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The ol' "What tool do I buy now?" question

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  • The ol' "What tool do I buy now?" question

    I know this question is very subjective and there is no set "right" answer as to the order in which to purchase your tools. But ... I want to tell you what I have, what I build and what I want to build and get your experienced input from there.

    Currently I build small projects ... trivets, stools, hot sauce racks, chalk boards and die cast car (Hotwheels, etc.) display cabinets. As my skills improve I want to move on to furniture ... bookcases, small tables, chest of drawers, etc.

    I am blessed to already have a table saw (TS3612), a couple of routers, ROS, bench top drill press, jig saw, SCMS, biscuit joiner, brad nailer and compressor, cordless drill, circ saw and various clamps. Some of my stuff is very old, some second hand and some new. I have been very fortunate to add several pieces this year.

    I have built my shop cabinets and the small projects mentioned above. As I have begun to use hardwood (as opposed to plywood) I have found I am limited in "milling" my lumber to finished sizes as I frequently need 1/4" or 1/2" stock. Naturally, I thought it was time for a planer. But, a band saw seems to be a good choice because it would help resawing 4/4 stock to thinner pieces. I use my table saw now but find it rather scary ripping 1/4" pieces plus there is a lot of waste doing it that way.

    I know I will eventually need "all" the tools but where would you suggest I go from this point? Of course, there is the need for dust collection also ...
    My Shop

  • #2
    I understand exactly where you're coming from. I cut everything down with my table saw, I do use a blade with a very thin kerf although there is still a lot of waist. I just got the Rigid 13" planer and I don't know how I ever lived without it. I would have to say I made the right decision after I've seen wnat the planer will do. Although, I mostly build large furniture out of solid wood and the planer is a must. If I was building smaller things I would probable go with the band saw because of the detail work it can do.
    As far as dust collection I still use my Rigid Shop Vac and I works fine for me.



    • #3
      Alan---sounds like you've got a good start. I think you've answered your own questions. If you're going to start getting into working with hardwood, you will eventually need some method of resawing and smoothing and taking it to the final dimension. In my youth, I built a lot of nice projects with 1/2" stock, but it's almost impossible to find now. Also, from another aspect, while you can start out buying the pre-milled oak they sell at big box stores, it's expensive---but later, dealing with rough 4/4 or 6/4 stock, from hardwood dealers almost requires a band saw and planer.

      If your serious about doing a lot of re-sawing, you want a heavyduty band saw---The Delta 14" has a reputation of being one of the beefiest ones around----there are also very good larger saws, but just don't be tempted to cut corners on the price---you need the stability to do good resaw work.

      As far as smoothing out saw marks on your cuts, a planer works great, but if you can't aford both at first, cabinet scrapers or sanding will do the trick.


      • #4
        if you like resawing (personally I've never tried it) then maybe a bandsaw and a drum sander would be a wise choice. When i need thin stock i run it through my ridgid planer and use the chips for mulch around the flower beds [img]smile.gif[/img] no waste and if there is some black walnut chips no weeding :0 that said and i do like my planer I sure like the looks of some of the 15"ers for the money. bill


        • #5
          Router Table.
          keep makn\' sawdust!...just don\'t breath any.


          • #6
            Even if you resaw.....ya still gotta smooth out the saw marks, i vote for the planer...(thats MY next tool). PS, blueberry bushes LOVE sawdust. great for mulch !! and the wife makes great Texas size muffins.
            <a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a><br /><br />I can fix anything......where\'s the duct tape ?? :-)


            • #7
              For what it's worth, according to David Marks, host of TV show "Wood Works" that the four essential tools in starting a workshop are:

              Table Saw
              Band Saw

              Log on to DIYNET.COM and click on Wood Works to tour his workshop if you like.


              • #8
                Router Table
                keep makn\' sawdust!...just don\'t breath any.


                • #9
                  I agree with Greggs suggestion about the router table. Especially since you have multiple routers. You can make one pretty cheap. I'd say in your position, my order of priorities would be as follows:

                  1) router table
                  2) planner or jointer (it's a tossup I'm affraid, but I got the jointer first, then found out I couldn't do without a planner too. nice to have straight edges for the TS though.
                  3) DUST COLLECTOR! You will get it shortly after the planner- whether you can afford one or not!
                  4) Band saw

                  I found that the jointer, planner, and dust collector are dependant oppon each other to get the most from each machines capabilities. I know it probably won't be realistic to get all at once, but I got my jointer in June, planner in August, and DC is in the works now. I'm still deciding/scrounging money up for it. Shop vac works for now though.
                  Hope this helps


                  • #10
                    In my opinion, the five basic power tools are the table saw, jointer, planer, bandsaw, and router. All of these are important but the bandsaw is perhaps the most versatile. If you want to resaw there is no substitute for the bandaw. You can use the planer for thickness, but you waste wood and you can't bookmatch. If you go the bandsaw route, you definitely need at least a 1 hp saw for serious resawing. The new Delta 14" has a 1.5 hp motor. I have a 14" Jet with a 1 hp motor (wish I had 1.5 hp or better yet, 2 hp) and riser. I have become more dependent on it as I have become more familar with it's capabilities. I really like the relative safety of a bandsaw, just try to keep my fingers out of the blade.
                    The downside of the bandsaw is setup. For it to perform well, you must match the blade and the nature of the work. This means you have to go through setup each time you change blades. Also, if you get a bandsaw and it doesn't come with a fence and resawing attachment, don't buy the manufacturer's. Rather, get a FastTrack resaw fence. It sells for about the same price as the Jet fence, and I'm pretty sure Delta's is a little higher priced. The FastTrack system was designed by Mark Duginske (not sure if last name is spelled correctly). His book, The Bandsaw Handbook, is excellent. This system has greater flexibilty with respect to adjusting the fence for blade lead and offers an accessory for micro-adjustment.
                    Although I've never used the 14" Ridgid, I know it has scored pretty well on comparision tests, especially for general bandsawing. It's .75 hp motor doesn't seem like enough though, if you're going to be doing a lot of resawing on hardwoods.


                    • #11
                      I would go for the bandsaw to gain added breadth to your capabilities. You can buy dimensioned lumber from the home centers and with a good blade, cut clean edges on the table saw but the capabilities of the band saw would be truly incremental to what you have now. If you are thinking about resawing, shop around hard. I have the Ridgid band saw but use the table saw for resawing. That's the only place it has come up short.

                      I would by no means take the jointer and planer off your list, but I think you can work around their absence.


                      • #12
                        my workshop is composed of my RS1000 10" radial arm saw, a planner and a biscuit jointer..besides the drills and clamps or basic tray of goodies is summed up in three pieces. Fro mthis I rip and cross cut and recut again using my RS1000...Im not so limiteed on depth of cut using the RS and I can handle a 4x8 easily as I run it facing the table and a run off tables mades up customs to the height of my RS. a amouldering dado, and a dado blade makes up some assembly cuts while the planner and jointer make up the sheeting I need to build my furniture. I found that alots of guys use the TS's on the market. I found little that have used the RS and have discovered the superbe versatility of this tool without giving up too mush by not not having a TS. I also find that it takes less room in my shop because I operate it from three sides and not 4 like a TS.
                        \"is that smoke ???\"