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Forum topic by DucKnuckles posted 06-27-2020 07:33 PM 1634 views 0 times favorited 57 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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237 posts in 574 days

06-27-2020 07:33 PM

Topic tags/keywords: new woodworker help workbench space issues tool question question tip

I have recently taken an interest in taking on woodworking as a hobby. I’ve done quite a bit of research and have quite a few questions in regards to strategically planning how I enter this hobby. I have currently mapped out a list of tools and materials I need to begin creating a workshop with the end goal of fine furniture and cabinetry. I also want to have my whole plan on order before I dive headfirst into this so I don’t become someone who buys tools that I ultimately won’t use. I plan on heading out on Black Friday this year with my full list in hand and a budget of $2400 to get everything I need. I am shooting for quality over quantity and have a few questions in regards to what I’ve come up with. I also am in the middle of making plans to move into a bigger house that can accommodate my space needs. My overall plan is to take this list and first focus my start into this craft by focusing solely on building jigs, benches, and tables for all of my primary power tools (example: buy router and Freud bits and make the routing table, portable table saw, etc). I want to mainly ask two questions to start of with. The first being about setting up shop to get started before I move.

1) the place I live doesn’t have a garage. I have a shed I could clear out to some degree and make space, but I worry about my new tools outside. Is there a workbench design that can ultimately Keep my tools portable so that maybe I can work outside on sunny days and then conveniently remove said power tool to bring inside to prevent weathering damage? And if so, does that also mean that the wooden bench itself which will be left outside may not do so well with weathering and moisture either? (Such as warp and ruin the flat surface by which I utilize my tools). Or maybe any other ideas on how to solve this “zero space” issue?

2) Aside from random stuff like woodpecker precision squares, clamps, etc… I could list everything but that list is quite big. I am researching everything and every tool and I do feel quality and precision go hand in hand. I also do understand that the quality of stock you use plays a key role in how the effectiveness of your jigs function. I do want to list the tools I think are relevant to discussion are as follows:

DEWALT Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit,
DEWALT Sliding Compound Miter Saw, 12-Inch (DWS779
Dewalt DWE7491RS 10” Tablesaw

From what I can gather, with these and the appropriate blades, bits, and DIY tables to fit, I can create jigs that take the place of other tools such as jointers and planers. Even seen I could build a drill press. Am I looking at this wrong?
Also… is it a better idea to scratch off the miter saw and invest more in a table saw since TS sleds with miter gauges essentially can do everything that a miter can but with more precision..(saying I can build sleds and other jigs with Dimensional accuracy?)
I do understand that there is quality issues with portable table saws and I’m not really sure iff the route I’m choosing is effective. Efficiency of cost I think is on point, but will I be disappointed with the results that I will be going for?

-- “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend 6 sharpening my ax.”

57 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


6102 posts in 3687 days

#1 posted 06-27-2020 08:11 PM

I think you would be better off to buy tools as you need them rather than buying them all at once. That is a pretty small budget for quality tools, a decent table saw could eat most of that up. You will have a better feel once you start making stuff, then add to your tools as you go. You will want a better table saw than a jobsite saw. Look at contractor saws as a minimum, a cabinet saw would be better. Yes, you can get by without a miter saw although they are nice to have.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View JCamp's profile


1536 posts in 1887 days

#2 posted 06-27-2020 08:22 PM

First off welcome to lumber jocks. If u get 100 ppl to reply to your post you’ll have probably 50 different answers because the same things won’t work for everyone but I’ll throw this advice out.
Your shop space: when I was younger I did my projects in a small basement and over the years it’s expanded but even now my area is only a 14×24 area. If what you have is a building (don’t think you mentioned the size but I’ll assum it’s a small building) then I’d suggest a deck right outside the building so that you can mount wheels on all ur equipment and roll them out to work and back in to store them. You can always build a lean to on the side of the building to allow for some outside storage of lumber and other materials
Tools : I think the general consensus is when starting out you should buy what need WHEN you need it. Otherwise you’ll spend money on tools that you later realize that you don’t need.
As far as the tools you have listed that you’d like to buy I don’t have much comment other that I’d suggest you go with a different table saw unless you are really cramped for space. The one you have listed is fine to save space and ideal for contractors that need to have something light to move from job to job but it’s power/ accuracy/ maintenance and even resell value won’t compare to a better built machine like the one in the link below. Also tools are like cars, they are always expensive when they are new but usually loose value quickly so it’s better financially to buy something used that is good quality.

