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Thread: Order of Buying Tools for a New Woodworker

  1. #1
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    Order of Buying Tools for a New Woodworker

    Ok, one of tonight's questions (I have to catch up--I haven't asked any questions for at least a day or two) is what should my next big purchase be?

    Assume I have a
    1) SMS,
    2) TS,
    3) CS
    4) Jigsaw
    5) an older 1/4" collet router + getting a heavier duty router/router table shortly
    6) getting a Drill Press this week,
    7) Orbital Sander
    8) Belt Sander (hand held)
    9) a good cordless drill + a good little lighter weight cordless drill,

    .....so what should the next big purchase be? A planer or a bandsaw? If it's a planer, I'm thinking of that Dewalt 735. How much would I have to spend for a decent band saw? What would you folks recommend? space isn't an issue, but I'd like to keep the budget within reason. Who votes for something other than a bandsaw or a planer?

    Thanks all, looking forward to the discussion.
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  2. #2
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    Look at the job you have to do & buy to fit the need.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  3. #3
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    A lot depends on what types of things you're building. In my case, I got a bandsaw before I got a planer, but that was because rough lumber isn't readily available in my part of town, and I wanted to do things with curves.

    That said, I built a number of projects without either of those tools. My suggestion would be to start building stuff with the tools you already have, and then add tools as you see the need come up for new ones. When I first got back into woodworking, it seemed like I was on a mission to buy one of everything. I've got several tools that were bought back then that still haven't been used enough to justify their purchases.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  4. #4
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    Cynthia, what are you planning to build next that should determine the next tool. IMHO. I personally see you need A planer for dimensioning the boards for the bookcase build but if your gonna build a chair then a band saw should be next. Being a happy 735 owner I am not going to try to influnce you but... unless you want to spring the extra $$$ and go for a 15" then it is the best tool in it's class.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
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    As usual, I am just about lock-stepped with Don and others. I could have not made a few purchases that ended up sitting around or got very little use if I had found a forum like this BEFORE I started tool collecting.

    Pick a small to medium project that might include joinery you will use on other things. For example, a side table with a drawer could involve the same joinery as a large display case or a buffet. As you are making your smaller piece, take note of how things might be done easier with a <insert tool name here>.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  6. #6
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    I'm with the guys. Let your projects determine the tools in your shop. Don't spend your money on quantity. Spend it on quality.

  7. #7
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    Well I'm leaning toward the planer because no matter what I do next, I hate paying the $ to buy the lumber S4S. I'd rather have the tools to buy it rough. But I really like the idea of the bandsaw because a) I want to do curves and b) I know it's considered a really safe tool and I think I'm going to like it.

    After the bookcases, the next project is built-ins for a big walk-in closet 11' X 11'. After that I think it's a bed with some built-in storage around the head. Then it's some nice outdoor furniture. Some new bathroom vanities, then if I'm still alive it's the kitchen cabinets... I hear conflicting things about buying tools. I hear "wait until you need it to buy it" and I hear the opposite, "buy what you will need so you don't suffer through a project because you didn't have the right tool or worse have to stop in the middle to wait for a new tool....."

    Vaughn, I was waiting for you to say I desperately need a lathe!

    Can I get a decent bandsaw for between $500 and $1000?
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  8. #8
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    Cynthia after reading your latest post I can see you really want a band saw but I also see you will get a lot more use out of a planer so what kind of a band saw you gonna buy.
    Last edited by Don Baer; 11-02-2010 at 05:10 AM.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  9. #9
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    "buy what you will need" is not doing something BEFORE buying the tool. It is letting the project determine the tool purchase first.

    Your list indicates planer first. Your heart's desire, however, seems to be a band saw. So, in answer to the band saw price question, yes.

    One other observation: you mentioned the band saw being safe. All tools are safe used safely. All tools are very dangerous used improperly. The first cut I ever had that needed stitches was done on the band saw. Tools are not inherently safe.

    Think about Darren's tag line. "This tool does not have a brain. Use your own." Too true!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carol Reed View Post
    "buy what you will need" is not doing something BEFORE buying the tool. It is letting the project determine the tool purchase first.

    Your list indicates planer first. Your heart's desire, however, seems to be a band saw. So, in answer to the band saw price question, yes.

    One other observation: you mentioned the band saw being safe. All tools are safe used safely. All tools are very dangerous used improperly. The first cut I ever had that needed stitches was done on the band saw. Tools are not inherently safe.

    Think about Darren's tag line. "This tool does not have a brain. Use your own." Too true!
    Carol, I agree with what you say. I know that the safety lies in the user of the tool. However, I also know that statistically there are more accidents associated with some tools than others. I'm sure there have been numerous threads discussing this. I believe that no matter how careful and safety conscious you are, accidents happen. I used to think that accidents only happen to little kids with parents who aren't watching them closely. That was right before my son, then 2, ate something poison when I turned my back to answer the phone. I'm an expert quilter and I used to think that you had to be an idiot to cut yourself with a rotary cutter. That was right before I seriously cut myself in a class, no less. So all things being equal, I really look forward to a bandsaw, more than some of the other power tools I have although as you say, it sounds like the planer is probably more practical for the next purchase. I try to be really really careful, I promise.
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

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