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I see a great deal of posts from new woodworkers as they agonize about their new tools purchases (haven't we all been there?). There is the concern for resaw height on the bandsaw, the type of jointer and planer to get, the size of the tables, etc. Many of the very silled woodworkers here will give advice on these things but one thing I seldom hear is the relationship each tool has with each other.

For example…

I have a delta lathe with a 14 inch swing, a 13 inch planer, and I use hand planes for flattening instead of a jointer. I am not limited by width for flattening because hand planes can allow me to joint without a width limitation (no matter how painstaking the process might be). But I am limited to width when it comes to the planer and lathe. When I purchased my bandsaw, I didn't look for massive resaw height because, in truth, I didn't need much more than 12 inches. If I were cutting wood for my lathe, the largest diameter I could go with is 14 inches To cut to that thickness, I would have to have a very straight log. I would want to plane to final thickness any board I reduced using the BS so widths greater than 13 inches would be a waste of time because of the restrictions of my planer (unless I wanted to try my hand at perfection with the hand plane…shudder…shudder).

So my question is this. How many woodworkers out there consider the limitations of the tools they have on hand before adding to the collection? I am not looking for any justifications for buying the biggest, baddest addition to the collection. In my book, the only justifications one needs for purchase is the budget and the want. But I do have to admit I find myself curious when I see someone that has a 6 inch jointer, a 12 inch planer, contemplating the purchase of a bandsaw with a 17 inch resaw height.

David
 

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well put david
all the tools in conjunction
still can amount to the weakest link in the chain
for certain uses

there are ways around all of this of course
some more tedious than others

that is part of the challenge
of our craft

somehow there is always a harder thing to build
and even with all the 'right' tools
we still get in over our heads anyway

way to learn i guess

i still dream of a 52" wide double platten sander
even though i have little use for one
or the 3 phase to run it
 

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Good question. I had to stop and think about it. I'd still go for the 17" resaw. I'd think its easier to resaw, rip, plane, reglue, then to rip, resaw 2, then reglue. Now I know that wasn't really your question, but think of the theory behind it. Its about flexibility. And you never know when a 24" planer happens into your shop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good points Don and I think they contribute a great deal to the conversation. I guess I would have a followup question regarding order. I, myself, would hesitate to re-saw without jointing first. My fear would be the estimation I would make regarding the thickness of the piece at its most imperfect portion. It might be my inexperience, but to me there is the risk that you would suffer potential length/width loss because you are resawing a board that isn't flat to the fence.

I realize that I am speaking in very general terms, so I don't want to come across as believing that one is totally limited by the standards imposed by our tools. I was just thinking about how the limitations of the "weakest link" (as David coined it) can have an impact on our future tool purchases.

Thank you for commenting!
 

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To me jointing you do on an edge, you plane the face, so I agree it would be best to plane one side. But that depends on the board, if its true, it doesn't matter, if its not, you'll need to take action.

First, I'm not afraid to resaw freehand, snap a centerline and go. An other option is a longer fence so the board stays true as it evens out the dip.

An even another option, grab the Stanley joiner.

I'm a ''get the job done with what you got''. Once you've resawn 17" boards and figured out how without the 24" planer, its time to think 24".
 

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I always ask myself how much will I really use or need it? Too much stuff collection dust! Maybe I should fire up the dust collector, eh ? ;-)
 

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I do regret that I wasn't a part of this discussion 30 some years ago. It never entered my mind. I tended to buy the next thing because it would have a specific purpose or measurable benefit on the next job. The idea of integrating things? The hormone hurricanes of tool lust just flattened the fields of thoughtful reflection, that's all.

But it has been a fun run.

Kindly,

Lee
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I agree, Lee, that want is a big driving force. As long as one has the money, I see nothing wrong with that. I have a few tools in the shop where someone would say "You spent how much on that?" Truth is, I liked the tool and my time in the shop is enjoyable because of it. Keeps me out of bars anyway.

Topamax, funny how collecting dust in the shop and collecting dust in the house are two very different things :)
 

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Hmmm.. wouldn't you have to have the experience to know what you would need in the future? As your experience and capabilities progress, so do your tools. When I first started I got a 6" jointer, outgrew that as soon as I got better and got me a 12" jointer/planer combo, at this point it is all I need, but I could have stayed at a stage where the 6" would have been enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I agree. I am not speaking os a single tool purchase. I was just curious about the motivation behind purchasing an extra large bandaw, for example, when the other tools in your shop might limit the need or use. If one was planning to upgrade or knew they would in a while, then it makes sense to me. Don has his own technique and use for wider boards, and that makes sense to me. If someone told me "I bought it because I wanted it…" that would make sense to me. I was curious if anyone bought another tool and thought about the specs based on other tools in their shop or whether it was not a consideration at all. When i bought my BS, I took in account my other tool items, knew I wasn't upgrading any time soon, and sized the specs in relation.

Just something on the table to think about is all.
 

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knew I wasn't upgrading any time soon

This is exactly my point, you reached a level of experience where you knew what your needs are. On the other hand there is something to be said about having more than not enough, right. I might never need to re saw a 16" board, but it is nice to know I can…. ;-)
 

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I think there has been some great thoughts that have been illuminated so far: need, desire and experience. I think you also have to factor in what kind of work you anticipate you will be doing; not just in the near future but the work you dream of doing! Where does your heart tell you to go farther on? I also tend to error on the side of caution, meaning always go a little bigger than you may think you might need. That not only gives you room to grow but gives you plenty of that, "whew, glad I had that available for that job" room for any given project that may jump out at you. You never know where your creative process may take you!

Nate
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey Nate pleasure to see you out there. Yes, the emphasis on foresight and the unknown needs of the future make a lot of sense. It seldom is just the now is it?

Thanks for the comments folks. Keep them coming. I will be around for awhile :)
 

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My tool purchases are a mix of want and need. I bought a 5hp unisaw did I need it no, a 3hp would have been ok. I am getting ready to buy a jointer a 6" will get me by but an 8" is what I am going to buy. I spent a lot of time using lesser quality tools but now that I am getting ready to retire and use the shop more the quality of machine is important. When I buy a new machine I tell my son, just got a new tool for you. He will eventually get them when I can no longer use them. So I justify some of purchases based on that fact.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
No argument from me on the quality reason and definitely justification is a personal thing. My curiousity, though, tends to lean toward how our various tool purchases intertwine together. Has anyone made a tool purchase and discovered that "Darn, the size of my "..." reallly makes it a pain to really use" ...

And just so we are clear, I am talking about tools here :) The iron, aluminum, and steel ones…
 

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And just so we are clear, I am talking about tools here :) The iron, aluminum, and steel ones…

Dammit, you just took all the fun out of this thread…. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
That is me, mir. killjoy :) I saw some very bad jokes coming as I typed out my question… These threads have a very delicate balance and I could see the scales tipping.. :)
 

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Honestly, until you posed this question, I'd never thought about it. I'm relatively new at this, so I have been in the "I'll buy a tool when I have a use for it" frame of mind, never considering how it would fit in with the overall scheme of my shop. Budget was (and still is) the primary concern for large tool purchases, but I'll be keeping it in mind from now on.
 
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