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Complete Workshop Replacement

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  • Complete Workshop Replacement

    I have the enviable task of completely outfitting a workshop with all new stationary and portable power tools as well as hand tools (our old shop was destroyed by fire and the contents were partially covered by insurance). I know that this is a Ridgid forum and I plan on replacing some of the tools with Ridgid but would value the opinions of the forum on which manufacturers are the leaders for specific tools,eg. Milwaukee - Sawzall etc. Has anyone had experience with General International products? I am in Ontario Canada and have access to most name brand products. Your honest input would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    I have had very positive experiences with both General and General International. Purchasing These brands would allow you to be loyal to your Canadian Bretheren. (I live in the states but really appreciate General products). I also have observed that certain manufacturers seem to have one tool that outshines the rest, like the Milwaukee sawzall. Many Riobi fans will say that the BT3000 tablesaw is an great machine and a great value,(but,not suitable for a production shop) but much of the rest of the product line is not as highly regarded. General International makes a 15" belt sander that seems to be a great value. Grizzley makes a cabinet saw priced competitivly with high end contractors saws that poeple rave about. Laguna bandsaws are to die for. Dewalt, Delta, Makita, Milwaukee, all seem to make fine tools. Ridgid is ofcourse solid all through their product line, I never had a bad experience with any Ridgid tool. The great part about all these competetors making quality tools is you can choose your tool on estetics, I like red, so my cordless tools tend to be Milwaukee. The grip on my drill is smaller than most and fits my hand better than some others. My Dewalt jig saw was a killer buy at an estate sale. So my recomondation is to shop for value and feel. I don't think you can go too terribly wrong with the main brands. Have a blast!


    • #3
      Here's a summary of my primary power tool collection:

      Ridgid TS2424 table saw. -- Love it!!! The new version is great too but I'll enjoy my 2424 for years to come. I couldn't be happier with the investment. I added an Incra 1000se miter guage.

      Ridgid 12" Compound Miter Saw. -- Love it!!! High quality and great features and easy to tune. Replaced a piece of junk Craftsman that I never was happy with. Would love to have the new Ridgid sliding CMS with laser but too pricey for me at this time and I probably will never need its capabilities to be honest with myself.

      Ridgid Shop Vac with leaf blower. -- Love it!!!

      Milwaukee Tilt-Lock 7 1/4" circular saw. -- Stay away from my circular saw!! I like the adjustable main grip, the low front grip and the wide open "sight window" that makes it easy to see your cut line from either side. Super power. The tilting main grip is nice if you have to work in awkward positions. I do like the new Ridgid circular saw and think that you couldn't go wrong with it.

      Dewalt 3/8" heavy-duty VSR drill. -- Very happy.
      Dewalt Deck/Drywall VSR Screw Gun -- Very happy.
      Dewalt 1/4 sheet sander. -- Very happy. Very well counterbalanced to reduce vibration.
      Dewalt 5" Variable Speed Random Orbit Sander -- Very happy. Also very well counterbalanced to reduce vibration.

      Porter-Cable 10 amp Tiger Saw. -- Couldn't be happier.

      Porter-Cable plunge router. -- Quite happy.

      Craftsman fixed base router (built by Ryobi) that will soon be replaced with a much more powerful fixed base router from Porter-Cable.

      Porter-Cable brad, angle finish and angle framing nailers. Very, very happy.

      Very old Craftsman (non-orbital) jig saw that I can't give up because you can rotate the blade on the fly and cut in any direction without turning the entire jig saw around all the time. I wish someone could incorporate that feature into an orbital jig saw (or maybe they have and I haven't seen it).

      Delta 16 speed floor standing drill press. I haven't had a chance to really put it through its paces but I like the quality of it. No complaints yet.

      Will be buying Ridgid 1/2" VSR, 2-speed-range, pulse-hammer drill soon. Arr! Arr! Arr! Arr!

      I like all of Ridgid's new corded tools. I have no cordless tools. I never do anything anywhere that I can't plug in a corded tool.

      Also want a VSR belt sander but I haven't decided on which brand/model yet. I have an old Black & Decker single speed that, like the old Craftsman jig saw, belonged to my father. I've experienced the single speed belt sander as being restrictive on applications.

      I do believe that you generally have to go with different brands for different tools to get the best quality/value in each tool. Some brands make some tools better than other brands.

      Good luck and have fun!

      [ 10-15-2003, 01:08 PM: Message edited by: George ]


      • #4
        Here is what I have and my thoughts:

        Ryobi BT3000 Table Saw: Extremely Happy.

