What would you do if you were me?

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Forum topic by LucasWoods posted 02-10-2015 02:14 AM 1200 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View LucasWoods's profile


199 posts in 757 days

02-10-2015 02:14 AM

i need help making a $750 decision. I am finally getting a sum from my wife to get some woodworking tools/essentials. I would like everyone’s opinions on what I should get to best set me up for the most complete workshop. I do not necessarily intend to go only hand tools at this point.

Should I go with cheaper so I can get more tools or quality?

Here is what I have.

Workbench with no vices. (Made of 2×4’s laminated together)
7×36” Jorgensen heavy duty bar clamps
Bosch 6.5amp jigsaw
Jack plane
Smoothing plane
Dewalt 10” circular saw
24V hand drill (with some bits and spades)
Crappy combination square ($9)
Crappy chisels ($9)
Craftsmen 16” scroll saw (this is an older version and has no speed adjustment, lighting, etc.)

I have come up with some ideas as to what I should but but I thought it would be best to ask some veterans as to what would be the best route. I do not mind sticking with hand tools from here on out or buying a few more power tools depending.

-- Colorado Springs, CO

30 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


3972 posts in 1775 days

#1 posted 02-10-2015 02:17 AM

What do you intend to make?

-- Bondo Gaposis

View pintodeluxe's profile


4827 posts in 2237 days

#2 posted 02-10-2015 02:21 AM


-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Patch2020's profile


97 posts in 665 days

#3 posted 02-10-2015 02:30 AM

Try to find you a good used table saw and go from there.

-- Patch2020, Tennessee

View jmartel's profile


6475 posts in 1574 days

#4 posted 02-10-2015 02:32 AM

Rigid tablesaw for $550, and spend the remaining $250-tax on good chisels, some more clamps, a good combination square and maybe a couple used planes.

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

View TheFridge's profile


5682 posts in 910 days

#5 posted 02-10-2015 02:35 AM

I could be way off, but a jigsaw isn’t real high on my priorities list. You could probably do without it. Unless you already have some projects in mind, then roll with it.

Definitely a table saw.

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

View LucasWoods's profile


199 posts in 757 days

#6 posted 02-10-2015 02:35 AM

TheFridge – I already have a jigsaw.

I am planning on making furniture. A large tool cabinet. Bookshelves, etc etc.

A table saw would be very nice but such a large percentage of my $. And $550 on a saw then a decent set of chisels let’s say stanley sweetheart series 4pc set runs $119. So that would pretty much be my whole dollar amount and I do not have anything to sharpen my chisels.

I forgot to mention I have 3 rip saws

-- Colorado Springs, CO

View BurlyBob's profile


3494 posts in 1689 days

#7 posted 02-10-2015 02:36 AM

I too vote for a good table saw. Go in debt, sell the wife’s jewelry, cut back on the beer, no movies, but do whatever you got to do. Hell, even grovel a little more but get yourself a good table saw!!

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

3538 posts in 1985 days

#8 posted 02-10-2015 02:39 AM


First Only get the tools you NEED right now. Then try to get the best you can afford for now and if and when you really get into wood working and building big stuff and have more MONEY then upgrade your tools.

-- Please help me help other Vets click..> is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View LucasWoods's profile


199 posts in 757 days

#9 posted 02-10-2015 02:51 AM

Thank you Arlin and i understand the needs part my next project is going to probably be a tool chest and then a king sized platform bed.

I just don’t want to spend $ on low end tools to just replace them a year from now.

-- Colorado Springs, CO

View DIYaholic's profile


19140 posts in 2099 days

#10 posted 02-10-2015 02:59 AM

Your budget dictates a Craigslist search….

TS should be first, $100.00 – 200.00….
A contractors saw will be cheaper than a cabinet saw…. I’d avoid a job site saw.
I’m thinking a C’man 113 saw or similar.
Fence upgrade will more than likely be needed. That’s around $175.00 – 200.00.
So a good saw with a good fence could run $300.00 – $400.00.

As far as what else…. what ever shows up on CL, provided you need it!!!

A sanding machine is a must…. OSS, Combo belt/disk….
However, I would list the Ridgid OSS/belt sander VERY HIGH on my list.

A ROS is another must have.
A bandsaw would be nice, but you have a jigsaw & scrollsaw for curves.
A jointer & planer would be high on my list.
A CMS or SCMS would be good, but with a circular saw & a good miter gauge on the TS, you would be covered.

Oh yeah, a good miter gauge is a must!!!

You also need the incidentals, that don’t usually show up on CL….
marking knife, clamps, squares, rules, etc….. buy them new, ya need ‘em immediately!!!

The projects will also dictate what tools/machines you need…. buy as needed.

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

View LucasWoods's profile


199 posts in 757 days

#11 posted 02-10-2015 03:03 AM

Thank you DIY and yes the incidentals add up since I have just about none lol.

-- Colorado Springs, CO

View jmartel's profile


6475 posts in 1574 days

#12 posted 02-10-2015 03:07 AM

A good miter gauge is not really a must to me. Build a crosscut sled out of plywood. The stock miter gauge with a sacrifical fence screwed on can be used for cutting non-90 deg angles with some care. 99% of the time you will be cutting 90 degrees.

If you buy an old contractor’s saw, you can get by for a bit without a new fence. It’s just annoying to use the stock fence, that’s all. I’m still on my stock miter gauge and fence on my old craftsman

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

View Buckethead's profile


3140 posts in 1292 days

#13 posted 02-10-2015 03:13 AM

DIY has a good list there. I bought an Irwin pull saw for about twenty bucks to finish some dovetailed tenons on my workbench. I find myself going to that saw often. Works great for dovetails, without a hefty price tag.


Sharpening stones.

Try craigslist. Stalk it. Search collectibles and antiques as well as tools.

When you find something on CL you want to get, ask the seller if they have handplanes or chisels.

Some of my best craigslist finds were not listed. They were dug up when I went to check out what was listed. Usually for pennies on the dollar, but sometimes needing elbow grease.

I want a big, sexy, powerful table saw, but I’m really learning to enjoy the hand tools, and you can find a shop full of tools on Craigslist for far less than ebay…..... If….. You put in the time, be patient, and follow through.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View Sparks8286's profile


72 posts in 913 days

#14 posted 02-10-2015 03:21 AM

What you need all depends on what you want to make so go for the things you need as you need them. Take your time and don’t blow it all at once. Go for quality rather than quantity, but remember there’s a lot of older tools that are much higher quality than a lot of new stuff (there’s a reason they’ve survived this long). Check out eBay and craigslist and see what you can find. Start with a table saw. You can build jigs for a lot of different things without spending a ton of money. You don’t necessarily need the ‘gold plated best there is’ kind of tools, but stay away from off-brands. Check out Grizzly tools. They have good stuff and it’s not outrageous prices.

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem.

View Mykos's profile


102 posts in 1218 days

#15 posted 02-10-2015 03:30 AM

Quality over quantity for sure. If I had $750 and only the tools you have listed, I’d use $100 of it to upgrade my combination square to a Starrett. I love mine dearly, and if it were to disappear I’d buy it again instantly.

You can scrimp and save and get a lot of woodworking tools by rehabbing antiques or making your own shop tools. However your accuracy has to start somewhere. Pay the money for a real accurate combination square that is dead on and will keep its squareness over time. Then you can use this to check your work and make your own wooden squares, straightedges, jigs and fixtures. Even checking your circular saw blade is square to the baseplate can be done with your combination square. It can be used as a marking gauge with a pencil or xacto knife until you can get or make a dedicated one.

A nice set of chisels and a mallet would be next. I like the Narex set of bevel edge chisels that Lee Valley carries. The set of 4 is about $50, and those sizes will cover most of your needs right away. Buy other sizes as you find you need them. The brass cabinetmaker’s mallet is another $40, so you’re at $90 total to cover your chiselling needs.

The remaining $560 depends on where you want to go. Think about what you want to do with your woodworking, and how you’re going to dimension the stock. If you’re going to build with plywood quite a bit it’ll change your tools vs. only using solid wood.

You have a circular saw, so I’d make yourself an edge guide (lots of how to’s for this) and use that until you get a table saw. If you want a table saw. If you’re going to buy one new, spend a good amount of money on it to get a good one. Or rehab a well made old one for a lot less money. I love having a tablesaw for rough dimensioning stock, but I could make do without one.

A good router is very versatile. I like the Bosch 1617, but there are lots of other good brands. Look for a kit with a plunge base and a fixed. The fixed is handy to mount to a table, which you can build yourself. A router can handle a lot of the joinery tasks like dado’s, grooves, rebates and mortises.

You say that you do not necessarily intend to go only hand tools at this point. If money is tight and you’re doing this as a hobby for enjoyment more than to produce furniture in a short amount of time, than you’ll be able to get set up to dimension stock by hand for far less than by machine.
I bring this up because you posted it in the hand tool forum, so it seems relevant.

If you used the $560 to buy a good low angle block plane, a jack plane (a used Stanley #5, no need to spend big money here), a jointer (no 7 size), and a smooth plane (this I’d buy new before the others), you’d be able to dimension any boards from rough sawn to finish ready regardless of their size. There’d be a learning curve for sure, but you wouldn’t ever need to ‘upgrade’ or have any piece of timber you couldn’t joint or flatten because it was too wide.

Good luck with your shopping spree.

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