my first work shop...not quite skilled enough for PM

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Forum topic by teejaysdad posted 08-15-2013 06:28 PM 1566 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 1164 days

08-15-2013 06:28 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hello All,
I was thinking of turning my garage into a more dedicated wood shop where I plan to further my education and skill level in the woodworking craft. As I am just starting out, I am looking for some advice when it comes to setting up shop. Currently I do not have the time, space, or skill level to justify 1000sq ft. of Gold, Grey, Green, and off white wonder :) so please keep that in mind if you choose to respond.
MY QUESTION is: does a Craftsman outfitted wood shop (there is a Sears within walking distance) work? The price is right and will provide for plenty of aftermarket upgrades in blades, gauges, and fences. This is to get me started and to practice/perfect techniques many of you already possess.

Thanks for your time and any feed back.

-- John C.

25 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3066 days

#1 posted 08-15-2013 06:40 PM

some machines are decent , while others are crap. I won’t generalize it either way – pick and choose and inspect each machine before you buy is – get the best one you can afford as long as it does what you intend it to do as often as you intend it to do it.

when I started out I also fantasized about a “single color” shop – but ended up going the “buy used” route for most things, and have a mixed plethora of colors – colors aside, I have machines which are far better then if I would “just stick to color scheme” alone – as each brand has their better machines as well as their ‘not so good’ machines.

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

View TheDane's profile


4930 posts in 3081 days

#2 posted 08-15-2013 06:46 PM

+1 on PurpLev’s advice. Check out your local CraigsList, and shop carefully. Some of the old iron is better than the stuff being produced today and can be had at very affordable prices.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Don W's profile

Don W

17870 posts in 1985 days

#3 posted 08-15-2013 06:55 PM

the problem with modern craftsman is you don’t know what your getting and have no idea how long parts will be available. I third the first 2 responses from Purp and Gerry.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4403 posts in 3378 days

#4 posted 08-15-2013 06:55 PM

At the risk of sounding rude and abrupt, the answer is NO.
As PurpLev said, you’re takin’ a big chance with the stuff Sears is sellin’. I couldn’t say that years ago, but today…..
I’ve got a lot of major Grizz equipment in my shop because of price/value and after the sale support.
I’m not totally green, and the Craftsman stuff I have is old machinery which is still serving me well.
Just my opinion. After all, it is your money.


View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 1855 days

#5 posted 08-15-2013 07:12 PM

+2 on PurpLev’s advice. Not to knock Sears, some of the stuff is good, a lot of it’s junk anymore. Most of the tools you’re looking to get, you can find on CL. The big benefit there is, for the same money you can get better quality/brands and more of it. Just a few examples in RI:

These are some of the tools that were listed on just the first page! All that for the price of a Sears contractor saw. And that’s if you pay the sellers full asking price, Most of those I’m sure you could (should) get for less.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View teejaysdad's profile


7 posts in 1164 days

#6 posted 08-15-2013 07:13 PM

Lots of good advice, thanks all. Quick follow up regarding band saws: how much HP should I be looking for to resaw hardwoods?

-- John C.

View UpstateNYdude's profile


671 posts in 1401 days

#7 posted 08-15-2013 07:46 PM

depends on how big of a piece you’re looking to resaw but to be on the safe side and so you don’t burn the motor out 2hp would be my limit that and a good low tpi blade like a 2-3 with the widest blade your BS can handle.

-- Nick, "Choking to death on bacon is like getting murdered by your lover." - JG

View toolie's profile


2009 posts in 2046 days

#8 posted 08-16-2013 12:02 AM

and to give you a sense of perspective, IMHO, the posted RAS is worth the $100. the ridgid 3650, assuming it;s complete (fence system, miter gauge and splitter/blade guard assembly), is overpriced between $50 and $100. the drill press, depending on the model, is worth $100 -$175 and the ridgid BS, although long recognized as the weak link in ridgid’s stationary power tool arsenal, is worth, if NIB, between $250 and $300. it needs some effort, but it can be set up to be a first rate saw. stiffening of the open stand and balancing the wheels are two areas that usually provide the most return in terms of performance for the effort expended.

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

View teejaysdad's profile


7 posts in 1164 days

#9 posted 08-16-2013 01:27 AM

i have a bosch router working under a freud router table. The in feed/out feed fences can be offset. If I line up the out feed with a substantial straight cutting bit, and then set the in feed table say 1/16” back, do i now have what would amount to a jointer on its side? least for shorter pieces of stock

-- John C.

