Novice woodworker wonders what tools I should buy

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sandy wrote: <snip>

If that's the case, try here: www.leevalley.com.
It's far and above my favourite store, online or otherwise. You're somewhere between being a hand tool enthusiast and a power tool fan. Lee Valley has a ton of handtools, most of excellent quality. It doesn't sell power tools (or not very many) but it has a bunch of things that accessorize power tools.
--

Tanus

http://www.home.mycybernet.net/~waugh/shop /
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"sandy" wrote:
<snip>

First my condolences for your loss.
Next, forget about buying anything for awhile.
Remember the 10 year old kid with a dime allowance?
Clasped that dime firmly in the hand and did a lot of window shopping before it grudgingly got spent.
Well picture yourself as that 10 year old kid, do a lot of window shopping, it is a necessary and fun part of the process.
Get a copy of Fred Bingham's book, Practical Yacht Joinery from either the library or for $20, buy a copy.
It is a little dated, buy any book that has a chapter, "Happiness is a $5 Table Saw" is definitely worth reading, if you want to continue down the wood butchering road.
The book will give you a new perspective on tools as well as wood working in general.
Armed with that information, you will be in a much better position to determine what, if any, tools you might/must acquire.
Have fun.
Lew
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"Lew Hodgett" < wrote

Grin, thats me and good advice. I currently lack a few tools that would be awful nice to have but am probably a novice for this level of forum. I've been lurking the past week and looking stuff up that caught my fancy. I can't say as I 'need' many more things than we have, but we get them as we find a 'true need' to finish a job. Mostly, home repair after renters did a number on us.
That said, there's quite a few spiffy tools I'd 'desire' and use if I had them! I want a better hand tool for example that scrapes off thin shears of wood when fine tuning sizes of doors (sorry, forgot the name for the moment of these. I want to call it a hand lathe but I think thats might not be right name for it? Flat metal plane with a blade that sticks out a little and you run it along the wood to shave off small amounts til it fits right). What I 'need' are some new blades for the one I have. What I 'desire' is also a smaller lighter unit for smaller jobs.
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Others have given some very good counsel for tools and equipment, but I will go the other way for a moment...
I would start with upgrading your safety equipment before anything else. Get good glasses that you can wear for several hours at a time. If you can't wear them all the time, you'll set them down between cuts and lose them. Or worse...set them down, can't find them and decide that "Oh, it's just a short cut, I'll go without for now." Next thing is you hoping the medics can save your eyesight.
Also get a good fullface shield. I wouldn't go with the filtered air type, just open side if fine for 99% of stuff...unless you take up turning, then all bets are off on the filtering units and get one of those.
DO NOT use gloves and power tools...I know, but lets hold off on the holy wars here guys, we're talking about a relative newbie here, so let's just stick to learning to made sawdust without the blood coloring... I do use gloves when handling raw stock...I really don't like slivers...but no where else.
Get a decent first aid kit, because you will get cut and you will have slivers.
For the shear joy of making wood chips, you might want to think about a good hand plane. I use tools with tails, but there are times that I just want to hear the sweet sound of a well tuned plane slicing through a board and piling the whisper thin shavings around my feet. I've done that for no other reason than to hear and smell the wood and planed away several inches of wood.
I, along with just about everyone else here, would like to say that I'm sorry for your loss and hope that we can help in turning you into a seasoned termite.
Luck to you Mike
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*snip*
I'll second the opinion, and add a recommendation of quality hearing protection. I got a pair of "dumb" (that is, no electronics) headphones for around $10 at Menards, and they're a decent starting point. Others here have some with fancy electronics that automatically turn on and off when they detect certain noises.
Using most hand tools, the hearing protection will probably unnecessary. Hammers and powered tools, especially in enclosed spaces, usually require hearing protection.
Puckdropper
--
Marching to the beat of a different drum is great... unless you're in
marching band.
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Absolutely...I just forgot to type about the muffs...I use them with ANY universa motor tool for every cut and table saw, shaper etc., at least most of the time, but they don't put out the pitch the I'm overly concerned about.
Mike
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wrote:

