what should be my first power tool?

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On Wed, 03 Mar 2004 23:31:39 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@ehmail.com wrote:

No shit, really? <G>
I think the first power tool should be a band saw. I know a neander whose ONLY power tool is a band saw. It resaws, rips, crosscuts, and cuts curves, and can do all of them at a bevel, if necessary.
Everything else is actually pretty simple to do by hand.
Read what I quoted.
Barry
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LOL!!! Did you bother to read the subject line? If it's his FIRST and ONLY power tool what do you expect him to do with it? Cook dinner.

Try ripping with it or cutting dados for awhile. Then we will talk.
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The RAS, the same one I still own, was also my first major power tool and that was close to thirty years ago. You ain't got all that much to talk to me about smart ass..
--
Mike G.
snipped-for-privacy@heirloom-woods.net
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The RAS, the VERY same one you own, was also my first power tool close to 30 years ago...and I had ALL the attachments that Craftsman made for the thing.
That doesn't mean it was a good choice as a first tool.
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Doesn't mean it was a bad one either. Still go all your fingers? I suspect you do and are none the worse for wear.
--
Mike G.
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What do you want to make? That will determine the order of buy. Anything done with a power tool can be done with a hand tool usually cheaper, but it may take longer to accomplish. It is possible to rip even very long boards with a hand saw if you want to get that router first, but be sure you have something to rout before spending the money.
Electric drills are more efficient than a brace and bit (probably cheaper too) , but holes can be made many ways.
What kind of money do you want to spend? Table saws can be had for $200 or $2000. Both will cut the same wood, one just does it will much less fuss and maybe a little faster. Give us some more idea of your goal and we can offer more detailed advice. Ed
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Pick a project to build, and buy the tools as you need them. The job will let you know what they should be. You have a piece of wood. You need to cut it??? Aha .. a saw would be nice..... a Skiksaw will do the job, but accuracy will suffer. Am I likely to need to cut lots of pieces of of wood...maybe it's time to look at a table saw...and on and on it goes... You will find that you have a certain style (interests) i.e. building sheds, doghouses, bird houses.....or maybe it's fine furniture each will have it's own set of preferred tools. Many people will say a jointer is necessary......I have been woodworking for 30 years and still don't have a jointer , although there have been times when it would have been nice. Now excuse me cuz I have to go looking at jointers ;-) Good luck with your new hobby
Doug

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There is no step like method nor correct answer for that question. The variables are mind boggling. If you have to ask you are also probably not prepared to properly evaluate the varied responses you are going to get much less use it when you buy it. There is only so much information that can be put into an e-mail and nobody responding knows any essential facts about your circumstances to be able to correctly answer the question in any way except through luck.
Woodworking has little or nothing to do with power tools and everything to do with skill developed with practice and knowledge, despite what how Norm makes it look in a half hour. Hell, there are a hundred and one things you need and need to do too accomplish a task before you even turn on a power tool. Alright, maybe only fifty. It isn't rocket science but it sure isn't using the remote to change the channel on the TV either.
If you don't have the patience to sit down with some books on woodworking and do a little study on the basics, pick a not too ambitious project you think you'd like to make, get some books on the basics, then at least go through them and figure out what tools would be appropriate to make that project and only buy those tools I highly recommend the first option.
If you insist on running out and buy every other power tool you are going to get recommendations on, convinced that they are going to turn you into the next DIY woodworking star, I feel confident in projecting you will shortly be joining those people with ads in the classifieds that say "For sale, Hardly used". Bless their hearts.
--
Mike G.
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Start by building a simple workbench with a drawer and a vise. Seek out a woodworker near you to help and advise. If he has Harbor Freight Tools, find someone else. ;-) Dave

