Expanding my tool collection. What should I get next?

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Forum topic by Kenny82 posted 12-27-2016 06:39 PM 2697 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1434 days

12-27-2016 06:39 PM

I moved into my house about 2 years ago, and I am finally getting my shop set up in the 2 car garage. Now that I am able to start woodworking again, I want to expand my tool collection. I do not have any experience nor have I been taught to use any hand planes, scrapers, or carving tools, so I would like to avoid those until I have time and money to take some classes to properly use them. Here is my current list of tools (in no particular order):
Dewalt 10” contractor table saw with Dado set
12” sliding miter saw
Bench top router table with dedicated router
Corded drill
Battery powered drill
Battery powered Jig saw
Battery powered circular saw
Corded circular saw
Small craig pocket hole jig
Biscuit jointer
Corded hand planer (a gift I don’t know how to use)
Dowling jig
1” belt with 5” disc sanding combo
Corded palm sander
3×8 reciprocating sheet sander
Small air compressor
Hand saws for rip cutting
Coping saw
Bar clamps
C clamps
Squeeze clamps
Benchtop grinder
Straight edges, measuring tools, & squares ( which probably need to be replaced or updated)

Tools that I have thought about adding, but am not sure which way to go ( money is an issue so some of these may take time to save up for):
Scroll saw
Belt sander
Band saw
Drill press
Brad Nailer
Finnish Nailer
Thickness planer

As for the type of work I do it ranges anywhere from the smallest little knick knacks such as puzzles keychains and anything i can make with small scraps and little time, all the way up to Cabinet building, & custom tables and chairs, so on and so forth. The larger projects are few and far between they typically only happen when I need something around the house or I happen to hear of someone in need or wanting a specific item. Otherwise it’s all tinkering with the shop scraps. I would like to start utilizing my shop for some income (on a hobby basis for now). I am a stay at home dad so I probably have more time available than most. I should probably have a specific niche for said hobby, but I have not figured that out yet. Any ideas on that would be helpful as well.

I know this is a long written topic but I am very grateful for anyone who is taking the time to read it and reply. Thank you in advance for your thoughts and advice. It is much appreciated!

20 replies so far

View OSB's profile


147 posts in 1444 days

#1 posted 12-27-2016 07:26 PM

There are some drilling jobs that shouldn’t be done freehand so I suggest a drill press.

You could probably use a bigger belt sander.

A 6-8” or bigger jointer planer would be nice for cabinet making.

Myself, I have been keeping my eye out for an oscillating spindle sander.

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 1694 days

#2 posted 12-27-2016 07:28 PM

Well this is dumb. The objective is to build things, not multiply your tools. Buy one if you need one for a task at hand.

View OSB's profile


147 posts in 1444 days

#3 posted 12-27-2016 07:55 PM

If you are not creative you have a point.

For me, a set of capable tools expands the number of things I can do, while waiting to buy a tool when I have a specific need means I miss a lot of opportunities to create.

View OCristo's profile


12 posts in 1476 days

#4 posted 12-27-2016 07:56 PM

I agree with gargey in his post just above as it looks me senseless anything else than adjust your tools set according to your needs.

I suggest you to start with some projects, even simple ones like to construct a few sawhorses or a benchtop and to understand what tools you need or prefer to use as well if anything is missing… use your experience constructing stuff to define what additional tools you would go as well what from your current tools can be sold or gave away as you do not need or use it…

The bottom line is your actual needs in your projects must drive your purchase for new tools...

-- An Amateur Woodworker

View jdmaher's profile


470 posts in 3498 days

#5 posted 12-27-2016 08:13 PM

I’m usually one who says to never buy any tool until you can’t-do-it-at-all on THIS PROJECT. That said . . .

If you like making the knick-knack, puzzles, key chains, et al, I imagine a scroll saw would come in handy. I don’t have one myself, ‘cause I don’t do that kind of thing (yet). But I know people do use a scroll saw for that kind of thing and there’s a whole world of craftsy projects out there based on scroll saw work.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View DirtyMike's profile


637 posts in 1820 days

#6 posted 12-27-2016 08:24 PM

every shop should have a drill press.

View Charlie Kilian's profile

Charlie Kilian

86 posts in 1536 days

#7 posted 12-27-2016 08:53 PM

Cabinet building benefits greatly from pneumatic tools. Being able to fasten two panels together in about 5 seconds is transformative.

I agree with everyone else, though, that it should be driven by need. The tools in my shop that are sitting around collecting dust are the ones that I bought because I could instead of the ones I bought because I needed them.

But just because it’s a fun question, here are some tools I find myself using all the time that I wouldn’t have anticipated. In no particular order:

  • taper bits. Drill bits for #6, #8, and #10 screws that drill perfect pilot holes and have an adjustable counter sink built in. I bought them reluctantly when I was following along on a cross cut sled build, and the instructions insisted that if I wanted the promised results, I needed to use a taper bit. Since then, I found I use these three more than any other drill bit in my shop.
  • Edge guide for my plunge router. I think of it as the other half of my plunge base. The plunge base is incomplete without it. I don’t know why these are treated as afterthoughts most of the time.
  • Compound square. Originally bought one. I have three and counting now. Having a few that you can set for various depths of whatever project you’re working on is really useful.
  • Wixey digital fence for my table saw. I would never have bought this except I had a problem with my fence and needed to replace everything, including the railings that had the markings on it. This thing is transformative. I don’t ever have to account for blade kerf, even with a stacked dado set. I can just adjust the zero point of the fence instead. Also, when you find you need to reset the fence to the same width as a previous cut, this fence lets you do it with impressive accuracy. ALSO, my digital calipers really came into their own in combination with the Wixey fence. Both add and subtract in thousandths of an inch. Working in the same units really helps.
View dddddmorgan's profile


90 posts in 2046 days

#8 posted 12-27-2016 09:18 PM

I’d wade in and say that a drill press is a “necessity” notice the ”””. You could do just about everything and I do mean everything without one but you sacrifice accuracy and repeatibility and such.

