Novice

I am sort of a novice woodworker, but am thinking of getting more serious about it as a hobby.
I am mostly interested in projects for things around the house, maybe some furniture later on, craft projects, etc.
I am wondering what you guys think is an appropriate set of power tools for such a task. I am thinking along the lines of the following items:
lathe big table saw (I have a small one that is almost useless for cutting plywood) drill press band saw sander
I sort of like the idea of an all-in-one approach to save space (ala Shopsmith) and if I could get one at a reasonable price used, I might head that way, although I have heard they are not all that great as a table saw.
I don't expect to be doing a lot of this stuff, although you never know when a hobby is going to become an obsession, so I am thinking that professional grade tools might be an overkill, but I don't want to waste money on stuff that will fall apart after being used a few times.
My current power tool assortment is a variety of stuff (Makita, Milwaukee, B+D, Ryobi, Skill), all of which have performed quite well for me, and I can't really tell much difference in performance between the expensive stuff and the less expensive stuff. I suppose if I had to make a living off them I might notice a difference.
I even have a $6 angle grinder I bought from Homier, cause I wanted one to grind down the tops of some fence posts I had cut off at ground level, but did not want to spend a lot on something I will probably never use again. Its a lightweight tool, and would never hold up to any serious use, but it did Ok grinding down the fence posts.
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You might want to consider a router also, otherwise the list of tools is good enough for most projects. IMHO I wouldn't recommend a Shopsmith unless you have a very limited amount of shop space. The set-up from tool to tool is a PIA. It's much more advantageous to be able to work with one tool and move on to the next tool if you don't have to tear one down and set up another.

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Bob: Briefly, delete the lathe for now, add a router (very important) and a planer or jointer. You can even get by without the drill press for now.
Bob Schmall
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I'd drop the sander and the lathe, keep the drill press.
If I had One Machine, it'd be a TS, BUT a DP is useful enough on its own that I'm gonna buy one before I buy a "Real TS"
For "Around the House", I'm assuming you mean "Handyman" stuff.
In that case, get a good SCMS, a DP, and a circular saw with a good straight edge for cutting sheet goods down to size.
Then you don't need to consider upgrading your TS just yet.
Eventually, you'll want a saw with a good fence and a jointer, but in your shoes, I'd build a string-tensioned bow saw and learn how to join wood that way on small projects.
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Add a router and router table. The best value in a bandsaw is the 14" models. Get at least a 12" drill press.
I don't have a lathe and have survived, but turning is a hobby in itself.
Hand tools like a good set of chisels and a block plane is good. See www.leevalley.com for a very good plane. I have the low angle.

Never used one so I dno't know how they perform. I don't like the idea of having to change modes just to drill a couple of holes, then go to the bandsaw to cut a piece out, then go back to the drill press again for one more hole, etc. Seems like a PITA.
I see a lot of them for sale in out local Shopper paper. You can probably get a good price on a used one if that is what you want.
Get some clamps. Get a couple of 24" and buy larger as youneed them. You can never have enough clamps.

You don't need the "best" but you don't want junk. A good cast iron top contractor's model saw with a good fence willk blow away what youh ave. Excellent at about $750 to $1000. A cabinet saw is better, but 50% more in cost. Sure, it would be nice to have, but most of us don't need it for a hobby.

Good deal for what you did. The important thing is that you recognized that it is a crappy tool and a smart buy for your use, not for repeated use. Some buy the cheap tools and wonder why it does not perform like the pro models.
Buy tools as you need them. If you get hooked, buy more as you go. At some point a planer will be important, as will a jointer.
Have fun. Get a couple of books also. Ed
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Bob - use Google Groups and browse old posts in the rec.woodworking forum. You'll find this topic discussed frequently.
Your initial tool list looks fine, with the omission of a Jointer and Planer.

Again - read what other's have had to say. By my recollection the majority of SS owners say if they had to do it over again, they wouldn't. But if space necessitates one, then ...
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (bob peterson) wrote in

Bob, you seem to be interested in building a shop, more than furniture or other things. This is fine, but realize that, $10,000 later, you may easily have the wrong, (more accurately, not the right) tools to build what you then really want to make.
You mentioned a Shopsmith. These are fine tools, and well-made, and generations of folks have been building projects with them, and have been quite happy with them. I bought a new one several years ago, and, aside from the fact that I could easily have gotten the same tool used for 20% of the price, found all sorts of projects could be done. And I did many of them.
It's a great place to start. Buy one used. Make some stuff. Decide then what you need. There's an active Shopsmith forum on Yahoo groups.
(And you will want a seperate router. Buy a good one, from Porter Cable, Bosch, DeWalt, or some other quality brand.)
Patriarch
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> I am thinking along the lines of the following

Drop the lathe for now. I have tinkered with woodwork for 25-30 years and finally bought one last year. I have discovered that spindle work, which is much of the reason I wanted one, is more difficult than I thought.
The table saw is considered the heart of the woodshop and you should probably pull the budget stops on this selection (not to say you have to go $$$ crazy). If you believe woodworking is going to be in your future, start looking at cabinet saws ($850 - $2000 new). If the interest is more casual, look for a good-quality 10" contractor's saw ($300 - 400 new). Also, the heart of a table saw is its fence so do your research and get a good one. Also get a machine with cast iron top and wings. Prices above are new and there are good deals on used equipment.
The drill press is positioned about right on you list. You don't have to go overboard here. Just get a good machine. Again, used machines appear to be plentyful. Once you get it, a good starter project would be a woodworkers drill press table. The web is full of photos, ideas and plans.
Band Saw? Depends on what you are doing. I survived a long time without one but when I bought it I didn't know how I survived without it. A 14" Delta or Jet will meet most people's needs. If you are going to cut large stock, you might want to look at 18".
Sander? Not sure what you have in mind. If it is a basic finish or pad sander, good. If you are talking floor equipment there are things you should think of first:
- A good router - Bosch, Porter Cable, Dewalt and many others offer good routers. They also offer combo packs with standard and plunge bases. Plan on about $200+ for a starter with 2 to 2-1/2 horses and stay away from the cheapo's. A cheap router with a poor adjustment mechanism is the most frustrating machine you can own (every penney you save you will give back in ruined hardwood).
- Don't overlook the cost of router bits. The are expensive but cheaper in quantity. For example, woodcraft offers 20 bit sets that are on sale for around $100 much of the time. Not the greatest in the world but they will serve you well until you can start upgrading.
- An earlier post mentioned router table an that is a good idea. You can start with a very basic or used table without spending lots of money. As you progress a shop-built table is another good project.
- A decent jointer should be on your short-list. Some will say it is #2 to the table saw and that is probably true. I got by with an old 4" machine for years but strongly recommend at least 6" or larger. I have sold the 4" and am currently looking at 8" machines.
- Don't overlook the 'other stuff' and it sounds like you have some of it. Hand-held drill motors, saws, etc can be picked up on sale or at garage/estate sales. You will also need squares, rulers, tapes, chisels, power tool accessories, yada, yada yada. Again look for these at sales or estate sales. Occasionally you can step into an estate sale with someone's life-long collection of tools offered for little or nothing. My cousin (curse him) picked up a Powermatic 66 for $400 a few years ago - barely used.

My personal opinion is the ShopSmith is a good machine but it compromises nearly every operation you will do. You will also grow weary of setting up and resetting every time you want to do something. Again, they are a good machine especially were space is limited. Ebay and you local ads will feature used machines at good prices.
Final word - buy the best you can afford and occasionally the best IS available as used equipment.
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