Setting up a new shop - spend my money for me!

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Forum topic by Alaskan posted 06-29-2014 01:30 AM 1618 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Alaskan's profile


5 posts in 2234 days

06-29-2014 01:30 AM

I am a long time lurker on the board, and just joined finally!

I have had a few relatively low quality table saws, band saws, etc., and have gotten rid of them all. I had been renting for the last few years, but next month I close on a house with a three car garage! TIME FOR A PROPER WOOD SHOP!!!

I have one full bay to dedicate to permanent shop space, and hope to use a second bay as overflow during projects. As of now, I have a decent set of hand tools, a mediocre bench top drill press, an amazing air compressor, a Chinese Delta disc/belt sander, homemade router table, and a bunch of hand held carpentry tools (jig saw, circular saw, router, drills, etc.). I am going to splurge and have budgeted around $5000 for the new shop. I would like to get:

Cabinet saw
Band saw
Dust collector
Hardware for Roubo style bench
A few more hand tools I am missing


At about $4000 for the big four – table saw, band saw, jointer, planer (or JP combo), how would you allocate the money? I will buy mostly, if not all, used. I am considering a 12 helical head JP combo, but that sets me back $2500 ish (as of now on craigslist). I was also considering 700 for a 17 in. Bandsaw. That doesn’t leave much for a table saw, but Jet and Grizzly cabinet saws can be had in this range.

I already know, I am going to go over budget!

16 replies so far

View Lumberpunk's profile


334 posts in 3142 days

#1 posted 06-29-2014 01:58 AM

I would go craigslist for the whole lot, I have seen General and Delta cabinet saws in the 2-3hp range selling on craigslist for as low as $350, 8 inch jointers for $250, I got my Jet 14” bandsaw for $200… sounds like you want bigger tools (me too) but if you lurk on CL you can pick up some smokin’ deals… and maybe have some $$$ left over for a drill press or a lathe… or some wood.

-- If someone tells you you have enough tools and don't need any more, stop talking to them, you don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1335 posts in 2740 days

#2 posted 06-29-2014 05:30 AM

Just wrote a blog on how I do craigslist. Read here. Just for some monetary reference, I bought three of the major power tools on CL and couldn’t be happier.

$1050 – squeaky clean 1990’s unisaw, USA made, 220 v, 3 hp, excalibur fence, with a 3 hp router to boot
$1000 – 1965 Powermatic 81, USA made, 220 v, 1.5 hp, 20” throat, 12” resaw, total beast
$200 – DC-33 delta planer, USA made, 220 v, 2 hp, 13” capacity.
I was lucky and got my jet 6” jointer for free

So, I have a fully functioning shop for a little over $2k. I would absolutely encourage you to go to craigslist. You can get a lot of bang for your buck on there. I love my machines off of CL. I would say to try to stretch it to get at least a helical head planer. I don’t think the jointer helical head is as important. But if you go combo, you could get both at once. I think my next step is a helical head planer, but that is a ways out.

I am excited for you. I love getting good machines off of CL. I love old iron. You can put together a hell of a shop for $4k. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. I am strongly in the used camp and would encourage you to do the same, especially with your budget and desires. Absolutely go used for your tablesaw and bandsaw as they are plentiful, maybe consider new for a planer if you are having trouble finding a good used one. Hard to do helical head used as they haven’t been around long, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out. Good luck!!!

I try to resist the urge to dabble forever trying to find the best deal on CL, unless you have a ton of time. Find decent to good deals on great machines.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2291 days

#3 posted 06-29-2014 05:59 AM

I would buy all that stuff and send it to a nice fellow in gonzales, LA :)

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View DangerDoug's profile


88 posts in 2451 days

#4 posted 06-29-2014 07:49 AM

Everyone’s favorite:

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 4352 days

#5 posted 06-29-2014 02:18 PM

Of course if you really did want me to spend your money, you would have to send it to me. So in that case my mailing address is… But if u did send it too me, you would give me your power limits, space limits, your woodworking focus so that we could concentrate on the machines that will work best with you and likely in about 6 weeks I would have a dream shop set up for u. As an example, this afternoon I will bidding on a 20” powermatic bandsaw, a 1000 lb beast that any deserving woodworker would just love to have in their shop.

Ok, but seriously though, since I know no 4000.00 check is being sent to me, the next best advice I can give is what has already been given. So watch CL daily.

-- .

View Alaskan's profile


5 posts in 2234 days

#6 posted 06-29-2014 02:37 PM

Thanks for the advice so far. I also love old iron. I have a Bridgeport milling machine and an old Logan lathe that are both older than me, and I LOVE them.

Space limits: 1 1/2 – 2 garage bays (machines above are in there too)
Power limits 220 v single phase ( I don’t really want to run the phase converter all the time)
Focus – everything from fine furniture and cabinetmaking to general carpentry

Going back to above comments, do modern woodworking tools have advantages over old iron? For metal, not counting CNC, old iron is way heavier and better built than modern counterparts. Besides the sawstop brake technology (which is awesome, but tough to find on CL I am finding), are there safety features on newer stuff that are worth having?

View Alaskan's profile


5 posts in 2234 days

#7 posted 06-29-2014 02:38 PM

And Jerry…the check is in the mail.

View MarcRochkind's profile


12 posts in 2239 days

#8 posted 06-29-2014 03:14 PM

Regarding newer safety features: New table saws have riving knives, an extremely effective and non-obtrusive safety feature that practically eliminates the possibility of kickback. Also, dust collection is probably better on newer saws than it was 10+ years ago before dust was identified as a serious health hazard.

