Re: power tools -- price vs quality?

Keep up with the internet and magazine article reading. Have you considered any used tools? If you are patient, you may sometime come up with some nice machinery at a fair price. Try estate sales, auctions, newspaper ads, garages sales. I've upgraded a quite a few times using these sources. Plus when you buy used, you can get your money back out when you sell. Also I hope you aren't going to buy all this equipment at one time. You will learn better care, techniques, when you spread out your purchases. Even with new equipment, feel free to wait for a sale, or rebate. Hope this helps!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I had the attitude a couple years ago that all these folks who were down on cheap and/or imported tools were a bunch of out-of-touch snobs. Then I actually bought some. At least with the experiences I had, I would never, ever again buy anything slightly off-brand or cheaply made. I lost a lot of money and ended up with pretty scrap metal.
Grizzly is as far off the beaten path as I'd go, and I wouldn't buy their cheapest stuff. The bench grinder I got from HF was useless.
I only buy used qualilty tools these days. I've been getting DeWalt 18V drills for $25-35 off eBay and table saws for free around here. It's amazing what you can find.
GTO(John)

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ditto
Most of us have been down the road of "cheap", usually because that's all we could afford and the Sear's ad came every Sunday with the paper. But having tossed too many tools with very little hours on them, we learned.
But some thoughts just the same...
Drill press is nice to own but not necessary...whatever you buy will most likely come from the same factory in the far east...I loved my old Delta 16-900 and hate it's big sister that replaced it.
Belt sander is also nice to have but not necessary...I had an AMT model with 9" disc and 6x48 belt that worked great. I think the 48" belt is better since the underlying bed is longer. Watch for belt availability (check the catalogues to see what is a "common" belt").
Jointer...don't know about the Grizzly but at the cheaper end I'm guessing there is probably not much difference between them and Delta or Jet...I have the Delta and was totally disappointed with certain aspects of the design that made set-up a total PITA but it works ok...able to adjust to keep the fence square to the table and that is the important part.
Router...buy a good one...lesson learned the hard way by me (2 Crapsman in the trash)...I got a PC 690 and was amazed at the difference when I hit the trigger...good ones have 1/4" and 1/2" collets (spend the bucks for bits for the latter if you can) and now come in kits that lets you interchange a plunge base a with fixed base...
Good luck!!!

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You will get plenty of answers and opinions. Consider used tools if you can find a decent deal. Don't buy cheap junk. It is just not worth the hassle. These are tools that can last many years and will make your life simpler.
You don't have to drop $10,000 the first time out; but you easily can. Buy what you need as you need it. Consider hand tools over power tools to save money also. Yes, there truly is a difference in the quality of the big names compared to Harbor Freight and the close out stores.

8" is a bit small. Go for a 10" or 12". Cheap tools are cheap tools. Even a simple drill press. How easy does it adjust? Do you turn a crank to raise and lower the table or do it by hand and hope to get a close adjustment? How good is the chuck? Is there a lot of runout on the chuck making it difficult to make an accurate hole? How easily is the stop set to get the hole depth right? You don't want the bit to slip in a cheap chuck either.

What about the table to disc alignment? You do want a perfect 90 degrees, and you want some adjustability.

Smoothness of the motor, how it feels in your hands and how easily it will adjust. Take a look at www.patwarner.com for router info.

I use my planer a lot and don't have a jointer yet. It is the easiest way to get the wood the thickness I want. You can use hand planes also.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

I don't agree on this point. My 36" belt/disc sander is the only tool I have where I really shopped around extensively to see what was what. As far as I can tell, HF, Grizzly, Craftsman and Delta all sell exactly the same 36" belt/disc sander. Minor variations on the plastic bits, and not all of them come with a dust collector port, but the castings and metal bits seemed quite identical. I bought the Delta because I caught it on sale for less than any of the others, but I don't feel like I got a better sander because of the Delta nameplate. They're all MIT, all assembled/adjusted exactly the same way. The motors might be different I guess. I didn't look at the motors.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"BobAtVandy" writes:

More than you want to spend.<G>
Isn't that always the case?
If money spent for tools is a primary issue, find another hobby.

Who was it that said, "Figures don't lie, but liars can figure"?

What you are considering building is not trivial.
You will need good equipment to get good results.

Garbage.
Reliability, repeatability, ease of setup, ease of use, etc, etc.

More garbage.

Same answer, see above.

Depends on what you consider acceptable.
They wouldn't meet my standards, but then maybe I'm just fussy. I also don't have a lot of time to waste.

Porter Cable worte the definitive standard.
If you can beat their performance, at a lower price, then do it.

Maybe, as the song goes, "The times they are a changin".
Wait to you want to buy, then ask again.

No comment on D/C, don't need one.
One final comment.
You need to buy some cheap crappy tools and try to use them to get rid of what I call, "The Harbor Freight Syndrome".
After you have been burned, you will understand why lots of folks on this list including me, suggest you only endure the pain once and buy the best tool you can afford, when you need it.
HTH
--
Lew

S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Run out. A 1/8" hole should be a 1/8" hole. Too much run out will destroy your accuracy. A perfect drill press will turn perfectly true, one with too much run out will cause the tip of the bit to wobble.

