Adding some functionality to my small woodshop

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Forum topic by Blurrytree posted 01-16-2014 03:03 PM 1491 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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65 posts in 1593 days

01-16-2014 03:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: work shop upgrade buy basement small


I have about $400 to spend and here is what I am thinking.

1. Nothing, just work with what I have.

2. I want to build a router wing into my table saw, I have a cheap 1/4 shank, ryobi router and table and can make due with that as needed. However, my shop is tiny! so a router wing in the saw would be a major convenience. Also, my current router set up leaves something to be desired. (there entire package cost me $50 new though). So should I buy a nice plate, new higher HP router, nice fence etc? I plan to use it mostly for joinery (tenons, box joints). I have a mule accusquare fence and for $60 the router addition would be nice to me. However, I can just make my TS fence into a router one with some small modifications.

3. Dado Blade: Keep the router and table as is, (perhaps DIY the router fence a bit to make it far more usable), use the dado blade for most of the joinery.

4. Nice blade such as a Forrest: I like to keep on one blade and know there are benefits to both. I have a Freud Diablo combination blade (and a jointer and planer). Since I have the money now do I splurgle (keeping this typo cause it sounds funny) on a “luxury” item? I can actually return the freud blade since it is unused and that would give me a little towards the forrest as well.

5. Dust collection: I have a 5hp shop vac hooked up to a cyclone lid on a trash can with 2.5” ducting and a very small almost jobsite quality overhead air filter. I am slightly hesitant if it is adequate once I fire up the table saw (which I have never had). I am in a small room in my basement, it is framed, has a door and I have it lined with plastic sheets (looks kinda like dexters kill room). It is fairly well sealed but my kids playroom is outside in the open space. I also have a nice respirator for me.

6. Bandsaw fence: I like my bandsaw alright, nothing amazing, it is old, 14” and fairly strong. I have it tuned well and have thought about adding a fence. However, aside from resawing the use of it may be a tad redundant (as almost every option here is based on my approach and personal preference).

7. Clamps: My clamp selection is a little light and they aren’t of the best quality.

I am set up with sharpening, have as many hand tools as I “need”. I have safety devices like grrippers, have some wood on hand to keep me busy for a while. I could benefit from a few more mobile bases. I have about a 10×8 workshop but I store all my power tools outside the workshop. It is still tight though.

Overall I am in pretty good shape but would like to refine an area to make this more enjoyable. This is my Christmas money so it is “fun money”.

Thanks everyone

13 replies so far

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2656 posts in 2921 days

#1 posted 01-16-2014 03:55 PM

I have a small shop but it is a separate building.I like quick clamps, and if you do they usually go to 1/2 price the month just before Christmas at the big box stores. Keep that in mind next Christmas. I bought a router plate and installed in the the wing of my table saw as you mentioned. A good use of this space. I use the table saw fence as a fence for my router. I made a removable wooden block (4×4) with the necessary notch in it that I attach to the fence. For routing without a fence, I also have a router mounted in one of my work benches which also works very well. To keep the dust down a bit I have my dust collector outside my shop so that even the little dust that manages to get though the dust collector is outside, as is the mess when emptying the dust collector bag.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View bigblockyeti's profile


5120 posts in 1720 days

#2 posted 01-16-2014 04:00 PM

Dado blade and dust collection. Both should fit nicely within your budget, be sure to get a DC with a decent filter, your money will go a lot further if you shop used. With a dado blade you can cut miles further than with a router bit, with greater feed speed and unless you hit something, stay sharp for much longer.

View knotheadswoodshed's profile


219 posts in 2171 days

#3 posted 01-16-2014 04:02 PM

It all depends on what type of projects you are interested in,
Make your own bandsaw fence, its easy and cheap
dado you need one or is the type of work you are doing such that you can use the router to make your dadoes?
I would upgrade the dust collection first as what you describe will not handle the jointer and planer output and being in a small room, you want the best containment you can acheive…IMHO

-- Randy - "I dont make mistakes, I make design change opportunities"

View gtbuzz's profile


427 posts in 2440 days

#4 posted 01-16-2014 04:07 PM

Based on the things you listed and your budget, I think you’d get the best upgrades with either the router upgrade or dust collection upgrade.

  • Router – I think the best bang for the buck out there right now is the Triton 3.25hp router. It allows for height adjustment with an included winder wrench, so no need for a separate lift. They currently sell for $250 at Highland with a free palm belt sander. Add on an aluminum Woodpecker plate (about $100), and you’ll still have enough to build the table yourself. I’d use your existing table saw fence, but build an aux fence that you can slip over it for routing purposes. That’s what I did and it’s nice and quick. As you already mentioned, you help clear up a lot of space by putting the router in the TS extension wing
  • Dust collector – could get the HF dust collector for about $175, give or take, and add a Wynn nano cartridge for another $175 or so. Leaves a little bit left over to build a Thien separator and get a little bit of hose. This will be a pretty major upgrade over your current dust collection setup.

