Which Stationary Machine First?

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Forum topic by Marty5965 posted 04-16-2013 11:28 PM 1742 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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161 posts in 2550 days

04-16-2013 11:28 PM

Hi Guys,

I am still building my shop (and my skills) and, while I would love to be a hand tool purist, I don’t think I will live long enough to become one. So I need to buy some power tools. I have a reasonable TS and a couple of routers, along with the usual smattering of circular saws and a compound miter saw.

I would like to get a 14” bandsaw, a 6” jointer and a lunchbox planer. I can’t afford them all at once so I am looking for advice on the order in which to purchase.

My growing project list consists of mostly small furniture items (couch table, coffee table, end tables etc.).

Thanks for any input.

-- Marty, Wilmington, OH, learning every day....

20 replies so far

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3556 days

#1 posted 04-16-2013 11:37 PM

Bandsaw would be my first choice. You can rip lumber (much more safely than a TS), resaw boards, and cut curves.

As a hand tool guy, I do have a bandsaw that is a nice addition to my shop. I do not own a TS, don’t need one.

Whatever route you go, good luck!

-- Mike

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4252 days

#2 posted 04-16-2013 11:53 PM

Well, James Krenov wrote that when he started out in Sweden,
after attending joinery school, all he had was a band saw,
jointer, bench and hand tools. He said he worked very hard
during that time.

You can learn to flatten and thickness boards by hand on the
bench. It is great exercise and you really learn about bench
planes doing it. It is not so awfully slow either. You can
make a router jig for straightening and squaring board edges
or learn how to do it with a bench plane.

A band saw is very nice to have for furniture making. For
me if I were starting out on a budget but knowing what
I know now, it would be the first machine to acquire,
then a portable planer, then a jointer.

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2599 days

#3 posted 04-16-2013 11:58 PM

hmm…only problem with the BS is that you still cant flatten a board. if you are good with buying pre-surfaced lumber, then BS is still the way to go, IMO.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 2553 days

#4 posted 04-17-2013 12:10 AM

first of all your title was “Which Stationary Machine First?” A lunch box is not a stationary machine. I am a fan of joiner, planer, then BS

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3575 days

#5 posted 04-17-2013 12:10 AM

Get a good used band saw and a Ryobi planer. Probably will have less than $400 in both.
Ryobi invented the”lunch box planer” in case you are wondering why I specified that brand.
They make the motor and cutter assembly for most of the other, higher profile (read expensive) brands.

You can joint on a table saw or with a router, or of course with a jointer hand plane.
You can even joint on a planer by using a sled, but to me that is more hoops than I want to jump through to avoid using a hand plane.

But, over all, I’ll agree with others here and recommend the band saw first.

View GT350's profile


377 posts in 2586 days

#6 posted 04-17-2013 12:33 AM

Since you already have a tablesaw, if you aren’t making curved items like chairs then I would go for the planer and get a #4 or #5 hand plane to joint the wood. Most of my projects use flat and square lumber so with these three items you can prepare the wood.

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 3051 days

#7 posted 04-17-2013 12:55 AM

In my humble newbie opinion this is how you would find out what tools you need to get first:
Choose two projects that you like to build,then start working on the simpler one using what you already have,by the time the second one is near completion you will have already established what tools are necessary in your shop,which is just a beginning of a long downward spiral I might add lol.
A few tools are common in most woodworking shops,a router+router table,a circular saw,jig saw,band saw,few measuring/marking tools ,and of course clamps.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3413 days

#8 posted 04-17-2013 01:10 AM

Good advice Ken. I never quite understood that some would recommend an entire shop full of tools to do simple projects. If I had waited until I had everything I needed I would still be back in square one.

View OliverArts's profile


21 posts in 2470 days

#9 posted 04-17-2013 01:16 AM

I find myself going to my bandsaw more than any other stationary tool in my shop. My table saw is getting less and less time. You stated you were doing small furniture…If I was going to build a shop over here’s my priority list of stationary tools for the small furniture maker:

Dust collection system (it’s just makes life in a shop better)
Band saw
Router table
Mitre saw
Table Saw
Drill press

Just my opinion…enjoy the craft!

-- Travis Oliver - Luthier and Furniture builder...Thanks dad and grandpa for teaching me how to build it and fix it

View kdc68's profile


2920 posts in 2881 days

#10 posted 04-17-2013 01:30 AM

Marty....All excellent advice…..But once your stricken with woodworking fever, there’s no cure …..Symptoms are a constant want/need for more tools

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View Marty5965's profile


161 posts in 2550 days

#11 posted 04-17-2013 01:32 AM

Thanks guys, great advice (as always).

-- Marty, Wilmington, OH, learning every day....

View guitchess's profile


85 posts in 4313 days

#12 posted 04-17-2013 01:44 AM

Nothing fails to show the different strokes for different folks like tool priority. I find it shocking that the table saw and drill press are so low on OliverArts list. Of course, most of my work is case based. My furniture building style tends to be boxy as well.

As for my opinion on your next tool, I would say a planer. Unless everything you build is stock thickness, it is required. Yes, you can resaw on a bandsaw, but unless you are very patient with a belt sander/hand plane/etc. you would need one following it.

View lab7654's profile


266 posts in 2851 days

#13 posted 04-17-2013 01:54 AM

To me, the bandsaw is priceless in my shop. Before I had a decent table saw, it is where I went to get my rips done. I then usually cleaned up the edge on my router table with an offset face setup. The planer and jointer almost go together, and should usually be bought as so in my opinion. If I had to pick one, I would say planer. S2S lumber, or surfaced one face and one edge, is cheaper than fully surfaced (S4S or S6S) lumber, and you can trust it will be consistent thickness after you’re done. If you have completely rough lumber, you can always flatten one face with a hand plane and straighten an edge on the bandsaw (which you would have bought by now). The decision is really up to you of course, and you should base it off of what you feel you have the biggest issues with.

My biggest issue when I first started out was having a method of ripping and accurate curve cutting, so I knocked both out with my bandsaw. Fast forward a ways, and the issue of dealing with pre-surfaced box-store lumber is finally catching up to me. This caused me to buy the JET 10 inch jointer/planer combo, and it has worked out alright for me. If you have the budget, however, buy separate machines. If you buy decent ones, they will likely serve you much better than a space/money saving combo setup.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

View OliverArts's profile


21 posts in 2470 days

#14 posted 04-17-2013 02:05 AM

Lab7654 has a good point on planers and jointers…a decent one will save you alot of time and get you some accurate results.

Also (off topic)...find yourself a good local lumber yard, hardware, and tool dealer (not blue or orange). Building a relation with a good lumber man makes a big difference…

-- Travis Oliver - Luthier and Furniture builder...Thanks dad and grandpa for teaching me how to build it and fix it

View Woodknack's profile


13008 posts in 2984 days

#15 posted 04-17-2013 03:11 AM

For furniture you’ll either need a jointer or a few hand planes, there’s no getting around it unless you build everything from plywood. I made a number of furniture pieces without a drill press but now that I have one I can’t imagine how I got along without it.

-- Rick M,

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