Ooh, we get to spend someone else's money on our wishlist!
A multi-tool like the Fein Multimaster or clones is worth the investment.
Harbor Freight has one they've been selling for less than $20 at times,
which is a fantastic place to start. I like the Bosch version as its
quiet with little vibration on the tool body.
There's an old tool that's well worth having in the shop: A classic
"school" style pencil sharpener. I think the one I bought a few years
ago was an X-acto L, a clone of the "Boston L", if I remember right.
When the pencil breaks, it takes less than 10 seconds to sharpen. Cost
was about $20.
The track saws look really nice. It looks like all you do is make your
marks, position the track and make the cut. Better than guide rails,
which require making a mark, offsetting the guide from the mark to match
your saw, then making your cut. (The guide rails do work well, though.)
Hand tools can be a hobby in and of themselves. One good way to get
started is by buying something that's not a tool at all: DVDs of the
Woodwright's Shop. (You might get the newer seasons on your PBS station)
Roy Underhill uses hand or human powered tools exclusively, and it's
sometimes amazing to watch as this tree that was standing last year gets
turned into something.
This message was supposed to get posted earlier, but it was never sent.
Please excuse any redundancy it has with the messages others have
One person's "must have" is another person's "paper weight". Maybe
decide on a big goal, then maybe consider a related smaller one--and
start collecting tools for that. That way, at least you know why you are
buying things. I have observed that it's much, much cheaper to collect
*books* about tools, than the actual articles (a little pun there).
It's easier to keep them sharpened and free of rust too! : )
Do you have a suitable stationary workbench? If not, there are a couple
of good book on workbenches (not that you "have to" read one). Your
approach may vary depending on whether you wish to spend $200, $2000, or
$15,000 to spend to pursue woodworking. I guess a "SawStop PCS" starts
you off near $4000 once you start to accessorize. Suggest you maybe
make a list before you buy very much so you can prioritize. Do you
have a 240V outlet at your convenience? If not, you may wish to consider
putting one in. Maybe not. There are many who don't think it makes sense
to buy a low voltage Sawstop.
I agree with the above, before you buy tool one decide what projects you
are going to be doing, then look at the tools to do that project.
If you are going to be doing finishing work in a house or such then a
good powered miter saw should be your first purchase.
If your projects are fancy little decorative flowers or toys, you would
be better off making your first tool purchase a good jigsaw or bandsaw,
and a drill press.
If you are making picture frames you will need a good table saw, with an
angle miter gauge and a router/table with a good slot cutter bit.
If you plan to built yard sheds or houses, a good skil saw and a nail
gun or hammer would be more appropriate.
Absolutely nothing wrong with that. I started out that way as a
youngster, but the realities of making a living with hand tools alone is
harsh in today's world.
There are countless excellent resources available these days on the
Shannon's is a good place to start, but one will lead you to another:
And Chris Schwartz one of the acknowledged masters of blending hand work
and modern methods:
Google+ is also an excellent place to look for hand tool aficionados and
pick up tips:
My perspective: Do the projects you like to do and get the tools you
need for what you like to do. If you would like to build a picnic
table, you could easily get by with a GOOD hand saw, square, good
hammer and a plan. If you need a drill, get a good one.
If you want to make toy chests, you may need a power saw or a sander.
If you find you really need a certain tool, get the best you can
afford, but don't buy a shop full of tools just because they are neat
and pretty. I got by on just hand tools for many years, then
accumulated a grinder, power drill(s) and a router. I bought a cheap
Sears router and hated it for several years until I replaced it. I
bought a cheap grinder and regretted it.
As your horizons expand and you find you like woodworking you will
gradually acquire the right tools for what you like to do.
On Thu, 05 Dec 2013 04:13:16 -0800, Jeff Mazur wrote:
I read the other responses to your query before posting this. You got
some good suggestions and some not so good. I'd stay away from that $20
HF multi-tool - while some have made it work, a lot of users have
complained that the blades work loose - they did for me.
