New into wood working, need help starting

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Forum topic by Rockytop posted 09-10-2016 11:46 PM 1231 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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37 posts in 1363 days

09-10-2016 11:46 PM

Hey all, I’m just trying to get into this as a hobby. I do hvac work, been around power tools all my life. I have general contractor tools ( circular saw, recip saw, jig saw, etc), granted most are entry grade to limited use until trash grade. My dad has the old craftsman table saw that I’m going to start with. It needs some upgrades but I’m fine with that. My first project is going to be wood flooring from a sluth of pallets i have. I’m going to use the saw & jigs to make the first jointed edge. But i really need a good planer & would like to add a decent sliding compound miter & nail gun( i have a compressor). On the 3, I’m hoping to spend around 700. I know it’s not much, but it’s something to start & build. I’m in east tn & for reference the 12 dewault sliding compound miter sells new around for 350-450. Please give some good advice

15 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2225 days

#1 posted 09-11-2016 12:03 AM

Craigslist is your friend

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

View Rockytop's profile


37 posts in 1363 days

#2 posted 09-11-2016 12:53 AM

I’ve been looking. Not much around here. I did find a dewalt 12” sliding miter for 300but that’s almost half muy budget. & i think I’ll need a planer more. But anyway on the 3 tools, what should i be looking for?

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1659 days

#3 posted 09-11-2016 01:33 AM


If you are convinced your tool budget should go to purchasing a mitre saw, planer, and nail gun then you can get a new 10” Kobalt sliding compound mitre for about $200 new, although there is no reason that until your budget grows you cannot use the table saw for cross cuts and postpone the mitre saw purchase. The rest of your budget can go to the planer with any left over money going to the nail gun.

I am not sure why you listed a nail gun in your list of tools. In my mind a nail gun, nice to have for sure, would be way down on the list of woodworking tools, behind the mitre saw, bandsaw, jointer, drill press, 3 hp router for a router table, and dust collector. If the need for the nail gun is for installing wood flooring, renting a nail gun is always an option.

In my mind, the planer and jointer are required for milling stock. A powerful router in a router table is great for creating profiles and doing sone joinery. The bandsaw excels at re-sawing and in cutting curves. The mitre saw is convenient when cross cutting or making mitre cuts. The dust collector makes the tools work better and helps protect your health. The nail gun entered my workshop about 30 years after I began my pursuit of wood working. While it gets some use from time to time, nail gun use is quite limited.

But in the end, how you spend your tool budget is up to you driven presumably by your most pressing needs.

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Monte Pittman

30546 posts in 3077 days

#4 posted 09-11-2016 02:23 AM

You have to decide what type of projects you think you want to make and start assembling what you need to do it. Most of us have spent years piecing together our shops. But small hobby items have some different needs than furniture.

Welcome to Lumberjocks

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Rentvent's profile


151 posts in 1588 days

#5 posted 09-11-2016 02:53 AM

Pallet wood doesn’t make good floors. It’s mystery wood full of nails, staples, and other metal stuff.

View ocean's profile


208 posts in 1572 days

#6 posted 09-11-2016 03:24 PM

I have a miter saw and I’ve got to say it gets little use except to cut off lengths to feed to the table saw or router. Spend some money on the up grades to the table saw. An after market fence/rail system, a link belt , zero clearance insert, and a couple of good thin kerf 10” blades (rip blade for those pallet boards, fine tooth ATB 60-80 tooth, TCG if you are cutting plastic (Formica)). As for nail guns I agree with the others, they are low on the list. If you are talking for the flooring rent the gun. Planners and jointers will eat in to your budget but are useful tools that will serve you well as your interest grows. As others said we have been building our tool collection for many years (myself 30+ years). Be selective and buy the best you can of any tool you buy. Watches those nail and staples in the pallets – get you self a hand held metal detector , it will save you the cost of a new blade or even more!

