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Thread: Order to buy tools

  1. #1

    Order to buy tools

    I am beginning to assemble my own set of woodworking tools. I have always borrowed peoples tools as needed. But, as I have been doing more and more projects it is clear I need my own. I have hand tools but want to know what is a good order to buy power tools in. I cannot purchase everything at once so that's why I want to buy tools in the order of frequency of use. I currently have a tablesaw but that is all. I know the tools depend on the project. Right now I am doing simple things like boxes, small day projects etc. As my tools and skills increase, I see those as increasing. My tentative plan is a miter saw next, then a router. Is that a good start, where should I go from there? Thanks
    Brian

  2. #2
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    Before I got started woodturning, I'd say I used my router a lot more than my miter saw. I did, however, have a good tablesaw that was capable of making accurate crosscuts, and I also tended to purchase wood in lengths shorter than 8'. Plus, my miter saw is a low-end Delta that's nothing to write home about. I know some guys have much better miter saws, and use them a lot more that me.

    So my vote would be for a router before a miter saw, but only if your tablesaw can do accurate crosscuts. People with different projects or preferences than me would likely go with the miter saw first.
    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

  3. #3
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    I would agree with Vaughn, I'd get the router then maybe the Miter saw.
    "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

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Before I got started woodturning, I'd say I used my router a lot more than my miter saw. I did, however, have a good tablesaw that was capable of making accurate crosscuts, and I also tended to purchase wood in lengths shorter than 8'. Plus, my miter saw is a low-end Delta that's nothing to write home about. I know some guys have much better miter saws, and use them a lot more that me.

    So my vote would be for a router before a miter saw, but only if your tablesaw can do accurate crosscuts. People with different projects or preferences than me would likely go with the miter saw first.
    I'm gonna take Vaughn one step further and say skip the miter saw all together.
    Yes I have one or well ok three of them but for the work it sounds like your doing a good table saw is you need. Set up right it will out preform a miter saw in accuracy and repeatability of cuts.
    Now I'll add to your list of next tool options. Jointer or bandsaw A good jointer is almost unrepeatable in the shop. Unfortunately I don't consider a router to be in the tool list planing. It is just a must have and when one breaks or I need a different size one I just stop and get it on the way by like picking up a coffee on the way to work.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  5. #5
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    I also agree with the router before the miter saw. In fact, I agree that the miter saw is nice to have, but far from necessary. After the router I suggest a good random orbit sander, cordless drill, and jig saw. These 3 items will come in, most likely, less than a good bandsaw. Research the sander and drill to see what you feel best meets your needs. I would go with a Bosch jig saw. These additions will allow you to do many different projects and not break the bank--well not totally anyway I hope. A router table would be a good addition too.

    If I had to prioritize items it would be:

    drill--cordless preferred
    router
    random orbit sander
    jig saw
    router table
    ________

    Ron

    "Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."
    Vince Lombardi

  6. #6
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    Hard to argue with Vaughn and the others on this one. I'd get a decent router and some good 1/2" shank bits. You can do a lot of different things with a router. A lot of suitable routers go for < $100 throughout a given year. Start watching for deals from Milwaukee, