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Outfitting a shop - one 'Brand', or best for the application

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Forum topic by JHAstrello posted 09-18-2014 09:28 PM 1369 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JHAstrello

27 posts in 828 days


09-18-2014 09:28 PM

Topic tags/keywords: workshop power tools layout chair furniture

I purchased my retirement home this year, and have moved out to E. Texas. Along with a great house on the lake, I got my ‘dream workshop’. Almost 1900 sq ft (two stories) with the main floor (about 925 sq ft) ready to go with both 110 and 220 wiring/lighting/etc. The previous owner also left me many racks/storage/misc shop areas and a huge work bench (12’ x 8’). More on the work bench another time.

Most of my power tools are simply the DIY items and a good selection of standard hand tools. I am going to undertake being a ‘chairmaker’, and going through the paces of laying out the work space more efficiently, along with power tool selection. I know that these are the tools that I will be looking for (not an exhaustive list – but a good solid starting point):

Band Saw
Table Saw
Jointer
Planer
Dust Collection
Chop Saw
Drill Press
Lathe (although not likely on the 1st list of things to get).

Here is the predicament that I (and I’m guessing others) find them selves in. Do I look for and purchase best or better in class – or do I try to settle on Brand/Customer Service/Quality of a ‘Primary Manufacturer’, and then the tools I want?

I have been pounding the tool reviews and gotten quite a bit of great information. Looking for some insight into what ‘you would do’ in this situation. While I do not have all the money in the world to spend, I do tend to ‘buy better’ anytime that I can. Looking forward to a lively discussion here.

Also, if you have a definite preference for Mfg (either better/best or STAY AWAY FROM), I’d appreciate it.

-- John in E. Texas


19 replies so far

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JayT

4786 posts in 1678 days


#1 posted 09-18-2014 09:36 PM

The only power tools that require you to think about brand first are cordless, so that you are only using one or two battery systems, not ten. For shop machinery, it all plugs into the same outlets, so buy the best tool in each case that fits your needs and budget. Someone else’s needs and budget will be different, so they may make different choices and both of you be correct.

You may find that you are repeatedly buying the same brand and that’s OK, just don’t lock yourself into one and refuse to look elsewhere. The only woodworkers I know with only one brand of machinery are sponsored by those companies.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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DIYaholic

19180 posts in 2141 days


#2 posted 09-18-2014 09:49 PM

The assured quality of a “Brand” is no longer a given. “Brand loyalty” is (should be) a thing of the past. Most tools/machines, regardless of “brand name”, are manufactured in the same factory. It is just a matter of quality control and acceptable “defects”, that determines the final quality. Tools and machines much be judged individually for its quality, features, price, warranty & customer service. Having access to a local dealer or repair center, should be a consideration for major heavyweight machines, due to shipping costs for repairs.

Congrats on the new “dream shop” and enjoy your tool/machine hunt and acquisitions!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

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GrandpaLen

1643 posts in 1739 days


#3 posted 09-18-2014 10:50 PM

John,
Welcome to the Lumber Jocks community.

I agree with the advice which has been offered. If I had the square footage available that you have I would incorporate a closet for my dust collection and another for my compressor and a well sealed finishing room with cabinets to store finishing products.

Enjoy your retirement, putting your shop together and post lots of pictures.

Best Regards. Len
Work Safely and have Fun.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

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InstantSiv

259 posts in 1061 days


#4 posted 09-18-2014 11:01 PM

Why not call up say grizzly and tell them what you need and see if they’ll make a deal? Might be able to save some money… wouldn’t hurt to try.

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2575 posts in 1723 days


#5 posted 09-18-2014 11:37 PM

You have a few different options to consider:
1. As has already been suggested, look for the “best” tool in each category regardless of manufacturer and purchase them.
2. Watch Craigslist, etc or the various auction sites for great used tools that can be had quite reasonably and may be better than new tools.
3. Like InstantSiv said contact Grizzly with your entire shopping list and see what they will do for you.
4. I would suggest you contact a number of retailers, like Highland Woodworking, Woodcraft, Rockler, Woodcraft, McFeeleys etc and let them “bid” on your list. You will need to select the comparable machines offered by each retailer and you should tell them that you have a number of requests out for bid. Then whichever company company provides the lowest bid gets your business and you will be happy with whomever wins the bid. HTH

In addition to the tools you have listed, I would add a Domino XL and a couple spokeshaves. HTH

-- Art

View crank49's profile

crank49

3981 posts in 2437 days


#6 posted 09-18-2014 11:47 PM

For chairs I would say a floor standing, tilting head mortising machine and a good spindle sander need to be on your list.

Agree on the separate rooms for dust collector and compressor and finishing. At the very least finishing.

About the brand(s), everyone else has pretty much covered it.

I settled on one brand for cordless tools, Milwaukee was my choice because I got a package deal. I have never regretted this choice. So nice to be able to swap batteries from one tool to another. And my batteries all have “fuel gauges” on them so I can press a button and see how much juice I have before taking it to a job.

