Heres some background. I work in my garage(SHOP!!) and I have a nice
50" Jet TS and an old Dewalt RAS and crappy ryobi router.
Lately I have had delusions of grandeur, thinking about doing some more
serious side work. I have a commission to do 7 small carts and another
to do an entertainment center. These are from the same client.
I am in a position to invest in the shop a bit and I can justify about
$5-$600. Im thinking of getting a 2hp Dust collector (Shop Fox), a
Triton 2-1/4 HP Router, and a forrest WWII blade.
Im getting a PC nailer set out of what I make for these 7 carts.
i dont have a jointer or planer but I dont have much need for them at
this moment. Althought I do have a bunch of raw Black Walnut boards
that need planing.
My work is pretty varied. A bunch of cabinet stuff, but I want to get
into some fine blanket chests, furniture n stuff.
Im open to other suggestions. Help me spend my money!
The dust collector will be a luxury that will not assist in actual building
of a project. Nice to have but will not get all of what your TS, RAS or
router put out. You are still going to have to clean up.
If your saw is properly set up I would go with the Blade improvement WWII
I am definitely getting the WWII, my questions is: Is there anything
else that I am not thinking of that would be useful?
I'd love a jointer but i want to wait until I can get a good one.
Im afraid a planer would just sit there for quite a while.
The dust collector is the thing thats got me puzzled. Is it going to be
that helpful? Is there something more useful that I should get instead?
Yes, EVERYTHING! I have been doing this for 30 or so years and I still
need/want everything I see. ;~)
I bought a jointer in 1983. It is absolutely the least used tool in my
shop. I could not get along with out a planer.
If you rough cut lumber is relatively flat you can run it through the planer
and be fine. Keep in mind that a plainer will not by itself flatten a
board. You can build a jig to flatten a board with a planer. I use a Jig
over using my jointer.
A Kreg pocket hole jig is very handy also.
What you buy next will be mosty dictated by what your projects are going to
be. You will be safe with the planer and or Kreg and you will certainly use
both quite often.
The plainer is very useful for resurfacing to a specific thickness, smooth
up resaw cuts and or making thiner stick.
Again, IMHO the dust collector is a luxury. I have been woodworking
seriousely since 1978 and finally bought a dust collector last spring IIRC.
I had to have it for a drum sander as at that point it becomes a necessity
although I got the DC a year before the sander. My BS turns out an enormous
amount of dust when resawing and I got the DC quickly after buying the
You're not the only person to make this claim. I'm the odd-ball. I use
my jointer all the time. If a board touches the table saw fence, I run
it through the jointer first.
If the OP's worried about his health, I'd recommend an air-filter over
a dust collector. It's the small stuff that'll kill you, not the big
particles that collect on the floor. Plus, he probably already owns a
You beat me to it, Jeff.
Leon, you can sweep the floor. Sweeping your lungs is not an option :-).
I have a very small shop with no room for a dust collector. But one of
the first things I built was a dust collector that hangs from the ceiling.
What did it cost you to build this air cleaner? Ive been looking at
building one of them for some time. Where do you get the squirrel cage
By the way, Im leaning toward a triton router, forrest blade, PC brad
nailer and Dewalt planer. I think these would all be put to use fairly
You might want to take a look at the Ridgid AF2100. 250 cfm for a
hundred bucks. While they tend to be denigrated by some of the tool
snobs and Borg-bashers, Ridgid stationary tools are actually pretty
decent performers for the most part. Replacement filters can be
ordered direct from Ridgid for about 32 bucks for the set of 2.
Not much. The box was made from some plywood I already had. I got the
squirrel cage blower from American Science and Surplus but I can't
remember the cost - something under $20 is my best guess. I use one
ordinary fiberglass furnace filter (16x20) backed up with an allergy
filter. When they get dirty I vacuum them. Every 3 or 4 years I replace
But I don't get out in the shop as much as some, and I don't run the air
cleaner when using hand tools. Maybe 4-6 hours a week.
Nothing like one for quickly cleaning up the shop; beats hell out of a
shop vac. My 2HP JET has sucked up stuff I wish it hadn't (ie. the plastic
push stick that came with the TS and once sucked the arbor washer from the
TS. When that hit the impeller it split the housing. Had to buy another
washer, too. Damnit.
Leon and I don't agree a lot and this is another one of those times. I
think the Forrest blade is the most overrated item in the woodworking
market. I know there will be people wearing cassocks, and shoes with
big buckles, who will be beating on my door for that heresy. The truth
is, any of the premium blades (common name doesn't signify lesser
quality), Freud, Systimatic, Amana, etc., will do a more than adequate
job without the 20% premium in price.
Similarly, with routers, what do you think the extra money in the
Triton will get you that a more pedestrian router wouldn't? For the
money they get for it, you could have two routers with less glitz. I'm
not demeaning the design, but if you do a lot of routing, quantity has
a quality all its own. I'd rather have a couple or three P-C 690s for
the convenience than one Triton (or, gasp, Festool). However, that's
an oversimplification, and your routing needs surely aren't the same
as my routing needs.
I did woodworking for a lot of years without either a jointer or a
planer, and I've had two of each since then. I can't really quantify
how I'd rank them in importance of necessity.
I think I'd like to see a drill press in the mix. I've often referred
to it as the most used tool in my shop.
I forgot to mention that I have a small Drill press. A 10" Delta. I
would like a larger one, 12" maybe?
The Triton Router is $199. I want to mount it into a table and I like
the fact that it comes with an edge guide. You think a PC 690 would be
better? And buy my own edge guide? The PC is smaller, but "only" 1-3/4 HP.
Im leaning toward a planer. As I said i have a bunch of Walnut and i
want to get into building nicer things. The planer could open that door
Keep the suggestions coming I appreciate every one! I think Ive ruled
out the DC. Not enough bang for my buck.
Well to throw in my 2 cents again. ;~) My Rockwell DP is the oldest tool
in my shop. I got it in 1979 IIRC.
Anyway, you may not get too much for your money going from a 10 to 12".
Consider also, a Radial Arm Drill Press. Mine is a 36" bench top model that
will let you swing the head left to right, tilt the head 90 degrees left or
right and typically is cheaper than the full stand up height versions. The
head will extend well past the table or bench if you need the extra height
capicity. One draw back is that you typically only have 4 speeds but with
that in mind I very seldom take mine off of the slowest speed setting.
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