I was wondering if anyone can give me advice for what I need for a begining
wood working shop. My Husband had desided that for my birthday we should
spend about $1000 to start a shop. I am looking for advice on what to buy
first, obvously $1000 is not going to come close to buying everything, so I
will probably start out with lower end stuff...lol...
Any advice gladly accepted :)
What do you plan to make? A bandsaw and lathe is nice if you are into
turning. Tablesaw is good if you will be working with sheet goods and
making bookcases and furniture. Are you more into power tools or hand
Very little is needed if you are just going to do fret work on a scroll saw.
Tablesaws run from $200 to $2000. The more you pay, the better the saw, the
fence, etc. How serious and how experienced are you? Not sure if
woodworking was going to be a long term hobby, I started with the $200 saw,
but a year later bought a much better one for $800. My total investment is
about $7500 now.
If nothing else, buy a couple of clamps. You can never have too many
Probably the most function in a shop is cutting.
To cut, you need saws.
My choices were as follows:
Delta contractor's saw complete with a 30" UniFence and a mobile base.
A Bosch Saber saw.
A Bosch 6" ROS.
I just replaced one for $133 delivered.
A Porter-Cable or equal router kit.
An 18 VDC drill package kit.
Add about $300 for good saw blades for the Delta and the Bosch.
Add about $200 for router bits.
The above puts you in a good to go position with power tools, but it's a
$2K, not a $1K list.
After that it's always clamp time.
After clamps, start thinking about a drill press.
try finding used stuff. ALL new equipment costs a bundle when you are
talking a grand limit. Even neander tools cost an arm and a leg, if
new. (Neander tools are those you can use during a power outage and w/o
batteries, like chisels, planes, gouges...)
Don't know what your interests are, so it's a hard question to answer.
But a decent table saw will eat up over half of that grand. With a good
edge guide and a good (Bosch?) jigsaw you can do without a tablesaw for
a while. A drill press, even a cheap tabletop model, is invaluable. A
random orbit sander (again, I like Bosch) avoids a lot of sore muscles.
A powered screwdriver does too.
Past that, I'd get mostly hand tools to start. A couple of planes, some
decent chisels and rasps, some scrapers.
Shellac and a rag will put a good finish on most projects.
I'm sure I've forgotten a hundred things, but that's what comes to mind.
P.S. I wish I could get my wife to capitalize "Husband" :-).
Of course it depends on what you want to make and the other questions
listed above. Think a lot about that first. Then buy a few books and
magazines about general woodworking and maybe the type of furniture or
whatever you want to make, and spend some time with those (I liked "The
Complete Book of Woodworking", $15 used on Amazon). There's your first
$50. Before you start buying a bunch of tools, I'd reconsider your
plan to start with low-end stuff - I think many people in this
newsgroup would agree it would be wiser (and usually cheaper in the
long run) to start with the best tools you can afford - you'll probably
be happier with them and they'll definitely last longer. Of course
everyone has a budget and you'll hear different things from different
people on what to scrimp on if you must, but here are my opinions on
what to do with your next $950 (depending on what you want to make...)
Dust masks, safety glasses, gloves, hearing protection ($50)
Good jigsaw (Bosch 1590 and progressor wood blades, $150 from
Drill if you don't have one, plus brad-point bits (Start with a cheap
corded drill and good bits, $60)
A bunch of clamps (spring, bar, C, etc. $100+)
A good combination square (Starret etc $70)
Router (PC, Bosch, or Dewalt, $150, plus a router bit set, MLCS 16pc
set to start, $40, then get better bits in whatever styles you use
Steve Knight plane (Smoother or jack, $165)
Screws, glue, sandpaper, finish, wood, etc ($150+++)
Make some stuff and see what you need next.
Next priorities for me might be: Bandsaw (14", Delta, Grizzly, etc.,
$350+, plus bandsaw blade selection from suffolkmachinery.com, $50),
japanese pull-saw, chisels, forstner bits, more clamps, shopvac for
dust collection, cordless drill, etc etc etc. Lee Valley, Rockler, and
Woodcraft seem to be popular general woodworking supply companies on
this newsgroup, and I've had good experiences ordering from all of
them. Shop around also on Amazon, ebay, local classifieds, etc -
prices can vary a lot, and some used tools (both power and hand) are
better than new ones when properly tuned up. I'd think carefully and
get some training and good safety equipment before getting a tablesaw -
they can turn a piece of wood into a missle or a finger into a stump
Alternatively, many people say it's very rewarding to skip the power
tools altogether and start with good-quality handsaws, chisels, hand
planes, scrapers, files, rasps, and the like, and enjoy woodworking and
still listen to the birds. A lot of good furniture was made this way.
