beginner equipment: new vs old

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Forum topic by pandamonium54 posted 08-13-2014 02:08 PM 1606 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 1670 days

08-13-2014 02:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw beginner humidity rust low maintenance

I read through the thread about new iron vs old iron already. I’m all for old iron but to be frank, there aren’t a lot of options on my local CL. I have never worked with saws beyond the occasional miter saw. I’m technically inclined (right at home with computers, sketch plans out pretty well IMO), but I would not call myself a woodworker- yet.

That said, here are my constraints: time, lack of mechanical repair knowledge/experience/interest, storage/humidity, transportation, and of course, budget.

Time: I can maybe dedicate 1-2hrs/wk to this. Right now those 1-2hrs go towards scouring CL unsuccessfully. That makes me sad.

Mechanical inexperience: Adding some lubricant or cleaning off some surface rust is ok. Anything more demanding (i.e.: grinding an arbor flat, any metalwork, anything requiring ownership of a starret square and standards) is pretty much a deal breaker. I just don’t think I can spend the time fiddling with the gear and still make the things I care about making.

Storage/humidity: Two options. If I store in a climate controlled basement, it absolutely needs to be compact/portable enough for me to get up about 9 steps to the driveway to work outside. (forbidden from filling up the basement with sawdust…). If I store in the detached non-climate controlled garage, it will be left to probably rust most days of the humid St. Louis summer. I would be shocked if any cast iron could last a summer in any non-climate-controlled St. Louis garage.

Transportation: I drive a camry. If it can’t fit in the trunk and be moved by me solo (I’m a 5’6” / 150lbs), it’s got to be delivered. My work hours are too crazy to depend on friends to pick up a CL deal unless it’s planned far out in advance.

Budget: I’m pretty broke, but I’m willing to splurge every now and then. I want induction and cabinet mounted trunnions, but getting both is probably unrealistic. The problem is that I don’t know if I’ll live here for more than 4 years, and I’m not about to get a stationary tool that is difficult to move. Personal budget is a $300-500 cap for a TS. $1k to outfit a basic shop.

Leaning towards:
Garage TS: 60s-70s craftsman/homecraft TS/jointer for $150-250. Leave it in the garage since it’ll probably already have rust anyway. Have not had any success in locating this.
Fence: DIY extruded aluminum incra wannabe vs Vega kit.

Basement: SCMS/Router.
SCMS: HF 12” dual bevel SCMS vs newly released Craftsman 10” Compact SCMS (rail forward design like the festool).
Router: Bosch LV1617. Build a table or buy one of the pre made tops and fit it to something more stable.

The other idea is to get a Craftsman Professional 21829 and a router of my choosing. Looks like a BT3000 successor with folding rolling stand and router table. That could be stored in the basement and wheeled outside for use. But then I’d have to spend $600 on a Craftsman. That feels weird.


26 replies so far

View jmartel's profile


7888 posts in 2147 days

#1 posted 08-13-2014 02:25 PM

Don’t forget to factor in all the other odds and ends into your budget. Chisels, clamps, adhesives, sandpaper, layout/measurement tools, etc.

I would look for an old craftsman style saw that’s in good condition. They made a million of them. I got mine for $100 and it had basically barely been run.

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

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10384 posts in 3645 days

#2 posted 08-13-2014 02:27 PM

What do you want to make?

View jonah's profile (online now)


1698 posts in 3296 days

#3 posted 08-13-2014 02:45 PM

One option would be a granite-topped saw to be kept in the garage. Sadly, there is no longer anything like a regular source of that type of saw new (I’m speaking mainly of the Ridgid 4511). You could get lucky and find one on Craigslist, but they just didn’t sell that many of those things, so they’re pretty rare on CL in my experience.

You could go with an older Craftsman or Ridgid contractor-type-saw and Shellac the top. That will prevent rust pretty much completely. You’d have to wax the thing regularly to keep it slick, and you might have to reapply the Shellac every now and then, but it’d definitely be capable of staying in the garage.