OTOH, the latest HF 12" sliding miter saw got great reviews. I bought
one because of those reviews and so far I agree with them.
Something that's come along in the last few years are those digital angle
gauges. Get one - worth its weight in gold.
As far as new power tools go, nothing that's a "must have" comes to
mind. I will say that after buying a thickness sander (Jet 10/20) it
certainly made avoiding tearout easy.
This message was for rec.woodworking - if it appears in homeownershub
they ripped it off.
So first, welcome...
Second you will find the saw stop to be an excellent saw for you and
your son and save you from the most dangerous accident of digit removal..
It will not protect from incorrect safety methods and poor fundamentals,
so kickback is still a danger.
Do buy the saw stop, well worth the money if it ever saves your fingers..
I love doing stuff by hand. I have a full power shop, yet sometimes I
want quiet. Or I find that I can do something by hand faster than
jigging up to make a cut.. or it's too dangerous and a handtool
eliminates the danger.
If you start with handtools, you will work slower, but learn more.
You'll learn the grain direction matters big time.
You will find many videos that show you how to on the web....
Please don't call it old timey, that guy is entertaining or trying to
be, but I'm not sure of his skills.
He has a lot of nice moulding planes, (I'm jealous) but it's not old
I think some of the best lessons of handtools are Roy Underhill. Roy
teaches quickly how to, you won't be taken all the way through, but you
will learn a lot. Many of his seasons are still available online, so
before you spend on the series from pop wood, just go learn by watching
He has taught me things I thought I knew and didn't have to learn..
Certainly there were faster ways of getting the wood roughed out, and he
knows how to do it quickly and efficiently.
Add power tools as you need them...
I goto garage sales weekly with the wife. I look for tools (old tools
mostly) and she looks for her things. I have found some great bargains.
Just remember nothing is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, and fixing
them is part of the fun and challenge.
OK, this is just CRAZY - guys, I can't thank you enough for the flood of re
plies! I remarked to my son the other day that I noticed that woodworking
guys seem to be almost without exception some of the nicest people around,
and you all bear that out with your attention and help.
I will craft a proper reply and commentary regarding this wealth of knowled
ge - in the morning, when I'm fresh. Again, thanks for this grand and help
ful welcome, it's truly appreciated.
I will craft a proper reply and commentary regarding this wealth of
knowledge - in the morning, when I'm fresh. Again, thanks for this
grand and helpful welcome, it's truly appreciated.
It's not difficult to invest a small fortune, even rights to your
and still not have the right tools for the job.
So what do you want to do?
A table saw with a good fence, emphasis on GOOD, is a dream.
These days that means SawStop.
Add an 8" stacked dado set and a set of quality carbide set of blades
(24T rip, 50T combo & 80T plywood finish) and you are good to go.
Freud has product.
Add some sheets of 9 ply (1/2") & a 13 ply (3/4") 60" x 60" Birch
plywood to make jigs.
The above will keep you out of trouble for at least a year.
Add a router kit with a fixed and a plunge base along with bits as
you need them.
P/C 690 used to be the king of routers but their day is long gone.
I'd look at Milwaukee, others may have a better suggestion.
Add a couple of 6" ROS, I like Bosch, a multitool (Mine is a Fein) and
a couple of battery operated hand drills.
I had 18VDC DeWalt, but that was a long time ago.
Throw in a Bosch jig saw, mine is a 1587 and it's long in the
tooth, but it gets the job done.
Don't forget the band saw, but only after the need is established.
And finally the most important tool in the shop, the THINKING chair.
If you still have money in the piggy bank, come on back and we will
help you spend it<G>.
OK, so, again, THANKS!
Trying to address the many points, bear with me...
Regarding Festool, I am of two minds: they are surely built by people who t
hink about design care about quality. I always try to invest in quality.
Having said that...as with golf, I'll wait for the finest equipment until m
y skills are honed better.