Well, sorry for the long-winded and rambling reply. Remember: as a
wise professor of mine once said, a piece of advice is like a butt -
everyone's got one, and most of them stink.
Good luck and have fun,
I'll probably catch a lot of flak for this, but you could always look
for a used Shopsmith. I've seen decent ones for under $500. Then a
router, which I forgot in my original response.
I wouldn't buy one sight unseen, but look online for one within driving
Unless you have been doing woodworking of some sort for a while, I'd
recommend looking around your area for woodworking classes. Take a couple
of classes and Then decide whether or not you want to start down the
slippery slope of tool buying. If you take the classes and decide to go
ahead, you already have some experience. Otherwise you may buy a bunch of
tools and be selling them next year at a yard sale.
Books and magazines have also been recommended here. Don't forget the
library. Note that some woodworking shops also rent videos - a good
source of inspiration and knowlege.
Good Luck, and have fun.
My personal observations are interspersed among Lew's good
recommendations. What you need depends largely on what you intend to
build. You could buy a piece at a time as needed, but it's a real
time waster when you need something you don't have and have to drive
around or wait for the mailman to get your hands on it.
Acceptable choice. Maybe shop for a good used one.
Make certain the table is flat and not twisted.
I have built a few nice things with only a good circular saw and a
clamp on straight edge. Don't buy a cheap $150 benchtop saw - it'll
only break your heart. If that is all you can afford, stick to the
circular saw and clamp.
Another fine piece.
Or Dewalt or PC...
The venerable 690 series is a good choice. I have the wiz-bang 895PK
model, and I kinda wish I'd gotten a Bosch or PC690 instead. :-\
Make sure whatever you get will use 1/2" bits.
Cheap routers often will not, and 1/4" bits will flex and chatter
under stress and generally wear out quickly.
A big maybe on this one.
A corded variable speed drill is cheap, and works fine. No batteries
to fail or discharge as you're finishing up a project.
A cordless screwdriver with clutch is pretty useful, however.
I inherited a Dewalt, but it was made in China.
As you need them. $150 dollars will get you a few really good blades.
A good Dado is pretty useful. $100-$250 for that alone. Stay away from
Maybe a bit high for a starter set.
A small assortment of straight and roundovers, plus an ogee or two
will cover a lot of ground. Get specialty bits as you need them.
Buy good quality bits, Whiteside and Amana - even some of the Bosch.
They last much longer and splinter less wood. Please avoid crappy
router bits sets from Vermont and such.
You have to have clamps right off the bat. These should be WAY
towards the top of the list. You can NEVER have too many. All glueups
require clamps, sometimes as many as 8-10 - and even more, depending
on the job. Pipe clamps are cheap, but unwieldy. Aluminum bar clamps
are becoming an inexpensive favorite of mine. Bessy K clamps are
great, but expensive. Don't forget about small 6-12" clamps while
you're picking out those 50 inchers. A couple of band (strap) clamps
are quite handy as well.
I would opt for a drill press even before a cordless drill, unless you
are doing home repairs. Very useful item. You can even use it as a
drum sander, although this stresses the quill bearings. A floor model
is much more useful than a benchtop model in woodworking but both are
useable. No better way to get good, square (to the face) holes.
You will need a sturdy workbench. Building your own is good practice.
You also will need good chisels ranging from 1/4" to 1" Good steel
means less sharpening and better cutting.
Figure on spending $20-$50 for these depending on brand.
I primarily use a set of Marples Blue Chips I got for $20.
And you need a way to keep them sharp - 1/4" glass plate, sandpaper,
and elbow grease works fine.
Don't forget drill bits for the drill. Brad point, HSS lipped drills
are best for woodworking - but not metal. Lee Valley has an excellent
set. Get a starter set in increments of 1/8" - $15-$40.
