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Forum topic by McGriff posted 03-19-2019 03:21 PM 753 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View McGriff's profile


35 posts in 1468 days

03-19-2019 03:21 PM

First let me apologize for the long post.

I came here in 2017 interested in getting started with real woodworking as a hobby. I was even going to buy Tungoils old planer. Unfortunately I had some medical issues that kept me away, but I am cleared by my doctor to start again. I may not be entirely healthy, but I should be safe.

So I need a little advice…or a lot.
In April, my lady is buying me a 3hp sawstop pcs. She is an ER nurse and puts horrible pictures in my face every time I suggest a cheaper saw or peek in the front of my snow blower…even if it’s off.

I am not going into business, just building for family and friends. I am looking at good tools, where I can, to alleviate stress on my body.

Accesories: trying to save some $$ here and build better accesories over time as the saw blows a big part of the budget. She insists on the saw and its probably best to go big there anyway.

“dial indicator: I have a HF one that seems to work. Would I need an attachment for this?

Straight edge: 2’,3’ or 50”+ I was looking at this.

Speed square: I have been reading that the cheap CNC milled squares are “square” and could replace expensive ones.

Marking tools: incra has some nice ones but they add up fast.

Scribing, flush cut saws for tenons and dowels, and the list goes on.

I am working acquiring more clamps from HF and will get the shorter f clamps and a bunch of Pipe clamps.

I have a DW735x my friend sold me as he decided he wasnt going to do woodworking after all. He never even unpacked the tables. I have a compound double bevel slider, a dewalt orbital sander, Narex chisels, a Makita big bore compressor and various nailers and staplers. I have the Bosch 1617 evspk. Gah! I need router bits as well. I have cheap round over bits right now.

The other part of the plan is a jointer. I was looking at the G0857 from grizzly but they cant deliver to my house and the freight center is pretty far away. I can fit the TS in the back of a vehicle, so I can pick one up at the Harrisburg woodcraft, but the jointer would require renting a vehicle which gets expensive at a distance. So I was considering one of the Cutech 8 inch benchtop models. Going bench would leave more cash for accesories and wood.

I am considering the jessem master system, or using mortice/tenon or both.

Oh and dust collection. Was looking at harbor freight, but with upgrades, It may be cheaper to go with a different brand that comes with a larger impeller.

Any thoughts, advice or order of importance would be great. There are so many things you can, or need, to get. I have read so many posts here at LJ, but I am just not sure what I am making too important and what is not important enough. Should I consider just three quality router bits first? Where does that fall in comparison to others? I didnt even mention Dado stacks did I?

Also, I am happy to follow purchasing links to help out fellow board members. I know Stumpy has a lot of links with his videos. I want to buy some of stumpy’s plans anyway like his router lift and table.

Let me say that I could probably amass all the items I need over time, I am just trying to be efficient so as to make my working conditions more supportive of my health concerns. I normally don’t ask for help as I am more likely to offer it.

I have also been to Spacht’s sawmill. Good group of people.

16 replies so far

View LittleShaver's profile


727 posts in 1636 days

#1 posted 03-19-2019 03:28 PM

Buy as few tools as you possibly can and get started building things. As you build more projects and develop your style and skills, you can add tools as you go.

I started 44 years ago with a skill saw, drill and orbital sander. Now my wife claims I have more tools than God.

-- Sawdust Maker

View Robert's profile


4458 posts in 2497 days

#2 posted 03-19-2019 03:37 PM

My first table saw was a circular saw screwed to a piece of plywood. I went from there to an old, cheap, POJ Craftsman 70’s model and from there to a 3HP cabinet saw. 25 years later, 2 tablesaws, 2 bandsaws, 20 planer, jointer, floor mortiser, lathe, sanders, routers, Domino, track saw etc. And I wonder how I ever built anything…...LOL

So you’re already so far ahead of the game with your Sawstop.

My advice is what LS ^ said, but starting with the basics, that would be table saw, jointer and planer.

And don’t tell your better half there are a million other ways to get hurt in ww’ing besides a TS.

Go slow, watch plenty of videos, start building some projects. If you start with surfaced lumber youwon’t need a planer right away.

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

View Madmark2's profile


2334 posts in 1604 days

#3 posted 03-19-2019 03:41 PM

Build stuff and buy when you need. Buy cheap at first (except the TS) if you don’t think you’ll use it a lot. If it wears out or breaks buy the next better. Your tools will expand as your skills. Don’t buy just because you think your shop needs it, buy what you absolutely must have to save time. Compute your time at say $20 / hr and figure out how many hours the tool must save to make it worth buying.