SawStop is a given - that's not just quality, that's safety. They're lots
of money - I have a grand total of about $1400 recent dollars (plus about $
400 "old dollars" - spent years ago) invested right now, so the cost of a S
awStop looms large. I'm being very thrifty wherever possible, got two daug
hters in the Ivy League so I'm hemorrhaging money. It IS a higher priority
than most items, though, because of safety AND because my second-hand Shop
Smith leaves something to be desired for sawing. I must say that since I g
ot that nice Diablo 24T blade it cuts like a champ. Table stinks though, t
oo high and too small.
Multitool - CHECK. Got a Dremel a year or two ago, along with a Rotozip, n
ice tools, very handy.
Pencil Sharpener - got a couple mechanical pencils instead, they make a con
sistently fine line which I like. And a box of kids chalk for face planing
Will check out Roy Underhill's vids, thanks. Seems a good idea. I love qu
ality TV :) Will check the other sources of info, thanks for the others!
Regarding philosophy (such as the excellent advice to buy as I need), my ph
ilosophy so far has been to buy when needed OR when a bargain presents itse
lf. e.g. Paid $150 for my Ridgid 13" planer, $500 for my ShopSmith Mark V
510 AND DC3300 dust collector, $105 for my Craftsman 2HP 6" jointer. I lov
es me a deal :)
Sliding Miter - CHECK - another used bargain on eBay, 12" dual sliding DeWa
lt for $260 with decent blade.
Digital angle gauge sounds truly worthwhile, will check it out. Sounds lik
e an inexpensive way to make life a lot easier.
I'm a big proponent of learning, so I picked up a couple of books. By the
way, there is a book that is rapidly becoming my woodworking bible, it's ol
d, but still available, and fabulous even though somewhat dated: Furniture
and Cabinet Making, by John Feirer, 1983. Covers a vast amount of material
, and offers some clever techniques. Highly recommend it.
Good point about shop power - that's one other reason I got the ShopSmith -
it doesn't pop my wimpy 110V 15A breakers. High on my list, won't be chea
p though - I can do most of the wiring, but the subpanel work will still be
Router - have an old Craftsman, works, runs strong, need a plunge-y one and
a table, though. Good point.
Jig saw - CHECK+CHECK - inherited both a saber saw and scroll saw from fath
er in law, God rest his soul.
@MikeMarlow: with you on HF, they can offer some good stuff, got a very nic
e tile saw for a song there once. Am wary of their quality in general, tho
Meaning to check out the Domino. Seems like a game-changer. Track-saw wil
l have to wait but is a GREAT idea - I can make-do with a clamped guide edg
e for the time being. Track-saw would be a MUST have for a contractor thou
@Lew: I covered the thinking chair FIRST lol!
Workbench need: acknowledged. Right now I'm using a couple 3/4" ply tables
on sawhorses with cross support using those dandy table-building hangers f
rom Rockler. Planning to build a couple nicer ones with under-table storag
e that do double-duty as infeed-outfeed tables, plus a rolling tool cart to
keep the always-needed stuff close at hand.
As a footnote, I have seen LOTS of back-and-forth about ShopSmith tools, so
I'm going to go on the record here to (hopefully) avoid a repeat of some o
f the ugly threads I've witnessed elsewhere:
1) YES, SS is a compromise tool in both power and configuration. Built for
those without a lot of space.
2) NOT a great value when purchased new (unless you don't much space.)
3) VERY good value when purchased cheaply - I got a starter table saw, plus
a lathe if I want to try turning, plus a drill press, borer and sander.
4) WELL built, in the USA.
5) Pricy, pricy, PRICY accessories.
In summary, can't say I love it, but am grateful I found one at a good pric
e when I did. I may be the first SS owner to ever NOT gush about the darn
thing, and am proud of that fact :)
And I'm grateful to you guys for being welcoming and helpful. Will try to
offer what I can as well.