A set of matching Split Collar Stops are very useful, also.
Countersink bits are useful as well as a chamfering bit.
Forstner bits are also quite handy. This is one area where you could
try a cheaper set and fill in with better units as needed.
A small palm sized block plane. Useful more times than I can count.
I use an old Stanley - although I am now boycotting the company for
bad behavior and Chinese imports that replaced quality US made goods.
Card type Cabinet Scraper. Plus a file and burnishing rod for
sharpening / creating a hook. Around $10.
A Japanese style pull cut saw - for those impossible with power
equipment cuts and dovetails.
Diamond sharpening paddles in ~250 and ~600 grits.
Handy for tweaking the edges of bits and blades of various types.
A set of these will probably run less than $20.
Eventually you will want/need a jointer, planer, and a compound miter
saw. Even though a CMS is often regarded as a home repair tool, I use
mine way more than I thought I would. Try cutting a 45 degree angle
on a 6 foot stick of wood on a tablesaw and you'll see what I mean.
Some prefer hand planes - we call them Neanderthals... ;-)
I have a few of these as well.
A brad nailer is very handy, as is the air compressor needed to power
it. I primarily use a Senco, but I also have a $20 Harbor Freight
model that works OK and came with a rebuild kit.
Finally, a dust collector. You won't believe how much sawdust and
shavings accumulates and drifts through the air while working wood.
While you are at it, a shop air cleaner is a real consideration for
your health and the quality of your finishes.
Sandpaper in incrementing grits, paint brushes, glue, glue spreaders,
clean-up solvents, rags, stains and varnishes, tung oil, linseed oil,
shellac, polyurethane, etc.
That's all I can think of right off hand, and this is from someone who
fairly recently entered the realm of Real Woodworking.
But rest assured, no matter how many tools you own, you will always
need one more. A good rule of thumb is:
New Project, New Tool.
"Lobby Dosser" wrote in message
Best advice thus far, IMO ... along those same lines, and absent a place to
take those kind of classes, pick out a simple project that you want to build
and buy just what you need to complete it as you go along, repeat.
Norm (genuflect) has always said that anyone starting a shop needs two
big power tiools first: a table saw and a joiner/planer. After that
it's a bit broader.
A tip from my experience:
Get two cheap-ish to medium priced cordless drills instead of one good
one. Lot easier picking up one to drill the hole and the other to
drive the screw rather than changing the drill bit/driver each time.
And make sure each unit comes with TWO batteries.
Look for power tools that can double as something else. For instance a
bench-top pillar drill is useful as a drill but get a drum sanding set
and you now have a very serviceable sanding station.
You are doing this in a most interesting way. I am sure that most of us
just started somehow and never really made a list of what was needed. If
you are totally new to woodworking, the best investment may be in a good
woodworking course. This will provide a little experience with some really
good tools and may help you decide which of the many paths to woodworking
addiction you choose to follow. If you are in the Boston area, I cannot
recommend The North Bennet St. School strongly enough. They have a webpage.
I took several courses there after 40 yrs of woodworking and wished I had
started out with the course. In a way, woodworking is all about learning
how to do things; it is much more efficient in a good class than alone at
home. Books have their place but watching a good instructor is much more
illuminating. Good luck and I hope you enjoy the process.
Get used equipment. Sure it takes time, but with patience you can get
some very good equipment for around 1/2 the price of new. Makes a big
difference in your budget.
I picked up a 1955 vintage Unisaw for $350 that with a little bondo, a
coat of paint and some new belts will be great. Though I'm planning
about getting her a biesemeyer fence for Xmas so I guess she's not that
cheap :) But even with the new fence and some sweat, that unisaw will
have cost me about as much as a high end contractor's saw and IMO I got
much more for my money.
I did exactly this when I started (minus the mobile base) for exactly
that much money. I didn't know about grizzly at the time. Now, I wish
I had gone with either the grizzly cabinet saw for the same money, or a
smaller griz contractor's saw for a lot less money. The detla saw has
been great, but I think better values are out there.
Different opinion from here. Bought a benchtop Delta drill press and
have to shim the table in every direction for ANY cut requiring 90°!
It's due for replacement like 9 years ago! Cheap is NOPT the primary