Startup Questions/Opinions

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by raydizzle posted 12-05-2011 08:00 AM 2037 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View raydizzle's profile


21 posts in 3422 days

12-05-2011 08:00 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tip question tablesaw sander traditional

I decided earlier this year that I wanted to become a woodworker, but I did not have the money to buy any of the tools I needed. Just recently I won a contest, and with the winnings I am going to use part of it to buy my power tools and anything else I’m going to need.

I’m going to be making small things in the beginning, but I plan on making larger items in the future once my skills have improved.

I have a budget of around $1700 (more if it is necessary), with most of my budget probably going to a table saw.

This is my basic list I have compiled of the first tools I’m probably going to get.

- Table Saw
- Random Orbit Sander
- Power Drill
- Miter Saw (maybe)
- Bar Clamps
- Waterlox

Thanks for any replies. =)

Here is a list of the first few things I have bought:

Narex Boxed 6-Piece Bench Chisel Set
1000 and 6000 grit waterstones
DMT Duo-Sharp 8” Diamond Stone, Fine/Extra-Fine
20-Oz Beechwood Mallet
Bench Dog Cookie Work Grippers, 4-Pack
DEWALT D26453K Variable Speed Random Orbit Sander Kit with Cloth Dust Bag
Various Sandpapers for sander and finishing sheets
Waterlox Original 1-Gal.

Planning on buying tablesaw within the next month (Ridgid R4512)

Let me know of any other tools i should get to start out with.

21 replies so far

View mcase's profile


446 posts in 4181 days

#1 posted 12-05-2011 02:30 PM

IMO – table saw, jointer, planer, drill, sander, clamps. The Sawstop is an excellent machine. It comes in three versins 1. a contractors saw, a cabinet saw they call the “Professional Sawstop, and the high end version called the Industrial Sawstop.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5212 days

#2 posted 12-05-2011 02:50 PM

there are tidbits of information here that you might find useful

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 4120 days

#3 posted 12-05-2011 04:52 PM

Before you start making tool purchase decisions, you probably need to refine your plans for what you want to make and sell. “Little things” and “larger things” covers a lot of possibilities. – lol

What sells in your area? How will you compete with whoever is selling it now?

$1700 isn’t much of a budget, so you really need to focus on the tools needed to enter the market you decide is best for you.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 5137 days

#4 posted 12-05-2011 05:00 PM

Ray, you don’t mention your background or experience. If you have plenty, this may be unnecessary, but if not, don’t forget to budget for some books on safety, care and use of equipment. Tauntion’s Illustrated Guide series is good, especially the volume on Tablesaws and ‘Guide to Woodoworking’ will tell you much of what you’ll need to get started. Check your library, maybe, but they’re certainly worth owning.
And, if you’re just getting started and want to start small, consider a Scroll Saw first, to make small boxes, cut out spoons, do small shelf decorations or such things. They cut slow, but your first task in woodworking is joinery, not size of objects. Good luck with what you decide.


View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 4120 days

#5 posted 12-05-2011 06:05 PM

Another suggestion would be to use part of your budget for a woodworking class (or two) at a local community college. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to try your hand at different projects and find out what you like/dislike doing.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View StumpyNubs's profile


7851 posts in 3852 days

#6 posted 12-05-2011 06:31 PM

Buy a contractor’s saw- Delta or something similar. A new one will cost around $500. Buy a Harbor Freight bandsaw when it goes on sale for $250. (Check craigs list to see if you can get good used mnachines) Buy your hand power tools like routers and sanders and drills. Buy your measuring and layout tools, a good block plane and a good jack plane, a set of good chisels and some kind of sharpening setup (stones or sandpaper and a granite plate). Then buy some wood that is already machined on four sides. Put the rest of the money away until you’ve built some things and have a good idea about what you want to make more of. Then buy tools as you need them.

