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Forum topic by Klaatu posted 01-25-2021 01:39 PM 390 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 80 days

01-25-2021 01:39 PM

Hello. My name is Phil, retired, and brand new here. Also, just recently moved, and sold my RidgidTS3650 table saw, a 9” Southbend lathe, Rotex milling machine, and metal bandsaw. Too costly to move this heavy stuff and wanted better equipment anyway. But, I am at a crossroads on whether to get back into metalworking or delve into woodworking. My apology this post is not 100% woodworking.

I am looking more seriously at woodworking because of the abundance of useful projects (few in metal), speed of making something, and relatively lower cost of tools and equipment. I don’t know whether wood working will push the same pleasure buttons that metal did (exacting precision mainly). I also feel metal working is somewhat safer. If any of you have been in a similar position, or have comments on metal vs wood, would like to hear from you. I don’t want tools sitting idle and want to be reasonably certain there is sustainable passion to go out and build something in wood. Perhaps your interest in woodworking grew stronger over time, or…? And what do people do with all the things they make? Sell, gifts, projects for home…?

At present, I already have a Bosch router and router table (sits on bench), the Grrrppr setup, a chop saw, Forstner set, heavy woodworking vice (35 lbs.), bench (plans from Taunton), floor drill press, drills, etc. Just missing a table saw.

Thank you.


7 replies so far

View Dark_Lightning's profile


4512 posts in 4158 days

#1 posted 01-26-2021 01:21 AM

Welcome! I worked as a mechanical engineer for a fair amount of my “career”. I’m pretty picky with tolerances when working wood, but the only metal working I do now is welding or beating some copper into submission, so not much precision going on there. I also carve wood, and it took me awhile to get used to not having the finished product looking exactly like the one in the tutorial. It was actually kind of freeing to not have to make to a picture (“drawing”). I was used to dimensioning and tolerancing for the tools that I designed and had built.

Some of my friends comment on how, when a mechanical engineer retires, he has a shop full of metal-shaping tools. I could never afford those when I was working, and don’t want to buy them now, as I’m old enough (68) that I’d never get my money back out of them.

I’m in a peculiar position with making projects from wood, though. My house is so full of stuff (my wife hoards things) that I don’t really have a place to put anything that I make. If you have grandchildren, you can make toys and cribs and such. We don’t have any grandchildren, though. OK, that was a lot of words, maybe they will help.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View Klaatu's profile


6 posts in 80 days

#2 posted 01-27-2021 10:16 PM


Thanks for your comments. I am not an engineer, but do find joy in designing projects in 3D CAD or something similar and also using the tools to build it (lathe, mill, etc.). I have little interest in making things for money, so what to do with bigger wood project is an issue. I have grandchildren, but they are in a small house that has room for evey the smallest thing.

Something else about woodworking I cannot ignore. Safety. In metal, I never had to use my hands to puch the raw material into a moving blade (I did not have a vertical bandsaw). In wood, it seems like one is frequently pushing hands toward a moving blade. This does unnerve me. My wife said if I get another table saw, it must be a Saw Stop. I have a Grrppr device and even it makes me nervous having my hand on it pushing down toward the blade.

Right now, I have things I need to make out of wood…just not sure I will WANT to make more after those first NEEDS are built and done.

Thank you.


View Knockonit's profile


793 posts in 1251 days

#3 posted 01-27-2021 11:24 PM

Perhaps join a club that has a shop you can partake of, lots of places here in Arizona have hobby shops and or clubs one can join to give it a go to see if you will have the pleasure buttons set off. one way to satiate the desire
Rj in az

-- Living the dream

View lew's profile


13331 posts in 4805 days

#4 posted 01-27-2021 11:25 PM

Although I do have a small workshop with the general assortment of tools, I find that woodturning gives me the most satisfaction. Lots of practical items made for friends and relatives. Almost instant gratification when creating something.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26046 posts in 4155 days

#5 posted 02-13-2021 05:07 AM

Hi Phil. Welcome to Lumberjocks. I started out working as a tool and die maker and when I retired I had to have a vertical mill and a Southbend 9” lathe. It gets in your blood. I use them all the time to make my own tools for woodworking and also for parts of wood projects.

I started wood working with a Craftsman Radial Arm Saw which I still have I like Grizzly, Ryobi, Makita and Bosch tools. I found I needed a good 14” bandsaw with 12” height, a 13” planer , a 6” jointer , a floor model drill press and a 10” sliding miter saw.Eventually I built a good router station and have a bunch of jigs for it too!

I like to be as safe as possible and adhere to the 4” rule around the table saw( no fingers within 4” of the blade). I usually use two long pusher sticks for all TS project. A sled is also a safety addition to the table saw in that the piece sits still during the cut and the sled moves. While the Saw Stop is safe and cool( and expensive), I choose to just respect my table saw and never compromise the setup so it can bite me if something moves wrong. . I’ll make many a jig to hold the part for the cut rather than go at it in a risky way.

I like metal working too and have a welder and torch to do just about anything I need for the shop. I do some craft shows and still have a bunch of projects floating around the house that I made just to see if I could do it.

Enjoy the journey. I’m sure you’ll love it once you get the bug!!.......................Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View controlfreak's profile


1962 posts in 651 days

#6 posted 02-13-2021 12:37 PM

If adding a saw stop makes you feel better and is in the budget go for it. It was also an upgrade for me without the safety aspect. Something else to consider is getting into more hand tool work. there is a lot of precision in getting a hand cut mortice and tenon to fit well. Hand tool work can be a great fitness workout too.

View Brawler's profile


204 posts in 880 days

#7 posted 02-13-2021 02:35 PM

First of all welcome to Lumber Jocks. As someone who has spent the last 30 years as an instrumentation technician in the auto industry I get your comment of, “I don’t know whether wood working will push the same pleasure buttons that metal did (exacting precision mainly).” Precision will never be as good as you can accomplish with metal, the challenge is learning how to get as close as you can. To me, that is half the fun.

-- Daniel, Pontiac, MI

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