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Beginner Question - Tool Acquisition

by jotrocks
posted 10-20-2018 08:46 AM


20 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5555 posts in 2888 days


#1 posted 10-20-2018 01:02 PM

Get the table saw first. To build a workbench the table saw will be of much more use than a miter saw. One of the most common cuts you will need to build almost anything is the rip cut. Table saws excel in rip cutting. Miter saws can’t rip cut and while you can rip cut with your circular saw it is a difficult and somewhat awkward operation with that tool. You be able to crosscut with both the table saw and circular saw, making the miter saw more of a luxury than essential.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View EdDantes's profile

EdDantes

74 posts in 447 days


#2 posted 10-20-2018 01:15 PM

Agree with Bondo. A well-tuned table saw with crosscut sled will do everything a miter saw can (and more). A miter saw may be able to improve upon the speed with some of these operations assuming you spend money on a nice one. From a upfront investment standpoint, you’ll get more mileage (for less money) with the table saw.

If you’re not sure this is going to be a longterm hobby, look around for a contractor saw that’s in good shape, preferably with an upgraded fence. One thing to make sure of is that is includes a blade guard, or be sure you can get an aftermarket one (and factor that into your price).. Depending on your location, you can get one from anywhere between $100-$300 (depending on accessories and upgrades included).

View jimintx's profile

jimintx

926 posts in 2121 days


#3 posted 10-20-2018 02:06 PM

I offer more support for a table saw as the next significant purchase.

I use my TS almost daily. My buddy down the street has an ancient little Ryobi table saw that he keeps under a bench and hauls out from time to time. He has churned out a large number of cabinets and tables, and small pieces of furniture, and on and on with that little, seemingly outdated, table saw.

FWIW, back in the 60s-70s, maybe 80s, I believe 98% of the folks that wanted to build with wood started with one major tool – a radial arm saw from the local Sears. When you got your RAS, you were a serious woodworker!

RAS machines have lost so much of their widespread popularity due to safety issues, but really because we can now replace that by getting great little table saws, and fine and affordable miter saws.

Add in a really good handheld jig saw (aka a saber saw), a couple of modern powerful cordless drills and drivers, a router (or two!), and some decent hand tools. You will be set to do a huge number of things with wood.

When you look at crews doing home remodels, they all arrive at the project house and set up a portable table saw and a miter saw in the driveway. With that they build custom cabinets, built-in bookshelves, all the trim, and largely every other thing needed for the job. Its a really versatile tool arsenal, and you can carry it around in the back of a small SUV, so its easy to store, as well.

Additionally, welcome to Lumberjocks. You came to a good place for wood work chit chat!
...

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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jotrocks

12 posts in 391 days


#4 posted 10-20-2018 03:35 PM

Thanks – I’ve seen a few hybrid saws in my area CL recently that could be a good place to start. One is a Grizzly G0661 the other is a Delta 36-725. A riving knife is a must for me and I’m not very handy so I don’t want to get into an older saw that might need some work.

Appreciate all the advice – thank you!

Matt

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

796 posts in 447 days


#5 posted 10-20-2018 04:35 PM

Starting out with a Table saw is a good way to go. (one with a plastic table top is not as accurate as a cast iron table top), build yourself a nice sled for it. When starting out with young family, it makes sense to keep the price down. You can always upgrade later. You’ll find handy a small 4”x36” belt sander, they usually come with a 6” disc sander. You may want to consider a tool envelope or budget, so you have the funds later as you need additional tools, wood & hardware. Then as you need them, slowly build up your portable power tools, such as a 3”x21” or 4”x24” belt sander, detail sanders, orbital sander. Slowly build up your clamp collection.

View EdDantes's profile

EdDantes

74 posts in 447 days


#6 posted 10-20-2018 05:23 PM



Thanks – I ve seen a few hybrid saws in my area CL recently that could be a good place to start. One is a Grizzly G0661 the other is a Delta 36-725. A riving knife is a must for me and I m not very handy so I don t want to get into an older saw that might need some work.

Appreciate all the advice – thank you!

Matt

- jotrocks

Just for clarity, the G0661 or 36-725 would both be nice choices. The riving knife is nice, but even on older saws you can use a splitter. While the riving knife is theoretically “better”, when used properly I think the difference is negligible. There are also after market plastic splitters that can be used.

Even if you’re not handy, it will do you well to really take some time to figure out how to troubleshoot and tune your saw. That’s going to be what’s going to let you go from just “cutting wood” to doing solid work. They’re actually pretty simple machines, and once you take some time you’ll have no problem. If you do end up with a hybrid/contractor saw, I highly recommend the PALS system to align the blade. Just infinitely easier than tapping away with a wooden block for an hour.

Finally, try not to be nervous about the saw. A healthy amount of respect and caution is certainly warranted, but any tool can hurt you if you’re not paying attention and doing things safely…not just the table saw. Keep the guard on with splitter/riving knife, use push sticks and feather boards, build a sled for cross cuts, make sure you have adequate infeed/outfeed support, etc. Then if you find this is something you really enjoy, you can always upgrade to a SawStop cabinet saw. There are going to be arguments about whether it’s actually safer which aren’t material to this conversation, but it may at least give you some piece of mind.