View Yonak's profile


986 posts in 1518 days

#4 posted 08-13-2014 02:56 PM

1~2 hours per week is not enough to do much of anything (I spend more than 1~2 hours thinking about how to proceed.) Your hurdles are many but where there’s a will there’s a way.

Many people on this forum and in woodworking in general use their garages as their shops so I wouldn’t worry about storing your tools there. Just cover them up when you’re not using them and put a tub of desiccant under the cover to keep it dry. If possible, maybe you could put large pneumatic, lockable wheels on a workbench with drawers and all your small tools could be wheeled out at the same time.

Start small with a narrow focus. Maybe you’ll only need hand tools. That seems to be a point of pride for some woodworkers for whatever reason :P. Maybe you would want to concentrate on turning, such as candlesticks or chess pieces, or pens. ..Or maybe you want to concentrate on toys or picture frames. That would keep your tool outlay, storage space and tool transport to a minimum. The important thing is to enjoy what you’re doing. The end result is merely the product of your enjoyment.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10384 posts in 3645 days

#5 posted 08-13-2014 03:28 PM

Consider a Eurekazone track saw kit.

If you want to make furniture a band saw is more
essential than a table saw, imo.

Having the machines doesn’t get the work done.
You can do some nice smaller things by hand,
which is what everybody except professionals
with access to mill shops did before the 1930s.

Carving is one example of something that really
doesn’t require power tools and which can be
an enjoyable, portable hobby.

View hairy's profile


2702 posts in 3529 days

#6 posted 08-13-2014 03:59 PM

Dust collection on most old iron is a dust pan and broom.

-- My reality check bounced...

View Robin1's profile


137 posts in 1488 days

#7 posted 08-13-2014 05:12 PM

I know this is going to create a controversy but here goes. I realize that most people will say that the table saw is the heart of the shop. I don’t necessarily disagree with that statement. However, for a very long time I did not have room for a full size table saw. I started to look at what operations I did with one and realized that I mostly used it for ripping narrow material. (Now I don’t build small- I actually build a lot of large cabinetry.) I picked up a Dewalt DW745 with the rack and pinion fence. At the time, they only had a 16” rip capacity (the newer model has 20”) but this was sufficient because for anything over that, I used a track saw and guide to cut (you can also use the Eurekazone mentioned above or just a circ saw with a homemade zero clearance guide). For small crosscuts, I used a 10” or 12” Compound Miter Saw. My shop consisted of the DW745 ($300), a Hitachi 10” Compound Miter Saw ($100), an 8” Drill Press ($75), a circ saw with homemade guide ($120), a jointer (CL $125), 5 routers (most from CL- $150),Cordless drill kit ($100), sabre saw ($75) and corded drill ($50). That’s $1095. A lot of it I didn’t even pay for as I asked for it for Christmas or Birthday presents. The smaller table saw was not cast iron- so I didn’t have to worry about rust. All of the items here would fit in the trunk of my Honda Accord and I could pick them up alone. (With the exception of the jointer- I did start with the 8” Jet jointer/planer combo. It actually worked great for me and did fit in the trunk. However, I got a great deal on a Ridgid 6” and upgraded.) The beauty of that DeWalt table saw was (and is) that, if you take care of it, you can sell it for a decent price when you’re in a position to upgrade. Or, you can keep it and leave it set up for ripping tasks when the larger table saw you’ll eventually get is set up for dadoes, etc.

There’s a guy at the college where I work who does all the carpentry in the building. He is, without a doubt, the most gifted craftsman I have ever seen. He can put in stud walls, build furniture or make the most intricate wooden craft items you’ve ever seen. All he has in the shop here is an old Makita 8” benchtop table saw (model 2708), a drill press, band saw, sanding station, 10” miter saw, router, cordless drill and some hand tools.

Everytime I think I need a fancier tool, I think of him and realize it’s not the tool, it’s the craftsman.

