Novice woodworker wonders what tools I should buy

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I've recently taken up playing with our limited woodworking tools and have made several elaborate birdhouses, a storage box and some coat/ hat racks. I've really been enjoying it and would like to buy some tools that would make this new hobby more fun. Hubby recently passed away and I wish I'd bothered to learn more.
I currently have 3 drills, a circular saw (old), a cheapie table saw that is really just a circular saw hitched up to a table, saber saw and an inexpensive tabletop sander.
I'd like to try my hand at making duck decoys, making some window seats and I'm not really sure what else....but I'm enjoying myself so much, I'm sure I'll think of something.
I'd appreciate some suggestions as to what tools I might consider adding (or replacing). I've been thinking of getting some better safety goggles, a band saw and a router and maybe a bunch of clamps. I'd also really like something with a dado blade on it. Years ago I'd used a radial arm saw and really liked it but I'm not sure if that would be too much for me to consider at this point.
I live way out in the country and there are no classes on woodworkng locally so I'm basically on my own with a little verbal help from neighbors and of course the library.
Rather than just running out and buying a bunch of stuff, thought I'd ask the experts for their suggestions. Thanks! Appreciate your opinions.
Sandy
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"sandy" wrote

Often noted hereabouts is a rather simple, but wise, concept ... decide upon a woodworking project, then buy the tools you need, as you need them and as your budget allows, to accomplish the tasks in the project.
That way, at least in theory, you end with only the tools you need for the type of woodworking you tend to enjoy.
Theory is fine in theory, in practice there will be some/many things/tools you just won't be able to resist ... don't ask how we all learn this. :)
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I agree with the last post. Decide what project you want to build and then go get the tools for that project. If you do this, you will aquire the tools do most of the projects you want to do. Always buy the best tools you can afford to buy. If you are going to make duck decoys, you will need a band saw, carving knifes, and something like a dremel with a flexable shaft and bits. A wood burner would be helpful also. Let me know if I can help? Randy http://nokeswoodworks,com
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"FrozenNorth" wrote

it
I'm
"Build it and they will come ... buy it, and you damn well better use it"
Close? ;)
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Swingman that is actually great advice.
So if you plan your project right you can have them all?
I get more tools when SWMBO asks if I can make this or that.
I have good tool resistance, been married to her for about 2 years!
--
Mike
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This is good advice, but if you have the money and you want to dive in, then I suggest you buy a nice table saw. It's the woodworkers work horse - the tool you look to first. After a table saw, every other tool is a luxury...
Jeff
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Sandy, This is well worn topic and there are also numerous magazine articles addressing the question. I would caution you to avoid contracting the disease, " tool lust ". Its symptom is the need to acquire numerous exotic tools, jigs, etc. Luckily, its not fatal only discomforting to the wallet.
Joe G
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Grover, Sandy is woman. She's smarter than us. Tool Lust is strictly a male disease.
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"Robatoy" wrote

Wonder what Renata and Kate would say about that? :)
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LOL.. that was a bit misogynistic of me wasn't it. I apologise and stand (sit) corrected.
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Grover, Sandy is woman. She's smarter than us. Tool Lust is strictly a male disease.
Not so fast there!!! My wife has been known to get tool lust on my behalf...when I go to a tool type store, if she comes in with me, I will typically wind up buying more than I intended to...sometimes a LOT more...like a bandsaw worth more when I went into Woodcraft looking to buy come pen kits...should have been a $25usd trip...ended up over $650.
And no, you can't borrow her...I need her for the NEXT trip to the store!
Mike
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Almost makes me wonder what the "REAL" cost of that bandsaw is going to be. What is she up to????????? Better be careful. :-)
Wayne
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Actually, it's pretty simple...I can buy just damn near anything I want...as long as it can fit in the shop and can be used to produce things for her or our grandson.
That's how I got my big lathe, my Leigh jig, the bandsaw, the jointer, the...well, you get the idea.
Mike
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The Davenport's wrote:

Mine is the same - at times.
In the fall, she saw an ad for a lathe in the local newspaper. "Go get it", she said. "You've been saying you want one, and this looks like a good deal."
It was, and I picked it up. Those of you who have seen pics of my shop know that there's no way I could get one in there. It's there.
Every November she gives me a GC for Lee Valley and off I run to fill out my birthday wishlist.
She figures good stuff will come out of that shop that she'll enjoy.
OTOH, when I come home with a truckload of wood that I couldn't pass by, it's "How much did THAT cost??"
Some days you're the bug, other days you're the windsheild.
--

Tanus

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To Robatoy, You are correct about Sandy's gender but new university research points to the possibility that "Tool Lust" is comminicable to the female of the species.
Joe G
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Off to a good start. Many of us consider the tablesaw the main point to start with. For a duck decoy, bandsaw and carving equipment would be better suited, but for those benches, the tablesaw is a big help. I'd recommend saving up to get a decent contractor type saw, not a small benchtop that you'll be unhappy with in a year or two. Budget $800 to $1200 for that. Oh, and get a good blade for it also.
Bandsaw. Get a 14". They are the most versatile for the home shop. The little benchtop 9" are merely toys.
The rest of the tools, get as you need. Clamps are a good investment. Consider making or buying a router table. I rarely use the hand held, but very often use the table mounted router. Get hearing protection too.
You don't always need the best and most expensive tool, but don't buy junk either.
Shop vac, rulers, tape measure, square, apron, floor mats, etc, make life in the shop easier. Block plane is very handy, such as the Lee Valley low angle Don't forget the Lee Valley Saddle square also. I can't imaging doing woodworking without one. http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&pD836&cat=1,42936,50298&ap=1
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I think a sturdy contractor-style table saw and a decent router will get you a long way to being able to handle a lot of jobs. As 1/2" routers are reasonably common these days, I'd hold out for one of those. Variable speed is nice too. If you buy a contractor-style table saw, you can easily build your own 'wing' which will hold your router. Together with the table saw's fence, it will make a nice compact 'machining centre'. Build a sled for the saw and you're all set for a lot of projects without breaking the bank. As suggested elsewhere, a good blade for the saw can turn something mediocre into something terrific.
A quality jig-saw would be next on my list. Then a biscuit joiner or a Kreg pocket-hole set up. (They're not completely interchangeable, but can perform similar functions. You'd need to explore that.)
And lots of books. Look at Lee Valley's website for plans, DO NOT LOOK AT THEIR TOOLS!!!!! STEP AWAY FROM MONITOR!!!
I'm sorry to hear about your loss, but doing something he liked doing, can be very cathartic. Oh, and safety first, okay?
r
From there, a table-top planer
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Thank you everybody for all your suggestions. I'm cheap too and have been managing with a really crappy tablesaw with a blade that I'm guessing hasn't been replaced in 20 years!!! I'm thinking that your suggestion of getting a good tablesaw is a good idea and will put that at the top of my list. Well....maybe 2nd on the list; I've put safety equipment at the number one slot (my protective goggles have such a worn out band that they've been known to fall off in the middle of sawing something)
And yes, "tool lust" DOES infect us too! Glad to hear that it is rarely fatal!
Sandy
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sandy wrote:

Definitely don't want that. Get good goggles or a face shield or both. And when the goggles either don't stay tight or get scratched enough to interfere with vision, replace them.

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Mon, Feb 25, 2008, 7:31am (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@isp.com (sandy) doth sayeth: <snip> I'm cheap too and have been managing with a really crappy tablesaw with a blade that I'm guessing hasn't been replaced in 20 years!!! <snip>
I'm not cheap myself, just frugel. Your saw might just need a new blade. My saw is a HF model, consistent cuts, and with a $10 carbide tipped blade from Big Lots, works just fine - especially with a saw sled. I prefer a full face shield over goggles. And stay out of line with the blade when cutting on the tablesaw. I've never had kickback myself, but I pay a LOT of attention to my safety, and use a saw sled, or stand out of line, just in case. Yeah, I'd get a big ol' tablesaw, IF I had more room, but don't, and the HF does the job, so I'll stick with it for now. I'd like a big ol' floor model bandsaw too, but lack of room again, and my bench model works. Nice 16" scrollsaw, not top of the line, but works just fine. Wood lathe, HF, paid about $120 new, works fine. Just look around before you buy.
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