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Dave's right. The best power tool is a friend and mentor who can help you figure out how to solve the problem in front of you, with the tools available to you. Better yet, more than just one.
The computer you used to reach the Wreck also qualifies as a power tool.
But someone to show you how, or do it with you, or offer encouragement when you're stumped is priceless.
Now here's the warning: You can get in very deeply, if your buddy has a tool habit.
Go. Use what you have to make something useful and/or pretty.
Patriarch
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This assumes total novice to woodworking and standard bugetary constraints.
Here's my order of operations with an explaination:
1. Preliminary tool assumptions: Hammer, hand screwdrivers, pliers, tape measure. Basically, the tools that come in the "Christmas Gift Tool Packs". Wait for after father's day for the best deals.
2. A couple of 4" C-Clamps, Cheap paper dust mask, foam earplugs, safety glasses - As Jeff Foxworthy said, "Safety first, pumpkin. Safety first". Use them.
3. Cheap Circular saw with a good blade (I'm talking $50 B&D from the BORG here, nothing special) - Its amazing how much you can do with with butt joints and finishing nails. Later on down the road (Maybe a year, maybe a decade) you will shout profanities from your shop, throw up your arms, and get a good one. Or, by then you might have a $2000 table saw and won't care about your crappy circular saw.
4. Buy Cheap plywood and studs. Have fun slapping crap together. Make a pair of sawhorses or a folding "workbench" - You'll find it a luxury after having to clamp your sheet goods to a picnic table.
6. Handsaw(s) of your liking - So you can stop your cut with the circular saw and then square off the cut.
7. Cheap corded drill. It's not just for screwing anymore :)
8. Better blade for the circular saw. After using the included steel crap, you get a better understanding of why some say "Buy quality"
9. Some good layout tools. Start thinking about precision, but don't necessarily practice it :) Learn to use a starightedge guide for your circular saw on sheet goods, you'll be amazed at how much easier straight things fit together.
10. Random orbit sander (ROS) and/or planes and scrapers. Start into the "finishing thing". Every now and then, work above 60 grit.
11. Buy better plywood and good pine (or even poplar!)
12. Jig saw - Start making some curves. You'll probably use the thing for more than you expect.
13. Chisels - DAGS "Scary Sharp". Don't go overboard, but don't buy the cheapest at the store either. A cheap chisel that is sharp is better than an expensive one that is dull. Believe it or not, at this point you could be making dovetails!
14. Decent router (PC, dewalt, etc). Buy a good router book. Unleash the power! Don't buy a bit set. Start with a few quality straight bits and a roundover, ogee or other bearing-guided profile bit. Now you can (More easily) make rabbets, dadoes and other fun joinery. Buy bits as you need them. After using it for a while, you will probably get the true thirst for power tools.
15. Clamp, clamps, and more clamps. Did I mention clamps? Buy some glue so you can use the clamps. Who said clamps?
16. Table Saw. Used, new, whatever. Buy the best you can or have inner piece about spending money you will throw away. My suggestion: (ATTN: FLAME MAGNET HERE!!!) Don't put too much stock in the "Buy it once" philosophy. I alway thought it was a funny argument when you factor in the net present value of the thousands of board feet of wood that will go through any table saw (Except the crappy benchtops, of course). After using your first table saw for a while you will invariably want to try out other models or upgrade.
17. Buy quality hardwood and practice precision.
18. Upgrade the tools you have or continue the slippery slope from here. At this point, you should start getting a feel for what you need instead of having other dictate it. Buy what you need if you need it. At this point your grandchildren's inheritance will soon be squandered and you wife will refer to herself as "the woodworking widow".
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Ah10201 wrote:

Nearly every woodworking project will involve making smaller pieces of wood out of larger ones...
If woodworking means "building a deck" then I'd suggest a good portable circular saw. I've particularly liked those with a worm gear drive - they're somewhat more expensive; but are worth the difference (IMO).
On the other hand, if woodworking means bookcases, tables, and cabinets, then I'd suggest the Porter Cable panel saw. It's not cheap; but it'll last for a long time and do a good job. Mine has been doing a first class job for over thirty years and may last longer than I.
The second tool I'd suggest would be a variable-speed drill, which can drill holes, drive screws, and even spin a sanding disk.
If you stay with woodworking, you'll probably want both a router and a miter saw. It's probably worth pointing out that the miter saw isn't much good for ripping or cutting sheet materials, so the portable circular saw is a better choice when you're just starting out. I'd be inclined to prioritize a good table saw (the best you can afford!) ahead of a miter saw.
I suggest talking with people in your neighborhood who do the kind of woodworking you're interested in. Ask them what they like and don't like about the tools they have (or have seen) in use.
Resist the urge to buy tools just because they're pretty, because they're cheap, or because you /might/ need 'em someday. If you buy tools as you have actual need, and if you only buy quality tools, your money will go a /lot/ farther. I've discovered that it's worth waiting and saving up for really good tools.
--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto, Iowa USA
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So THAT'S what I've been doing wrong! I keep trying to take small pieces of wood and make larger ones from them. Duh!
dave
Morris Dovey wrote:

