Help a newb build a modest wood working setup?

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Forum topic by Raamiah posted 12-18-2016 03:25 AM 1875 views 1 time favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13 posts in 1068 days

12-18-2016 03:25 AM

Good evening all,

Thanks to everyone on this site. I’ve been lurking and reading and the info here is really helpful. My current table saw is really basic and not up to the task at all (Ryobi RTS10G ). It’s fine for what I’ve used it for in the past (laminate flooring and such) but I’d really like to be able to cut some hard wood to make a cutting board for my wife, make some book shelves, etc. My little ryobi struggles with that type of stock and honestly feels unsafe. It’s time for an upgrade.

I do not have a ton of room and my budget is not vast. I’d like to stay under 700-800 for a new saw and I’d like to acquire an appropriate dust collection setup as well. In poking around I saw that a lowes near me still has a Delta 36-725 in stock. They want $600 for it. I could also get a 36-5000 from lowes for 750. From what I’ve read Delta can be dicey with service and parts and the 36-725 actually seems higher regarded than the 36-5000. Any opinions on whether that’s a good deal for either of those saws?

I’ve checked craigslist the last week or so but nothing pops out as appropriate for me and a good deal. The local woodcraft store was trying to get me to stretch for a Jet proshop (well after trying to get me to really stretch for a sawstop) but I think I would rather take a capable but lesser saw and add more appropriate tools. I know some will say buy as big of a saw as you can afford but I’m only going to be using it a few times a month to build stuff for around the house. Additionally, have electrical work isn’t an option for me so I need whatever I get to be 110v friendly as well as being able to be pushed to the side of the garage when not in use. I think the delta saws above are about as big as I can house and only if I can push them out of the way when not in use.

As a secondary question, after a table saw, what is the typical order of importance with wood working tools? I know that is a tough question to answer because it will very but I’m curious what tools make things dramatically easier and most prioritize first.

Thanks in advance for your help.

20 replies so far

View Rich's profile


5001 posts in 1132 days

#1 posted 12-18-2016 05:49 AM

The basic prep for lumber is to flatten one face, square one edge to it, plane the other face parallel to the first, and rip the board to size.

So, the table saw is the first tool you need. Then a jointer and thickness planer. IMO, those three are the trinity for a power tool setup.

View knotscott's profile


8343 posts in 3918 days

#2 posted 12-18-2016 12:42 PM

I hear both good and bad about Delta’s current service and those table saws… more good than bad about the saw. In general, I like the 36-725 over the comparably priced options of the R4512 or Craftsman 21833. Not sure what to make of the 36-5000….AFAIK, pretty much the same saw as the 36-725 with a single piece front rail and a beefier motor. That price tag is an improvement from the last time I checked, but I really don’t hear too much about it.

The Jet Proshop is a fine saw, though beyond budget. The Grizzly G0771Z has some similarities and is $695+$99s/h…definitely worthy of some consideration IMO. You get solid cast iron wings, cabinet mounted trunnions, full enclosure, decent fence, and it’s from a reputable company known for good service and value. They’re a direct importer, so you don’t pay dealer markup.

Regardless of which table saw you get, setup and blade selection contribute a lot to the overall performance. Get the alignment spot on, and buy decent blades (a little research is in order)

The sequence of tool acquisition is always subjective, and dependent on what you’ll be doing, but it’s to imagine not getting some good service from something as useful as a decent router….get one that can accept 1/2” shanks, and buy 1/2 bits whenever feasible. A decent bench or work surface is a must too.

If you’ll be using a lot of dimensional lumber a planer and jointer are the best way to ensure that your stock is flat straight and square, which is ideal for ensuring that your joints fit right.

A bandsaw is handy, but a jigsaw is a reasonable workaround til you’re ready. Similarly, a hand drill is a reasonable workaround for a drill press in the short term. If you get serious, dust collection is important to your health. Chisels, some hand tools, measuring tools, sanders, marking devices….all handy. Overall, desire is the key ingredient.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View RandyinFlorida's profile


257 posts in 2610 days

#3 posted 12-18-2016 01:30 PM

+1 for Knotscott. Saving up for that saw myself. Have the 110V issue too.

I’ve been using a Hitachi C10FL TS for six or seven years now. Well tuned. Best blades I can afford. Upgraded Miter. Well made crosscut sled.

