Router vs. Table Saw as first major tool purchase

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I am having doubts about my recent table saw purchase. Well, not actually about the saw. I got a great (gloat-worthy) deal. But, about the decision to get a table saw in the first place.
You see, I am a newbie. I asked around and most advice given was that the table saw is the major workhorse in woodworking. So, I got one as my xmas gift.
Problem is that I spent every cent I had to get a good one (well, the best I could get for the money that I had). And, although it came with a wobble dado blade (yeah, I know "you'll put your eye out kid"), I now (and for the foreseeable future with a new kid coming soon) cannot afford a good blade for a good dado set.
So I am thinking that I should have gotten a really good router combo and a bit set with the money instead. At least then I could rough cut with my circular saw and finish with the router. Plus, then I could do rabbets, dadoes, etc.
Agree, disagree, head up my ass, other opinions?
codepath
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snipped-for-privacy@nolove.com wrote:

<snip>
Read "Cutting-Edge Table Saw Tips & Tricks" by Kenneth Burton. (Check your local library.) He does amazing things with the table saw.
-- Mark
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I bought my first table saw when I was a freshman in high school 45 years ago. I bought a Unisaw and 8" long-bed jointer 20 years after that. My table saw gets used all the time; my router occasionally. It depends on what kind of work you're doing.
As for a kid on the way, my wife and I raised nine, and have ten grandkids, and I'm not 60 yet. And six of our kids haven't been married yet, so there are a lot more to come, no doubt. It didn't keep us from making use of the tools -- we needed the tools in order to have the things we could make but couldn't afford to buy. :-)
Hang in there, and remember that if you try to make a good deal, you'll always be wondering if you could have made a better deal. Instead, make the deal, then make it good. Fewer regrets that way.
CE
snipped-for-privacy@nolove.com wrote:

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Good grief. Watch Norm...M&T joints, raised panels, etc. made weekly with a TS. Watch yard sales and pawn shops for a cheap router and get a couple of bits from Woodline, or even some HSS bits from Sears or the like. You can get a perfectly usable router for $10-20! I've made many doors/drawers with such a rig...no prob.
We tend to be seduced by catalogs and TV shows, but look what your ancestors had! If you aren't raising panels, you will never need a 3HP router! My little sears from about 1970 edges doors and makes rabbets just fine.
Get some pine and start cutting. You'll be happier when making dust! Wilson
<> I am having doubts about my recent table saw purchase. Well, not actually

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I can't recall hearing a practicing woodworker say he makes do with a router table but NOT a table saw. The TS is the heart of a WW shop. You can rabbet and dado to your hearts content on it. With the right blade you don't need to "finish" up on the router table, anyway. I get glass smooth cuts with a Freud or Forrest blade. Granted the Forrest is about $100, but the Freuds are excellent for much less dinero. Pick up a book devoted to the table saw and you may reconsider your "problem" as a blessing.
dave
snipped-for-privacy@nolove.com wrote:

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Sorry, I think that my original post was unclear.
The saw that I got has the original steel (no carbide) Craftsman blade on it. It also came with a Craftsman wobble dado blade. As I have no more money (and won't for a very long time), getting a better blade (Forrest, Freud or other) or any other dado set isn't gonna happen.
So, the only way that I would be able to do a rabbet or dado would be to use the wobble (that everyone tells me is unsafe and not to mention looking at it a PITA for accuracy and no flat bottom cuts) or make multiple passes with the regular blade (again difficult to be accurate and time-consuming).
As I have not yet tried either, I am probably completely wrong of course. I hope so as it is now too late to do anything about it.
Of course, if money were no object, I would get a Forrest Dado King or a Freud SD608 or something better, but are wobbles really as bad (unsafe) as I have heard? Looking at where the setting gets dialed in, hitting 23/32" would be nearly impossible.
Even if I could come up with a better blade (I thought about stealing the DeWalt crosscut blade out of my miter saw which has to be better the Craftsman blade in the table saw now), is making rabbets/dadoes using a standard blade as big of a PITA as it sounds?
Anyway, it seems to me that using a circular saw to do a rough-cut and then easing up on the final dimension using a router and straight bit (or straight edge and a flush-trim bit) would be easier than the options that I stated above.
Please feel free to correct me. That's why I am here.
codepath
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You made the right choice in buying the tablesaw first. Now go to the library and check out some books to learn the many ways to skin a cat with this tool.
I have a wobble dado blade and they are not that big of a pain in the ass. Don't worry about it. I don't believe they are any more dangerous than anything else you do with a tablesaw. What is it that is supposed to be dangerous about these?
You can use your regular blade to make dados too. Just move the fence and make several passes. Flatten the bottom with a sharp chisel and you're good to go. Forget the Dado King
Frank
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A 'budget' carbide blade (which can be found in the $15 range) will be a significant improvement.
A good Freud is only around $50, and would make a major difference.
"Finding the money" is just a matter of "finding the money". <grin>
Seriously, it's the price of a *few* pieces of lumber.
A dado set is a *luxury*. *Anything* you can do with a dado set, you can do with a straight blade, albeit in multiple passes.
The wobble dado _is_ "ok" for casual work. If you're doing high-precision "heirloom quality" stuff, take the extra time, and do multiple cuts with the straight blade.