A jointer and planer are essential in my shop, but may not be in yours. Don’t go spend a bunch of cash on machines you may be able to get by without for a year or two while you build your skills.

For an edication… go on Ebay and buy all the used woodworking magazines you can get for cheap. (Don’t buy single issues, watch for people who sell a bunch in one lot). You can learn everything you need from those magazines and lots of practice.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4629 days

#7 posted 12-05-2011 06:35 PM

Hi Ray Welcome to LJs
I agree that a Saw Stop table saw is a great Idea I always recommend them if you can make it work in your budget,but it will use up all of your budget. If you decide on a less expensive table you might start with a Ridgid tablesaw from Home Depot their around $550 and if your store accepts other company coupons (and many HD stores do) you can get a 20% of coupon from Harbor Freight on line. After your table saw I would recommend a10-12” compound miter saw , a router (I like the Porter Cable 690 “D” handle),A 12-13” planner A jig saw, A hook and loop random orbital sand ,a try square,measuring tape cordless drill a set of 6 Marple chisels. You’ll to save some funds to set your shop up assuming you have space for one,you will need wood to build a work bench or table and out feed table for your table saw. you will need some form of lighting in your shop. As Barbs suggested some WW books particularly on safety and perhaps some DVDs (I like Charles Neil’s) and a subscription or two to woodworking magazines like Fine Woodworking and Wood I agree with Sawkerf about taking a class or two at your community Collage(I teach one if your in southern Oregon), The list of things to learn and obtain for woodworking is endless . If I can help feel free to send me a PM anytime.


View brtech's profile


1117 posts in 3974 days

#8 posted 12-05-2011 06:48 PM

If all you have is $1700, and you want to actually complete projects, then I think you are in need of many more tools, and correspondingly less money spent on your TS.

The SS is an amazing machine, highly recommended, even the “contractor” version.

However, a used Delta or Uni may be a closer fit to your needs and budget.

You need, just for examples: measuring, layout and marking tools: at least a high quality combo square, marking knife, good tape measure, and something that deals with angles – simple protractor or something fancier

You need some way to break down larger sheet goods. That means a straight edge and a decent circular saw, although there are other options.

You need some good blades for your TS (and something decent for the circ saw). You also need some zero clearance inserts. You need a dado set unless you get a router and a bunch of bits.

You need some way to cut things that aren’t straight lines – a jig saw will do, but a band saw is hard to beat. I think you need a band saw a lot more than you need a miter saw.

You need bits for your drill/driver – brad points, hex driver bits, and forstners

It’s pretty hard to build a lot without a drill press. A small one is probably okay.

A router is a really, really useful tool. You can do a lot without one, but does things that are much harder to do another way. A router table is almost required if you want to do lots of those things. You need bits for the router for it to be useful.

The best clamps are parallel clamps. Pipe clamps are the cheapest way to get decent lengths. Bar clamps are in between those. But F style clamps are really the right thing for small objects.

Then there is your health. A dust collector is something you really need, and it needs a good filter (.5 micron). You also need a shop vac. You need a respirator, ear protection and eye protection. They are not optional.

I also think some hand tools will save you a lot of grief – set of chisels and a mallet, a block plane and a way to sharpen the blade, a card scraper and a way to sharpen it, and a tenon/dovetail saw or saws.

You probably want a cheapie dial indicator and a way to hold it to align your TS. A caliper is really useful also. A long straight edge is invaluable, and an accurate level is useful.

Then there is how you get your wood. If you purchase wood “S4S”, and you always get the sizes you need, then you don’t need anything to change the size other than the TS. If that doesn’t work (and it rarely does), the you need at least a planer. If you want to save lots of $$ in the long run on wood purchases, then you will be buying rough lumber, and you need a jointer as well as the planer. Used (Craigslist) is the best way to start on these items.