If it were me looking with a hobby eye towards purchases I would second the scroll saw and a lathe. These two tools are used quite a bit in the hobby field, I am stock-piling goodies so when the weather turns nice again here the wife can hit craft shows. For all these trinket type things either the scroll saw or lathe is used, one or the other. I only have a MIDI lathe at the moment and it serves my purposes.

-- Maintenance Man - I do precision guesswork based on unreliable data from people of questionable knowledge...

View Dano46's profile


86 posts in 4088 days

#9 posted 12-27-2016 09:52 PM

Drill press for sure, Scroll saw for small projects, and to me a bandsaw. It takes time. Buy them as you need them.

-- You can't trust a dog to guard your food.

View Kenny82's profile


3 posts in 1434 days

#10 posted 12-27-2016 10:54 PM

Well…. I guess judging by the the number of idiots that commented I must have failed at getting across what I was really trying to figure out. Before I re-explain my question. I would like to point out that if you really thought that this was a senseless, pointless, or just a dumb question then why would you go out of your way to respond to it? Seems that your comment was pointless, senseless and a waist of time.

Now that that’s out of the way I’ll move on and explain my question better.

Because the work that I do ranges so widely I am trying to figure out which of the tools would benefit me the most moving forward. I understand buying tools based on need. I understand what my needs moving forward are. Because of the wide range of projects that I do the need of a planer is equal to the need of the drill press and it’s about equal to the need of the bandsaw, as I do get offered a lot of rough materials that would need resawing and surface planing. Those would be more for the larger projects, however the drill press and planer could help me on some smaller projects as well. The Lathe and the scroll saw would be more out of want and need, but I have had projects that I have needed those tools for and ended up going to a friend’s shop to use. I am really trying to figure out what’s going to give me the most bang for my buck without overlapping what could be done with current tools.
Judging from a few individuals who were actually kind enough to reply politely. I believe the repeatability of the drill Press would be at the top of my list. However I still wonder how much I could benefit from the planner. I will definitely be going to get a finnish nailer ASAP as I do constantly need it for almost everything.
Thank you to everyone who has replied politely. Your thoughts and advice are appreciated.

View MrUnix's profile


8284 posts in 3117 days

#11 posted 12-27-2016 11:01 PM

Well…. I guess judging by the the number of idiots that commented I must have failed at getting across what I was really trying to figure out.
- Kenny82

Hmmm… second post on the site and already calling people idiots… Not off to a very good start.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Kenny82's profile


3 posts in 1434 days

#12 posted 12-27-2016 11:04 PM

I just call it like I see it.

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4679 days

#13 posted 12-28-2016 12:52 AM

I was going to offer some suggestions… I think not.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2812 days

#14 posted 12-28-2016 08:24 AM

Judging from a few individuals who were actually kind enough to reply politely. I believe the repeatability of the drill Press would be at the top of my list. However I still wonder how much I could benefit from the planner.

You’ve got a router, pocket hole jig, electric drill – these things can accomplish a lot of what a drill press can do. I’m not saying don’t get a drill press. I use mostly hand tools and I love my drill press, but I got by just fine without one for a few years. To me, there is no “must-have” tool because you can almost (not always) complete the same task using different methods. There are obviously tools better suited for some jobs than others, just as there are tools that make the work easier. But if you want to build tables and chairs and cabinets, etc. you need to be able to make boards dead flat and square. That’s Priority #1.

As for this:

Well…. I guess judging by the the number of idiots that commented I must have failed at getting across what I was really trying to figure out.

I don’t see anyone who didn’t understand what you were saying. In your list of what you are considering to buy, “Thickness planer” is the last thing listed, and you still wonder if you’d benefit from it. You don’t even have “jointer” anywhere, power or hand. I wouldn’t call anyone here an idiot when it’s clear to me that you aren’t as concerned about the most basic fundamentals of woodworking as much as you are for wanting to have The Full Range Of Tools, whatever the heck that is, before you get going.

You need to be able to get boards dead flat and square, even if you’re hanging out with the scroll saw all day long. Or a lathe – how are you gonna center something properly? Maybe you want nothing but oblong Salvador Dali pizza cutter handles, I don’t know.

Not trying to be a jerk, but there’s one thing I know for a fact after many failures and do-overs: if you don’t have the tools to prepare your stock properly, you’re screwed. Your shelves won’t fit right because your entire cabinet isn’t square, your dovetails will have gaps, your drawer bottom won’t fit, on and on.

Dead flat and square, dead flat and square, dead flat and square <——beat this into your head for the rest of your woodworking life.

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2812 days

#15 posted 12-28-2016 08:26 AM

Also – I see loads of power tools on your list and no mention of dust collection. Like I said, I use mostly hand tools so I have no dust collection system. But I’ve got a giant bandsaw, various sanders, circ saw, few more things that use electricity – the dust from those few tools is insane. If you’re mostly a power tool guy, invest in a DC system. The problem isn’t just the stuff you see hovering in the air, it’s the stuff you can’t see. And your shop will be a general mess.

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