It is _NOT_ that 'difficult' and/or time-consuming, to cut dados or rabbets with a regular blade. *ONLY* the 'edge' cuts have to be 'accurate', so you take your time, and do those first. Then you remove the 'middle' stuff.

NAH. I did it for *MANY* years, It's _slower_ than using a dado blade, but that is the -only- down-side. *AND*, by the time you add in changing the blade (and changing _back_ after you're done), cutting with a standard blade may actually be _faster_ overall.
I've purchased a Freud SD208 -- their good stacked dado set -- and have *yet* to put it on the saw. For only 1 or 2 (comparatively short) cuts, the time and trouble of changing blades makes for no net savings.
If you're making _long_ dados/rabbets, it may make sense to do -only- the edge cuts on the table-saw, and then 'finish' the job with a *hand* chisel.

*EVERYTHING* depends on _what_you_are_doing_.
The *BIG* advantage of the table-saw is that when you cut multiple pieces, against a fence, or a 'stop' on a miter, or cross-cut sled, they come out *exactly* the same size. And _consistent_ with each other.
With a router/straight-edge set-up, you don't have anywhere near the same degree of short-term 'repeatability'. Now, if you're building a box, and "don't care" if the opposite sides are 1/16" (or more) mis-matched, then this is probably not a problem for you.
Don't misunderstand me, you _can_ get the pieces the same dimension, using the router set-up. It is just a whole lot more time-consuming, and a real PITA.
When you're living on a budget, there is a downside to _everything_. It is always a question of what you have to suffer with, to avoid those "other things" that you -don't- want to suffer with.
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snipped-for-privacy@nolove.com wrote:

If you can't swing a better blade how are you going to swing the wood? What about measuring devices?
Do I detect buyers remorse? Get over it.
About the time you have had to straighten up a long run of wood using a router you would wish you had gotten the saw first.
--
Mark

N.E. Ohio
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snipped-for-privacy@nolove.com wrote:

How broke are you? Are you REALLY broke, or just feeling sorry for yourself because you know what a money sucking poop factory that new rugrat is going to be? :)
If you're interested, I have a saw blade for you. It's a Freud TK960 (thin kerf) that's close to new. I accidentally cut into a piece of angle iron with it. (Don't ask.) I figured it was ruined, so I bought a new one. I subsequently compared cuts from the two blades, and there's no discernable difference. I can't find any broken, chipped or missing teeth, and the blade seems absolutely fine. I expect the only thing wrong with it is that it might be slightly more dull than its age would indicate, but I don't judge that it needs sharpening yet.
Email me (just hit the reply button... no hidden tricks or gimmicks) if you're interested.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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Well, the answer to your question is, well, both. I am really broke and (as this is my second kid) I do know what a "money-sucking poop factory the rugrat is going to be" (that made me LOL).
And thank you for your offer. It just proves that this group has a great bunch of folks.
Thanks again.
codepath