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View DaveFFMedic's profile


84 posts in 3503 days

#3 posted 06-27-2020 08:26 PM

TellMePlease, welcome to the forum! Also, welcome to the hobby.

Woodworking is such a varied and personal hobby, there is no right or wrong way to go about things. (Although there are some very dangerous ways of doing things!) You are definitely on the right track to spend your hard-earned money on quality tools. Which tools you choose to buy are entirely up to you. I started my woodworking hobby making “fine furniture” in my one bedroom apartment. I used hand tools and a workmate bench. As I moved into larger spaces and saved up more money I bought better equipment.

You will get many different opinions on what tools you should buy. The end result is they all turn big pieces of wood into smaller pieces of wood. You can crosscut a board with either a sliding compound miter saw, a tablesaw with miter gauge, a circular saw with framer’s square, or a hand saw. They all will do the same job with varying speeds and precision. You could even cut a board with a straight bit and router! Whatever equipment you get, you can find a way to make it work.

I say, you are doing good. Don’t second-guess your decisions. Do your research and dive in! This is a great hobby that is very individual and personal. You will learn much along the way. Your priorities and tastes will probably change over time. (That’s okay. We all change and grow as we gain experience.) Focus on your goals and work hard toward achieving them. If you enjoy what you do, you will be proud of your projects.

View tmasondarnell's profile


155 posts in 3125 days

#4 posted 06-27-2020 08:29 PM

Welcome to the club….

With respect to #1, there are several portable bench designs—on casters, that you can find on youtube. Also, if you have not found him yet, look at Ron Paulk’s stuff:

With respect on #2, saw the money right now on a miter saw and put that money towards a better contractor saw or better yet a table saw. While you can get “precision” out of that Dewalt miter saw (and I am a Dewalt guy), their miter saws are more for the contractor market than the fine woodworking. You can rough out boards with a circular saw and then get precision with your TS. If you need portability and it is in the budget, look at a Sawstop Contractor saw…or if you can find a space, look at a Grizzly table saw. A lot of people on this site do quality work with a contractor saw, but lots of others (me included) will tell about the frustrations they had with their contract saws (fencing coming out of alignment, tops warping, under powered)

Couple of other comments:

-Most of the quality woodworking components don’t really go on sale for Black Friday. They hold their value, so there is no real point in waiting.

-Don’t buy a pile of tools all at once. Figure out how you work and what you want to build. Buy quality as you need them or realize the work arounds are more hassle than they are worth. The router and table saw are a good start. Add in some some quality bits, a quality blade (like a WWII or a Freud), a few of the Woodpecker squares, a set of chisels and a block plane and a #4 or #5 Jack plane and you will be real close that $2400 budget in a hurry. To be honest, once you start getting closer to doing fine furniture, I think you will find that a planer and jointer are to be on your list in a hurry.

ONe other comment,

View Aj2's profile


4225 posts in 3134 days

#5 posted 06-27-2020 09:18 PM

My suggestion is to buy a wood lathe.
Wood turning will teach you lots of the properties of wood that a furniture makers needs to know.
Here’s a short list to support my point.
How to read grain direction
How to sharpen a wood cutting tool . Very important
Finding out what woods you like and don’t like
Wood for wood turning can be found in firewood piles
Projects can be accomplished in a day like a bowl.
It’s a very expensive hobby so start small.
Good Luck

-- Aj

View ibewjon's profile (online now)


2749 posts in 4129 days

#6 posted 06-27-2020 09:24 PM

You can double your budget by buying used machines and hand tools. There are always used contractor or better table saws for sale. You will quickly outgrow a portable saw. I rarely buy new machines or tools, just keep your eyes open and be FAST. Good tools sell quickly. I got the Porter Cable dovetail jig with all the add on templates, in almost unused conditions for $50. Over $200 full price. And I do buy tools I know I will need, before I need them, if I find a great price. Just my way, not all agree with buying ahead, but I have a future projects list. Enjoy your journey.

