwork without my routers.
- Jointer – Buying rough lumber saves a lot of cash over time. Jointer and planer save you from having to buy s4s.
- Larger/better Drill Press – Used a ton in my shop.
- Larger/better Band Saw – I use mine for resawing for small boxes and for cutting curves.
- Compound Miter Saw (sliding important?) I have a simple 10” hitachi I paid $80 for. For what I use it for, it works great.

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

View Loren's profile (online now)


10283 posts in 3617 days

#6 posted 08-12-2013 05:33 PM

Ez-smart tracks with a blade-right circular saw for
sheet goods. You can get add-ons which make
squaring and repeat cabinet cuts reliably enough
for hobby and face frame pro cabinet work.
Skip the big table saw for now unless all you want
to do is work with sheet goods.

For furniture a band saw and planer are very useful,
followed by the jointer. The track saw can straight-line
boards pretty well, cleaning edges for glue-ups can
be done with a hand plane if you don’t have a
jointer yet. Boards can be flattened on the bench
enough to run the flat side face-down in the planer
to make the other side flat. Flattening boards
by hand is not that big a deal… thicknessing them
by hand is the real chore.

Miter saws are handy if you have the space in your
shop to do at least 4’ tables to the right and left.
Work-stands can substitute but the are generally
more suited to installing house trim.

View firefighterontheside's profile


17976 posts in 1826 days

#7 posted 08-12-2013 05:35 PM

I’d say first is a table saw. Buy a good one, but not the most expensive. Look for used one. Next IMO would be a 12” miter saw. Sliding is not important if you have a table saw. I do all of my mitering with it. Some use the TS for miters. It kind of depends on your preferences. I think you are less likely to find a good used miter saw. I think start with that and then see what tools you start to feel a need for.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Gary's profile


9328 posts in 3402 days

#8 posted 08-12-2013 05:47 PM

Another thing to consider is what type of woodworking are you going to do. It may limit or add to your list

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2940 days

#9 posted 08-12-2013 05:47 PM

A decent table saw is a large commitment of space and money. And, is usually the anchor of the shop.

Some furniture design masters prefer to focus on the band saw as the main tool.

You can very easily spend over $2000 for just these two tools. Or, by being patient and buying used you could get good solid older iron for half that.

If you want to work with sheet goods (plywood, MDF, etc.) location of a table saw is very important, or you need to plan other ways to work with these materials. Either have the supplier break them down or use a circular saw. I prefer the circular saw with a good guide.

I hate to break down a full sheet of plywood on my table saw. I have a full size saw in the middle of a 24’ square area and to make all the cuts possible on a 4’ x 8’ sheet of plywood requires most of it; about 16’ wide x 18’ long.

Many operations are safer on a band saw. I would hate to be without either of these saws, but I suppose the table saw would be my first major tool, then the band saw. After the saws you need a planer to be able to work with rough sawn lumber. Jointing can be done with the table saw and/or hand planes, but thickness planing is much more difficult to do by hand.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4053 posts in 2279 days

#10 posted 08-12-2013 05:53 PM

In my view woodworking is like building a house. If you start out with a good square straight level foundation the rest of the job will be easier and turn out better.

The foundation for woodworking is good stock perpetration. Flat straight square stock will make you project easier and your projects will turn out better.

So I’d get the best table saw, jointer and planer you can afford. Get at least and 8’’ jointer. After that get the tools as you find a need for them.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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