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Forum topic by nakmuay posted 09-12-2014 03:08 PM 1364 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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nakmuay

18 posts in 818 days


09-12-2014 03:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: new workshop

Hi guys, sorry if this topic has been done before but my attempts at searching for something along the same lines failed badly.

I have a back ground in aircraft structures, but I’ve always wanted to be a bit more creative so i’ve finally saved enough money to set up a small furniture making workshop. Having a back ground in metal rather than wood, so I was wondering where I should spent some money for the high end tools, and where I could cut corners on the lower end brand tools.

My research points towards table saws and planes as 100% worth the high end price, but what about things like routers and bits, miter saws, chisels, jointers, etc.
Thanks guys


30 replies so far

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1643 posts in 1781 days


#1 posted 09-12-2014 03:22 PM

It depends a good deal the sort of furniture you intend to make. Perhaps you might want to find some pictures on the internet of what you intend to do now and what you want to do in the future? Some types of work require specialized tools that are hard to find used and if that’s the case, you’ll want to put the money there.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View nicksmurf111's profile

nicksmurf111

361 posts in 915 days


#2 posted 09-12-2014 03:41 PM

I’m buying all good tools used (at least what’s appropriate/available). I wouldn’t consider buying “lower end”. I don’t own anything with the name Ryobi on it and only buy Craftsman if it’s at least 40-50 years old. Take the money saved on buying used tools and buy even more stuff. I’m kind of wonder what kind of budget you have. A lot of folks come around here and only want to spend a few hundred. I myself am not sitting on a lump of cash, but I just have a large monthly budget that goes toward tools.

I guess it depends if you want to be a production shop or just a hobby shop. The equipment comes in all sizes. What I may consider a “good” contractor saw, may only fit in a hobby show, or as a spare machine in a production shop.

I think when it comes to table saws (excluding the SawStop technology), you aren’t going to find anything better new today than you would if you purchased a $300 50 year old Unisaw off the back of someone’s truck, or even a Powermatic. Also note, the new Taiwanese and Chinese brands are knocking out some good products. I know someone who owns a brand name and orders equipment from time-to-time and the stuff he has in stock is great…and looks just like everyone’s else’s because it comes out of the same factory.

-- Nicholas

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TheWoodenOyster

1275 posts in 1400 days


#3 posted 09-12-2014 03:52 PM

Welcome to the fun. That is a really broad topic, but I’ll try to keep things brief.

First off, I always advise people to buy their large power tools (jointer, tablesaw, planer, bandsaw, etc.) used for the best bang for the buck. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying new, but you can save some bucks and get some good old quality machinery if you hang around craigslist for a while. If you want to read it, here is a blog I wrote on the topic – Why I buy used power tools. This goes for many used hand tools as well such as chisels and especially handplanes of all sorts. Buying new will save you some hassle, but used will save you money. In the end it is up to you when it comes to how to approach it.

As far as where you can cut corners… that is a tough question to answer. Basically, you get what you pay for. There are some really junky tools that simply suck. Those are never worth it. There are a lot of midrange tools that can be made to do a lot of good quality work and are relatively price friendly. Then, there are great tools that make woodworking expensive, fun, easy, and give you excellent results, oh and expensive. Did I mention expensive? But some of those awesome tools are worth it.

I’ll give you a breakdown of my shop and how I would rate the tools. 1 being junky and cheap with bad results, 10 being amazing with stellar results and on the pricier side. This is really unscientific, but here it goes.

Tablesaw – Delta 3 HP unisaw, used (9)
Jointer – Jet 6”, used (8)
Planer – Delta 2 HP 13” planer, used (7)
Bandsaw – Powermatic 2 HP 20”, used (9)
Drill press – Crappy hand me down , new in box (4)
Router – Makita 3 HP, used a lot (7)
Square – starrett , new (10)
Chisels – Faithfull , new (6)
Bench Planes – Stanley and Millers falls w/ aftermarket blades, used (9)
Block plane – Lie Nielsen, new (10)

Without going much father, that is the basic jist. I shoot for a 7 or 8 on average, as that allows me to make what I want to make to the standards I want, which are pretty high. I think you’ll find a lot of LJ’s are probably in the same boat.

One thing to think about is that a great tool in one place can make up for a bad tool in another place. For instance, if your tablesaw (5) cuts straight, but burns everything, you can just plane everything smooth with a good plane (9). If your bandsaw is a little junky (3) and doesn’t cut than cleanly, you can just smooth the curves with a good spokeshave (8) and some sandpaper.

Hope that helps. Hard question to answer on paper.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Loren's profile

Loren

8309 posts in 3112 days


#4 posted 09-12-2014 03:57 PM

The whole “lifetime purchase” thing with table
saws or any machinery is silly to me. Your needs
will evolve if you persevere with the craft.