View Neight's profile


112 posts in 3445 days

#9 posted 12-05-2011 07:45 PM

Hello Raydizzle and welcome to LJ’s!
I am quite sure you will find this place an endless source of help and inspiration. You and I are in the nearly the same boat. I am also just starting out, and had no tools, and little experience building my own projects. Here is what I can say after having a few weeks of work under my belt… (it doesn’t sound like much, but I think I can help a bit)
1. if you have anyone who has some tools and isn’t using them, ask if you can use them! nearly my entire shop is borrowed. The only things in my shop I own is a 10” surface planer, cordless drill, and few hammers screw drivers and wrenches (inherited from my dad) I also have two routers, one borrowed and one bought for me. I would make sure you have a surface planer, that is one thing in my shop that there is no substitute for! I also have borrowed a small TS, a mitre saw, a bandsaw. I had a very small table top drill press, but it broke the other day…
I would at the very least get a planer, TS, mitre, drill and a good router. Don’t forget with a lot of these tools, you will have to buy blades and bits, and those can be incredibly expensive, so make sure you leave a bit of room in your budget for those things.
2. there are a lot of things you may not be thinking of at this point. What kind of finish do you want to be able to do? what does it take to apply a nice finish? I went out and bought just a few essential products to apply a nice finish, and spent $60 with nearly no effort. These are things in your shop you will have to re-buy often, as they are consumable items.
3. you need wood! I recommend calling around to anyone you know who already does some woodworking, and see if they have any scrap you can get your hands on. I have a pretty nice stack of just scrap and left-overs that I can use to make small projects with, and it didn’t cost me a penny!
4. youtube youtube youtube! there are many great woodworking shows on youtube that can teach you everything you need to know to get started, and it doesn’t cost you a penny. I would spend a few weeks watching youtube tutorials before you spend your first dollar on woodworking! That will give you a better idea of what tools are essential to the kind of projects you want to build in the beginning. find videos that talk about making similar things to what you want to start with, and take lots of notes, what tools were used, what things did you see that you will need that you hadn’t planned for yet? doing this before I cut a single piece of wood saved me a lot of headaches trying to figure out what I was doing!
5. the rest is mental! don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. There are many many things it would be nice to have, but figure out what is most important to your particular plan, and focus there. You can get started without blowing your entire budget if you buy used, borrow, or use hand tools. Power tools are nice, but since you wont have a dedicated shop to start in, think of working with a lot of hand tools at first too. It will take a lot more elbow grease and time, but it can save you some money as well. There is a lot to woodworking, and a lot of people who might try to talk you out of doing this, but if this is really what you want, go for it and keep yourself focused on your goals! ignore naysayers, take advice with gratitude, and most importantly, don’t let those first few projects that wont turn out nearly like you wanted get you down :P There are many ways to make mistakes and fire wood, but remember, it honestly takes years (or even a lifetime) to polish up the skill required to be a successful woodworker, but if you are patient, willing to put in the time and effort, and pay attention to small details, there is no reason why you can’t be successful right away!
It may not be much, but I have already sold a few small pieces, and have a handful of requests for projects. I have been at this for literally only a few weeks, and I am starting to make a little money! Do what you can to get as much stuff for little to no money right now, save that $1700 for things you might not know that you need, and learn all you can before you buy anything! When you hit a wall, and can’t find what you need used or borrowed, then spend some of that money to buy a new tool. The less you spend now (or anytime for that matter) the more those first couple of small sales will count! You wont be rich overnight, but with some good planning, you can be profitable much faster.

Hope some of this is helpful! There is a lot more that could be said, but you have found an excellent resource in LJ’s. Don’t be too proud to ask questions, the members here are great, very nice and very helpful! the more you can gain from other’s experience, the better off you will be in the long run.
Good luck!

-- Work consists of whatever a body is OBLIGED to do, and Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. -Mark Twain

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4126 days

#10 posted 12-05-2011 07:50 PM

You’ve already gotten some good advice here. I would tell you to narrow your focus to more precisely define what you want to do. “Small items” is still a pretty broad category.