I’ve been pretty happy with it, all in all. Doesn’t have cast iron wings, just stamped steel. But for the sale price of $500 (discontinued sale at Lowes)...

A workbench has to be your first consideration. It will be the bases for everything else you do. Working off plywood stretched across sawhorses just doesn’t cut it.

-- Randy in Crestview Florida, Wood Rocks!

View Raamiah's profile


13 posts in 1068 days

#4 posted 12-18-2016 01:30 PM

Thanks very much to both of you. Very much what I expected to hear after reading. I looked at grizzly but by the time I add a mobile cart and freight we are at 900. For what i’m going to do is it really 300 better than the 36-725?

I have been reading a ton about the right blades and doing a proper.setup. Was thinking about starting with an Irwin Marples 24 t rip blade. I also have a diablo 50 t combo blade that I bought before reading and haven’t opened yet. Seems like most people.recommend the smaller tooth count blade for lower or mid range saws when doing hardwood. Is there a good use for the 50 t for me or should I return it and just stick with 24t for everything while starting out?

Edit: Thanks to you as well Randy.

And I forgot to mention that I did already build a workbench. I did the 1 sheet of plywood bench Jay Bates had on YouTube. Came out well and I made it the same height as my current saw so it could serve as an outfeed table. I’ll likely build a second one for the new saw at the correct height.

View alittleoff's profile


541 posts in 1819 days

#5 posted 12-18-2016 02:49 PM

36-725 is a very nice saw. I had one until I ran across an old unisaw that I rebuilt and now use. I finally sold the 725 to a friend of mine who like me loves it. If you need a saw the size of the 36-725 I would highly recommend it.

View Lazyman's profile


4109 posts in 1930 days

#6 posted 12-18-2016 03:47 PM

I have the 36-725 and have been happy with the saw. The 36-5000 is basically the same saw with better rails though slightly less cut capacity I think. It does have a better motor so might be worth the extra $150 between those 2 upgrades, though for occasional use, you probably won’t miss those upgrades if you want to spend the money on other tools. It appears that with the bigger motor on the 5000 you lose a little depth of cut as well but with a less beefy motor on the 726 the extra depth may not be all that useful (though I have resawed hardwood on mine with no problem by just taking my time). One complaint I have about these Delta saws is the insert is sheet metal and it is difficult (not impossible) to make zero clearance and dado inserts for. The ones that Delta sells are ridiculously priced.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View John's profile


246 posts in 2124 days

#7 posted 12-18-2016 03:48 PM

A low tooth count blade is used primarily for ripping, while a high tooth count is for crosscutting lumber. A good quality thin kerf combination blade will let you get away with both with decent results. I personally have a Forrest Woodworker II 40 tooth in the saw most of the time, although I will switch to a dedicated rip or crosscut blade if I’m going to be doing a of either operation.
As far as other priority tools, I feel a drill, for drilling and driving screws, a circular saw, for breaking down plywood or long boards, a jigsaw, for cutting curves, are necessary.
I would buy other tools and accessories as you need them and as your skills develop you will be able to identify what you need and what you can do without.

-- I measured once, cut twice, and its still too short...

View RandyinFlorida's profile


257 posts in 2610 days

#8 posted 12-18-2016 03:53 PM

Good choice for the Irwin Marple blades. I have the 80T cross cut on my miter saw and a 60 T all general purpose on my table saw right now.

-- Randy in Crestview Florida, Wood Rocks!

View Marcial's profile


178 posts in 1088 days

#9 posted 12-18-2016 04:58 PM

I’ll approach it from a different angle. I had a Jet contractor’s saw that served me well for 20 yrs. Since you already have a table saw, hold off on that unless you’re cutting 12/4- 8/4 boards regularly. A track saw can do a lot of what pay more for in expensive table saws- table surface area, miters, cross cutting capability. I’m a big fan of Festool Domino joiners for making the most important joint in carpentry- M&T; unless you’re going to be making entry doors. A jointer plane can clean up after a track saw jointed board. Jack plane, block plane and smoothing plane are probably more important than any power tool except a table saw- I like Japanese planes but I also had the good fortune to have a mentor show me the ropes with those. Chisels that can hold a sharp edge are also a basic. Finally a sander (I like Festool) that has good dust mgmt and can be both aggressive and refined.