View 8iowa's profile

8iowa

1591 posts in 4298 days


#7 posted 10-20-2018 06:12 PM

Actually, you might consider a used Shopsmith. They usually come with several accessories such as 4” joiner and bandsaw. Shopsmiths easily outlive their owners and are not hard to find at very reasonable cost. The company also provides support.

Many thousands of “beginners” have started woodworking this way.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View jotrocks's profile

jotrocks

12 posts in 391 days


#8 posted 10-20-2018 11:22 PM

Thanks – the guy with the Grizzly is asking $575 and the Delta (if it’s still available, waiting on a reply) is $400. I went to Lowes to take a look at the Delta and it looks solid enough for me. I did some searches here on it and $400 seems reasonable for it used. The Grizzly model I didn’t see much about, I think it’s been replaced by a new model that’s more popular. It’s been listed for a few weeks so I may get him down to $500 on it. I don’t know that there’s enough different in the Grizzly to warrant the extra $$ for it. If the Delta is available I may jump on it.

Thanks again for all your responses!

Matt

View Rayne's profile

Rayne

1239 posts in 2076 days


#9 posted 10-20-2018 11:37 PM



Thanks – the guy with the Grizzly is asking $575 and the Delta (if it s still available, waiting on a reply) is $400. I went to Lowes to take a look at the Delta and it looks solid enough for me. I did some searches here on it and $400 seems reasonable for it used. The Grizzly model I didn t see much about, I think it s been replaced by a new model that s more popular. It s been listed for a few weeks so I may get him down to $500 on it. I don t know that there s enough different in the Grizzly to warrant the extra $$ for it. If the Delta is available I may jump on it.

Thanks again for all your responses!

Matt

- jotrocks

I had the Delta and that is a great beginner saw that will hold its own. The built-in mobile base is extremely handy and I noticed the Grizzly doesn’t have one, so you’d have to add that to your cost if you wanted mobility. You’ll get a lot of mileage out of the Delta without breaking the bank.

View jotrocks's profile

jotrocks

12 posts in 391 days


#10 posted 10-20-2018 11:51 PM

Welp. This just popped up. CL search alerts are the best :-)

Might be a little more saw than I need but this seems like a really good deal.

https://phoenix.craigslist.org/nph/tls/6728571623.html

Matt

View Rayne's profile

Rayne

1239 posts in 2076 days


#11 posted 10-20-2018 11:55 PM



Welp. This just popped up. CL search alerts are the best :-)

Might be a little more saw than I need but this seems like a really good deal.

https://phoenix.craigslist.org/nph/tls/6728571623.html

Matt

- jotrocks

Jump on that one and check it out in person. The sled, mobile base, and knowledge of the saw by the owner makes me think everything he is saying is true. Then you can gloat that your first saw was a Powermatic. lol.

View EdDantes's profile

EdDantes

74 posts in 447 days


#12 posted 10-21-2018 12:11 AM

That’s a pretty good deal on that Powermatic, mainly because of the fence. I’m pretty sure that’s an older right tilt model, and it will have a splitter/guard not a riving knife. It’s dust collection will also be inferior to both the Grizzly and Delta as it’s the classic “motor hanging out the ass” design.

That VSCT fence would be close to $400 retail once you add in the custom built rails. I don’t have one, but everyone seems to rave about it. For reference, I’d say a reasonable price for the saw without all the upgrades/extras is probably somewhere around the $250 range.

And it’s not really more saw than you need. The saw itself is going to be functionally quite similar to the Grizzly and Delta. Like I said, the benefit will be the fence which is going to be helpful even for the most basic operations.

View jimintx's profile

jimintx

926 posts in 2121 days


#13 posted 10-21-2018 04:54 PM

If you have the space for the Powermatic setup, I would go buy it and not look back.
The ad sounds to me like you might get it if you have $500 cash in hand when you are there.

But also, that Delta saw will also be a very good way to get deeper into the hobby.
You have two great choices without further adieu.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View jotrocks's profile

jotrocks

12 posts in 391 days


#14 posted 10-22-2018 03:02 PM

Sadly I don’t have the space for that saw as is, though it would be perfect because I envision doing a fair amount of plywood ripping in the future. The seller was willing to cut down the rails and separate it from the base for me so I could fit it in my garage, but he didn’t have a blade guard or splitter so that would be another $200 or so on top of the $500 saw which is a lot more than I want to spend.

I did notice a local shop has a Grizzly 1022 for sale for $500. What I’ve read about that saw is it’s a little older but a solid saw. Has a blade guard and (I think) riving knife based on the pictures. It’s pretty close to me so I’m going to go check it out in person and ask some questions. http://www.timber-woodworking.com/site1/usedEquipSpecs.aspx?equipment_ID=3226

The search continues!

Thanks
Matt

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2365 posts in 3175 days


#15 posted 10-22-2018 03:26 PM

For a splitter, you can get a nice zero-clearance insert and mount the micro-jig splitter, which is only $40 for the splitter. I say only $40, but when you look at it as a few little thingies you could hide in your shirt pocket that seems high, but if it works it works.