Soon your shop too will look like this:

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

1001 posts in 4410 days

#4 posted 03-19-2019 03:45 PM

Taking an Architect as a metaphor, I would start with a drafting table, parallel straight edge, triangles, eraser, sharpener and pencils of different intensities BEFORE JUMPING to the CAD.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5114 days

#5 posted 03-19-2019 03:47 PM

View McGriff's profile


35 posts in 1468 days

#6 posted 03-19-2019 05:07 PM

LittleShaver and Robert, thanks for your response. TS, planer and jointer will be my main tools plus others I have. Maybe I’m overstating what I need to make sure they are Square and flat? Also, the lady knows how dangerous it can be. She suggested steel tipped boots after I just missed my pinky toe with a chisel. Don’t wear sandals while woodworking.

MadMark2, thank you for that advice. I have been looking at it from a time saving point of view because my health, while improving, does limit my time in the shop. I could skip the jointer and ask for one edge to be jointed. Though, if I dont spend it now, I will end up spending that money on something else, like a relative that doesn’t like working for a living.

Francisco Luna and WayneC, thank you for the metaphor and link. I would love to spend time shaping wood with hand tools if that process didnt seem to knock me out of action faster. While I have only used a TS a few times, a jointer once and put a few boards through my planer, they cause fewer neuro sensory issues than gripping hand tools for longer periods if time. Obviously I will need hand tools as well, but I am limited by how long I can use them.

Because of the joint issues, the swelling, burning, buzzing and numbness that can flare up in my arms/hands, legs/feet I look to items that will support me. Dowel jig joinery and using a dado to cut tenons and my router to work on mortices would likely allow me to better achieve my goals.

I guess I am saying I am not trying to take the lazy way, just the physically possible way for me. I’m not in terrible shape, nor do I consider myself so. But I have to go about things in a certain way. Also, I have built some furniture using pocket holes, my miter saw and an orbital sander. I would consider them rough rustic, where square is more of a suggestion. I will need to find a better way to sand as that kicks my backside.

Again, thanks.

View sepeck's profile


491 posts in 3157 days

#7 posted 03-19-2019 06:14 PM

Classes. If your area has a Rockler, Woodcraft, etc, those places offer classes. Guilds, hobby groups, if your area has an active woodworking club, those too often over get together’s, mini-classes, etc and if you haven’t taken advantage of them you should. Finally, the last 3 places I lived have had community outreach classes through the parks and recreation districts that had shop classes. This may also be a way to inexpensively learn stuff on other peoples tools.

Making things is fun, but the tools you ‘need’ are different from person to person. You sound like you have a solid idea on what you want and have picked the targeted starter set to fit your situation and projects. This is good.

If you can get into local area classes, this is a good way for overall safety and tool familiarization. It will also let you start networking on people and possible options for occasional access to tools or something you aren’t doing (or are sure about) enough yet to buy.

‚Äúdial indicator: : There is actually a better blog entry on one with a 3-2-1 block but I can’t find it. Harbor freight is fine for woodworking.

Straight edge: < break it down. You can do this on a table saw. Buying an aluminum one is also fine, but first question, are you actually going to use it? I have a 4 foot level, I use that.

Speed square: I got mine at Lowe’s or Home Depot. Make sure it’s edges and markings are nice and clean. You can check square on a work bench with a pencil. Don’t buy this at HF.

Marking tools: Paul Sellers uses this: Which is $15.30 on Amazon I have something fancier that I got in a tool swap (which I really like) but any utility knife that is comfortable will be fine. If you want ‘fancy, then this is well reviewed from Lee Valley. Also note, pencils still work fine tool.

Saw blade list:

Flush cut saws for tenons and dowels: I got mine at Harbor Freight. I don’t use it a lot but when I do it works. If you are doing this a lot, then you may want to start looking at a quality one or get one of the Japanese style ones with disposable blades.

Saw File: I got this:,320,43072,43089,69854
I use it, it works.

clamps from HF : Paul Sellers HF clamp retrofit
or spend more for :,43838

Some ideas from your questions. The big one is, pick your project. Then figure out what you need to build your project. Keep a clip board somewhere, add items to it. Write on it, if you need/want it NOW or for your next project, carry on and have fun.

-- -Steven Peck,

View McGriff's profile


35 posts in 1468 days

#8 posted 03-19-2019 06:39 PM

Thanks Repack.