-- Bob, FL Keys

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1487 days

#7 posted 09-11-2016 05:00 PM

I get a lot of use from my 12 inch slider miter saw, but I could do without it if I had to. As for what is really needed, I guess that depends a good bit on the person and individual requirements. As for me, I’ll wing it and say I need: Table saw, band saw, jointer, planer, router and assorted bits, random orbit sander, circular saw, jigsaw, a few chisels, a hand plane or two, and a shop vac for the mess I make with the listed tools.

Beyond that, the list of stuff that isn’t absolutely necessary but almost so would include my router table, disc sander, lathe and lathe chisels, the miter saw, and a bunch of clamps of all types, a belt sander, drill press, scroll saw, shoulder plane, more routers and a trim router, and of course a workbench with vises.

Also useful – coffee maker, tv, stereo, chairs, more chisels, more hand planes, fridge, beer (for later). I’m sure I forgot some important stuff,

View Woodknack's profile (online now)


13304 posts in 3119 days

#8 posted 09-12-2016 12:23 AM

Fix up the tablesaw first, it’s more important than a miter saw and will probably need a new fence. Then buy a planer. Check pawn shops for a nail gun.

-- Rick M,

View Aidan1211's profile


198 posts in 1565 days

#9 posted 09-12-2016 03:26 AM

Stick with hand tools…...Cheaper, more fun and You don’t have to pay the gym membership anymore!

-- its better to plan on the task at hand than actually doing it........ You look smarter.

View ScottM's profile


747 posts in 2885 days

#10 posted 09-12-2016 12:33 PM

Pallet wood doesn t make good floors. It s mystery wood full of nails, staples, and other metal stuff.

- Rentvent

^^That’s what I was thinking too. What about the tongue and groove for that flooring? How will you attach the flooring, just face nail it?

View Robert's profile


3709 posts in 2219 days

#11 posted 09-12-2016 08:21 PM

Pick a different project that doesn’t require so many power tools.

You ask for good advice.


-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Rockytop's profile


37 posts in 1363 days

#12 posted 09-12-2016 08:56 PM

No matter the forum or the topic…there’s always that one! Smh. Thanks, to MOST of you

View brtech's profile


1067 posts in 3661 days

#13 posted 09-12-2016 09:34 PM

You don’t use a nail gun to install flooring. You use a flooring nailer, which is a totally different tool. This does assume you are going to mill tongue and groove connections between floor boards.

It’s pretty tough to get a new planer that’s worth it for a couple hundred dollars. Used via Craigslist is what most of us due on a limited budget starting out. Best bet is probably a Dewalt 734, which can be had for $320 or so reconditioned or $399 new.

I’d skip the miter saw if you have a table saw and are on a small budget.

Do remember that to use the planer, you need one face flat. You use a jointer for that.

View Rockytop's profile


37 posts in 1363 days

#14 posted 09-12-2016 10:36 PM

I guess i should’ve been a little more clear. Sorry about my vagueness.
The planer is needed now to clean the pallet wood for the flooring. I already have a router table that was given to me for a heat pump job i did. I found an old delta planer/jointer on cl for 50, Just needs a good cleaning I’d call it a jointer only but that’s how they called it. Anyway, going tomorrow to look @ it. If it don’t work out, I’ll use the table saw with jig to give a jointed( flat edge). The miter & nail gun(finish nailer are for my trim work & a few other small projects. As for the flooring, i think I’m glue & face screw( countersunk) & cover with wooden dowels to give a very old log cabin flooring look. Anyway, thanks for all the answers. I know it’s basic, but the reviews for the entry level cutech planer seem good enough for me to start. I can’t find any deals on planners within 100 miles of me. Did find a dewalt 735 for 450 but it looked very abused. The planer is the biggest, i may spend a bit more on it & hold off on others

View Nikki's profile


80 posts in 1511 days

#15 posted 09-13-2016 11:16 AM

Fix up the tablesaw first, it s more important than a miter saw and will probably need a new fence. Then buy a planer. Check pawn shops for a nail gun.

- Rick M.

For sure. I agree. Get the most ibasic tools first
Can’t really make a good floor without a planer and table saw. I mean, you can but it would take you forever

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