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Hmm...
Been there. Tried to get away with minimal power tools, and by many standards I still have the bare minimum, and discovered that I spent most of my time hand planing boards. I learned a lot about planing and planes that way, but it was damn tedious work after a while. I now own a Delta planer and a General tablesaw---HALLELUJAH!--- and was finally able to complete a small bench. So, I am so damn motivated right now that my wife kicked in some loot and we got some Kentucky Coffeetree for new end tables. Life is good. Here is the basic challenge--you have to be able to make four square boards before you can make decent furniture. There is no way around that. A router ain't gonna get you there very quick, but a table saw will allow you to square your stock when ripping and cross-cutting. Planing/Jointing can be done at the mill if needed. It's tough being a newbie, but I have to admit I'm really lovin' this woodworking stuff. Just stick with it. Maybe you can find some projects that are specifically geared to the tabel saw? And DAMN IT, if you have a table saw gloat, I wanna hear it!
Semper Fi
Kevin

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Well, it's not the best gloat on the road (although I feel pretty good about the deal) but here goes:
Craftsman model #113.298750 (early 1990's Emerson-built) 10" Left-tilt Contractor table saw 15 Amp, 110 Volt (220V capable) machined pulleys red PowerTwist link belt all metal hand-wheels Jet Xacta Fence 30" (Beisemeyer-style) 2 original webbed cast iron ext. wings one MDF ext. table standard and dado throat plates mobile base Woodstock clamping miter gauge 34" total right-of-blade ripping capacity 24" total left-of-blade ripping capacity crappy Craftsman blade crappy Craftsman wobble dado blade (yeah, I know, wobble sucks) new condition (no rust at all)
$325 Delivered!
I also got a Incra V27 miter gauge with fence and stop for Xmas.
codepath

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better than what they are selling now) and should work well for you. If money is a little tight, go to Sears and get one of their carbide tipped blades for it. There mid line blades are easily affordable and do a good job (better than I expected). I also used their wobble dado blade for a while and it did the job. The bottom is not as flat as a stacked dado blade would do but they get the job done. Good luck with your new toy.
--
If at first you don't succeed, you're not cut out for skydiving



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After reading all the posts to your original question I think you've recieved your answer. A tablesaw is a must in any woodshop and with "shop made" jigs you can do almost anything. Did you know that it's possible to flute a tapered column on a tablesaw??? Try routing a 23/32" dado....won't happen with one pass.
GL with the new family addition...
Trees take time to grow...so should woodworkers...
TJB
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terry boivin wrote:
<snip>

Why not? Many manufactures make 23/32" router bits specifically for the "undersized" plywood. See:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q#%2F32+router+bit
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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wrote: I stand corrected Jack. I never saw a 23/32" router bit. Thank you. I've always used the old tonge and groove method for carcass construction. Variations in plywood thickness becomes a non-issue with T&G joints

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I could take most of what is in all the previous post and say DITTO
Then saw is the heart of WW the router can do a lot of thing but cannot cut your stock. When you get one you will be delighted but first learn how to use that table saw, it makes sweet music and when you can get it to play a symphony then get the router nad other things.
Good luck on your upcoming fatherhood.
George

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Whether you did the right thing or not ... I don't know. What are you trying to do? Boxes? Bookshelfs? Tables? Pukey ducks? House signs?
I started out with a router first. I was living in an apartment and got a good deal on a Hitachi TR-12 at Costco. I managed to build a bookshelf with it, starting S4S material.
It was slow going. I would have been better off with a table saw. These guys who are telling you that you can't cut wood to dimension with a router must not have used a half-inch straight bit and a straightedge before. :-)
If you can't come up with the $60 to $80 for a good blade, i.e. about two sheets of plywood, where were you going to get your wood? BTW, I have a general purpose CMT blade that I like. Something like the Systimatic 1035 at <http://right-tools.com/budcomblad.html at $50 plus shipping would be a big step up from an all steel blade. You might be able to find a used blade at a garage sale. Sharpening it should be less than $20.
I've never heard that wobble dados were unsafe before, they don't make great dados but AFAIK, they are as safe as a stacked dado. If you don't like the way it cuts dados, you can make dados by cutting two parallel slots with a regular saw blade and chisel out the material in the center or nibble it out with a regular saw blade. You can use cheap chisels, you'll just spend a lot of time sharpening.
Bob S
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There is nothing wrong with a steel blade. They work fine, they just don't last as long. The upside to that is that they can be sharpened with a file.

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