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Forum topic by Vincent Labreche posted 04-02-2009 02:10 AM 1164 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Vincent Labreche

19 posts in 3355 days

04-02-2009 02:10 AM


So I’m new to woodworking, I love wood and I want to start with basic projects (Workbench / Shop cabinets / Racks) and move on to build a bed for my Girlfriend maybe by the end of the summer.

Two simple questions:

1.My dad is equipped with a Skil3400 TableSaw that is pretty cheap. Should I consider buying a better tablesaw now or do you think that this saw can provide the quality needed for the bed?

2.I want to buy a good Router. I’m currently looking at the Porter Cable 690, the Bosch 1617 or the DW618B3. I want to be able to use it free-hand / plunge style and in a router table. In order to do so, which one should I get and which accessories (edge guide / bases / bits) do you recommend?



10 replies so far

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 3680 days

#1 posted 04-02-2009 02:26 AM

You say you’re new to woodworking, so if that is the case, you might want to try simpler projects to get up to speed. Workbenches, cabinets and racks are nice to have, but get some experience in other areas that will build up (no pun intended) your skills.

Lots of people here are buying the Ridgid table saws lately, it seems. Never used on, though I have other Ridgid products. Look up Ridgid in the search here and you’ll get lots of stuff on them. IF you are intent on spending money on a good say, NO less than $300 (The Ridgid’s are around $400 +/-).

I’m not a big Router person, I mean I don’t have tons of knowledge or what’s the best, but PC’s are popular here. I have a few Craftsman ones that are older, and a basic set of bits with a few extra ones. Maybe 30 in total. They do fine for me when I need them.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View Gary's profile


9331 posts in 3433 days

#2 posted 04-02-2009 02:51 AM

That PC 690 is great in a table. Don’t know about free hand stuff…I don’t do it except easing edges. Hard to say anythiing about your table saw. If it’s in good shape, cuts well, straight, etc, probably would be ok to learn on. If you need real close stuff, who knows. I have a rigid and love it. It does anything I need and does it well. Keep watching your post, you’ll get lots of info here. By the way, glad to have you aboard. It’s a great place. Lots of great people here.

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

View Bureaucrat's profile


18339 posts in 3652 days

#3 posted 04-02-2009 04:03 AM

I have an older Craftsman Table saw and router. Neither of them will get high praises here but they are functional. I have found that older equipment will give you as good a product as the more accessorized and functional new stuff but it takes more work to make it happen. You have to double check alignment of the fence and blade very often to ensure they are set right. Once your sure of it, assuming you have a good blade, you should be able to get high quality cuts.
My Router has a 1/4” collet. I would recommend you get one that has a 1/2” collet as these routers usually include a 1/4” collet as well. This will give you a lot of flexibility for bits and the 1/2” shanks are more rigid which is a plus on larger bits.
As far as buying bits, I suggest you not get lured into buying the collection of 20 different bits. Odds are that you won’t have a use for many of them. I did that, and I don’t use a lot them. Buy the bits you need when you need them and get good ones. They will hold an edge longer and you’ll be happier.

-- Gary D. Stoughton, WI

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4099 days

#4 posted 04-02-2009 04:17 AM

I would say get a better tablesaw if you can swing it. It is the centerpiece and workhorse of the shop.

The routers that you have listed are all good ones in my book. I do not own any of them but have used them as a contractor on jobsites. I thought they all worked well.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View woodfly's profile


14 posts in 3348 days

#5 posted 04-02-2009 04:38 AM

Start with the Skil TS. That way you can learn how to use it and in addition you will learn what is important and desirable in a Tablesaw so that when the time comes to move up you will know what to look for. My first TS was an OLD hand-me-down Craftsman that had a top that was about 12 inches by 14 inches, the motor was hinged to a 2×12 about a foot and a half from the TS. It could rip a 5 inch wide board, maybe. I still was able to build some night stands and a small entertainment center with it, and I did learn a lot.The DW or PC routers (plunge or combo bases, 1/2 inch collet) are good, don’t know about the Bosch. You can buy bit sets that contain several style bits at a pretty low price. They will probably not be great nor will they last long but again you will learn what you can do with the different styles. Have fun!

-- Mike

View Xrayguy's profile


39 posts in 3418 days

#6 posted 04-02-2009 05:55 AM

Hi Vincent, i too am new to woodworking, well not new but within in the last 5 yrs or so, i started out with an old craftsman table saw that i could not get the fence parallel no matter what i did, so i researched hybrid table saws, 1.5 hp, which is plenty of power for my needs then and now, i looked at the delta, steel city and craftsman, even though i vowed never again on craftsman i ended up with the craftsman 22400 cabinet saw with the beismeyer fence, i absolutely love it. (the box on the craftsman actually said steel city on the side) I have 2 PC 690 routers , one for hand work and one in the router table. My first projects were for my shop, my work bench, and some shop cabinets and the router table that is on my profile. Good luck with your ventures and read as much as you can on woodworking, i have learned most of what i know from reading alll the magazines and books i can…. Wood magazine and pop wood are my fav.

-- Brad J

View Vincent Labreche's profile

Vincent Labreche

19 posts in 3355 days

#7 posted 04-02-2009 06:39 AM

Thanks for the tips guys.

I’ll stick with the old TS for now, see how it goes and if the cuts are good enough for my bigger projects to come. If I have trouble, I might invest in a new blade to see if i can get better results.

As for the router, a lot of people say they own more than one…
Is it actually possible to only buy 1 and alternate between table-mounted to freehand with the same router?
I suppose it’s faisable with multi bases?


View Bureaucrat's profile


18339 posts in 3652 days

#8 posted 04-02-2009 06:45 AM

I only have one router and a bench top craftsman table for it. It can be done. I have a single base and it’s a bear to get it in and out of the table. A multi-base would be easier to get out of the table by dropping the motor out of the base as opposed to loosening all of the fasteners.

-- Gary D. Stoughton, WI

View Vincent Labreche's profile

Vincent Labreche

19 posts in 3355 days

#9 posted 04-02-2009 07:43 AM

Ok, Thanks alot!!

View knotscott's profile


8016 posts in 3375 days

#10 posted 04-02-2009 10:59 AM

At the very least buy an inexpensive but decent quality saw blade for that Skil saw….something like a Freud Avanti or Diablo 40T for ~ $29 should be fine. Make sure it’s aligned well.

Any of those routers you listed are good….buy the one that feels best in your hand or that you get the best deal on. I’d also look at the Milwaukee 5616-24 kit. As a less expensive alternative, take a look at the Hitachi KM12VC kit.

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

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