The best ear protectors I have, from a comfort and rating standpoint, are $15 Peltor muffs.
The electronic gadgets add convenience, but often have lower protection ratings.
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Sun, Feb 24, 2008, 8:05am (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@isp.com (sandy) doth sayeth: <snip>, thought I'd ask the experts for their suggestions. <snip>
But you screwed up and came here instead, eh? LOL
Duck decoys. I got a book on making them a few weeks ago. But don't know where it's at, so can't tell you the title. Got it in a used bookstore. Start hanging out in a good bookstore. Or, your local library. Need a bandsaw, good knife, carving chiesls, depending on just how detailed ou want to get.
Router. Make your own table, cheaper, you'll get what you want, not what some seller thinks you want, and good learning experience.
You can buy clamps, or make cam clamps for almost nothing, unss you start using fancy wood in them. I used 1/2" plywood and figure they were probably 25 cents, or less, each.
If you get a late, i'd say get a big one. I got a 37" HF woodlathe years ago. Still works like a cham, and loads of fun to use. You can't make big stuff with a small lathe, but you can make small stuff with a big lathe.
If you plan on making youself rich woodworking, don't quit your day job yet.
JOAT 10 Out Of 10 Terrorists Prefer Hillary For President - Bumper Sticker I do not have a problem with a woman president - except for Hillary.
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Wow. you've gotten so many replies here.. I did not take the time to read them all, but here's my 2 cents..
Sure.. plan a project.. that works.. but some of my favorite tools..
If you do any case work.. boxes.. bookshelves, a table saw will be real handy. A contractors type -- where the motor hangs out the back will be fine. A used one can be had in the 300-500 range. Get the Biesemeyer style fence. Get that style fence. All brands come with a version of it.
A fun tool is a scrollsaw. Dewalt makes a nice 20" saw that can be had for around 300 used. It's just a fun saw to play with. You'll be mostly making small items, but you can get as crafty as you want. I just got one and it's a blast. And the kids/grandkids can use it. Very safe tool.
Buy a nice jigsaw for curved cuts.
Buy a dust collector with 1 micron filtration unless you are going to be blowing the dust outside. See Bill Pentz website. This is important for all but the scrollsaw. Take this seriously. Breathing all that fine dust is not good.
Buy a router.. 2 HP or so. Use it handheld, or mount in on the underside of a table. You can make a table.
Consider a miter box - non slider, 10 or 12 inch. The tablesaw can do all that , but the miter saw comes in handy and great for rough sizing stock.
Consider a bandsaw - especially if you want to cut down thicker stock into thinner stock. It's also handy for curved cuts (though a handheld jigsaw will work also).
Consider a portable planer - useful for making flat stock thinner. Need to have flat stock, so either buy flat stock, or buy a jointer to make flat stock.
Consider a jointer - to make stock flat. You don't need this if you are buying flat and square stock. But if you get rough stock or do some resawing on the bandsaw, you may want to consider it.
Forget the radial arm saw. Just use your tablesaw and make a crosscut box.
Get some good measuring tools -- tape measure, 6" steel rule, engineers square, combo square.
Some folks are big into hand planing. I haven't been sucked in yet.. but it's worthwhile to consider.
I'd shop the classifieds, craigslist, etc to get some good used equipment. You can probably save 50% or better. But you might need to read up a bit on each tool before shopping. There are a lot of great buys on used tools if you live near a large metro area.
Enjoy the hobby.. and very sorry to hear about your hubby. Blessings to you.
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Hi Sandy, and welcome.
If you've made it down to this posting then you'll have already read many other good suggestions. I'll add mine:

Sounds to me like you're well on your way.

A good quality blade on the circular saw should do nicely. You can use it to cut up large sheet goods into manageable sizes for cutting more accurately on a table saw. Quality sand paper will improve your tabletop sander's performance a wee bit until you choose to upgrade the machine.

For the window seats you'll likely use sheet goods (plywood or MDF). Many people will agree that a table saw is a primary tool in a wood shop for cutting this kind of stock. I have a large, industrial Delta Unisaw with a 52" rip capacity but it's too large for the shop I'm in at the moment, so I've placed it in storage. I'd like to suggest that you consider the saw I'm currently using, a Ridgid TS2400LS. It's a contractor's portable table saw and can be found at construction sites all over the country. Here's a link to a short video about this saw, but note that it's displaying an older version (there have been a few improvements):

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=nzZd-qWWlNE

It has a built in, direct drive motor, but with soft start technology it offers all the power you can expect from a standard house circuit. It's well designed, easy to adjust, very portable and easily stores in a small footprint if space is a concern. And the arbour shaft was designed to accept a dado blade, as you'd mentioned you'd like to use. Consider buying a good quality, 80 tooth blade for smooth cuts in plywood, MDF and melamine and use the standard blade it comes with for rough cutting. Here's a review that explains all the features of this tool:
http://www.asktooltalk.com/reviews/stationary/ridgid-table-saw.php
And here's a link to The Home Depot where it's sold:
http://www.homedepot.ca/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CatalogSearchResultView?D=1&Dx=mode+matchall&catalogId 051&Nty=1&Ntx=mode+matchall&Ne=9&N3383&langId=-15&catNav=3&storeId051&Ntk=level1&cm_ven=hdca_goog&cm_cat=Search&cm_pla=D-25&cm_ite=bid10500830&&s_kwcid=ridgid%20table%20saws|1177216817&gclid=COX3quXs3pECFRGoGgodp1y_gA
I don't know what the rest of the group's opinion is of this saw, but I've used it extensively for the past 3 years and have been very pleased with its performance. Of course there are other fine products out there... but this is my recommendation.

Radial arms saws have fallen out of fashion, for a number of reasons, safety issues being most prominent. Try out a sliding compound miter saw and you'll forget about the radial.

Others have recommended getting books and magazines to help with the learning curve. I strongly support their views. Your library should be a good starting point and I'd suggest looking for books that are specific to the tools you'll be using (how to use and set up a table saw; how to use a router; etc.) Many of those publications will also explain how to make and use jigs and fixtures for the specific tools. Like most of us, you'll make jigs and fixtures to make the processes more efficient and repeatable.
Shop safety has been mentioned before, but it's worth repeating. Safety glasses and a face shield, hearing protection and an effective dust mask are a must to protect your health. And keep some bandaids, antiseptic ointment and tweezers handy in the workshop. You're gonna need 'em! lol
I hope you'll find this information useful and I look forward to seeing some of your projects posted here in the future.
Cheers.
Michael
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First thing, and I'm putting this above everything, if you have long hair, then figure out how you're going to keep it out of the tools and do that _religously_. If you don't trust yourself to secure it _every_ time then get it cut to shoulder length or less. Why? The first time you see something turning 30,000 RPM climbing your hair toward your face you'll know. Been there, done that, don't want _anybody_ (except maybe Osama) to repeat it.
sandy wrote:

Do a project, buy what you need, but when you do, always consider what else you could do with it.
Here's another discussion of this topic that I think is pretty good http://groups.google.com/group/rec.woodworking/browse_frm/thread/5b4be7dfa6557b34/ff1815bc938dd2f3?lnk=st&q=eye+bee+em+combination+square&rnum=1&hl=en#ff1815bc938dd2f3
If you've got room for it get a decent sized air compressor up front. It will save you money in the long run--I spent more than the price of the compressor working around its lack before I finally got pushed off center to get the thing. You mentioned carving--a little 10 buck "micro die grinder" from Harbor Freight takes Dremel bits, but turns almost twice as fast, has more torque, never overheats, never fills up with sawdust, and is about a quarter the size of a Dremel. The air hose has more flex than a flex shaft too. One of the best bargains there is in a power-carving tool, but one reason it's so cheap is that it depends on the compressor for power.
On saws, a _good_ radial arm is a lovely tool to have. But to get a _good_ one you're pretty much going to be looking for used unless you can afford to put several thousand dollars into it. The catch with them is that the lower end models go out of alignment with deplorable regularity. I _strongly_ recommend that _before_ you buy an RAS you read both Jon Eakes "Fine Tuning Your Radial Arm Saw" (contained in PDF form on the DVD "Stationary Saws with Jon Eakes" http://joneakes.com/dvd ) and the Mr. Sawdust book http://www.mrsawdust.com /. A good sliding compound miter saw and good table saw can be had new for less than the price of a _good_ _new_ radial arm saw and between them will do most of what the RAS will do.
If you get a router, you really should get or build a router table (a good simple project by the way) and some kind of precision positioner is very convenient--Rockler has the original Incra jig for 100 bucks or you can get one of the newer ones with more cutting range and finer adjustement for a lot more.
Clamps--get more than one kind and a variety of sizes.
Regular bar clamps such as the Bessey Tradesman are your real workhorses IMO. Come in sizes long enough to cover most project ranges, some have extended reach, can be had inexpensively from a number of sources.
You'll see recommendations for Bessey K bodies (note that the K is different from the Tradesman). They are very useful tools, a couple of long ones and a couple of medium size will do all sorts of things for you but if they're the only kind of clamp you have you'll run into situations that they won't handle gracefully. If you get Besseys (any Bessey), the first thing you want to do is _wax_ them--for some reason Titebond and other common wood glues stick like crazy to the things, more to the metal parts than to the plastic but it's not all that easy to get off the plastic.
Some handscrews will be very useful. Nice thing about them is that they'll hold odd-shaped stock and clamp at angles.
One thing that gets pooh-poohed by a lot of people is the Irwin Quik-Grip one handed bar clamps. I find them incredibly handy--they aren't the tool you grab when you need lots of precisely applied pressure but they're perfect for holding a stop block in place or holding an assembly until you can get the big clamps on it or all sorts of other stuff where you need three or four hands. When you get those, _clean_ the bars with lacquer thinner--any oil or grease or wax on them will make them slip, and I've had brand new ones in sealed packages that were oiled up like crazy--I suspect that their bad reputation in part comes from that. I'd at least get a couple of the "minis" (the "micros" are too small for general work of any kind, but I suspect that they're lovely for model making).
Woodcraft normally has a "15 piece professional clamp set" in stock for 20 bucks. The quality is distinctly Harbor Freight, but they are usable--do inspect carefully, file or grind down any big bumps on the faces, and clean and lubricate the screws. They're never the first clamps I grab but when I'm out of the "good clamps" I'm damned glad I spent the 20 bucks.
Something most people don't think about is cordless tool _systems_. If you're tempted to buy a cordless _anything_ don't just look at the tool, look at the others that use the same battery. I just happened by chance to get an 18v deWalt about ten years back, and that proved to be fortuitous, because not only do the same battery and charger work with lots of other deWalt tools but now I can go to lithium ion technology without buying anything new except batteries and charger.
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--John
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Brilliant thought..
I have daughters with long hair.. and I've been thinking they might like to do some shop projects.
This could be a life saver!

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.woodworking/browse_frm/thread/5b4be7dfa6557b34/ff1815bc938dd2f3?lnk=st&q=eye+bee+em+combination+square&rnum=1&hl=en#ff1815bc938dd2f3
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wrote:

Well Sandy you have a lot of choices here. The goggles are a wise investment, and anything you do for dust control is well worth protecting your lungs. A saber saw is great for curves and a good choice until you can get a bandsaw. Duck decoys will require some carving tools, possibly an odd clamping device (perhaps you can make one!), and a Dremmel can be useful. A good table saw is a very important power tool. Most hand tools will be useful long after you acquire power tools. Add quality tools as you need them, rather than what you think you need and you'll save some $$$. Fine Woodworking magazine has some tool reviews (once a year) that can be helpful. Sorry to hear about your hubby. HTH
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You've already found one of the best resources for woodworking - the library. If you have a county-wide system you might want to visit the other libraries it has. Mine has Taunton Press videos and any book I could want. If they don't have a book I'd like the I just ask and in a couple of weeks they buy it for me. Saves lots of $$$
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