I also agree with Jim Finn regarding the quick clamps. I recently stocked up on a bunch from Home Depot during Black Friday. They had a 6 piece Irwin set with 2 4”, 2 6” and 2 12” for $14. They’re not great clamps, but for light and quick, I love them. Wanted another set recently and Home Depot didn’t seem to have any more in stock, but Lowe’s also carried them. HD had raised the price to $20 (still a good deal), and I was able to get Lowe’s to match + 10%. Your mileage may vary but these very well may be the best bang for the buck right now.

View TheGermanJoiner's profile


847 posts in 1636 days

#5 posted 01-16-2014 04:09 PM

+1 on the dust collection, not only to protect you but also the little ones. Sawdust has a way of finding its way EVERYWHERE. So I say “splurgle” on a DC :)

-- Greg - Ferdinand and Son Construction: Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

View Blurrytree's profile


65 posts in 1593 days

#6 posted 01-16-2014 04:35 PM

Thanks everyone, and Vertigo the spurgle comment made me laugh.

I will certainly keep my eyes open for clamps. The nice thing about them is you can buy one here and there. Since I have a good chunk of money a giant clamp order may not be as efficient.

Dado and dust collection sounds like a great idea. I have a decent blade, can always clean up on the jointer but I do not have a dado and I like what you can do with them.

The project I am interested in most is small furniture, cabinets and boxes. Stuff like that. I love storage and organization so I want to tackle a lot of home organization storage projects.

A DIY bandsaw fence is the best bet. Micro adjusters are nice in theory but a square jointed board with clamps to adjust for any drift is more than sufficient.

That is a nice deal on the Triton, not sure how that will work out for me being in canada. I also saw the HF collectors but we don’t have that store here. A 1hp DC is about $299 used the 2hp ones go to around $450. I will have to look used probably. I am really a light duty workshop and I am sure a 1hp with the other stuff will do.

I also have store credit somewhere with limited tool selection but I could get a king KAC-650 air filter (now discontinued) for about $300. That is a lot for one that I don’t really want and am interested in the one with the washable filter. This would be in addition to a floor standing DC.

Looks like I will splurgle on DC and a dado blade if it fits. I really want the router the most actually and building the extension sounds fun but I will get the router sorted out at a later date and take care of the mess and creating a healthy environment. I am also next to the furnace (divided by a frame plastic covered wall) but I don’t want to clog that either….

Another consideration is wiring up some receptacles in my work shop. I have two separate outlets that both have to use a short (high gauge) extension cord with.

View TheGermanJoiner's profile


847 posts in 1636 days

#7 posted 01-16-2014 05:31 PM

It made me laugh too when I read it. If you get a dado blade make sure your TS has the power and a long enough arbor to accommodate it. Oh yea and as far as the air cleaner. A lot of guys have had success with a box fan and a reusable filter from HD rigged behind it. Just pulls the air through and you clean the filter. Can prob set it up for maybe 50 bucks. Let us know what you do. Splurgle Splurgle Splurgle Splurgle

-- Greg - Ferdinand and Son Construction: Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

View Blurrytree's profile


65 posts in 1593 days

#8 posted 01-16-2014 05:38 PM

HAHA Vertigo!

I actually have no windows in my shop so I would essentially just blow it into the kids play area…Fun at first for them but the novelty would wear off really fast.

I will certainly report back after my splurgle. :)

View Blurrytree's profile


65 posts in 1593 days

#9 posted 01-17-2014 06:21 PM

Well, I found a dust collector locally for $200 and the thing looks nearly new. It is a Steel city 65200 1.5HP. This was the lowest HP I wanted to go with.

It is pretty strong (can only compare to a shop vac) but it nearly sucked my hand inside for real. I kinda jumped lol… Wait that doesn’t paint a pretty picture…

I also got some saw pals to try and modify to fit my saw properly.

I have just over $100 left and decided to put the dado blade on hold for a bit since some expenses are coming up and I want to buy a couples zero clearance insert plates (no interest in making them for this saw).

Over all I feel pretty good getting 2 like new items for $450 as opposed to around $1100 for the same thing.

View TheGermanJoiner's profile


847 posts in 1636 days

#10 posted 01-17-2014 06:40 PM

Good deal brother. The DC is really nice to have. It makes working that much more enjoyable

-- Greg - Ferdinand and Son Construction: Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

View Blurrytree's profile


65 posts in 1593 days

#11 posted 01-17-2014 07:05 PM

Thanks Vertigo… :)

View TheGermanJoiner's profile


847 posts in 1636 days

#12 posted 01-18-2014 03:50 PM

You can call me greg jk. Nice having new members here. I’m pretty new myself and it’s a great place to get ideas.

-- Greg - Ferdinand and Son Construction: Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

View Blurrytree's profile


65 posts in 1593 days

#13 posted 01-18-2014 04:10 PM

Greg it is!

I agree :)

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