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Deborah,

1. Don't buy cheap low-end tools. You'll regret it later. You may save 1/2 the cost now, but you'll have to buy two or three replacements when they fail.
2. Only buy tools when you need them for a project. For example, don't get a drill press because you "think" you might need it someday.
Based on my own experience, here's the tools I would start out with.
1. The basics. A sharp handsaw, a hammer, basic hand tools (screwdrivers, etc.)
2. A good cordless drill. I have an 18volt Craftsman model, and it's probably the most used tool in my collection. I use it not only for woodworking, but for repairs around the house, away from the house, etc. It's unbelievably versatile for driving screws, drilling holes, etc. and being cordless really increases it's usability.
3. A good circular saw, the handheld "skilsaw" type. Buy the best you can afford. Even with a tablesaw, I still use my circular saw with a straight edge to cut up plywood. It also comes in handy for other construction projects.
4. A good router. I started out with a small Black & Decker cheapie, and I still use it to this day. It's light and easy to work with. But, I bought a nicer Porter Cable 693 to use in a router table. You can do a lot of things with a router, that are difficult or impossible to do any other way.
5. A good handheld electric sander. DO NOT buy cheap. These things seem to wear out quickly. I've gone through several over the years.
6. A good jigsaw. I bought a nice Bosch model, and have been very happy with it. While it's not something you will use a LOT, it's invaluable when you need it.
7. A power miter saw. While I can make the same cuts with the circular saw or even a handsaw, the power miter makes the cuts faster, easier, and more accurate.
8. A tablesaw, the expensive workhorse of the shop. I really only use mine to rip boards to width. I use the miter saw to crosscut boards, or the circular saw and a straight edge to crosscut large boards/panels. I inherited a cheap old Craftsman saw from my Dad, and with an Accufence replacement, it serves my needs well.
9. A portable planer. I didn't think I would use this tool as much as I do, but it's now one of my most used tools. Planing down panels, cleaning up rough boards, etc. I've built many projects from "Recycled" lumber that I would have just thrown out before.
Anthony
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On Sun, 30 Oct 2005 23:03:52 -0600, "Deborah Kelly"

handheld stuff. get a drill, a jigsaw, a circular saw, measuring tools, chisels and sharpening stuff... oops, the thousand is gone...
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Deborah Kelly wrote:

Deborah,
If you're looking for a power tool, I'd recommend a Radial Arm Saw. The low-end new Deltas will eat up nearly all of the $1000, but you'll have something that does the work of quite a few power tools. Or, if you don't mind a fixer-upper, find a used DeWalt Radial Arm Saw from the 1950's at an estate sale for an even better saw. It'll do all sorts of cross-cuts, rip cuts, jointing, etc... I no longer use my (admittedly cheap) table saw or my under-sized jointer.
But buy a book on how to use it, too. It'll teach you the tricks and how not to lose a body part or two.
--
Michael White "To protect people from the effects of folly is to
fill the world with fools." -Herbert Spencer
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