Dust collection capabilities! Sanders make a LOT of dust, so this is important.

All you need are flat fences and flat tables. I picked up a Ridgid for the same price as the Grizz delivered, and it's great. Nothing sexy about a jointer. <G> It's either accurate or it's not. There are folks here with the Grizz 6", so I'm sure you'll get information.

Do a Google search on 1617EVS, Porter Cable, and Dewalt. This is a whole topic in itself. You can get a great unit, suitable for table mounting or hand held use, with multiple bases for ~$200, from any of the three companies. I prefer the Bosch 1617EVS, others the PC 693. I don't think you'd go wrong with either.

Right. Remember, the jointer and the planer go TOGETHER! <G> I'm very happy with my DeWalt 733, which is currently being redesigned.
There are plenty to choose from in the $300-350 range, all work great.
Barry
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
T'all depends on what you're planning to build (which you did identify in your post) and what style, among other things. How much solid wood work are you thinking you'll be doing? It's quite possible, for certain styles, to build furniture almost totally outta plywood with little solid wood.
Wood can be bought S4S and even pre cut to your needed widths if you find the right supplier (NOT HD!). Where I'm going is, you might get away, initially, without a table saw. Or jointer, or planer. Or some other big ticket items. Rather, (to present another idea) get a good circular saw ($100-150), good blade(s) and good router( ~$200+). Plus some router bits (more $ than the router potentially). Maybe throw in a good jigsaw (Milwaukee or Bosch (THE name in jigsaws, Leon) ~$150+) in the mix eventually. Oh, and you'll need some sanders - a ROS and 1/4 pad. A drill too. Maybe a small (or not so small) drill press, particularly if you're gonna be drill those shelf support holes in cabinets and bookshelves. Some hand tools too, prolly. This way you get a feel for the hobby without too major an investment, are able to build some things, and can add equipment as you figure things out and are financially able.
I'd stay away from cheap stuff cause you usually get what you pay for. ANd, end up paying for it in other ways. Read the other comments for more on this. While you might get away with HF clamps on certain projects, you ain't gonna get far (I'd guess) with a HF power tool. Besides, the differences in functionality, ergonomics (for lack of a better word), etc. are usually quite noticeable between the cheap tools and the better ones. Can't forget the day I first used my new Bosch jigsaw after putting up with the el cheapo B&D jigsaw (it wasn't a frequently used tool so I didn't justify a new one for quite a while) - like nite and day. Not to say you have to go overboard and get the ultimate like maybe Festool, but do spring for the semi/pro stuff.
Just a couple cents worth Renata
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Don't buy all that. Firm up the motivation first. Invest in a course at the nearest place that teaches any sort of woodworking. Having nifty tools doesn't mean you will like woodworking. (I've saved money buying barely used high ticket tools from people who wanted to make a cradle for their first baby and didn't have another spare MINUTE after that and now the kid's in school and needs braces so they're selling.)
The first thing to think about isn't, "What great project can I make with a room full of high priced tools?" A better first question might be, "How do I save myself from exposure to cancerous effluent and keep all my fingers and other body parts, such as eyes -- while I'm spending money making a book case?"
Review WHY you have generated the list. Look at underlying restraints. A dust collector isn't as necessary if you use HAND TOOLS, which have produced most of the items which attract people to woodworking. Consider doing it that way - hand tools first. Start small. Do a few tiny, simple projects and buy only the tools needed to complete them. It might turn out that you like one or two aspects of woodworking but not the stuff that requires the rest of the workshop.
Many MANY professional woodworkers in the Middle East and Mexico make houses filled with beautiful furniture using a tool set they can fit into a couple of lunch buckets. Bring them a magazine and they can duplicate any furniture in it using only that handful of old tools. Don't assume the people you read about in magazines needed all that power equipment to do the job.
If the drive to buy buy buy big motorworks is too strong, get Festool. Then if you do NOT like woodworking as a hobby, you'll get most of the money back selling used. (That's one major reason for buying big brand names, IMHO. If you need to sell, you lose less money.) While you're finding out if this is for you, you are nearly dustfree and also QUIET, so you've done little damage to yourself even if the "trial period" is several years long. If it turns out you love woodworking, you've started with an extremely fine set of tools that you won't outgrow. IMHO, that's the low risk/high value strategy.
By the way, have you budgeted for the "accessories" you'll need? Buying the TOOLS is a start. What about clamps? Finishing supplies? Plans and wood? Storage for all of it during construction? Lighting in the shop (are you going to quit your day job to work on the hobby)? Cold weather and rains might be here in a few months, can you heat the space? Keep it dry? Does it need new flooring, roofing or insulation to hold those tools and works in progress safely and conveniently?
Noise, safety, performance, vision, lungs, financial prudence -- these are not trivial but they are not tools either, yet consideration of these issues should inform your tool choices.
Don't start with the tool list, IMHO. Look for a USER GROUP and mentoring. Easiest way to find that nearby is to take a class. Sure can't hurt, right?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.