Some people are breaking down sheet goods
and making finish dimension cuts using track
saws with rubber strips to prevent chipping.
The “table” systems for doing this have reached
some maturity.

A fine band saw is a nice thing though. Something
with an 18” or larger throat is a convenience
in making furniture. It can cut tenons and dovetails
too.

Slot mortisers are useful. Some can be had as
attachments to jointer/planer combos. I prefer
separates but if you’re going to spend on a
high-tech cutterhead a combo starts to save
money as well as space… in addition to the
mortiser.

Some higher-end chisels hold a sharp edge longer.
Some just look impressive. High carbon steel
generally outperforms the chrome vanadium
steel found in many lower priced chisels, though
with inferior rust resistance so high carbon requires
more care. These days you can buy vintage
millwright’s chisels on ebay one at a time and some
of them are very good chisels. Vintage Japanese
chisels can be bought the same way, pretty
cheap.

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Richard H

489 posts in 1145 days


#5 posted 09-12-2014 04:04 PM

I would advise you consider carefully your methods of work and the types of things you will be doing before you go out and buy a lot of tools as they will determine what is important to you. For instance if you are planning on making a living at this and want to compete with other furniture shops you are going to need mass production tools like large jointers, planners, table saws, etc. If you are going more the custom artisan orders route you will want more hand tools with fewer large power tools. As for where to spend your money I believe quality is never a bad choice but if I’m going to buy bargain I will do it in places that see little use or are easily replaced every few years. Stuff I expect to outlive me I don’t mind spending a little more upfront for a better experience across the tools life.

View Big_T's profile

Big_T

119 posts in 822 days


#6 posted 09-12-2014 04:17 PM


My research points towards table saws and planes as 100% worth the high end price, but what about things like routers and bits, miter saws, chisels, jointers, etc.
Thanks guys

- nakmuay

I too am new to this realm and am following the responses. We currently have a DeWalt sliding miter saw we picked up at Lowes for 50% off the floor model, but my wife likes the artisan aspect of woodworking. So we are looking for a discounted router, table saw and scroll saw.

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nakmuay

18 posts in 818 days


#7 posted 09-12-2014 04:35 PM

Thanks for the insight fellas. It’s kind of the answer I expected, but it’s great to hear it confirmed.
I plan on making a small hobby shop but sell what I make. My aim is to make solid basic mission style furniture, but may be add some reclaimed wood and a little metalwork.
I don’t expect I’ll be at a level to make a living at this anytime soon but I’m looking to invest a $4-5k and treat it at a hobby and a second job.
Interesting point by TheWoodenOyster about maybe using higher end tools to clean up the work of the slightly ruffer tools, I never thought of that. By the way, when I say lower end tool I mean more mid range than low end. Lie Nielson/Veritas as opposed Stanley/Craftsmen, not Walmart junk.

Are their any tools you guys wouldn’t recommend buying second hand? I would presume measuring equipment? Chisels?

View Loren's profile

Loren

8309 posts in 3112 days


#8 posted 09-12-2014 04:49 PM

Mission furniture incorporates quarter-sawn veneers
on legs and things like that. You’ll either want
a bandsaw that can cut those nicely or some
sort of sanding setup to compensate for a band
saw that doesn’t.

Crosscutting may involve 4” thick legs so a
10” table saw won’t do it. You’ll be looking at
a 12” miter saw or some other saw with
similar capacity.

Also grain direction in the style is important in
nicer pieces so the general approach is to
lay out parts on boards according to grain
and color preference, then band saw them
out, joint, then plane them on edge to parallel.

Jointer, planer, hollow chisel mortiser, band saw,
drill press. Most any table saw will do for
when it’s needed for things like tenon shoulders.

It’s difficult to go wrong with second hand tools.
You may get a tool you can’t use once in awhile
but the money saved makes the tool capital
go much further.

View nicksmurf111's profile

nicksmurf111

361 posts in 915 days


#9 posted 09-12-2014 05:00 PM

Even measuring equipment can be found second hand it you have the patience to look for it. I’ve had a hard time finding the CORRECT saw blades second hand. I’ve found lots of saw blades, but I’ve only come up with a few that meet my needs. But usually, I purchase new whatever I can’t find in a timely manner on the used market. I usually purchase power hand tools new. New drill, new orbital sander. I was unable to find used ones that had the same features as the new ones.

-- Nicholas

View buildingmonkey's profile

buildingmonkey

242 posts in 1012 days


#10 posted 09-12-2014 05:41 PM

Some areas, those areas where the woodworking industry was located, have a lot more used equipment than others, my area has only been settled since 1860, and there were hardly any trees here, hence not much old woodworking equipment. I went to a lumberyard sale 40 years ago, they had some old machinery that ran off a single shaft power system, down the peak of the building, and they tightened flat belts to make different machines run. But there are NO old woodworking machines for sale here, only on craigslist do I see maybe 2 cabinet table saws for sale a year. So if you are in an area like mine, might as well give up and buy new. Although once you spend the money, there will be an auction with a shop full of Grizzly tools come up.

