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Forum topic by sikrap posted 03-19-2009 05:33 AM 1518 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1121 posts in 3381 days

03-19-2009 05:33 AM

Hi folks,

I’m new to this hobby (obsession) and I’m learnin’ fast that it can get reaaallll expensive, real fast. I bought a good saw (Ridgid TS3660), a decent mitersaw (used 10” Delta), a small router (Craftsman 1 1/2 hp), some planes and some clamps. What should I buy right away and what should I put off? My intention is to start with some storage cabinets in the garage, some storage carts, and other simple things I can make from plywood or MDF. Eventually, I’d like to try making some better stuff, but I expect there’s a lot of “learn by experience” and I can’t afford to experiment with hardwoods. Any advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

19 replies so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4337 days

#1 posted 03-19-2009 05:49 AM

See if you can get a good price on some Poplar. It is an easy hardwood. Will work great in combination with plywood. It is not that expensive. A few board feet will really add to your shop cabinets. Do some simple frame and 1/4 panel doors. Find some decent birch plywood. For just a few dollars more you can learn the basics to furniture and cabinetry just building shop stuff.

View Shotgundad's profile


4 posts in 3381 days

#2 posted 03-19-2009 06:07 AM

You can make most of your own jigs and things like a sacrificial fence for your table saw. These will give you experience and useful items for your shop. If you don’t already have a workbench you can make one from 2×4’s and some OSB board to give you a place to work. You can build it to the height that will allow you to use it as a table saw outfeed table as well. Good luck and most of all have fun.

-- Brian

View bendisplays's profile


40 posts in 3423 days

#3 posted 03-19-2009 06:32 AM


I dont think that one can ever have enough tools. A table saw and router are the first items that you want to have. (.....and you have them) You may want to build a good workbench.

I think that a good drill press is a must in a shop. It in my opinion is the third most versatile woodworking tool after a table saw and router.



View cmaeda's profile


205 posts in 3576 days

#4 posted 03-19-2009 07:13 AM

I would just buy stuff as you need it.
Just remember to buy quality tools. I went through 2 or 3 of almost every tool I have because I went for the cheap stuff first.
Get a dust collector and a respirator. Will go a long way for your health, especially if you work a lot with MDF and plywood. That stuff is toxic.

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3416 days

#5 posted 03-19-2009 01:07 PM

“If you are going to make it, make it right” and
“if you are going to buy tools, buy good ones”
There are so many tools asociated with woodworking and the shopping process might take years… the best is start with simple things, and gradually move to more challenging projects.

To start, a set of Drill – Impact Driver might be of big help.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View JimmyC's profile


106 posts in 3424 days

#6 posted 03-19-2009 01:07 PM

Any of your machines that can be made mobile, should probably be mobile. It will help in the end.

-- -JimmyC...Clayton,NC- "Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave"

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4013 days

#7 posted 03-19-2009 01:23 PM

Probably the best place to start is the “wood shop” itself. Get the wiring up to par then build shelves, cabinets and the workbench. My bench doubles as a storage center for my tools as well as an assembly area for the projects. It’s “mobile’ (on heavy duty casters) so I can put it anywhere in the garage, which allows for more assembly area, and yet pushes up against the wall allowing room for the wife’s car! I also used OSB a lot…it’s great stuff.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3549 days

#8 posted 03-19-2009 03:51 PM

For your TS: good dado blades, quality 1/8” and thin kerf blades with zero clearance inserts.
Brad bits, forester bits and plug cutter.
A bisquit (sp) cutter and lots of glue and bar clamps!


-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Gary's profile


9333 posts in 3455 days

#9 posted 03-19-2009 04:51 PM

Be sure to get yourself a big bottle of patience. Besides that, good measuring tools and don’t forget the safety stuff. All of us get wrapped up in all the toys and sometimes forget to teach safety.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View jspencer01's profile


3 posts in 3384 days

#10 posted 03-19-2009 10:46 PM


My thought is that you probably have enough tools to start building “furniture” for your workshop. I would suggest reading Jim Tolpin’s book “Working at Woodworking”. In this book he describes some of the carts and supports that he uses. I built some of his carts years ago and they have served me well and continue to be useful. If you put wheels on your shop furniture, buy good wheels (Woodcraft casters are pricey, but mine have lasted a long time).

Build a router table. This will add a new dimension to your router and is almost like having a new tool and you can build a good router table with the tools that you already have.

One place you can spend money at this point is on knowledge. You can get lots of knowledge from the folks on this site for free. I have found that I get lots of great information from searching the FineWoodworking online site which charges a yearly subscription fee. For example, they have a great video on building a very versatile workbench that utilizes pipe clamps for clamping. You can build a very useful bench for a small amount of money.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Start making stuff and work on educating yourself. I think it will become more clear which tools will be helplful as you progress in the hobby.

Good Luck.

View Big_Bob's profile


173 posts in 3731 days

#11 posted 03-19-2009 11:01 PM

Before you spend a lot of money see if there are any woodworking clubs in your area. Attend a few meetings get to know people. See what works for them and why. Maybe they can help you find some good tools at a good price.

-- Bob Clark, Tool Collector and Sawdust Maker

View JPBatts's profile


41 posts in 3399 days

#12 posted 03-19-2009 11:52 PM

There are probably lots of places to buy hardwood wood in NY state. Lots of forests there (Some out of concrete). I have retired loggers and farmers that keep me in wood and at a fraction of the cost.

All of the previous postings are excellent advice. Don’t skimp on safety equipment (including things that protect your lungs.)

The best start-up advice I received was don’t buy tools until you need them. I ignored it and ended trading up. In the long run it cost more.

-- If she asks please tell my wife that I can sell my tools for what I paid, okay?

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3381 days

#13 posted 03-20-2009 02:13 AM

Wow, a lot of good ideas here. I actually did find a woodworking “club” that I can join and maybe even take a coupe of classes. Thanks guys!!!

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View bob101's profile


321 posts in 3472 days

#14 posted 03-20-2009 02:21 AM

As a wood worker and health care proffesional, a must not an option for every shop should be a dust collector with a good filter (1 micron) and an air cleaner, saw dust, mostly the stuff you don’t see is the stuff that is the worst for you, if I was to start over those would be some of the first tools that I would purchase. I paid around 800.00 dollars for both.Especially since you are going to be useing mdf, it produces massive amounts of fine dust.

-- rob, ont,canada

View JuniorJoiner's profile


487 posts in 3462 days

#15 posted 04-10-2009 08:11 AM

I always try to put my money in the tools that actually work the wood, a router is not as important as the bit, and a drill is not as important as the drillbit.
If i had to choose tools to get first, it would be good sharpening stones, and good chisels. good skills with these, and you can build almost anything with wood and patience. a good square is also important.
don’t neglect hand tools, they can take you further than any expensive machine.

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

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