As long as you are not doing bevel cuts, the MJ splitter should be fine.

-Paul

View jimintx's profile

jimintx

926 posts in 2121 days


#16 posted 10-22-2018 08:25 PM

I began to use a table saw as a teen, back in the early second half of the last century. I still use a table saw, and i have several nearby friends that have table saws, and we sometimes work on things together at each others shops. Not one saw i have ever owned or worked on had a blade guard in place, and non of them have splitters or riving knives. I guess I am simply lucky to have been born in a period where we learned to use the saw safely, and didn’t depend on added attachments to protect ourselves.

I do think that folks that use blade guards are more capable than me. They must have determined a safe way to operate and make good cuts with a blade guard in place, partially blocking the sight lines to view the blade. I never had the mental ability to figure that out, so the blade guards never went on to the table saw in the first place.

One only hopes that everybody with a guard and a rk/splitter on the table saw also spends the effort to worry about countering the dangers of hand-held circular saws (aka kick-back machines), and routers, and routers mounted in tables. Just about everything in the shop can injure the user, often with serious consequences, not just table saws.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View lumbering_on's profile

lumbering_on

578 posts in 1027 days


#17 posted 10-23-2018 12:23 AM


I began to use a table saw as a teen, back in the early second half of the last century. I still use a table saw, and i have several nearby friends that have table saws, and we sometimes work on things together at each others shops. Not one saw i have ever owned or worked on had a blade guard in place, and non of them have splitters or riving knives. I guess I am simply lucky to have been born in a period where we learned to use the saw safely, and didn t depend on added attachments to protect ourselves.

I do think that folks that use blade guards are more capable than me. They must have determined a safe way to operate and make good cuts with a blade guard in place, partially blocking the sight lines to view the blade. I never had the mental ability to figure that out, so the blade guards never went on to the table saw in the first place.

One only hopes that everybody with a guard and a rk/splitter on the table saw also spends the effort to worry about countering the dangers of hand-held circular saws (aka kick-back machines), and routers, and routers mounted in tables. Just about everything in the shop can injure the user, often with serious consequences, not just table saws.

- jimintx

I’m not sure if you know who Jimmy DiResta is, but he’s one of the best woodworkers out there, and he’s cut his finger off in a saw. So it can happen to even the most experienced people in the business. Further, I can tell you about people I know that drove around drunk for years without so much as a scratch on their car, but that’s not something I think you’d suggest, right?

Sure, the overwhelming majority of people who don’t use a guard or a riving knife will make it through without any major issue, yet most people seem to have a story or two about the time when something happened, but nobody was injured. If you don’t like guards, or riving knives, that’s fine, but to suggest that somehow it’s safer, is just not the case, and there are thousands of people a year that prove that point.

Just as a parallel case, when I was growing up in the 70’s you didn’t even have to buckle your kids in until they were 5 years old. We used to jump around the back seat when the car was moving until our parents pulled the car over and threatened us with bodily harm. There was no such thing as airbags or anti-lock brakes, and we didn’t even own a car with three-point belts in the front seat, let alone the back, until I was almost a teen. Do you think we were safer back then? Do you think we should just go back to that time?

View jimintx's profile

jimintx

926 posts in 2121 days


#18 posted 10-23-2018 03:11 AM


I m not sure if you know who Jimmy DiResta is, but he s one of the best woodworkers out there, and he s cut his finger off in a saw. ... Do you think we should just go back to that time?
- lumbering_on

I’m sorry that you completely missed the point. These discussions are never worthwhile on the internet. I should have refrained, and now it is too late to simply delete my view.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View lumbering_on's profile

lumbering_on

578 posts in 1027 days


#19 posted 10-23-2018 03:37 AM


I m sorry that you completely missed the point. These discussions are never worthwhile on the internet. I should have refrained, and now it is too late to simply delete my view.

- jimintx

I would disagree that I missed you point, as I’ve seen these discussions many times in the past, and not just with woodworking tools. However, I would agree they aren’t fruitful discussion to have on the Internet, and this will be my the last post on that subject.

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1474 posts in 3386 days


#20 posted 10-23-2018 06:35 PM

Matt,
I did quite a bit of surprising work with my dad’s circ saw, a cordless drill and a sander. My “Big upgrade” from there was the PC 690 kit with a fixed and plunge base. Look at what you’re trying to build and if/when a new tool is justified. I agree with all above that a TS is the centerpiece of the shop but, for awhile you can do pretty good with a shopmade track to rip sheet goods, and spend a bit more for dimensional lumber you can mostly straighten with a $20 flea market find #4 plane.

Don’t get as caught up in the dodads, tools, guns, cars and even using a cross walk require proper technique. I’m lucky there was still shop class when I was in school but there many places to get some solid training for the TS, don’t be afraid of it but always respect it. I use feather boards hold downs push sticks and sleds for my cuts and a good appreciation of where/when I need to go a different route and maybe do a cut with the bandsaw or just grab a backsaw and go old school.

Welcome to LJ’s… go make some sawdust!

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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