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Hi LJs!

I'm a new member who found this site while researching table saws for my new (basement) shop and got addicted very quickly. I'm looking for some advice on where/what to spend my initial funds on. [I know this is a very open ended question and that opinions vary so I have included some additional background at the bottom for those interested.]

Presently, I am getting back into woodworking in general and art in particular as I've been lucky enough to have the opportunity to get out of the corporate world (which I long ago lost all love for) and get back to creating, which I've always been passionate about.

My reasons for wanting to setup a basement shop (besides the excuse to buy tools which, let's be honest, is almost enough in and of itself) are twofold:
  1. To help create my art: I do a lot of laser cut art and need/want tools to help me finish my projects
  2. To help accomplish projects outside of my art (i.e. house projects: built-ins, deck, etc)

My primary focus is on my art projects as they will be generating income. For example I don't plan on buying a jointer or planer for a while as I do not need those for my art projects currently. Eventually I'd love to have them so I could buy rough lumber but its just not a priority right now. With that in mind I have between $1500 and $2500 to spend and am curious as to what your recommendations would be.

After weeks of research (and lots of great information on this site) I am leaning towards:

  • Table Saw: Ridgid R4511 (refurbished) - $450 (with shipping)
  • Router: Porter Cable 800 series - $200 to $250
  • Shop Vac: Perhaps a Ridgid - $50 to $150(?) (I am planning on using this as my dust collector initially until I can afford a dedicated unit)
  • Sliding Miter Saw: Perhaps the Hitachi C12RSH - $400
  • Router Table: (not sure if I should buy or build) - $100 to $400(?)
  • Dado Set: Both the Oslun 8in Professional & Craftex Blue Tornado have received good reviews here - $75 to $200
  • Ceiling Air Filter: Jet AFS-1000B & Best Overall/Best Value in the latest Fine Woodworking - $300
  • Work Bench: Eventually I plan to build my own but am curious if there are any affordable, decent quality benches out there for sale - $200 to $400(?)

A few other notes:
  • I plan on building the necessary table for the Miter saw as I have some experience with creating functional shop tables in the past.
  • For someone just starting out, I actually have a good quantity of hand tools (both powered and non) so I'm not too worried about these initially (I know there are always more tools to buy and definitely like having the right tool for the job but as money is limited I'm focusing on the big items to start).
  • I currently own a small drill press so I'll be waiting for a killer deal before upgrading to a new one.
  • I have read numerous different opinions on the R4511's stock fence but most people seem to eventually upgrade it; is this something I should plan to do out of the "box" or would you spend that money elsewhere initially?
  • I am fine with used/refurbished tools if the savings are significant, the source feels reliable, and the tools are in like-new condition

Thoughts/opinions/recommendations? Am I on the right track? Are there any essential tools that may have escaped me? Thanks in advance for your help!

############

Additional Background:

I grew up working with all the basic woodworking power tools (table saw, radial arm saw, jointer, planer, band saw, router, etc) as my father was a hobbyist woodworker whose main profession allowed him the money to outfit his shop with quality tools (Delta, Grizzly, etc). Starting in my later teen years, I worked for my father for about 10 years after he started a woodworking company that focused on large scale projects (kit houses and such; i.e. cut 200 of this, cut 500 of that). I racked up a lot of hours in that shop on large industrial woodworking machines (16" radial arm saw, 10" panel saw, multi head drill press, etc.) as well as taking woodworking in middle and high school. I definitely learned a lot but that has now been 10 to 20 years ago and much of that has been forgotten.
 

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I think your right on track with you shop. As for the R4511 fence I had planned on putting a shopfox fence but Ive been planning on that for over a year and keep on spending money on everything else. Its a fairly good fence right out of the box. I initally had a 12gal Ridgid vac hooked up but it didn't do to great of a job so I bought a 1HP Grizzly DC it works great on the R4511. I would buy a top and plate for the router table and then build the rest. Rockler and Kreg has some great tops. So theres my 2 cents.
 