View Raamiah's profile


13 posts in 1068 days

#10 posted 12-18-2016 05:17 PM

Thanks to everyone for their advice. I’m not MIA, just soaking it in and weighing my options.

View JAAune's profile


1872 posts in 2859 days

#11 posted 12-18-2016 08:43 PM

If you want to make a cutting board, a bandsaw, jointer and planer would provide you with far more capability than a table saw upgrade. There’s a nice used Jet bandsaw near Jacksonville. With some careful selection, you could get all three tools for not much more than you planned to spend on a tablesaw.

Craigslist Bandsaw

With a good blade, a bandsaw will easily rip through thicker wood than any tablesaw ever will. The jointer and planer will provide better surfaces than even the best tablesaw blade (some exceptions such as grain tearout on figured woods).

The problem with going the above route is that the tablesaw is the better option for making case goods like book cases. Bandsaws are not the best for processing sheet goods.

-- See my work at and

View knotscott's profile


8343 posts in 3918 days

#12 posted 12-18-2016 09:16 PM

... I looked at grizzly but by the time I add a mobile cart and freight we are at 900. For what i m going to do is it really 300 better than the 36-725? ....
- Raamiah

Don’t want to persuade you one way or the other, but I can offer some different numbers to mull over. Harbor Freight has a mobile base for < $40, which puts the total cost of a G0771Z at ~ $835 to your door (no tax on the Griz, but there is likely some for the Delta). For a premium of ~ $200 you get a beefier 15 amp motor (vs 13 amp), solid cast wings, full enclosure, cabinet mounted trunnions, somewhat of a fence upgrade, and a well regarded company backing it. What are those features worth to you?

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View plywoodman's profile


12 posts in 1083 days

#13 posted 12-18-2016 11:57 PM

While I agree with all the above comments, when I was building my shop, I bought according to my need at the time. I started with a circular saw and an aluminum saw guide, since to even start a project, I was paying Home Depot to cut the plywood/MDF to size.

-- Don, Arizona. " How hard can it be "?

View sgmdwk's profile


308 posts in 2415 days

#14 posted 12-19-2016 02:49 AM

I think it is best to just find your own way. Everyone on here can tell you stories of how they have acquired and used tools, and all those stories are valid. We all figured it out, though, and so can you. I have used the same Craftsman 113 table saw for almost 30 years. It is finally wearing out. so I will upgrade – probably to a Powermatic. The key thing, though, is that the old Craftsman has been adequate for me to fill my house with furniture I made myself. I have built everything from end tables to a china cabinet, using pine and fir for some projects, but also some expensive hardwoods, too. I have picked up a floor model drill press, a 14-inch band saw, and a 12-inch planer along the way. I never have bought a joiner. I do have a nice selection of old hand planes I use for joining and dimensioning. I have three routers, several hand saws, a couple drills. Last week I bought my first lathe. I am still planning what I “need” in my shop. That process will never stop. Just keep making stuff and pick up what you need to get the current project done. Some tools will be junk, some will be gems. It’s all part of the woodworker’s life .

This is a long way around to say you should use these forums to tap into how to do things, but make your own choices on what to do.

-- Dave K.

View Raamiah's profile


13 posts in 1068 days

#15 posted 12-19-2016 04:17 AM

Thanks again to everyone for the advice. It is all valuable and it’s really interesting to hear other folk’s point of view.

Ultimately, I decided to go with the 36-725. For what I want to do, the size of my house, etc this is likely going to be as much table saw as I’ll need for a very long time. I just finished putting it together and so far my only complaint is the instructions are / were garbage. I had seen this mentioned before I purchased so I knew this going in. Tomorrow I’ll put some stock through it and see how it does. I did end up getting it for $540 + Tax after paying a couple of dollars for a 10% off coupon on Ebay. Additionally, I got another ~$9 back from EBates. $531 for this much saw seems like a good deal to me. With inventory around me vanishing (I had to drive 45 minutes to get as many Lowes are sold out and not restocking it.) I felt the need to take the deal now.

On the band saw. Man that probably is a good deal (the Jet someone linked above). I’m really tempted but I think I’m going to stop at the table saw for now, get a few projects built, and go from there based on need. (Heeding the advice of a bunch of people in this thread).

I left the grease on the cast iron table for tonight as I don’t have anything handy to coat it with. What should I clean it off with and then what should I coat it with?

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