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  • new guy needs tool selection help

    OK guys, I need your help. I am new to woodworking and am having a blast with it. I believe I was very fortunate with early tool purchases ... a used PC Biscuit Joiner, used Delta 10" Sliding CMS and a never used Powermatic tabletop table saw. I now have some more money to invest in tools and am in a delimma. The Ridgid TS3612 has been on my wish list for several months (the TS2424 prior to that) but now that I have most of the money I think of all the other tools I could get for that same money The little Powermatic I have I really do not enjoy ... the table is so small and the fence leaves a lot to be desired. But then there is the rest of my wish list ... router, Delta 12" bench top drill press, Bosch Jig Saw, sanding station, brad nailer, etc. I keep thinking of the projects I have built so far and the ones I am likely to build and it's just hard to cross tools off the list as unnecessary So, how have you guys approached your tool buying? I could ramble on but we all have lives to live ...
    Alan
    My Shop

  • #2
    I love my new TS3612, which replaced a fine, functional RAS. Given the importance of a precision saw, I would consider going to the 3612, especially if your tabletop saw isn't satisfactory. Having a sliding compound miter saw to supplement the 3612 sounds wonderful.

    You got my advice on a router in another post - Hitachi M12V. There are things you "need" a router for that can't readily be done with other tools, so it would be near the top of my list.

    I love my PC biscuit cutter, but that doesn't make sense if you aren't joining pieces of wood, which normally requires a jointer - even the S4S wood from the home center is warped and dinged and not great to join, and if you get into serious woodworking, you will want to buy rough cut hardwood. I use my Jointer and Thickness planer far more than I thought I would, and far more than the sanding station, band saw, and drill press. (in fact, I have used my cheap old jigsaw as much as my band saw for recent projects).

    The brad nailer is great, but primarily to give you an extra hand if you don't have a helper. I can hold something aligned that is slippery with glue and shoot a brad, but it would move if I were hammering. If you have a helper or are more patient (e.g. use a clamp rather than a quick nail shot), then the brad nailer can wait. I have both 18 gauge (brad) and 15 gauge (finish) nailers, but I would consider a 16 gauge if I only could have one.

    Of course, there are as many opinions on which tools to buy as there are people, so this is only worth 2 cents.

    My wife decided recently that she wanted to take up woodworking, so I got a "blank check" for tools that I had lived without for years. See www.plesums.com/family/projects for the results (and the sequence the tools were bought).

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    • #3
      I'm gonna buy the 3612 in the morning. I just have a question on the Aluminum trunnions. Could this be a problem, and is Cast Iron better? Thanks for replies.

      Marc

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      • #4
        Alan--welcome to the wonderful world of tool purchase mania .

        The order you purchase tools greatly depends on what you're going to be doing. In general, if you have a good compliment of portable power tools (circ. saw, jig saw, drill) I would say you need to bite the bullet and get the 3612. A good table saw will eventually be the center of your work/shop. As you noted, it will be much more versitle and IMHO, safer than the benchtop you have now.

        I have an earlier Emerson table saw---like the 3612, but without all the improvements Rigid has made. Have had it for 13 years and it's still going strong.

        Marc---the trunion material issue has come up before. I believe they are a zinc alloy. However, there is no problem with them. I had my saw disassembled a while back. There wasn't the slightest signs of wear, cracking or warping---they're made of fine material for this application. Indeed, since the 3612 has a micro adjust on the rear trunion--you won't even worry about having to tap them with hammer and wood block, as the older configuration required.
        Dave

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        • #5
          Thanks for the info. I feel alot better about the purchase. Cast Iron "may" be more durable in the long run but, After about 15 years I hope to have a better saw....

          -- I was also wondering if I wanted to change out one of the ribbed wings for a solid would a wing from a competitior work???? Say a Grizzly solid cast iron wing??

          Cheers,
          Marc

          PS: I am a happy camper as I will buy my saw today......

          Comment


          • #6
            Only time I've ever heard of a trunnion breaking, it was a cast iron one. Cast iron is really rather brittle.

            Dave

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            • #7
              Dave(ferg),
              I think you are right about the safety of the Powermatic 411 I have. It is a nice little saw and the price I paid for it along with the miter saw and biscuit joiner made it tough to pass up I built a base for it with a dust chute and casters so I can move it around the garage. But, the aluminum table has sliding wings that connect with small metal rods that easily sag under weight and make it difficult to work with larger pieces. I have been planning to upgrade the saw as soon as possible but now that I just about have the money it's hard to spend it all on one tool I know from the Powermatic that it is best to buy the best you can and have a quality tool that literally lasts a lifetime. Being the typical American male, I think I have to have it all and have it now
              Alan
              My Shop

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