View toolie's profile


2009 posts in 2046 days

#10 posted 08-16-2013 02:05 AM

yes, you would. just try to get the infeed and outfeed fences as close to the bit as possible to minimize chipout. when a TS comes into the shop, here’s a technique that i’ve used when i didn’t want to get out the jointer:

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

View teejaysdad's profile


7 posts in 1164 days

#11 posted 08-16-2013 01:47 PM

Opinions re. table saws: Bosch 4100 TS vs Makita 2705 TS. I have enjoyed the quality/performance of the tools I have used from the these two brands, as the above mentioned are more or less similar in price, does anyone have a “tiebreaker” either way for these two quality machines?

-- John C.

View crank49's profile


3979 posts in 2389 days

#12 posted 08-16-2013 02:17 PM

They are both what is called jobsite saws.
Be aware that they have universal motors with brushes. That means noisy and somewhat limited in power.
May not be able to spin a full size dado blade. I’m not sure, best to check to see.
The tables are aluminum and the case is mostly plastic.
I know many users on here have the Bosch, I read a lot about it. It is generally well liked.
I think they are over priced for what they are, but, that is just my opinion.
The Bosch is right at the top end of what you pay for a portable saw.
It actually costs more than a saw like the Ridgid 4512, which is at the bottom end of the cast iron stationary saw class. The Bosch is around $600 and the Ridgid is around $550. Both prices can vary.

You will, as others have said, get way more value for you money with used equipment. $500 to $600 on the used saw market might buy an older PowerMatic or a Unisaw. They might need some TLC to get them operating at optimum levels, but the point is they CAN be reconditioned back to the performance of a $3000 saw.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View jmartel's profile


6464 posts in 1568 days

#13 posted 08-16-2013 02:20 PM

To be honest, a lot of power tools that Sears currently sells, you can find the exact same ones at Harbor Freight. Like HF tools, it can be hit or miss. Some are outstanding bargains, others don’t work the first time you open the package. Unlike what many tool snobs want you to believe, you can find good tools there. You just have to do your research. There’s a HF in Warwick if you are looking that route. For power tools, I have the Magnesium Belt Sander, and a benchtop 12 speed drill press from HF. Both work very well, but I did plenty of research beforehand. And bought the 2 year warranty.

Used good quality tools are better than new budget tools as a rule, but you won’t be able to just decide one day you want something and then can drive to a store to go get it. Also, sometimes they will need cleaning up.

I couldn’t find if you had a tablesaw or not, but a good one to start with that can be found anywhere for $100-150 is the 113 series Craftsman Table Saws. They sold millions of them so they are everywhere. Parts are all over the place, aftermarket stuff is made to fit them, etc. I’m on my second one, currently. Just get a belt drive saw, tune it up, and it’ll do most of what you need. The fences aren’t great, but you can buy a $180 T2 fence system and still be under the cost of a new half-decent saw.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View gtbuzz's profile


427 posts in 1859 days

#14 posted 08-16-2013 02:30 PM

I really wouldn’t if I were you. The Craftsman brand today is at best hit and miss, unfortunately with more and more falling into the miss category. What’s the reason for wanting to stay with a single brand though? I’ll have to admit it would be cool to have a nice pristine shop with all tools matching and everything organized nice and neat, but really I don’t see any practical advantage to sticking to only a single brand. Sure, if you only bought Powermatic, you’re probably gonna get decent stuff time and time again (but even they have their misses too), but we’re not talking about that here.

Definitely +1 more on PurpLev’s advice. If your budget is limited (and who’s isn’t) you’re gonna get a lot more bang for the buck going the used route. I’ve done a combination of used and new in building out my shop, but I really only bought tools as I needed them. Makes the sticker shock a lot more palatable.

Re: your bandsaw HP question – more HP always better but realistically it depends on how thick of something you’re going to resaw. I’d look at resaw capacity before I look at the HP ratings, as generally speaking they’ll be matched up. Harder woods are going to be more taxing on the motor to resaw but you can always go slower. I’ve got a Rikon 10-325 that has a 12” resaw capacity and that’s got a 1.5hp motor. It’s performed well for me for the most part.

View Don W's profile

Don W

17870 posts in 1985 days

#15 posted 08-16-2013 03:33 PM

Keep in mind, having quality tools improves your skill level just ny having them and knowing how to use them.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

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