View TheFridge's profile


9455 posts in 1483 days

#8 posted 08-13-2014 05:18 PM

I live in south louisiana and have no problems with cast iron rusting. Paste wax works well.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10384 posts in 3645 days

#9 posted 08-13-2014 05:27 PM

The old 9” tilt-top Delta table saws are very accurate
for joinery and take up very little space. They can rip
modest widths as well. They run on induction motors
and can sometimes be found mounted together
with a jointer powered from the same motor.

With a benchtop planer and a Eurekazone for larger
pieces you can do cabinetmaking with this sort
of setup.

If you want to do furniture the band saw is most
useful. The glues in plywoods dull band saw blades
quickly and chew up jointer knives, so while
sheet goods can be worked with the band saw
and jointer, it does add to usage costs.

View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3241 days

#10 posted 08-13-2014 05:28 PM

No controversy. Where there is a will, there is a way. You do with what is available. I’ve seen some very nice woodworking done with only a hand electric drill and a “skil” saw. With all the nice tools I have, I’ve seen others with much less, produce much better stuff than I could. I like to work with wood, but my real interest is working with metals. The type of project dictates what tools I use. Wood and metals are part of most of what I do, which is building large scale ride-on trains.

View MrUnix's profile


6709 posts in 2196 days

#11 posted 08-13-2014 06:50 PM

A quick glance at the St. Louis CL page turns up quite a few nice table saws for $200 or less.. and most can be broken down (remove table extensions, legs/base, motor, etc..) so they can be transported in a small vehicle. If you don’t like any of the current offerings, then stay patient. There are always good deals to be found.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1421 days

#12 posted 08-13-2014 06:56 PM

If you are space challenged but still want a quality tool that can cut large sheet goods with cabinet grade edges, consider a Festool 55 Plunge saw. Compact and can handle anything you throw at it. It does angle and miter work, and the fences can be shared with a router.

Pricey, but is a great solution for those who are tight on space and still need a quality cut.

-- Brad, Texas,

View mudflap4869's profile


1734 posts in 1456 days

#13 posted 08-13-2014 07:18 PM

Look for an old shopsmith. Almost a full shop in one compact peice of equiptment. Shop Yard sales and junk stores for most hand tools. Know what you are looking for and don’t overpay for the first one you see. If you don’t need it don’t buy it. When you go in the door tell the opporator what you are looking for and only go to that section then leave without being distracted and buying eye candy. Let your friends know what you are looking for and you will end up with several tools that they never use. Watch that budget!

-- Still trying to master kindling making

View Robert Tutsky's profile

Robert Tutsky

58 posts in 2047 days

#14 posted 08-13-2014 10:13 PM

I had a Jet cabinet saw at one time but I find I don’t miss it at all. I use a 10” band saw. If I need to cut plywood sheeting I use a DeWalt circular saw and with a little practice I found I could make as accurate cuts as I did on the table saw. With a band saw, circular saw, jig saw, router, drill press and assortment of hand tools you can make virtually anything. With a bit of searching you could find all of those tools within your budget. BTW, my previous shop was a very damp basement and was filled with tons of equipment that was made up of steel and iron. I had no problems with rust… but I rubbed paste wax on all exposed metal. Good luck with your woodworking endeavor, you will enjoy it!


View Rob's profile


704 posts in 3068 days

#15 posted 08-14-2014 03:25 AM

Decide right now whether your time or money is more valuable. You can often save a lot of time by spending more money on a better tool, or the right tool. Try to boost your 1-2 hrs/wk to at least 6 hrs/wk or you’ll never feel like you’re accomplishing anything.

CL can be really hit or miss depending on your region. My CL market has been pretty pathetic for the past several years. This summer there have been a few ok deals here and there, but not enough to fully-equip a shop on a budget. Most of the good CL deals are far enough away that I’m just as well off buying new by the time I factor in gas and 6+ hrs of lost time.

Just for some perspective, I wasted years telling myself that I didn’t have the money. I increased my shop budget in several steps, from $1000 to $3000 to $5000. Each time I increased my budget, I posted a question online asking if that was a reasonable budget. The answer was always, “Yes, if you buy everything on CL. Otherwise you need closer to $10k.” Even $5k was only considered realistic if I was buying most of my stationary tools on CL.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

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