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 4352 days

#9 posted 06-29-2014 03:40 PM

Lol ;)

-- .

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 2708 days

#10 posted 06-29-2014 06:53 PM

Since you have a mill and a lathe, you have the key equipment to owning the much better older industrial grade wood machines.
There is a lot of good equipment in Canada, if that is a viable option.
I found the heavier wood machines are much like metal machines, a bit more weight is better, built to last and be serviced.

View PhotoButtons's profile


5 posts in 2232 days

#11 posted 06-29-2014 06:56 PM

Craigslist is always a great way to find good used equipment

View Rob's profile


704 posts in 3876 days

#12 posted 07-03-2014 05:31 AM

I’ve been in the same boat as you for the past several years—lurking, asking for recommendations every once in a while, and just working on small projects without any of the big stationary tools. At one point I set aside $5000 and came here asking how to set up a shop on that budget. The responses were very helpful but mostly centered around buying everything used on CL. Well, I’ve watched CL for the past 5 years, and I think my standards are just too high after seeing what some of the other guys here have snagged. If your CL tool market is as pathetic as mine, the best you can hope for is a modest shop built around a 6” Craftsman jointer, lower-end JET dust collector, an old Craftsman table saw, and a 12” Delta planer for about $800. That leaves you with $3200 to spend on wood and supplies. :D Or you could buy the helical JP combo new, get the dust collector and table saw on CL, and still have money leftover to put down a decent floor if all you have right now is a concrete slab.

As Marc mentioned, newer equipment has better safety features such as riving knives, and on some saws you can swap out the riving knife for a full-blown riving knife-style splitter with blade guard and anti-kickback pawls in about 10 seconds, without any tools. I’d consider the speed of installing/removing the safety equipment a safety feature itself. Although your budget doesn’t account for it right now, also consider SawStop. Only you can decide whether it’s right for you, but I’d say if you plan on staying on planet earth for at least another 10 years then it’s the cheapest health insurance you can buy.

You can edge joint with your table saw, and you can make a router jig for face jointing/planing. If you’re on a budget you can get by with that setup until you either find a deal or save up enough to buy what you really want.

That said, every improvised solution is going to take more time than using a tool built specifically for the given purpose. Decide right now how much your time is worth—not just the extra time you’ll spend trying to get by with a more minimal setup, but also the time you lose every day that you don’t have the equipment you need to get stuff done.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

View Boxguy's profile


2878 posts in 3072 days

#13 posted 07-03-2014 10:03 AM

Alaskan, for me everything starts with a quality table saw and a Forrest saw blade. I would recommend a Sawstop though I use a Unisaw. Next I would get a 15 inch Powermatic planer with helix-head cutter teeth. Then a Grizzly cyclone dust collector to hook up to both of them. I think a jointer is a waste of money. I sold mine. I can get great joints with a planer and a good table saw.

Put wheels on everything, because as you add tools they will want to move around in your shop. An alternative to wheels is HMD plastic glides that let you move tools, but don’t let them rock or drift while you are using them. I buy it in 3×36x3/4 inch lengths (Peachtree) cut it in squares, and screw it to the bottom of tools and benches…recessing the screw heads.

Even using Craig’s List that is probably most of your money by the time you get them hooked up to the correct outlet and have installed the cords. Install a router with a lift in the side part of your saw table. Now use those tools to make something you can sell then buy the rest of the tools you want.

With a great planer, quality table saw, dust collector and mounted router, you can use rough lumber, break down plywood sheets, and round over edges. The next tool would be a Makita or Bosch miter saw with a bench about 6 to 8 feet on each side. That would give you lengths, and angles.

A large belt sander that can stand on edge or lay down flat will erase a world of small mistakes on projects.

My off bearing table for my Unisaw is two more saws. I bought two old Craftsman saws, bolted the tops together and installed a dado for 1/4 inch plywood in one and a dado for 1/2 inch plywood in the other. Since all three saws are on the same level I can run boards from one saw to another. So I can run a long board through the Unisaw, and run a dado from the Craftsmans to the Unisaw. The three table saws also serve as a assembly area and workbench if need be.

-- Big Al in IN

View Alaskan's profile


5 posts in 2234 days

#14 posted 07-03-2014 03:46 PM

Thanks for the really detailed and thoughtful responses. Based on my reading and these forums, a Forrest blade is a priority.

Enough people have recommended a SawStop machine that it has really ground my saw hunting to a halt. Analysis Paralysis! I have found 3hp grizzly machines with 50 in. fence, etc. for $750 on CL—so I am effectively paying a $2300 premium for the safety feature.

Of course, anyone in hindsight (while sitting in the emergency room) will have wished that they paid a few bucks more. Most people don’t cut off their pinkies, however… Thus, the $2300 insurance policy is weighed not against the cost of a pinky, per se, but rather against the actual RISK of having an injury. The risk is rather low. However, the potential penalty for an accident is extraordinarily high, and that must be included in the calculus. It boils down to a high premium for insurance against very low percentage risk of an accident coupled to an extremely high penalty should you fall in that low percentage. Can you see why I am having a tough time making a decision!!!? Perhaps less pontificating and more woodworking is in order!

View jonah's profile


2123 posts in 4103 days

#15 posted 07-03-2014 04:40 PM

I have my doubts that a used cabinet saw would feature a riving knife, which personally I would never buy another table saw without. Unless the saw is less than ~8 years old, it likely has a cumbersome old-style splitter.

If you could find a used 3HP Griz cabinet saw that is new enough to have a riving knife for $750, that would be hard to pass up.

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