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

View Loren's profile

Loren

8313 posts in 3114 days


#7 posted 09-19-2014 12:16 AM

If you indeed want to make chairs, a lathe
is essential to some of the styles. An 18”
or larger band saw comes in handy. I use
an overarm router in making chairs.

I don’t advise getting hung up on brands
for table saws, jointers and planers. It’s nice
to have a big jointer but they are expensive
new and hard to find used at reasonable
prices. The designs for these 3 machines
are established and more or less perfected.
I recommend you keep an eye out for a
pro or semi-pro shop liquidating. Jerry is in
Texas (yeah I know it’s big) and knows something
about buying used machinery.

Look at Machinerymax.com – I’ve bought 4 times
through them I think and while one time I got
a bit carried away bidding on an english dovetailer I
haven’t been using, the other times I did pretty well.

Don’t be scared of 3 phase equipment. Once
you’re set up for it, auctions become like candy
stores. Converters are neither costly nor difficult
to set up.

I buy all my machines used, sometimes for
pennies on the dollar compared to the price
of a new machine of similar quality.

A stroke sander can be a big labor saver
if you have the space for one. They can
sand sculpted chair seats too.

View timbertailor's profile

timbertailor

1592 posts in 891 days


#8 posted 09-19-2014 01:20 AM



The only power tools that require you to think about brand first are cordless, so that you are only using one or two battery systems, not ten. For shop machinery, it all plugs into the same outlets, so buy the best tool in each case that fits your needs and budget. Someone else s needs and budget will be different, so they may make different choices and both of you be correct.

You may find that you are repeatedly buying the same brand and that s OK, just don t lock yourself into one and refuse to look elsewhere. The only woodworkers I know with only one brand of machinery are sponsored by those companies.

- JayT

I agree. Not many companies deserve our brand loyalty any more. And the few that do either do not make everything we need or are the Lamborghini’s of the tool world!

-- Brad, Texas, https://www.youtube.com/user/tonkatoytruck/feed

View comboprof's profile

comboprof

277 posts in 1201 days


#9 posted 09-19-2014 01:34 AM

I completely agree with Loren, who talked me into buying a vintage bandsaw with a 3 phase motor. Cost me $500 for an excellent 20 inch bandsaw, plus about $200 more for new blade, VFD for 2 phase to 3 phase conversion, a nema box enclosure for the VFD, a 220 circuit breaker and a little wiring. (Fairly easy to do, once you figure out the 3 phase conversion. There was a good explanation online.) Best decision I every made. I have a wonderful 20 inch bandsaw for only $700. The bandsaw is the most important tool in a wood shop. At least it is in mine.

You will get far better big power tools, (bandsaw, table saw, jointer, etc.) for your money, if you buy old vintage tools, and are willing to restore and refurbish them. Loren is the expert.

-- -- Cheers, Don K. (Michgan's Kewenaw peninsula)

View JHAstrello's profile

JHAstrello

27 posts in 828 days


#10 posted 09-19-2014 01:44 AM

Thanks all for the replies so far. As I suspected, this is a great group for adding insight and knowledge. Already been out to the Machinerymax.com site, and ‘watching’ several auctions. Boy, they have some big powerful tools out there.

-- John in E. Texas

View comboprof's profile

comboprof

277 posts in 1201 days


#11 posted 09-19-2014 04:21 AM

Check Craig list too.

-- -- Cheers, Don K. (Michgan's Kewenaw peninsula)

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2854 posts in 2697 days


#12 posted 09-19-2014 05:44 AM

I retired a few years ago. When I was buying tools, I decided to go Grizzly for the table saw, band saw and drum sander. Planer is dewalt, and I have a used Jet 6 inch joiner.

I have been happy with them.
Good luck shopping.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7223 posts in 2842 days


#13 posted 09-19-2014 07:52 PM

No one brand offers the best of every tool. Look past the name and evaluate the tool for what it is. For the primary stationary tools, I’d choose whichever was the best example of that tool type that suits my needs that I could afford. Let the brands earn your business in each case.

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

View diverlloyd's profile

diverlloyd

1449 posts in 1324 days


#14 posted 09-19-2014 11:29 PM

Craigslist usually has full shops for sale. Also if you are buying all at once I wouldnt buy unless I was getting a good package discount. Haggle haggle and haggle some more. Also as sad as it might be most of my local school shop classes are being cut and auctioning off the tools and machinery. It’s a sad time in America when that happens.

View dahenley's profile

dahenley

135 posts in 1560 days


#15 posted 09-19-2014 11:44 PM

what part of E. Texas? I’m originally from Kilgore and still frequent there to see my family.
and for those of you who keep saying check craigslist…… theres not a lot of free floating stuff on there in this neck of the woods… not like some of the deals you see posted on here… but you should still keep an eye out for stuff.

Congrats and good luck with the new shop!!!

-- David Henley

showing 1 through 15 of 19 replies

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