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.
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.
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 have to say you guys have all been great with responding to my message and
I would like to thank you all....I tryed to respond to a lot of message but
sence my little natives are getting restless....lol....I don't have the
I think Norm has the right idea for me but with a $1000 it is now iffy in my
mind if I can get both a table say and planner (planners are sooooooo neat I
just love them, taking an old weatered board and you plane it and it looks
so pretty and smooth....)
Today I happened to hit the reply group button so you all should get the
message about what I am planning on building I forgot that what you are
planning to do is a big part of what tools you get...lol and sence I knew
what I wanted to do...sometimes forget that people arn't mind readers...lol
I'm going to start looking for used EQ so I guess that means taking the bull
by the horns and going into pawn shops and what not (even though the whole
time I'm in one I'll be saying 'Sean don't touch that' and 'Emily no you
can't get down' lmao
oh and I never told you guys the two spaces I'm thinking about turning into
my workshop. my garage (which the door is to short for my van to fit in) is
10x20 with a concrete floor, Then I have the big space in the barn which is
24x24 with a 11x11 corner pened off (which I thought would make a wonderful
kids 'workshop' complete witha gate...lol) but it has a dirt floor (thinking
maybe next year we will get a 4 inch slab layed in there)
You should be able to pick up a decent "contractor" tablesaw (or a high end
portable) for around $500, a decent portable planer for around $200, and
still have $200 left over for a power miter saw.. :)
My old tablesaw is smaller and junkier than even a contractor saw, and it
has served me well for over 14 years. I've wanted to upgrade many times,
but it's hard to justify the cost when mine still works well (and doesn't
take the space the newer saws would).
Until we built our garage a few years ago, I did all of my woodworking out
of a small 8x12 shed. I'd pull the tablesaw out in the yard, build my
projects on tarps, and put everything away at the end of the day. :) A lot
of work, and it restricts you to dry days, but it's certainly possible...
lol...I'm not going to be portering around anything....lol...Right now I
need stationary I'm to darn weak to be dragging table saws
around....lol...(might have to get that home gym soon...lol)
A power miter saw is on the list of things I need though, Last place we
lived the land lord had a laser guided one new in the box that we got to
use, along with his portable planer....hehehe invented projects just so I
could use them...lol
Many of the "portable" saws come with roller stands to make them easy to move
and store. But, you could also build a wheeled cart for the saw, providing a
base that includes storage space and expands the support area. With a small
workshop, this lets you move the saw out of the way easily when you're not
My saw is "stationary" but I still end up dragging it around to move it out
of the way when it's not being used... :)
lol big items I just tend to leave wherever they are and move everything
around them. hopefully we will get the EQ one weekend when Hubby is home and
he can organize the shop...lol.. I would say se he could move it all around
but I know thats not going to happen...lol...
Besides I'm a procrasanater and if I have to get the saw out to use it....
I do projects in my basement and so far I have had to remove the steps
on the back porch to get some cabinets out. And it is a pain is the
butt to get plywood down stairs, but it can be done.
The room I am working in is 16 X 16. and loaded with, well allot of
junk. I've only begun the journey into making it a real workshop, since
I doubt that we would ever move out of the city, which I hate.
I'm working in a 11x13 (interior - 12x14 exterior) shed. I don't have
room for a bandsaw or a sharpening station, but I have a tablesaw,
jointer, drill press, stationary belt sander, and workbench plus a bunch
of portable power tools (although at my age, calling a 60 pound planer
portable is pushing it a wee bit) and hand tools.
I've never had to maove anything outside, but when ripping long stock I
do have to open the doors.
Believe me, my 8x12 shed was packed to the rafters with "stuff". :) I
couldn't walk in there, let alone do any woodworking. There was only one
door, and everything had to go in and out in a specific order. :)
As for using the tablesaw, I can't see ripping a sheet of plywood with
anything less than 20' or so. 8 feet in front of the saw, 8 feet behind
the saw, 3 feet for the saw itself, and some room for me. :)
Of course, if the shed has doors on two sides, it only needs to be big
enough for the tablesaw. Maybe 4'? :)
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.
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