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Thanks for the tips and suggestions, Aaron. Sounds like you tried exactly what I was planning with the shopvac so I appreciate the heads up. I was hoping I'd be able to wait on a dedicated dust collector until I could better plan how large of one I'd need for all my tools but I may have to bite the bullet early. I'm also glad to hear the stock fence is working for you; that leads me to believe I can hopefully spend that money elsewhere (perhaps on a DC lol).
 

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Table Saw: Rigid R4511 (refurbished) - $450 (with shipping) Good choice. Keep an eye on craigslist though. Lots of table saws on there.

Router: Porter Cable 800 series - $200 to $250 Not a big fan of the 800's. Maybe look at the Bosch 1617EVSPK, Milwaukee 5616 or the DEWALT DW618PK

Shop Vac: Perhaps a Rigid - $50 to $150(?) Forget about it. For $150 (on sale) you can get the Harbor Freight 2hp dust collector. Very respected DC that is perfect for a home shop.

Sliding Miter Saw: Perhaps the Hitachi C12RSH - $400 Skip this one and look at the Hitachi C10FSB. Very well respected saw. You don't gain much with the 12", but you do give up precision!

Router Table: (not sure if I should buy or build) - $100 to $400(?) A Triton router between the rails of your table saw -or built into your outfeed table- makes for a GREAT RT setup for little money.

Dado Set: Both the Oslun 8in Professional & Craftex Blue I would recommend the Freud SD508 Super Dado. Great dado, okay price.

Ceiling Air Filter: Jet AFS-1000B Great choice. Also might want to look at building your own

Work Bench: Eventually I plan to build my own but am curious if there are any affordable, decent quality benches out there for sale - $200 to $400(?)

Build your own. It is a woodshop, right.
 

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My opinion would be "Build your router table and workbench and use that cash towards a dust collector".

Welcome to LJs!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the advice, everyone; it is much appreciate. My wife actually laughed out loud when she read the comments about the dust collector so that is now officially on the "must get" list.

Johnny Yuma:

Table Saw: Rigid R4511 (refurbished) - $450 (with shipping) Good choice. Keep an eye on craigslist though. Lots of table saws on there.

-Agreed; I have bookmarked Craigslist searches for every town in GA for all tools (its amazing how so many sellers mislabel their tools) and frequent ebay as well.

Router: Porter Cable 800 series - $200 to $250 Not a big fan of the 800's. Maybe look at the Bosch 1617EVSPK, Milwaukee 5616 or the DEWALT DW618PK

-Thanks I'll look into the ones you suggest as well. Is there a particular reason you don't like the 800's?

Shop Vac: Perhaps a Rigid - $50 to $150(?) Forget about it. For $150 (on sale) you can get the Harbor Freight 2hp dust collector. Very respected DC that is perfect for a home shop.

-This seems to be the consensus and exactly the type of advice I was looking for. Thanks!!

Sliding Miter Saw: Perhaps the Hitachi C12RSH - $400 Skip this one and look at the Hitachi C10FSB. Very well respected saw. You don't gain much with the 12", but you do give up precision!

-Will do.

Router Table: (not sure if I should buy or build) - $100 to $400(?) A Triton router between the rails of your table saw -or built into your outfeed table- makes for a GREAT RT setup for little money.

-This is definitely something I'll be looking into; some of the router table extensions people have posted look amazing.

Dado Set: Both the Oslun 8in Professional & Craftex Blue I would recommend the Freud SD508 Super Dado. Great dado, okay price.

Ceiling Air Filter: Jet AFS-1000B Great choice. Also might want to look at building your own

Work Bench: Eventually I plan to build my own but am curious if there are any affordable, decent quality benches out there for sale - $200 to $400(?)

Build your own. It is a woodshop, right.

-Haha point taken. Thanks again for all the pointers and recommendations.

Will Stokes:

Yeah I actually inherited a small table top drill press a few months ago and am planning on using that for the meantime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Todd46:

Agreed Todd! My basement actually shares a wall and double door with my garage so I actually plan on using both spaces as needed. Part of the larger plan is to totally redo the basement and garage as the previous owners did a piss poor job of finishing them and even then never completed the job. At that point I'd probably move most of my equipment into the garage and finish off the basement as an office and rec room.
 
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