Choosing Woodworking Equipment,Tools & Machinery

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Forum topic by Cricket posted 05-29-2015 10:29 PM 2097 views 0 times favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Cricket's profile


2776 posts in 2508 days

05-29-2015 10:29 PM

Often I see people within woodworking communities disagreeing on which brands of woodworking equipment , tools and machinery to use. It made me wonder how people new to woodworking ever decide.

How do YOU choose which brands or models to purchase?

Do you trust online reviews? Ask your friends?

-- Community Manager

35 replies so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 3591 days

#1 posted 05-29-2015 10:49 PM

By following threads here on LJ….
I key in on opinions and preferences of respected community members….

I check several sources of online reviews (salt must also be used)....

If the price is right…. A CL deal is the way to go….

I also consider features & anticipate the amount of use a tool/machine will receive….
Then buy the best “value” for ME….

I try to avoid impulse buys… research is important!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4628 days

#2 posted 05-29-2015 11:14 PM

I follow pretty much the pattern Randy does but season it a bit with, when buying older machinery, the reputation of the company. I have to get my hands on the tool before I buy it, buying sight unseen like on the internet has always left me cold. Mind you I did buy a new Triton router over the internet but based on magazine reviews and info collected here.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View JL7's profile


8776 posts in 3881 days

#3 posted 05-29-2015 11:15 PM

Great question….I think it all comes down to the guts of trying something, then (hopefully) learning from that and then repeat. I believe anyone can make great things from many tools….....just need to think it through….

And CL…...!

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View jiggles's profile


54 posts in 2193 days

#4 posted 05-29-2015 11:19 PM

I moved recently and sold my table saw, band saw and planer jointer and when I got to the new location I also sold my drum sander. I looked at a lot of the equipment out there and went back to most of the same tools I had used for 15 years. I did not get another planer jointer and the drum sander I got was bigger than my old one. My table saw I had was a 12” grizzly, band saw was 16” grizzly the planer jointer was an 8” grizzly the drum sander was a 10/20 jet. My new stuff is a 10” grizzly table saw an anniversary model grizzly bandsaw I think it is 17”, a 18/36 grizzly drum sander. Setup with the table saw was right on. I also added the router table extension. I could not find a better quality for the money with my grizzly tools.

-- Jiggles, Huntsville (Prison City), Texas

View rhybeka's profile


4931 posts in 4037 days

#5 posted 05-29-2015 11:21 PM

I’m with the others – lots of research, poking around the reviews here and asking in the forums – trying to take it all in with a grain of salt and figuring out what will work best for what you’re going to use it for and the space confines you have to work in. That alone can be tough when trying to add new tools!

-- Beka/Becky - aspiring jill of all trades, still learning to not read the directions.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30576 posts in 3254 days

#6 posted 05-29-2015 11:23 PM

Questions. What do I REALLY need? What price range can I afford? Will it pay for itself?

Really read spec sheets. Can it do what I need it to do?

Reviews are essential. If some reviews are negative, is it situations that would happen to me? I know how I am with tools. Will it withstand me?

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View lightcs1776's profile


4262 posts in 2570 days

#7 posted 05-29-2015 11:35 PM


There are three areas of interest for me when I purchase a woodworking tool. They probably are a bit different than most other’s qualifications. First is do I need it. If not, then I have bills to pay with that money. Second is, as with others, what folks here have mentioned about the product. I trust the reviews people provide here. Third is can I afford it. I would love a Lie Neilson hand plane but I will never pay $300 or so for a nice plane. I won’t spend $2k on a table saw. Just my 2 cents.

-- Chris ** If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. — Tom Paine **

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3428 days

#8 posted 05-29-2015 11:47 PM

What a great topic Cricket, I was contemplating on posting something in relation to your thread earlier today so I’ll post it here, speaking for yours truly, when I started out I didn’t have deep pockets so I had to rely on low rated tools that are sold from places such as Harbor Freight and that’s how I got my start, I wasn’t aware of LJ’s at the time either but from experience, Every tool that I’ve purchased from Harbor freight has already failed, and there are quite a few more like many tools that I’ve since weeded out due to the failures mostly all from HF, I now only buy top quality tools, If someone is just starting out and or just doing weekend type stuff than low quality might do but anything that requires precision HF isn’t it either, everyone has to start somewhere but the way I see it, I’ve spent more money in the long run by replacing faulty equipment than if I had just purchased high quality from the beginning.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View firefighterontheside's profile


21275 posts in 2772 days

#9 posted 05-29-2015 11:48 PM

For handheld tools such as drills and saws I am pretty faithful to certain brands that I have used and my dad used before me. That’s not to say I won’t take advantage of a good deal on another brand. For larger things I pretty much use craigslist and buy what’s the right price and right class of tool. My table saw I bought new from grizzly because of the ad I saw in wood magazine and the fact that I live fairly close to the store and could go,pick it up. I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon and will read the reviews and compare before I decide which to buy.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25485 posts in 4021 days

#10 posted 05-30-2015 12:21 AM

For power tools, avoid the new Craftsman stuff. I have a few of them and their motors suck.
Look at Makita, Bosch,Grizzly, Fein. etc.
Most of time the cost will dictate what you buy. Try them out at a buddy’s shop if you can. or do a hands on in the store to see if you like they way the tool is set up.
This forum is a good way to get feed back on an individual tool that you are looking at, too. There are 105,000 woodworkers here and they have the full range of all the tolls sold!

Also, there are reviews on toll on line to see how other people like them who have already spent the money!!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3606 days

#11 posted 05-30-2015 12:21 AM

I really tend to over-research my purchases: read all the reviews I can find, check out the spec sheets, etc. I’ve been pretty lucky with some of the cheap tools I purchased when just starting out: my HF spindle sander is still going strong and my original Ryobi router refuses to die!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View TheFridge's profile


10861 posts in 2402 days

#12 posted 05-30-2015 12:42 AM

I always know what’s best. So I just listen to myself and expect others to do the same.

Edit: and stuff

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4224 days

#13 posted 05-30-2015 12:50 AM

I always do my own research. When I read reviews of tools (or anything else) the reviews (opinions) seem to vary so greatly and I never know what the skill level or qualifications are of the person doing the reviews.
A review is a starting point…but we all have to edumicate our selves and learn.

View Ted's profile


2877 posts in 3127 days

#14 posted 05-30-2015 12:57 AM

I learn almost everything I need to know about woodworking tools from hanging out at forums, such as this one. I generally don’t trust reviews, as they are too often very short sighted—the person doing the review is not using the tool in the real world for any considerable amount of time.

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

View diverlloyd's profile


4029 posts in 2773 days

#15 posted 05-30-2015 01:32 AM

I do research unless it’s a known name at a great discount. Like the last craftsman zip code table saw. Clearance with the biesy fence for 300 and freud router bits for 25 cents a piece. I also buy a lot at auctions as I did tonight 50 cold chisels with a 1”& 1/2” keen kutter socket chisel and a keen kutter 1/4” mortising chisel all for the steep price of $5 bucks.

I would recommend the auction route for everyone lots of deals to be had and nice hammers cricket, I love hammers.

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