View DucKnuckles's profile


237 posts in 574 days

#7 posted 06-28-2020 12:56 AM

Kreg PRS3020 True-FLEX Featherboard, Pack of 2

Kreg PRS3400 Precision Router Table Set Up Bars, Set of 7

Yonico 14705q 1/2-Inch Height with 6 Bearings Rabbet Router Bit …

Freud 1/4” (Dia.) Double Flute Straight Bit with 1/4” Shank (04-..

Yonico 14190q 1/4-Inch Hex Bolt T Slot Router Bit 1/4-Inch Shank

JelBo Woodworking Tool Countersink Drill Bit Set 1/4 Inch Hex Sh…

DEWALT Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch (DWE6423K)

Freud SD208 8-Inch Professional Dado

Kreg Jig K5 Master System with Pocket Hole Screw Kit (5-Sizes)

Woodpeckers Precision Woodworking Square 6” x 4”,

Bessey Clutch Style Bar Clamp Set 600 lb.

IRWIN QUICK-GRIP Bar Clamp, One-Handed, Mini, 6-Inch (2), (2) 12-Inc…

GRR-RIPPER 3D Pushblock for Table Saws, Router Tables, Band Saws…

WoodRiver Low Angle Block Plane with Adjustable Mouth (Maybe)

CRAFTSMAN Air Compressor, 6 gallon, Pancake, Oil-Free with 13 Pi…

WEN 61720 3/4-Inch to 2-Inch 18-Gauge Brad Nailer (Went cheap here)

Hole Saw Set, Drillpro 11 PCS Hole Saw Kit 3/4’’ – 2 1/2 “inch f…

Kreg Precision Router Table Insert Plate w/Level-Loc Rings (non …

Kreg PRS3040 Precision Router Table Insert Plate Levelers

SnapOn 474-125-0.60 Bahco 5-Inch Cabinet Scraper

Figured I’d share the rest of my list. I don’t feel the rest of this is something that I would not find use for in my research of what tools to go buy. I know that these tools here will be needed to make the jigs that I plan on preparing. They are pretty basic and necessary. I of course plan on a shop vac with a cyclone system for starting off (with the notion that I will be buying a more effective dust collection system). I feel this is the bare minimum to build the jigs and tables I need to kick start. From what I gather too, I will be starting off working with a combination of MDF, Baltic birch plywood (grade BBBB), Masonite (hardwood), and white pine to build my jigs. I will list the jigs I’ve compiled later. Thoughts on this list? I feel like I’ve been thorough in my research to buy all at once instead of as I need them. Of course there are smaller materials I plan to get like glue, t bolts, appropriate saw blades for ripping and accuracy, etc…

I do think you guys points on the table saw is spot on. That’s why I was hesitant but thinking the work site may be adequate considering no work space and the need for many Ts operating on 220v, as well as the space constraints and weight to consistently move the saw.

and thanks to everyone for their insight. I will now for sure NOT get the miter. You confirmed it’s purpose is redundant and not needed. Just convenient. Thoughts on this stuff?

Also: the full list that I’ve provided comes to $2400 on Amazon.. based on the Black Friday sales for 2019 at Lowe’s… the power tools alone were half that cost which means what’s $2400 on amazon should be $500 less on Black Friday saying they have similar deals. And space is a very big issue. I’d love to have a cabinet saw (who wouldn’t) it volts, and space make it maybe not a good choice. But that would allow me to find the deal on one used.