Don’t be afraid of good used tools and be leery of cheap new tools.

Something to think about is a good used ShopSmith. It is a good way to start. I started with a ShopSmith many years ago and, initially, that was my only tool. However, I did have the bandsaw, belt sander, and jointer accessories.

If you are seriously considering a ShopSmith, I and others could give you some good ShopSmith specific advice.

I share this e-bay listing with you just to give you an idea of what is possible – -

Ideally, you could find one close to where you live. They can be shipped but that can get expensive.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View CampD's profile


1825 posts in 4538 days

#11 posted 12-05-2011 08:05 PM

You want a small portable table to move from your shed to the driveway and back.
Here’s the newest/lightest portable TS from Bosch
I have its big bother and had this come out then I would have bought it.
Also buy a quality cordless drill.. This should be your number 1 tool!

-- Doug...

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7156 posts in 4246 days

#12 posted 12-05-2011 08:09 PM

The first thing I will tell you is do your homework….read woodworking magazines, watch videos, woodworking shows, etc., to “bone up” on the different tools youre looking at getting/purchasing…..The tools I like/ use may not be what you like….We all have opinions about out tools, and there are some good suggestions here, but you still have to decide for yourself…Investigate further before spending…....

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 4035 days

#13 posted 12-05-2011 08:09 PM

alot of good info here. shopsmith would be a great all in one,with not much space taken up . you got to think like a contractor. be mobile, everything on wheels or carry around type tools. you mentioned a shed to work out of, thats good for storing tools but if all your work is outside,then that leaves fewer options for now.
10” dewalt or a bosch table saw on a stand, with a 10 or 12 inch chop saw.then put some money in classes somewhere. the little tools will come along as you need them.
happy saw dust making

View Bertha's profile


13615 posts in 3745 days

#14 posted 12-05-2011 08:27 PM

Although $1700 might not go too far on a TS, it’d go a long way toward a stable of used hand tools. Once you become familiar with executing your projects with hand tools, you’ll appreciate that nice cabinet saw even more;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3918 days

#15 posted 12-05-2011 09:05 PM

I agree with Bertha. I’d spend it all on hand tools and portable power tools. The first thing that I got 40 years ago when I started hobby woodworking was a basic set of hand tools. I’ve never regretted it. They were all high quality hand tools and I spent right at $1000. I then started adding the basic portable power tools one by one. The first three power tools that I bought were a circular saw, a saber saw (jig saw), and an electric drill if I remember correctly. I had an open carport for a shop and I kept my tools in an old antique wardrobe in the carport after college. I put a pad lock on the wardrobe. All I had to do to work was back the cars out. I married my wife and I bought the hand tools a few months after we were married. I went to college for five years at UGA and Ga Tech and I took my tools to college. We lived at two different places in apartments. While there I did my woodworking on small decks. I must have bought my first power tool 8 or 10 years after I bought my hand tools. I didn’t have a whole lot of time for woodworking during the first 10 years of our marriage but I did it whenever I could and I took a whole lot of pride in building stuff with just a basic set of hand tools. I still have every one of those first hand tools that I bought and I cherish them more than you will ever know. I have added to them significantly over the years. Probably about 6 or 7 years ago I closed the carport in and it was my first real shop. All I had for a year after that was my hand tools and portable power tools. By then they were both well rounded sets of tools. About a year later I bought a Powermatic table saw, a Powermatic 8 in. jointer, a Jet 18 in. band saw, a Delta drill press, and a Delta lathe. You can do a lot more than you think with only hand tools and portable power tools. I believe that working with hand tools builds up good hand eye coordination, resourcefulness, patience, and imagination. Of course, I realize that not everyone wants to go this route. And there is nothing wrong with that but I sure am glad that I went that way in my hobby woodworking. It must have been about 41 years ago when I bought that first set of hand tools.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

showing 1 through 15 of 21 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics