Newbie wants some tools

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I am just starting out in the world of woodworking and I'm quite excited. I'm in the process of building some shelves for my closet. After making a nice trip to Home Depot a couple of days ago for wood, clamps, glue, etc., I have $135 left to spend. After letting you know what I already have, I'll ask your opinion on what I should get next tool-wise.
I already have a Skil circular saw that I used to cut up the MDF for the shelves. It wasn't the easiest, but then again, it wasn't until after I finished the cutting that I read an article about a cutting guide. Needless to say, I'm not sure all my cuts are square. =)
I also have a router that is, from what I can tell, a piece of junk. My dad, out of best intentions, I'm sure, got it from Harbor Freight and gave it to me for Christmas last year. I tried using it for the first time last night and couldn't have been more frustrated. It mostly stemmed from the fact that the cutting depth gauge has no relation to the cutting depth and the springs that allow the plunge are extremely tight. A few times, I thought I would break the wood right off the working surface just trying to plunge the thing. It is the first router I've ever held, so I have no comparison, but if my hunches are correct, it should be an easier tool to work with.
I also have a nice cordless drill and some random woodworking utilities (combination square, measuring tape, etc.)
Now, as I said I have $135 to spend on something. Money is extremely tight, so that amount will go up only about $25/month if I need to save up for something. I am really itching to get into some sawdust-making (my grandfather was a cabinet-maker by trade. I think it's in my blood) and am wondering where to put my money. At first I thought that a new router would be beneficial, but then I started to wonder about a cheap table saw. I've also looked at bandsaws. What would be the most beneficial thing for me to get (even if it ins't one of those three things)? What would be the suggested order of purchasing? Should I save up for awhile and get something specific, or is there something beneficial to buy that would fit into my $135 budget?
I know that the money is tight, and I am not going to go into debt, period. I believe that this could be a pretty big hobby for me in the future, so I also want something beneficial in the long run.
Enough of my ramblings. Commence opinionations..........NOW! -geoffrey
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B e sure to use a good center upport. MDF sags easily. You can put a wood strip on the front to add some flexural strenght though.

OK, you know you need a cutting guide.

Go to www.patwarner.com

What do you need? Save up until you NEED a tool and you will have the money for it. One easily overlooked tools is a good set of clamps. You will NEED at least two. First ones should be a minimum of 24", prefferably the 31" if you are makig a bookcase of cabinet.

Visit www.leevalley.com Lots of quality tools and idea. The saddle square is one of the handiest tools I have and it is about $10. Maybe get a few brad point drill bits.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Go to a bridge near your house and look under it. If you do not see any relatives, then go to your library and check out a couple of basic books. Also look into your local adult education for possible classes.     mahalo,     jo4hn
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Measure the cutting depth using your combination square, not anything on the router. Are you sure that the plunge is *completely* unlocked? A partially locked plunge will act like a tight spring.
Have you thought about spending some of your remaining funds on a book or two, perhaps a magazine subscription, or even a class at a local community college? Another option is demos and mini classes at local woodworking merchants, or even Home Depot. All of the above might help you make better spending decisions.
Good luck and have fun.
LD
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When you do decide on a tool you'd like to acquire, look to buy it used. Typically you can get a used tool for 1/2 the original selling price (totally generalizing, YMMV). You can stretch your tight budget a long way this way. Higher quality tools will outlast most of us so your not sacrificing anything.
Neil
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What tools you need to buy next are dependant to what your future projects will be. For example, if you planned on making your own lumber for these projects, a chain saw would be in order. If you're renovating your home, most of the lumber you get will be milled and you just have to cut it to fit, so a good miter saw would be handy. What are your future goals? We'll get ya started. --dave

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There are many sources to buy good, cheap used tools without sacrificing your arm or leg.
1. Estate sales - Probably one of the best place. Check your local papers or web sites. You might not find newer used power tools or machineries. You could still find drill bits, hand files (old one made in USA), forester bits, power drills (very old). if you are lucky you might find newer good condition, circular saw, belt sander, table saw, radial saw and various type sanders.
2. Garage Sales - Sometimes you might find good used tools at a bargain. I once bought two new grinding wheels for $1 a pieces.
3. Auction - probably a good place to buy used newer tools. Table saw, jointer, planer, router etc..
http://www.kcauctiontrackers.com / http://www.estatesales.net/default.aspx
4. Sample sales - Another good source of new unused sandpapers, small tools, locks, hinges etc. I bought a whole bunch of #0000 sandpapers at a fraction of its original price,
5. Flea market - Bought a 1hp 8" bench grinder for $10, a few hand planes.
6. Antique store - Bought two good condition still useable very old Stanley planes for $20 each..

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On Sat, 05 Feb 2005 21:12:08 -0600, WD wrote:

7. Make your own tools! I do this because my budget is very similar to the OP's. When you're starting, you need practice. Making a marking guage teaches mortising and precision fitting, for example. You can bootstrap quite a nice tool collection. I did*. Along the way, you'll develop your skills nicely.
At first, buy or scavange blades. Later on you can start down the slippery slope of metalworking.
You'll find loads of plans and diagrams on the web for easily made fine tools. I have collected a slew of pics from ebay of old tools that I want to make. Already made a few.
*Toolbox, turning saw, frame saw, frame resaw, grooving plane, stair saw, marking gauges**, panel gauge, clamps, mallets, carving knives, dovetail markers, many file handles, scrapers, center finding gauges, try square, shooting boards, and a bunch of holders, shelves, boxes, etc. for the shop. Jigs, mustn't forget jigs.
**I wimped out and bought a mortise gauge.
Have fun!
--
"Keep your ass behind you"
vladimir a t mad scientist com
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With so little money, I recommend gaining skills with hand tools. A good set of chisels for $100 and a sharpening stone will go a long way. Until you can afford to get a DC, use power tools sparingly. Buy quality tools as you need them.
wrote:

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Thanks so much for all of your thoughts. A few of my own:
1) I did already purchase some clamps on my Home Depot run. I bought 3 36" and 3 24" Quick-Grips. I figured that those were going to be pretty high on the priority list.
2) jo4hn and Lobby - I hadn't thought of classes. My schedule is psycho right now (have a 6-week old girl -- my first), but that's a good thought for the future.
3) I do have a subscription to WOOD magazine, which I eagerly await. It seems every project they have is geared towards readers with table saws. Can these cuts be made with circular saws as well? Any other magazine subscription recommendations?
4) Lobby - I think the plunge on the router is completely unlocked. I don't think the little handle will go up anymore =). I will take a look at it, though. Any other thoughts as to the router being super springy?
5) toolguy and WD - Used is definitely something I'd be interested in. It's pretty funny but I saw toolguy's post and was going to ask where some good sources of used tools were, then I saw WD's post. Great information from both of you. Much obliged.
6) Dave and the rest - My future goals are pretty cloudy right now. I can say that I'm not interested in anything having to do with a whole tree. =) Basically, I'd like to buy lumber at a yard or store, then make it into something. So unless a tree falls in my backyard, I have no plans on using a chainsaw. Also, I'm in a new house that doesn't really have anything to fix up yet, so I'm not doing anything major to the house itself. Now what I don't have is furniture and storage. I am hugely interested in building bookcases, entertainment centers, shelves, tables, etc., basically most things that are currently over my head. =) Most of the time, I am interested in the practical things. But, for some reason, I also have an intense love of little boxes. So, it would be nice to make a little box (jewelry or other kind) occasionally as well. And of course, projects for the shop itself are always on my mind.
7) Phisherman - When I was coming over here to post a reply, I was, in fact, going to ask about hand tools. I know that they would increase my abilities and get me to think about things more as I work. I believe they would also slow me down enough to learn about the wood itself. Are there certain things I should look for in hand tools (and chisels in particular)? Are there brands that are better than others? Sources? Finally, with a bit of new-guy embarrassment, what is a DC?
Finally, I am stuck right now in my shelving project because of the router issue. I was going to join things with rabbets and dados, since those seemed easy with what I had. Now, without a router (or until I can figure out what is wrong with mine), I'm not sure I can continue. Is there a good way to cut rabbets/dados with a circular saw? What about with hand tools? Can you even use hand tools in MDF?
Thanks so much for all your help. I appreciate the willingness to find out what's best for me and not just blurt out a certain product or tell me to get a side job to make more money to buy X table saw for $1900.
-geoffrey
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On Sat, 05 Feb 2005 21:13:40 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Another good thought for the future, say five or so years down the road, is a set of small, good quality tools "for her very own."
--
"Keep your ass behind you"
vladimir a t mad scientist com
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I'd take it apart and see if there is something binding. You should have some resistance, but it should not need excessive pressure. Do you have a model number?
LD
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Many of the cuts can be made with a circular saw and an edge guide. For most of us, the tablesaw is the center of the workshop. A really good one will cost $750 and up. Waaay up. That $135 will get you a used one though. Maybe not a top of the line, but enough saw to get by with for a few years. I don't advocate buying cheap tools, but, this is a relatively small investment that will help you decide if wood working is going to be a long term hobby, will allow you to do the cuts that are easiest with a table saw, will help you in deciding what feature you want in the final big saw you buy, and will still have some re-sale value when you do upgrade. Most weeks our local shopping paper has a few used saws lited. Most are cheap Craftsman, bt the price is ften $100. Take a look at a $200 saw at Sears just so you know what the value of a used one may be. Sometimes people try to sell at the price they paid and are no bargain.

Good way to get started and to learn. I saw a bookcase in WalMart for $28. It was partical board with a covering. For only twice that money you could buy real wood and make your own. Keep in mind this is not a hobby to save money for utilitarian items, but it is a way to make exactly what YOU want.

Boxes are a hobby unto their own. Make nice gifts also.

Dust Collector

MDF has adhesives that can be hell on had tools.

Nah, you can get a very good saw for $1000. Get a paper route? ;)
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Try this site, get a feel how much a very good used woodworking machine will cost. Boy, do they have good old "American made" woodworking machines!
http://www.irsauctions.com/index_search_results.asp?indP

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http://www.irsauctions.com/index_search_results.asp?indP
Wanna Yates for $175??
YATES AMERICAN Y-36 36 BAND SAW      Closes: 2/8/05 1:30 PM EST      Jasper, AL      Current Bid = $175

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That's massive! That is a big damn band saw.
But the page you gave shows no results.
--
Alex
cravdraa_at-yahoo_dot-com
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OK try this http://www.irsauctions.com/index.asp?bhcp=1 Then click on "Search All Auctions" on the top left hand blue bar. Go down and selection "Saw" and click on "Table Saws" and click on "Submit Search" and now which table you wanna bid?
The Usual Disclaimer... no relation to IRS at all

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save your self some money and get clamps at Harbor Freight when there on sale, there not quite as good as my Bascos but when there on sale for $3 for a 30" vs $14 for the Basco or it's well worth the price also also get the rubber pad covers that'll help prevent denting some of there pipe clamps are decent as well, HF is a great place to save money if you know what your looking for, and they have amazing sales all the time
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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I believe that this could be a pretty big hobby for me in the

ahead and spring for the big one, it's about $100. It's something you'll use on every single project for many years. And it will make your work easier and less frustrating. You'll be seriously deep into woodworking before you outgrow it.
DonkeyHody "Even an old blind hog finds an acorn every now and then."
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I suggest this set of chisels: http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&pI989&cat=1,41504,43500&ap=1 those are a great deal for the quality and how many you get for the price. Then on eBay, a nice condition Stanley #5 handplane and a decent Stanley 60 1/2 low angle block plane. make sure they have good blade length. You need a workbench to plane on, with something solid to place the end of your wood up against. No pun intended!
--
Alex
cravdraa_at-yahoo_dot-com
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