-- “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend 6 sharpening my ax.”

View CWWoodworking's profile


2311 posts in 1515 days

#8 posted 06-28-2020 02:08 AM

Whatever you do, don’t get yonico router bits. Worst quality tool I ever tried.

3 out of 6 bearings I got were locked up. A profile that takes 2 passes with Whiteside, took 4-6 with yonico.

View avsmusic1's profile


682 posts in 2021 days

#9 posted 06-28-2020 02:11 AM

I’d lose the dado blade for now – you can do that w/ the router

I’d also trade the woodpeckers square for a solid combo square like a starrett.

Pipe clamps are cheap and work great too.

View WoodenDreams's profile


1477 posts in 1247 days

#10 posted 06-28-2020 06:42 AM

It’s good to have a wish list for future tool purchases. I have one, I modify it regularity, and put a number next to it as to the priority of need, and the wants and priority keeps changing.

Long time ago when I started woodworking it was a on/off hobby. I got the basic hand tools, and benchtop or hand power tools (drill, saber saw, circular saw, router w/router table, 4×36 sander, detail sander, and chop saw). Got by nicely. Nice to have all the bells and whistles but you don’t need them to start. When I decided to get serious in woodworking as a hobby the first things I added was a Hybrid table saw, 6×80 edge sander (turns out I use these more then my other tools I have). To save room I went with benchtop tools so I could store wood under the benches. Benchtop tools I got was 12” planer, 28” jointer, drill press, spindle sander, 12” disc sander (after time I regretted getting a 12” disc sander, I would have been better off getting a 6×48 belt sander and keep the belt in a up position), scroll saw, extra clamps (Quick-Grips, F-clamps, Aluminum U-bar clamps, pipe clamps, scissor clamps), extra detail sanders, biscuit saw, Air Filtration Unit, Dust collector. Doesn’t take long to add up. Made my own tool benches using 2×4’s for the frame.

You could order free catalogs from all the woodworking tool suppliers. Grizzly, Rockler, Penn State Ind, woodcraft, Lee Valley, Peachtree, Whiteside Machine Co, Klingspor’s Woodworking Shop, etc.. Good way to compare the options they offer and what to expect in costs. Sounds like you may have done this already.

Making all your equipment can save you some moola, but is that really practical. Or are you super frugal. The only equipment I made was the workbenches, and some jigs for the table saw, drill press and router table. If your being frugal to save moola, why did you choose Woodpecker and Bessey. A $6 dollar machinist square will do the same as a high dollar woodpecker square, plus you can make your own. You also can make your own shop clamps if you plan on making your own equipment. And why 600# rated hand clamps. Softwood only require 100-150# clamping pressure, hardwoods 150-250# clamping pressure, some exotic tropical woods up to 300# clamping pressure. Pipe clamps or aluminum U-Bar clamps have higher clamping pressure but your most likely using them for edge or carcuss glue-ups, not because of the 1000# clamping pressure it offers. painters tape can even be used for small glue-ups

As to making your jigs. Make them as you need them. Sounds like you need room for tools, equipment and a workbench and won’t have room for jigs that you don’t know when you’ll be needing them. The first jig I made wasn’t till years later, and that was for a table saw sled for cutting small pieces.

The most expensive purchases are the tools that you don’t use at all. So purchase them as you see the need (not the ‘would be nice to have’). Have a plan of attack. Most of your projects will most likely be preplanned so you have time to get the tools and supplies when needed. Otherwords, plan on what you intend to build, or what is the niche in woodworking you plan to do. I started out making heirloom quality Hope & Cedar Chests for customers and added box Urns for funeral homes (still do what I started, but not as much), Was asked to do furniture repairs & restoration projects. Now my focus changed to do restorations and repairs (75% of what I do now). And I’m in the shop more than I really want to be, and back logged on customer projects. Not long ago I decided to turn segmented Urns for funeral homes (a different niche verses the box urns). My point is, Your interests of what you plan on building may change, your tool needs change with it. So buy accordingly, and not ahead of what you need. Take some of the moola you have and put it in a separate checking account, build the account up slowly so you have the funds to get your lumber, hardware, and tools as you need them, and reimburse the funds as you go. So much nicer to plan on a project when you have the extra moola, instead hoping your customer pays you when the project is completed.

