If you were to build a garage shop, what would be the three (3) shop
tools - like table saws, etc. - that you would absolutely need to have
(not including hand tools, manual or electric)? I need to work on my
small garage and am undecided as to what it is that I really need.
Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.
Table saw, jointer, and band saw would be at the top of my list for stationary
equipment. Add a "portable" planer (as portable as anything weighing 80-100
pounds can be), a router table, and a compound miter saw, and you're in pretty
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Table saw, Drill Press, Router (Look for a hand held that you can also
use in a table)
Circular saw as a "powered hand tool."
These tools should take care of 90% of what you'd ever want to do with a
wood working project. Other tools will make it cleaner, easier, faster,
etc, but these will handle the bulk of your projects.
Do I have to even mention the cordless drill/driver?
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.
To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
1st choice I used this combo for years and it worked well for me.
Radial Arm Saw Can to most of what a TS can do with a little training
and takes up less room.
other tool to be determined by what type of work would be done, for me a
Not one person mentioned the shaper...
The first principles of working wood...to cut, to shape, to
fasten...are the same as they have always been.
My choice of three would be the table saw, the plane, and the shaper.
"I probably would buy a shaper before a planer, but you can get by with
a router. I have a shaper which is is a lot better than a router table
but more expensive as well."
A lot of people mention a planer in the top 3, but I sure don't get it
unless you have a lumber mill and make your own lumber.
Also, shaper would be one of the last large tools I'd buy since you can
get by with a router and a table saw with a molding cutter. I will say
I'm a little intrigued by all the effort and money put into buying huge
expensive routers and lift mechanisms just to stick them in fancy tables
pretending they are shapers. Might as well buy a shaper and be done
Can't quite tell if you're for or against the shaper...I guess it is
like this...once you've had a good table saw, it is hard to go back to
cutting your stock with a skilsaw. When I was younger, I had a router
for everything and knew all the tricks, but after I became familiar
with shaper work, the router lost most of it's status in the woodwork
I could do...proving that sometimes the previous technologies derived
in the era of industrial revolution cannot be beat by the newer
technology...And I am a believer in technology.
When I was seventeen, working in a union store fixture manufacturer's
shop, the router was a little known and little used piece of
technology that had been around for about thirty years, but had not
progressed beyond the point of a half-dozen steel bits and could
hardly be used for anything...mostly for the 'new' laminate
work...there were only a dozen colors of plastic laminate then...by
the mid-seventies router work had become a revolution in woodwork and
I was a major proponent of the technology.
I still use a router everyday...but I can do so much more with the
shaper, that I would give up my router first, before I would ever give
up my shaper.
As far as the plane is concerned, I have the same opinion...I cannot
live without it. Being able to size multiple pieces of stock cleanly
on four sides is usually the first and most critical stage of
engineering a project.
With those three machines and a box of handtools, I can build most any
I'm all for the shaper, just not if you are only got room or money for 3
A router wasn't the issue as that is a hand tool not a large cabinet
tool, so wasn't really part of the question. I think the guy should buy
a router long before a shaper because it does more than a shaper can do,
just not as well for many things. You can definitely get by with a
router for most home shops, so a shaper isn't one of the 3 large
machines I'd buy or recommend.
I've made a ton of furniture w/o the need for a planer. I know it would
be nice to have, but unless I was logging my own wood, I can do just
fine with lumber straight from the lumber yard. I would much rather
have a 24 or 36 inch drum/belt sander than a plane, but I'd like to have
a plane as well, just again, not one of only 3.
I've watched the Woodright guy on TV with all his hand tools... not my
cup of tea. Nothing against it, I just like machinery of any kind and
hate doing anything by hand if it can be done with a machine. It's a
personality thing I guess, but I love machinery.
"DAClark" wrote in message:
| Not one person mentioned the shaper...
| The first principles of working wood...to cut, to shape, to
| fasten...are the same as they have always been.
| My choice of three would be the table saw, the plane, and the shaper.
Disagree with your suggesting that a beginner should start with a shaper.
I would suggest just a table saw, maybe a band saw, and a lunchbox planer
for a beginner.
I make my living in woodworking and have 4 shapers and never owned a router
table, except that I mounted router bases underneath the left table winges
since '84 for detail cuts and some grooves and dados.
have a good day, woodstuff
I don't disagree with you, if it is a safety issue you refer to...but
the question was about equipment, not the qualification of the
The operation of the shaper is a learning process that hasn't
published much in the way of valid procedural literature in the last
thirty or forty years, so a beginner would want to research the
subject and seek experienced advice.
Shaper works have been displaced by other technologies, both machine
and value-added materials...but the best way to shape wood for
structure and aesthetics is the shaper. If you want to build serious
cabinet and furniture projects, you have to have a shaper, otherwise
you are just faking it. And why fake it, if you can do it right from
And properly operated, the shaper is infinitely safer than the router.
"DAClark" wrote in message:
| On Nov 18, 3:10 pm, "woodstuff" wrote:
| > Disagree with your suggesting that a beginner...
| I don't disagree with you, if it is a safety issue you refer to...but
| the question was about equipment, not the qualification of the
I guess it doesn't matter either way. Since the original poster didn't
state their intentions about what they wanted to do, I assumed that they
were going to build birdhouses and paper weights, maybe some front-yard
cutouts painted with Christmas stuff. Who knows?
Anyway, I just wanted to say that I agree about the router table and bits
costing more and doing less, but I have been unable in the past to explain
the difference to some who listen to the idiots at woodcraft and look at me
like I have 3 eyes...
Have a good day, woodstuff
"Jay Pique" wrote in message:
| No votes for the Festool Domino?!
I vote for the Domino thang, but just can't afford it right now: I'm doing
pocket screws and biscuits.
When my ship comes in...
have a good day, woodstuff
That joke is on me, cause I have no idea what the festool domino is...
But I can fully engineer wood for any structure without pocket screws
or biscuits on the shaper.
Any project, large or small, is the result of engineered
parts...relying upon auxiliary fasteners only promotes the weakening
of that structure by negating proper wood engineering.
"DAClark" wrote in message:
| Any project, large or small, is the result of engineered
| parts...relying upon auxiliary fasteners only promotes the weakening
| of that structure by negating proper wood engineering.
What you say is true and correct. I am also sure that you do outstanding
work, and maybe prettier than mine as well as more sound. I am also sure
that you have done things that I haven't and know things I don't know.
The problem for me with doing other types of joinery is that it takes more
time than I have, especially the construction of face frames and attaching
them to the cabinet body. I just don't have time to do a mortise and tenon
on such a volume.
When I do a furniture piece, I do better. I hope to reform myself soon. :-)
have a good day,
woodstuff http://www.tomswink.com /
I wasn't trying to put anyone's work down, or set up any pissing
matches...I was arguing in favor of the shaper for its woodworking
I do believe that this particular machine tool has lost a great deal
of the understanding that it once enjoyed. I have been in many shops
that didn't even have one, and others, where they had the machine but
didn't use it...I think fear is the shaper's greatest adversary.
There is a learning curve...and improperly operated, the machine could
eat your hand...but I know of no such accident.
I do know the results are worth the effort of learning to use it. And
if you are serious about your woodworking, you have to...
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