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Forum topic by Neight posted 12-11-2011 10:35 AM 2119 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Neight's profile


112 posts in 3405 days

12-11-2011 10:35 AM

Hello everyone
Just had a little early family Christmas, and wound up with a handful of gift cards. $100 @ home depot, and $50 at lowes. This is my first “tool budget” and I am wondering, if you had this to work with, what would be the most important things on your list?
I thought I would go online, and put together a rigid list of things I would like to get with my budgets, and I honestly can’t narrow it down. One thing that is absolutely on the list is new bandsaw blade, at least one, probably two, one quarter inch and one half. Assume I don’t have any tools of my own, and just let me know what would be the very first thing on your list.
any suggestions or tips would be very appreciated. I know this is a very broad question, but I am kind of looking for a consensus of what should be high on the priority list. Having minimal experience has let me know that there is a lot that would be handy, but doesn’t tell me what is essential necessarily.
Thanks in advance for any replies!

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

18 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


8415 posts in 4388 days

#1 posted 12-11-2011 02:00 PM

If you don’t have any tools using those BS blades should be interesting! Lol…

A router is one of the handiest and most versatile tools in the shop….and you can buy a reasonable router in the $100 range. If you were to sell one of the gift cards, you could apply the entire $150 to a nice router and maybe some bits in from store. Get one that accepts 1/2” shanks, and buy 1/2” bits whenever feasible. If you plan to put the router in a table, be sure to get one with variable speed. Look to PC, Hitachi, Milwaukee, Ridgid, DW, Makita.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View lewis62's profile


73 posts in 3651 days

#2 posted 12-11-2011 03:21 PM

A good random orbit sander, can’ t finish it what is point of making it.
Circular saw, and make a cut off guide, can cut anything to size.
Jig saw for all those curves.
Low angle block plane, clean up all the cuts including end grain.
Most important, cheap tools are cheap, go for better they work and last longer.

View Porchfish's profile


862 posts in 3545 days

#3 posted 12-11-2011 04:02 PM

Tried to think of what tools I use most often and what comes in handy more often than you would think. My favorite hand tool is a cut off saw. I’m talking about a japanese dozuki like saw. You won’t believe how often you will find yourself reaching for it. American cabinet/furniture builders always had a small rigid backed saw in their kit too some called it a “gents saw” , others a dovetail saw or a small approximation of one. While at lowes last year I ran across a little dozuki like saw made by marples. it is a thin bladed very inexpensive knock off but I absolutely love it and it was around 20 bucks. Yes you can cut dovetails with it, or use it as a handy trim saw for all sorts of small jobs. I like the idea of a random orbit sander as a good buy too at this stage as lewis62 suggests. The old rule that cheap things are expensive is a good one to live by, but tools like the little blue handled marples saw at Lowes is an exception. So exceptions do exist out there. Have fun making your certificates go as far as they can. If you are into pocket hole joinery, you might consider a beginning kit to get started. If you have a table saw you might consider investing in a book on building useful jigs from scraps that will become invaluable over time. (box joint, taper,tennoning,miter sled, etc. there’s quite an array of jigs you can build) Do you own a set of dado blades or dado cutter ? How about a handful of decent clamps ? enjoy stretching those certificates…

your north florida friend don s.

-- The pig caught under the fence is always the one doing all the squealing !

View Cgwendling's profile


14 posts in 3453 days

#4 posted 12-11-2011 04:21 PM

I would say the power tool that I use the most at home and is under $100 is my black & decker drill driver. Yes, I have a whole set of Makita Lith, but they are the ones that help the bills get payed.
As far as hand powered tools I think marking, measuring, squaring tools I use the most.
At work the number one tool is the 7 1/4” circ saw. With jigs made of mostly scrap you can do alot with them. Good blades are a must and run $7-$20.

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3611 days

#5 posted 12-11-2011 07:07 PM

Circular saw, or router if you had nothing to start with and the budget given above, and a couple of clamps and sandpaper.

View TJU's profile


72 posts in 3669 days

#6 posted 12-11-2011 07:43 PM

You could build almost anythng with a router, circular saw, jig saw, R.O. sander, glue, and clamps. If you have a bandsaw you wont need a jig saw. A chisel or two might be nice (1/2 and 3/4”) and a way to keep them sharp. Maybe a drill driver and some bits. You can do it without the sander but it saw time.


-- Although the voices aren't real they have some pretty good ideas.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25937 posts in 4118 days

#7 posted 12-11-2011 07:49 PM

I guess that would depend on what you already have. If you need a power tool to be more versatile in your projects, that would be my pick. If you have all the power tools you need, then buy cutters/bits/blades, accessories or glue and sand paper.

I thought I had all the power tools that I needed until I just bought a Bosch right angle, dual mode orbital sander.I use that puppy every day now even on small jobs because it works so well. If you don’t have an Orbital sander, that would be my choice to you!!............Jim

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

View Neight's profile


112 posts in 3405 days

#8 posted 12-11-2011 08:29 PM

Thanks a ton for all the suggestions!
I have a huge stack of sand paper, and have been hand sanding things for years, I would like a RO sander, but I don’t know if I could use the sand paper I have with the sander.
I am getting some measuring and squaring tools. I have a router and basic set of bits. I have a borrowed bandsaw, but no good blades for it. The only problem with BS blades is I can’t find one’s at lowes that is the right length. I need 79” blades (it’s an old craftsman BS) and lowes doesn’t have any that specific length. Might have to wait a bit longer to get some blades and order them online.
I do have a couple of handsaws and a few chisels, though nothing good to sharpen them with. I am thinking of getting a bench grinder to be able to sharpen some of my tools with.
looks like I have much of what was suggested, which is good. and I have a better idea what I really need!
I will probably get couple of forstner bits for my cordless drill, and maybe a drill guide, so I can use it a little more accurately.
I am really thinking of picking up a dremel tool kit @ HD ( I like the versitility of those things on smaller projects), and getting some of the smaller items at lowes.
most of the tools I have are borrowed, so I was checking to see if anything that is borrowed would be better to buy outright, but I think for right now, with such a small budget, I will be getting smaller things and work on buying my own tools as I get more money to work with.
I would really like to get a jig saw, but I think that would blow my whole budget to get a good one…
Thanks for the suggestions, most of the things that were near the top of my list were mentioned, and that is good confirmation that I am pointed in the right direction!

-- 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 NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4187 days

#9 posted 12-11-2011 10:09 PM

Clamps … are never a bad thing….

-- -- Neil

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3500 days

#10 posted 12-11-2011 11:22 PM

Neight…. If your band saw is a 12” Craftsman, it takes an 80” blade.
If you want to use your existing sand paper on an RO sander, you can always get one of the stick on models and use something like 3M #77 spray adhesive to make the sand paper sticky. You could also use double stick foam carpet tape which would give you some cushion between the surface of the wood and the hard surface of the sander.

One thing you might look for down at Big Orange and Big Blue….. lumber cut offs. I’ve gotten sections up to 3 1/2’ long from their cut off pile and paid almost nothing for them. These were maple, white oak and red oak. They are great for making small projects and practicing cuts and making jigs.

Good luck, I wish I had the budget to play with that you have right now, LOL.


-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Neight's profile


112 posts in 3405 days

#11 posted 12-12-2011 02:20 AM

Dallas the owner of this bandsaw wrote the blade length on the inside of the door of the BS when he got it, and he has wrote 79”. I checked it again, and it doesn’t even have a craftsmen label on it, it’s Sears Roebuck…
it’s pretty old. I had a few blades that were my dad’s, and I hoped they would fit, but they appear to be 78” because they are just smaller than the one that came on the BS. Sort of frustrating, but I don’t have a welder, so I can’t really change them to fit.
Also I just found out about being able to get cutoff’s from the BBS last night, as one of the other gifts I got was a bundle of cutoff’s from lowes. Very handy to know that, since most everything I know how to build right now, or have planned to build, can easily be done with cutoffs and scraps! Free or very cheep wood for me is a lifesaver! Thanks a ton for the tip though :)

I did end up getting a dremel 4000 kit, and a parts kit to go with it. I am pretty excited about that one, and that was about a frivolous as I got for tools.
I was able to pick up a couple of right angle clamps for box making and the like (nearly as excited about those as the dremel after my first box attempt without them!)
I got a combination square and a sliding T-bevel to make life a little easier, and to know wether I am square before I ever start glue-up.
I also picked up a set of bench cookies, which is also pretty cool! I don’t have a good router table, and I have had to work around clamps, so this should help with some of that as well!
and because I had a few bucks left on one of the cards, I picked up an extra bottle of glue, for good measure :)
I am pretty pleased with what I ended up with today, I was very hesitant to get the dremel, but I can make that work in some ways that will make the projects I tend to build just that much easier, so the more that I think about it, the happier I am that I splurged on that one item.
I tried to be sensible and stretch my money as far as I could, and until I can afford to start buying better tools and give back the borrowed ones, I think I can be happy with todays haul!

-- 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 Dan Katz's profile

Dan Katz

96 posts in 3652 days

#12 posted 12-12-2011 02:35 AM

Yo Neight,
50 bucks will buy you a really nice Japanesse saw(Grey rubber handle) and a decent set of chisels at Lowes.

“Suspenders are easier to break in than new boots”

-- VillageCarver,Chattanooga

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3500 days

#13 posted 12-12-2011 03:02 AM

Neight, if you weren’t so far from me, (I’m in the Heart of TAXES), I’d send you a slightly used Lennox 1/2” 4TPI 80” blade and maybe toss in a slightly used shop built (Junky) router table. It served me well for a long time until I got a new factory built one. I’m not even sure I remember if I can take it apart or not, I may have built it in my “Glue EVERTHING period.”
Oh, and I think I have a plunge router base for an older dremel that I’ve never used also, I don’t know if the 4000 will work in it though.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Neight's profile


112 posts in 3405 days

#14 posted 12-12-2011 03:16 AM

Dan I nearly picked up one of those Japanese saws today, I had it in my hand, but opted to to leave it there for now. That is on my list for sure though, as I like them much better than standard saws! I do have a few chisels, though they are all in desperate need of sharpening. I only have one wet stone, and it came with a small carving kit I bought years back. I don’t know what grit it is, but it works well enough for those small carving chisels.

Dallas, when I read your post, I heard a series of 4 fast claps in my head, I am sure you have heard the song I am referring too :P
I do plan on making a router table, but right now all I have is small scrap wood. As I pick up bigger pieces, I have lots of things I would like to build, TS sled, router table, BS fence, lots of things. Right now I do glue everything, as I only have one box of screws and they are 3” long deck screws… I do have some small brads, but I don’t use them often, as they are only 1”
I looked at the dremel base guides while I was @ HD, and will likely pick up some dremel accesories as I have some cash to play around with. I still have two family Christmas parties to go to, so who knows what I will be getting in the next few weeks. If I come up with more cash, I already have a list of what needs to be bought next, and unless I run into something I haven’t thought of (which is likely) I think I have a good plan to keep upgrading my shop with small tools that are easily affordable and are more useful than some of the things I want :P
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions! I really appreciate it

-- 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 Elizabeth's profile


823 posts in 4156 days

#15 posted 12-13-2011 12:18 AM

Haven’t seen anyone else say it yet so I will…stretch those gift cards with coupons. There’s a 10%-off-entire-purchase Lowe’s coupon that is available in the “Moving kits” of coupons offered at many post offices, and there’s a chance that Home Depot will match it. Also, some people have reported that their local Lowe’s/HD will accept the “20% off one item” coupon that Harbor Freight puts in the paper, but this seems to be dependent on the manager of the store.

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

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