Quote "Good point about shop power - that's one other reason I got the
ShopSmith - it doesn't pop my wimpy 110V 15A breakers. High on my list,
won't be cheap though - I can do most of the wiring, but the subpanel
work will still be pricy." unQuote
This may be a partial do it your self job. In many places wiring, to be
done per government code, must be done under a Building Permit by a
license Electrician. I live in a rural county east of Raleigh and that
is the way it is here. I don't like the additional expense, BUT it is
for the protection of your family and future owners. While we may be
quite capable of doing the job, there are others who think they are.
Quote "Workbench need: acknowledged. Right now I'm using a couple 3/4"
ply tables on sawhorses with cross support using those dandy
table-building hangers from Rockler. Planning to build a couple nicer
ones with under-table storage that do double-duty as infeed-outfeed
tables, plus a rolling tool cart to keep the always-needed stuff close
at hand." unQuote
While there are those who will look down their noises at a movable bench
and say it is for amateurs, in reality is the best option for the DIY
shop. I have both my work bench and table saw on wheels. Since I am not
doing one operation for 8/7/52 weeks, it gives you a lot of flexibility.
While I did mine with the idea of using it as an outfeed table, its
biggest use is as a staging area when I am cutting a lot of pieces. (I
make my wife stretchers and picture frames and may have several dozen
pieces at a time.) Being mobile it can service the table saw, the drill
press or the router table. One non woodworking use is a sturdy mobile
platform for painting the ceiling, installing ceiling lights, and
changing light bulbs.
My work bench is made of 2 X 4 with all half lapped joints. The top is
1/2 inch plywood set into a half lapped 2X4 frame. There are four closed
cabinets at the ends and two large shelves. It is sturdy and is still
as strong to day as when I made it over 15 years ago.
On Friday, December 6, 2013 10:04:06 AM UTC-5, keith email@example.com wrot
I'm with you, Keith - the wiring I spoke of is simply runs from the subpane
l box to outlets. I rewired my entire kitchen (open work, re-did walls and
a couple windows in the process, so pretty easy,) after submitting plans a
pproved by the township, and passed inspection with flying colors. An elec
trician friend taught me all the relevant techniques, codes, etc. and check
ed my work. But I leave the heavy lifting to the experts, rest assured. I
like woodworking but don't want to have to build a new house :)
Would never look down my nose and anyone's bench or tools, everyone has dif
ferent needs, preferences, etc. Hell, doing that would be like knocking an
other fellow's wife, not gentlemanly or kind at all. Me, I'm lucky - have
a lot of room in my basement shop (24' x 32'), so I can be a little lavish
in allocating bench and storage space, and will have a combination of some
fixed benches along with a couple rollers.
FWIW running shop equipment on 220 volt, especially a table saw, will
99.999999999999999% remove the chances of stalling the motor. Even with
a good blade fully raised and buried in Ipe. Ipe is 2.5 times harder
than oak. 3HP is plenty unless you run the saw 24/7
My biggest problem with Shopsmith is:
1) being lazy (not totally) but if I want to do something I want to do
it without a lot of trouble... And for the shopsmith you have to take it
apart and put it together.
2) it's not a real table saw.
3) you can't do two things at once, you need to take it apart to do
something. So if you need to redo something you are up the creek.
5) everything is a compromise.. so it's not really good at any of them.
Weighing in on the runaway Festool train:
I did indeed NOT ask for the most *expensive* tools specifically, BUT if so
me of the desirable tools that I was asking about happen to be expensive, t
hat's fine, so be it. I'm a big boy and can make sound decisions for mysel
f. I weigh every purchase in the context of what it give me, what it will
cost me, and the relative worth of each to me, given my situation and my go
als. So if someone says to me, "hey Jeff, you gotta get one of these $1900
routers, they're the cat's ass," I just file it away in the back of my mi
nd as something to check out when I get to the point where I've got $1900 b
urning a hole in my pocket and I'm feeling I could use a router upgrade.
I'm learning from (most of) this back-and-forth, so hey, carry on and have
fun with it!
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