Requirements for basic setup under $2,000

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Forum topic by saltcod posted 04-01-2015 02:21 AM 1936 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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69 posts in 1299 days

04-01-2015 02:21 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tools tablesaw planer jointer beginner

Hey everybody!

We just bought a new house and it has a workshop in the basement! Success! I can’t wait to start working on some simple projects.

I’m wondering what you all think a good basic setup is for a beginner. I’ll start with what I already have, and then look at some ideas for what else I would need:

I have a decent set of tools already that have served me really will in fixing up our old house (some basic carpentry, moulding, that kind of stuff). I have:

— a decent 10” Makita sliding chop saw
— a portable Ridgid table saw
— a full set of Dewalt 18v hand power tools (drills, circ saw, etc)
— a mid-range Makita router

None of this is particularly good for finish woodworking I’m thinking. I’m debating going all-in on Grizzly over the next year or two:
— jointer > $500
— planer > $315
— table saw > $700
— band saw > $500

That puts me a bit over the $2,000 mark with tax and shipping, but it’s pretty close. (I basically chose the base / cheapest tool from each category there).

From watching all these videos, I’m also thinking a good oscillating sander would be great.

Thoughts and ideas welcome!

Really happy to be here!


(ps: I’m hoping to do some basic, beginner woodworking projects at first, maybe some shelves, some bookcases, stuff like that. Probably mostly hardwood plywood to start with)

28 replies so far

View eatsawdust's profile


35 posts in 2409 days

#1 posted 04-01-2015 02:48 AM

You can do a lot with the tools you have, I found a Delta 8” jointer used for 300 and paid the same for a Dewalt 735 planer on Craigslist, a table saw is a great tool with a solid fence, the Ridgid ts you have is not that great so a hybrid saw is a good idea, I have heard good things from the newest Grizzly hybrid but I bet the fence is the weak point. the Grizzly bandsaw are also pretty nice. I gotta say I highly recommend getting a set of grippers too. Good luck and remember you can always add to your tool arsenal later. The ridgid OSS/ belt sander is also a great choice.


-- Why does everything I enjoy doing have to be bad for the environment, I work in the oil industry and enjoy working with exotic woods from rain forests

View DIYaholic's profile


19657 posts in 2821 days

#2 posted 04-01-2015 03:02 AM

Craigslist will extend your budget!!!

Lumberjocks will be a great resource….
When a deal shows up, ask for input here….

Buy tools/machines as you need them.

The incidentals don’t show up on Craigslist as often, may need to buy them new….
Drill bits….
router bits….

Don’t forget about dust collection and an ambient air cleaner….

-- 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 mcg1990's profile


159 posts in 1439 days

#3 posted 04-01-2015 03:05 AM

I think that you, like me, suffer from the need to over-plan that which cannot be accurately planned. I’m still on beginner projects myself, and have no need yet for a band saw or oscillating sander.

I’d focus on a planer and jointer and forget the table saw for now. Your Rigid may not last forever, but good technique and calibration will be just fine. I’d only pick up a cabinet/hybrid saw if you find a KILLER deal on one, like a 1.75hp hybrid for <$400 (good condition), or 3hp cabinet for <$700.

Planer: It’s hard to find anything but old Craftsman models on Craigslist. I say bite the bullet and buy new. DeWalt 734 is great (I have it), or the Rigid model in Home Depots. Both are comparable. Rigid is $30 less and blades are cheaper, but my local Lowes gives me 10% off whenever I ask for it so I got the DeWalt.

Jointer: Try as hard as you can to find an 8”. Hold out for months if you have to. Your $500 should be sufficient if you’re patient and set alerts on all your local CL cities.

Dust collection: Harbor Freight 2hp. It’s widely known to be the only thing in the store worth a damn, and they’re about to run out a 25% coupon for Easter. Buy that.

Clamps: Don’t waste your money on Irwin clamps. They hold, they don’t clamp. Bessey’s or Jorgensens have been good for me, I’m sure others are fine too but they’re the big names. Buy one with every project to hide the cost from your Wife/yourself.

Main thing is patience.

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 2039 days

#4 posted 04-01-2015 03:22 AM

Just some thoughts below, since $2000 can disappear very quickly when you have it in hand.
- For “simple projects” you say
- Best to read up on owner reviews on each particular model Grizzly power tool before you go ‘all in’ on Grizzly?
- You could delay/save up for a $700 table saw until much later, since you already have one?
- Could you not also forgo a jointer and take on more hand planing and table saw tricks to square up boards?
- IMO you should have a drill press before a jointer.
- And do you have enough clamps? (lots of $$ needed there if you aren’t buying used)
- I have a big old Makita hand-held belt sander which I find indispensable – you can flip it upside down to sharpen things and sand small pieces
- Buy good used equipment if you can – and keep $500+ in your pocket for more needed/wanted items later
- Then you’ll also need: hand planes, chisels, and a sharpening system
- And finally . . . you’ll need $$ set aside for vise(s), hardware and materials to build your own awesome customized workbench (the most important tool in the shop!), in case you don’t already have one.

Best of luck with your new workshop setup.

And BTW, welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View knotscott's profile


8129 posts in 3522 days

#5 posted 04-01-2015 09:29 AM

I’d skip the Grizzly planer in favor of a DW, Delta, or Ridgid. It’d be useful to state which Grizzly models you’re considering too….

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

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2751 days

#6 posted 04-01-2015 10:32 AM

Do not buy all these tools at once. The main reason is you do not know where your woodworking will take you. You may decide you want to specialize in small boxes and just want a scroll saw. You may decide you want to do turnings, you may decide you want to build fine furniture, or maybe just chairs etc. Each of these require different tooling combinations.

To make bookcases from sheet goods you need a circular saw and a straight edge. Or better yet a track saw. Your ridgid portable Ts can be used but a track saw or circular saw with straight edge would be better. You also need clamps lots of clamps. To make a book case from sheet goods you need at least 5 or 6 pipe clamps big enough to accommodate the width of your bookcase at the bare minimum. That will cost you more then 100$ right there. Watch some videos of folks building similar things and see what tools they use.

View rwe2156's profile


3092 posts in 1627 days

#7 posted 04-01-2015 11:35 AM

Looks like you’ve already got the basics. As for the quality of tools, I hold back my opinion but I wouldn’t go buying machinery until you’ve gotten your feet wet.

Like the one poster said, make sure the TS is dialed in. There are tons of videos and articles on tuning up a tablesaw. This is the very first think you need to do before you make another cut.

Do you plan on doing any hand work, or just use machines?
You’ll find out as you go, but for most ww’ers, they soon find out they need some good quality handtools.
You’ll need a couple planes (at least a block and smoother), some hand saws, chisels, etc.

Each one has a learning curve. Chisels and planes need sharpening, so this is a skill you’ll need to hone. ;-)
DON’T buy these items at a big box store, especially chisels. You’ll be buying carpentry tools not really suitable for fine joinery work.

There are several sources like Lee Valley, Highland Hardware, etc.

Pipe clamps will be the most economical way to go.
You can get 6 kits and just keep 2 or 3 diff lengths of pipe around.

Don’t buy a lot of jigs. You can make your own just as good.

I don’t know what you’re goal is, whether its to do fine woodworking or mostly cabinet type work, but the former WILL require a higher skill level, decent hand tools and a lot of practice.

WW’ing can be a love/hate type hobby, especially if you have high standards of accuracy and design, but its still one of the most useful and practical hobbies one can have.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View saltcod's profile


69 posts in 1299 days

#8 posted 04-01-2015 11:53 AM

Thanks for the awesome advice and encouragement all! Really appreciate the collective wisdom.

To answer a few questions:

What will I be doing: I really don’t have the personality type for fine woodworking I don’t think. I’m not (yet) interested in precise dovetailing nad things like that. I’d really like to get into making some book cases, maybe a kitchen island, maybe a nice bathroom vanity, and when my skills improve, I’d really like to try making a dining room table. That’s my loftiest goal at the moment!

I had forgotten about the “extras”. The router bits, clamps, chisels, clamps, clamps, planers, saw blades, clamps, etc. That will all add up as well.

About 90% of the projects I want to work on at the moment involve plywood and some kind of edging, so I shouldn’t need the worlds fanciest tools for that.

Thanks folks! Any more advice / opinions I’ll happily take!

View mcg1990's profile


159 posts in 1439 days

#9 posted 04-01-2015 12:26 PM

Get the Kreg rip-cut guide, and consider spending up to $100 on an 80T plywood blade. You can use this on both your TS and Circular Saw.

The main advice from me would be to not look at $2000 as a means to buy everything I could ever want all in one go at cheap prices, but rather to have the luxury of buying good quality tools, accessories and machines as and when the need arises. I think it would be best to spend the first $1000 this way and then build a few things for sale when you need that $1000 back to buy the big guns (jointer, planer, etc).

View dhazelton's profile


2789 posts in 2443 days

#10 posted 04-01-2015 01:14 PM

What’s already been said – you need dust collection in the basement. You may need to seal off the area from a furnace or water heater as well. And lighting is imperative. If you only have a set of stairs heading down there make sure you buy equipment you can dissassemble.

View knotscott's profile


8129 posts in 3522 days

#11 posted 04-01-2015 01:35 PM

A decent workbench or some form of a flat work surface comes in really handy too….doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive.

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

View mgmine's profile


10 posts in 1298 days

#12 posted 04-01-2015 03:51 PM

A pocket hole jig and a multi tool (the vibrating cutting tool) are two thing that I seem to reach for more and more lately.

View WayneC's profile


13775 posts in 4244 days

#13 posted 04-01-2015 03:56 PM

View WayneC's profile


13775 posts in 4244 days

#14 posted 04-01-2015 04:01 PM

Also if you stay on the power tool path

Drill Press gets a lot of use
Air compressor and nail guns are very useful especially if you are doing remodeling work.
Router table

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View jdh122's profile


1039 posts in 2964 days

#15 posted 04-01-2015 04:18 PM

If you’re primarily interested in working with plywood, forget about the jointer. A planer could be handy for sizing solid wood edges for plywood but you can pretty easily do without as well. I would suggest getting a tracksaw (I don’t have one, but I avoid sheet goods as much as possible) rather than replacing your tablesaw.
And a workbench.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

showing 1 through 15 of 28 replies

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