I will review all if these links. Over the past couple years I spent a lot of times looking at videos and starter list suggestions but everyone has their own opinion and options change in time. For example, I dont see a lot of people suggesting a master plate anymore, though I do see them for sale.

I am leaning towards the benchtop jointer, after the various suggestions above. I think I may be just getting over excited now that I have been given the go ahead. When a beginner starts trying to figure out where to build the solar kiln in their backyard, (guilty), they are probably getting ahead of themselves. Though I am more familiar with building than I am with making furniture.

View BlueRidgeDog's profile


787 posts in 796 days

#9 posted 03-19-2019 06:54 PM

I have made furniture and entire kitchens with nothing more than a good table saw and some hand tools.

If you buy S4S wood, then the jointer and planner become optional.

What you need ultimately depends on what you will be making. I could go back to just my table saw and some hand tools (chisels, planes, saws, pencil, marking gauge and square, miter gauge and sled). If I could have one extra tool it would have to be my router table as that really speeds up some things that are a challenge on the table saw or by hand (mortise cutting and stile/rail shaping).

I have never bought a “new” dust collection system. Craigslist and auctions have met the need. Most of my clamps are from estate auctions. The only wood working tool I have gotten from HF that has been useful has been their large pipe clamp ends for making up 6’ to 10’ pipe clamps for large projects.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3718 posts in 4454 days

#10 posted 03-19-2019 06:57 PM

I didn’t read all of these so I’m sure there’s some good advice and maybe some overlap to what I’ll say.
I’ve been doing this for a lot of years and have updated, rebuilt, reorganized, and decluttered my shop many times. Analogy is like when camping. You first get a lot of gear. Then you realize that half of it was unnecessary. You hold on to it for a long time thinking it will be useful and you payed a lot for it. Later you bite the bullet and hit Craigslist to offload stuff.

Sawstop…. You won’t regret it. I replaced my old table saw a couple of years ago with the pcs model. Best thing I ever did. Beyond the obvious safety piece of mind, it’s a great saw and will let you save on a lot of other items that you won’t need because it will fill a lot of needs.

Planer: That model dewalt you have is a very good one. the 735, or 734, both will do a good job and last for years.

Jointer: Almost a must for me. Even S4S wood has usually been sitting around for awhile and has a bow in it someplace. I find that if straighten and flatten the wood with a jointer and planer the whole build goes better. So, That’s always my first steps in a build.

Dust collection: Two ways to do this from my experiences. Less expensive or whole hog. The whole hog approach will be a 3hp model with high filtering, maybe cyclone, etc. It will keep your place fairly clean. If you can’t spring for something like this, as it is expensive then no matter what you do you will end up with dust around the place. With less expensive systems what you hope to do is pick up the chips from planers, jointers, router table, and to a lesser extent, the table saw. These machines can fill your shop a foot deep in no time with wood chips. If this is the case then the HF unit (sometimes with a 20% discount) is cheap and does the job of any other name brand unit of the same size. No need to go expensive with a 1hp or 1.5hp standard system.

That router is a good one. As far as router bits, it’s always good to get some high end ones but… I’ve found that there is a brand, Yonico, sold on amazon that are half the price and gee… they really work well. I only bought one once because I needed a one-off cut and didn’t want to spend big bucks on a bit that I might never use again. So, I ordered one of these Yonico Chinese ones. Beefy carbide blades on them, finish is good, and they look really well made. I usually purchase these now. They are about half price of other brands. They don’t dull any faster than my other brands.

Other than that, you’ve got to measure and mark things, so get what you need to get started but wait to ‘discover’ the other stuff as projects develop.

Oh…. not for everyone maybe, and probably only for later should you be someone who might want it but I think the Kreg pocket hole jig is the best thing since sliced bread. I use it way to much….marvelous invention.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View McGriff's profile


35 posts in 1468 days

#11 posted 03-19-2019 08:07 PM

BlueRidgeDog first off, thanks for your response. I will look further at auctions, but often they are far and the gas/time investment makes up for the low price. I will spend more time looking for further tool auctions in my area. I already have the planer, so the jointer isnt a stretch. I do think I may have been going overboard with the cabinet jointer though.

Craftsman on the lake thank you for the reply. I have seen the Yonico bits and wondered. I will look into purchasing some.

I am happy the lady is demanding SS what I get. We are getting the 36 inch T-glide, as I figured the 52 may be a bit too big. I got the planer for $450. Having barely been touched. He did have a piece of metal scratch the bed. The scratch can barely be felt but I can work that out.

Dust collection is important to me. I have some lung damage, not of my own making. I am waiting for a call back on exhausting out of my garage shop. I am considering building an outdoor housing or venting directly out there. As long as I have a good separator, and am allowed to vent outdoors, I should be able to get by a little cheaper. I am also considering picking up a blower motor, some high level filters and building the housing for air filtration to leave in the shop. I will likely where a half-mask as well. I liked the idea above about being more diligent looking at auctions and craigslist.

I have had the kreg pocket hole setup for some time. A gift from the lady as well. Helped me with some of the rough tables I put together for my her plants.

Also, any thoughts on the SS mobile base or over arm dust collection free upgrade? I have heard complaints about both. I can’t justify the expense of the Industrial mobile base, and I could move it with something I rig up.

View Markmh1's profile


115 posts in 1460 days

#12 posted 03-22-2019 12:43 PM


I am a journeyman toolmaker with Multiple Sclerosis. When I was in the tool shop I found I was happiest when
I had good/nice tools to use. We went as a group purchase to buy Kennedy roller cabinet tool boxes. I was
the only guy that bought with ball bearing drawers. That was a lesson for me. Every time I opened that box,
I noted how easy it worked. I then made the determination to buy the absolute best tools I could.

In my shop, every time I pick something up, it’s pleasant to use. Going into my shop gives me a deep cleansing
breath and puts a smile on my face. I taught my son the same lessons. He just bought a relatively expensive
step ladder that is overbuilt for it’s purpose. It’s very secure and he enjoys the opportunity to use it. We both
own Sawstop, but neither of us owns any Festool.

My advise to you would be to buy tools that are absolutely delightful to use, whatever brands you decide on.
I once bought a cheap tap wrench that was “good enough”. It was such a cheap piece of garbage I was
embarassed to be seen using it. I tried, but I just couldn’t break the thing. I still own it, and now it serves
as an example of what happens when I buy cheap garbage, just a bit of cheap tool hell.

Whatever you decide on, I hope you use it in good health.


View tomsteve's profile


1150 posts in 2235 days

#13 posted 03-22-2019 01:06 PM

i have the HF dust collector with the only upgrade being the upper bag- bought a 1 micron bag.
gotta check the dia on the DC to make sure the right bag.
im not out in the shop every day any more or jun a jillion feet of lumber through my planer so it works good for me.

it would be wise to look into an air filter,too. something like

theres others out there to check out but they do a great job of getting the fine dust out of the air.

View McGriff's profile


35 posts in 1468 days

#14 posted 03-22-2019 03:08 PM

Markmh1: thanks for reminding me about something I try to do in my non hobby life. Buy quality whenever you can and go with lesser quality when you have no option. For the jointer I may have no other option sadly. Since they cant deliver to my house, and I dont know anyone with a truck, a rental would be required. If something was wrong I would have to rent to drive it back to the depot and then rent to pickup the replacement. Maybe I will risk it, but is a big one. The delivery depot about 45 minutes away, which can add up on multiple trips.

I will look at my next few projects and see what I must have and try to get things I will enjoy.

One project will be a workbench. I saw a lot of people do a pine workbench, but I may be able to get some red maple cheap, since a lot of people despise it for woodwork. Many, online, are split on it, though I thought it could be useful for paint grade projects and possibly the bench.

I think a lot of people don’t realize what they can do with physical limitations. I was expecting my doc to shoot me down, on the woodwork question, but he told it would be fine. Having something you enjoy can be healing as well.

Thanks for the info on the DC bags and filtration. DC decisions would be much easier if the code guy for the township wasn’t so hard to get in contact with. If I can vent outside, that will be great. I may just need to go with an open garage door, and respirator for a bit. I would worry about possible distractions like the neighbors dog or a bird flying into the planer.

Having a filter, on a filtration machine, you can wash would definitely be an advantage over all filters needing to be replaced on a diy filter. It would stink to spend half as much building something that works ten percent as well and is more of a hassle.

View Markmh1's profile


115 posts in 1460 days

#15 posted 03-22-2019 08:05 PM

I’m thinking about that pine bench.

Perhaps a fellow could build a pine bench and use hardwood flooring as the top? Run a 3/8 radius cutter router around the edges so it’s friendly to the hand and pleasing to the eye. Maybe a simple varnish finish with 320 wet paper between the first and second coats. Now it looks good and is silky smooth.

After a few years, a little 320 wet action with varnish to fill/beautify the gouges and scratches. Now it’s still pretty and can tell stories.

I wish you the best in all this.


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