I normally don’t rant this long. Almost long enough to hire a editor and get published.

View controlfreak's profile


3211 posts in 937 days

#11 posted 06-28-2020 11:40 AM

I started out picking up tools used and new to have a “complete” shop. With a 10” x 16” shed I quickly ran out of space when I inserted drill press, jobsite table saw, chop saw, planer, band saw, jointer and crude bench. Then something changed and I started falling in love with hand tool woodworking. Most of my woodworking is geared toward skill building via shop projects to maximise space. I now buy hand planes, hand saws and brace & bits. Once I free up more floor space I will build a portable workbench (Will Myers Moravian bench) so I can move it outside on a future deck in good weather. BTW the chop saw had to go, it took up too much space.

My point is that things can change. I am moving from machining wood to working wood which also helps with safety and dust mitigation. This works for me because I am in this as a hobby as retirement is approaching and have no need for production work to create income. Good luck in your new hobby and see where it takes you.

Don’t forget to invest in some quality sharpening stones too. No recommendation on what to get as nobody her has an opinion on the best sharpening method. :-)

View Madmark2's profile


3257 posts in 1924 days

#12 posted 06-28-2020 12:45 PM

I’ve got a 8×16 half garage shop with about $10k in tools and to make “fine furniture” I would have to at least double my shop size and tool budget.

Follow this LINK to see what I spent $10k on.

Start smart, start small. Pick easy projects and buy tools as you need. Get your skills up to speed since it’s the hands, not the tool, that makes for quality.

There are infinite paths to where you want to go. The tools you buy reflect the projects you do. No one tool set is ideal for all projects. Follow you interest and get good at it. Like the path to Carnegie Hall, fine woodworking takes practice, practice, practice!

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Spending a ton on tools you can’t use causes marital discord and frustration. Buy as you grow.

Other than the TS, buy inexpensive, but quality, tools first. When they break or you outgrow them, buy better. If it doesn’t break, you’ve got the right tool. Sooner or later you’ll have the right tool that lasts.

Personally, I buy tools new for the warranty, but others have great success with used, quality, tools. Again don’t go hog wild and buy just because it’s a deal or you think you might use. A tool you don’t use is $$$ down the drain.

You can start woodworking with a simple carving knife instead of a $10,000 shop and still derive satisfaction of a job well done. See a caged ball on a chain whittled out of a single piece if you think whittling is trivial! LOL

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View metalbot's profile


26 posts in 859 days

#13 posted 06-28-2020 03:37 PM

OP – your basic description of yourself screams “Do Steve Ramsey’s first course”. I know that for a few people on this forum, that was their introduction to woodworking. His first course is pretty straightforward (and the first project is to build a mobile workbench!). Power tool needs are limited to miter saw, table saw, orbital sander, and drill. You could do the first two projects before getting a table saw. The course won’t teach you fine joinery, but it will make you competent at following a plan, dealing with issues that come up, and working from “real” measurements rather than “the plan”.

View DucKnuckles's profile


237 posts in 574 days

#14 posted 06-28-2020 07:46 PM

You guys are great! Thanks for all your advice. Find myself reading them more than once. While I’m stubborn about some aspects, I’m moved by others.

On another note: just got back from fireworks store and spent $1400… and all o could think to myself was “there’s my table saw” LOL

-- “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend 6 sharpening my ax.”

View DucKnuckles's profile


237 posts in 574 days

#15 posted 06-29-2020 11:05 AM

Powermatic PM1000 Tablesaw – $900

I just found this on Craigslist! Is this the deal I think it is? Should I jump on this?

-- “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend 6 sharpening my ax.”

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