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Bay Area Dave wrote:

BAD...
You're doin' fine. You're just focusing on the second phase.
I've talked with a fair number of would-be woodworkers - and an awful lot of 'em have never stopped to think that the "making larger" would go a lot more smoothly if the earlier "making smaller" was done with more precision. (-:
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto, Iowa USA
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How about a variable speed cordless hammer?
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Ah10201 wrote:

Assuming you have basic hand tools:
The most versatile saw you can get is a Radial Arm Saw (RAS). Yes, a bad RAS is a pain in the ass, and their not building good ones anymore, least their not building a RAS most of us could afford. This would limit you to buying used. Last week I saw a well cared for Red Star go for $110 at auction.
If I wanted to buy my first saw, knowing what I do, that Red Star would not have gone for $110. I would have been involved in the bidding.
If you haven't basic hand tools:
Get a 3/8 reversible drill.
You really haven't given us much to go on here.
--
--

Mark

N.E. Ohio
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As you can see......you could run outta money, before running outta different tools........I opt for a tablesaw.....and build from there.....projects, or getting more tools.....

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    Greetings and Salutations...
On 03 Mar 2004 04:56:12 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Ah10201) wrote:

    Welcome to an amazing field...with lots of interesting challenges to overcome and techniques to master.     My suggestion (and forgive me if it echoes others) is to figure out what you want to build first...then pick up the tools you need to complete the project. Perhaps the best tool to buy FIRST would be some inspiration. A good source of this (that remains approachable by normal mortals) are the books by Doug Stowe. http://www.dougstowe.com/book/books.htm
Boxes are a good start, actually, as they are useful, certainly can be ornamental, and while simple enough to start building the basic skills you will need for the coming years, DO requre learning to make straight cuts and accurate angles.     If you embark on the box path, I would suggest that you get a decent sliding miter saw. Although not great, the one that Harbor Freight sells is NOT a bad option. It is a tad light-weight, but, with gentle use, can produce good results.     Also, you will need a good drill (12v cordless works great), a set of good drill bits (I suggest HSS or cobalt steel), a block plane, glue, nitrile gloves, clamps (the Pittsburgh brand from Harbor Freight are excellent deals) and a stack of poplar to practice on. If you get a good hacksaw, and some fairly coarse blades, you can cut excellent dovetails, but, can start off by making mitered joints with re-enforcing splines. Hum...so many toys...so little time. a good combination square is vital...I prefer Starrett, but, there are other good ones out there. In any case, get a fixed try square too...6" and 8" are good sizes...and a 4" one can be handy too.     The important thing though is to have the patience to build the skills of understanding how the tool changes the wood and how to control it.     I would also suggest that you seek out some of the adult education woodworking courses (probably offered at some local school) to help with the learning curve. Alternatively, ask around to your friends and acquaintances to see if any of them are woodworkers. If so, perhaps you can arrange to work with them, either on some of their projects, or on some of yours, and get some "apprenticeship" hours in. It is always a LOT less painful to learn by working with someone who knows what they are doing...     Dave Mundt
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On 03 Mar 2004 04:56:12 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Ah10201) wrote:

======================Someone already suggested this....A DRILL
and I would buy it right after I purchased A GOOD COMFORTABLE...... IN MY HANDS....... SET OF SCREW DRIVERS....        
My suggestion is to buy whatever TOOL you need to "do" the project you are working on... I have been a serious woodworker for over 40 years and I still do not own a miter saw... BUT I do own 6 routers ...
Never built anything that I needed a miter saw for...so I still do not own one...
Bob Griffiths .
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Here's the start of a list:
1. Drill, 3/8" VSR and a set of drill bits up to 1/4" diameter 2. Circular saw with carbide-toothed blade
After that, nearly everything else removes/cuts wood so that it can be fastened together. Since clamps, guides, chisels, planes are not powered by air or electricity, they are acquired as needed and are off-list.
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