        Milwaukee Lok Tor 14.4 Hammer Drill: Great Powerful Drill

        Milwaukee Body Grip Router: Love the body Grip Feature

        Makita 3HP Router: hanging in table, does a great job

        Ryobi 14.4 Drill: OK, not spectacular

        Ryobi Biscuit Joiner: Junk

        Dewalt Biscuit Joiner: Excellent

        Ryobi 12 inch CMS Very Happy

        HF Bench Top 16 Speed Drill Press Very Happy

        Ridgid Band Saw Very Happy

        Skil Circular saw: I use it to cut large sheets, With a good blade it does a fine job

        Grizzly Jigsaw, Good

        DeWalt ROS Good

        Ryobi Bench Sander OK

        Delta Bench Jointer Good

        DeWalt Rec. Saw: Real cool

        My next purchase will be a HF compressor and brad nailer. Have heard nothing but praise for them.



        • #5
          I could enthrall you (ha!) with my opinions of tools, but I'll admit straight away that, while I love the tools that I have, I have little frame of reference for comparison.

          However, Fine Homebuilding & Fine Woodworking just released their annual Tool Guide: A Buyer's Companion. Very good reviews, and very fair I think. A good mix of tech info (which appeal to geeks like myself), functional testing and subjective ("feel") data. And, it's a small bit, but they publish "street price" instead of the painfully useless MSRP.

          I found my copy at the grocery store (Dominick's, here in Chicago).

          To save you time looking for it, it's a primarily white cover with a 1" red band across the top. The cover is dominated by the words "Tool Guide" (nearly half the page) and has a three tools pictured (DeWalt contractors TS, Hitachi power saw and Milwaukee cordless drill) below that.

          I'm impressed with's not just big stationary tools. Lots of hand tools, safety equipment, etc, etc.

          Anyone else seen this?


          • #6
            With respect to what tools to purchase I do think going to an independent source such as the "Fine Woodworking" Tool Guide is indispensible, however, anyone that subscribes to "Fine Woodworking" will see that it is just a rewrite of what has appeared in the magazine over the past year or so.

            Define what market you are looking to buy in and it will be easier to narrow-down the options.

            "Good quality tools will last as long as you care for them."


            • #7
              I certainly gathered that it was just a rehash, but having it all in a big pile like that is nice.


              • #8
                I picked up a copy at HD and it had some good info but it really lacked the in depth tool reviews and recomendation that I was expecting, Many of the categories had NO ratings and to me it was less than useful, If it had the same type of rankings as the "Wood magazine" reviews it would have been excellent,
                So far I have bought the new Ridgid 18v Drill, a Milwaukee 7.25" circular saw and the Milwaukee sawzall,,,,Only 100 more items to go.


                • #9
                  Milwaukee makes the best Recip. saw and now have outdone all other with circular saw. Dewalt Makes the best Miter boxes ( 12" ) They also make an excellent portable Table saw, Porter Cable has long had the title of the best sanders, also makes a good Router but I prefer the Milwaukee, I have only used two of the Rigid tools the 12" miter saw with the was among the worst tools I have ever owned and last friday I purchased the 18v cordless drill and it seems to be working great, but is overly heavy. If you need new stationary tools for your shop Jet has an EXCELLENT Table saw will cut through anything and never bogs down, I also have been told the Grizzly is pretty good, but have not used, myself.
                  Name to stay away from RYOBI, they are fine for a weekend hobbiest but will not withstand heavy use and their motors are bottom of the barrel, Craftsman, they used to be among the top of the tool food chain till they started buying their products from Tiawann. and what ever you do never purchase a Porter cable air tool of any kind, I really believe that they are originally made by Playschool or at least they perform that way..Hope this all helps


                  • #10

                    You could not have picked a better time to have your workshop burn down.

                    Have you heard about the Limited Lifetime Service Warranty promotion that is offered on all new RIDGID hand held and stationary power tool purchases until December 31, 2003?

                    Why not buy a full set of RIDGID tools and get a Lifetime Service Warranty on your complete set of tools!

                    This is definately something to consider.

                    While I cannot completely recommend this idea yet, as the written Lifetime Warranty does not seem to reflect exactly what the RIDGID and Home Depot representatives are implying and advertising as a Lifetime Warranty, many of my family and friends are considering doing the same to take advantage of the limited time offer. We are only waiting on clarification and hopefully a more detailed and specific Lifetime Warranty that specifically covers the tool for our lifetime rather than the lifetime of the tool, which could mean anything.

                    I have a detailed message posted which asks for specific clarification on the details of the Lifetime Warranty at the following link:

                    Official Limited Lifetime Service Warranty

                    I am also communicating with several people at the different companies involved to try and get a clear answer to the concerns covered in the above linked message.

                    Just imagine having a full set of the tools below, all with a Lifetime Service Warranty that includes replacement of batteries, motors, brushes, switches and other normal wear items!

                    [ 10-31-2003, 03:58 PM: Message edited by: RIDGID1 ]


                    • #11
                      Vince, the admin over on woodnet, is looking for stories about shops being lost. You may want to share your misfortune with him.

                      Woodnet thread

                      Bob R