firstname.lastname@example.org (Ah10201) wrote in message
I acquired my tools one-by-one, as needed for the project. When I got
married, I received a hand saw as a gift. I then went back to
college. During my college years, I added a hand drill and a
skillsaw, total cost: $50. Using these two power tools I made a
picnic table with 4 benches, a doghouse, some bookshelves, a waterbed
frame and headboard, a computer workstation, etc.
Years later we bought our house and wanted to make a deck: I picked up
a Ryobi sliding compound mitre saw. The skillsaw "could" have worked,
and WAS working initially, but the "chop" feature, and mitre
capability of the Ryobi were huge time savers.
Then I tried my hand at making a classical guitar, and thought a
bandsaw would be handy. I traded the mitre saw to a friend who had a
small 14" bandsaw. Somewhere in between there I got a router for
Christmas. I also bought a small (14") Delta benchtop drill press
($79). That bandsaw and drill press (with sanding and planer
attachments added later) were huge time savers, and to this day are
often used. Oh yeah, a small Delta benchtop belt/disc sander too.
During guitar #2 I bought a used Crafstman TS for about $150. It was
a direct drive with bad bearings, so I ended up selling it to someone
who merely wanted to chop 2x4's (I needed to make exact cuts to the
nearest 0.001" in Rosewood). Still don't own a TS, but have been
borrowing a friend's, same guy who has my Ryobi mitre which is really
miss; will probably buy it back! (indeed, we recently added a second
deck and I had to borrow it back from him!)
While making my guitars, it became apparent that a thickness/drum
sander would be SO useful, but alas, too expensive to justify, so I
continued doing things by hand. More recently I began a project of
making a full set of "mission style" furniture, so I finally picked up
that drum sander, plus a Dewalt planer. These two additions have
become real favorites; I can't imagine the time it would take without
these tools. But they make a mess, and the 'ol shop vac just wasn't
able to handle the amount of dust generated by the drum sander. So I
had to buy a good dust-collector (Jet 650CK with 2 micron filter). I
also "needed" a 6" jointer for my furniture project, so I bought that
too (used for $175). At this point I should mention my 2003 tax
return has been spent in advance!
Well, that's my long-winded way of saying, "pick a project and THEN
decide what to to buy." I once read that famed luthier Jose
Romanillos built his first classical guitar on his kitchen table using
a few chisels and a knife. Today he receives something like $20,000
per guitar, and has a waiting list. Point: you don't NEED every tool
stocked at Woodcraft to make something nice, though having them WOULD
save time. I still don't own a TS, having loan of my friend's saw.
For what I'm doing, if I had to choose between a bandsaw or a TS, I'd
pick the bandsaw as it will make the same cuts I'm making with the TS.
However, I DO plan to get a TS within the year, but note that it
wasn't the first thing purchased!
Rather than offer recommendations and joining the argument fray, I'll just
relate some of my experiences. I have never worked wood professionally nor
do I have 40 years experience. There are some really knowledgable and
experienced people in this forum. That makes me more qualified to talk than
them, because it wasn't that long ago that I was in your shoes.
I've had tools for working on cars and motorcycles for years. But my first
official woodworking tool was a router, purchased explicitly to cut the
slots for a big set of utility shelves in the garage. I used it extensively
for about two weeks. Then I put it back in the box for almost two years.
Only in the last few months has it been reborn. I discovered a router is
really close to useless until you spend a lot more money on bits and a
router table and something to suck up all the dust. Its one of those tools
that cost $200+$1000. The $1000 is what you spend to make it really useful.
Last year, I went crazy and spent a lot of money on a table saw. I had
used a table saw once in my life at the university wood shop to make some
parts for a sail boat. So the first thing I discovered after getting it put
together was that it didn't even have a blade. I got a blade and
immediately begin using the saw. I've used it almost daily ever since. Its
been one of the most enabling purchases I've ever made. Plan on spending at
least a few dollars on a eye protection.
Other purchases I've made include
a drill press - you cannot build anything with it but it sure is useful.
dust collector - the start of a long and frustrating lifetime project that
means you are serious about woodworking.
brad gun - one of the neatest tools I've ever encountered. Sometimes I think
I could build anything with a table saw and brad gun.
band saw - I just ordered this. I suspect I am going to find it to be as
useful as the table saw. Had I known about Laguna band saws, I might have
purchased it before the table saw.
Once you get hooked, you might as well include your hobby as part of your
financial planning. Plan for your retirement and at least $10,000 for your
hobby. That will get you started.<grin>
This article in Popular Mechanics, published in January, 1998, is what
got me started in woodworking. Even though most of the tools
discussed don't have a power cord, it got me thinking on the right
track. The only tool I ever regretted buying was my Craftsman Router,
but I still use it at least once a month.
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