-- Jim from Kansas

View joshuam39's profile

joshuam39

62 posts in 846 days


#11 posted 09-12-2014 06:29 PM

The Lumberjocks review section is an excellent resource. You have , for the most part, experienced woodworkers giving unbiased real world reviews. Reviews cover low to high end and new to old equipment. I’m always looking for that tool that is affordable but highly rated. I also figure if I outgrow a tool, or it doesn’t meet expectations, it’s not the end of the world.

-- Let's go Pens!

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

5994 posts in 1793 days


#12 posted 09-12-2014 06:45 PM

really is a personal question….

What’s your project interest? what’s your budget? how much floor space? Do you want a power tool shop or do you want to be a hand tool guru?

These are key questions… that will drive the decision making process

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6572 posts in 1615 days


#13 posted 09-12-2014 06:53 PM



Mission furniture incorporates quarter-sawn veneers
on legs and things like that. You ll either want
a bandsaw that can cut those nicely or some
sort of sanding setup to compensate for a band
saw that doesn t.

Crosscutting may involve 4” thick legs so a
10” table saw won t do it. You ll be looking at
a 12” miter saw or some other saw with
similar capacity.

Also grain direction in the style is important in
nicer pieces so the general approach is to
lay out parts on boards according to grain
and color preference, then band saw them
out, joint, then plane them on edge to parallel.

Jointer, planer, hollow chisel mortiser, band saw,
drill press. Most any table saw will do for
when it s needed for things like tenon shoulders.

It s difficult to go wrong with second hand tools.
You may get a tool you can t use once in awhile
but the money saved makes the tool capital
go much further.

- Loren

I don’t really agree with that.

You can do everything with a table saw, drill, chisels, and a jigsaw.

You can make legs on the tablesaw that do not need veneer. 45 deg cuts on each edge, put 4 together and laminate with a square piece in the middle. Even easier if you add splines.

Crosscutting can be done on the tablesaw in 2 steps with a stop block. You can also use a hand saw with a vertical guide.

Hollow chisel mortiser? I wouldn’t really put this as a requirement. It’s time saver, but you can do just fine with a drill press and a chisel.

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

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7215 posts in 2840 days


#14 posted 09-12-2014 07:55 PM

Everyone’s preferences and objectives are different, so consider what you’ll be doing. I build mostly household furniture from dimensional lumber, using only occasional sheet goods. My major tool preferences are as follows:

1. Table saw (full size, belt drive, with an induction motor)
2. Router in a router table (variable speed with “1/2 shanks)
3. Planer (bigger is usually better, but a portable works well for most hobbyists in this case)
4. Jointer (bigger is better again, but I’d avoid the portables if possible)

- Bandsaw, Drill Press, Sander, and Dust Collection in whatever order makes sense to you.

You’ll want a good flat work surface. You’ll need lots of other “stuff” too, but I’d advise spending the vast majority of your budget and time procuring the major tools. Smaller stuff makes great gifts for friends and relatives, and much of it can usually be picked up with discretionary funds….big chunks of cash are much harder to come by in my house!

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

View dlgWoodWork's profile

dlgWoodWork

159 posts in 3219 days


#15 posted 09-12-2014 08:21 PM

I suggest do this: Find your first project. Study it a little. Find the materials source. Then plan the process.

Lumber prep and milling

Mill rough lumber-Need a planer and jointer/or hand planes. I joint by hand and use the planer for getting to final thickness.

Dust collection-you want a dust collector with your planer and jointer. I use a single 1-1/2HP Jet DC on my planer, table saw and bandsaw.

Lumber now milled, how to cut to width and length- table saw is your best best.

Cut profiles and joints-table saw, router with router table are two best options here. But don’t rule out learning hand tools. A good hand saw and some chisels can cut a wide variety of joints.

Drilling holes-do you want a drill press, or would a good cordless drill be ok for now?

Assembly

Again, a drill and impact driver are useful here

Don’t forget clamps, clamps, and probably a couple of more clamps

Finishing

Sanding-a good orbital sander is a good start here. Hand planes take some learning, but you can get a good smoothing plane and eliminate a lot of sanding.

Do you want to wipe and brush on your finishes, or spray it on? This would be some trial and error. If I was doing a lot of mission style furniture, I would pre-finish a lot of parts, or invest in a spray system. The Earlax is a good option here.

Other “nice to have” items

A bandsaw
A miter saw
Some more clamps :)

There are lots of reviews for these items here and on the internet. Do some homework and continue to ask questions. And be on the lookout for good used tools in your area. If you need advice, ask it here. Once you have narrowed down some specific needs and tools, we can provide better answers.

Thanks,
dlg

-- Check out my projects and videos http://dlgwoodwork.com

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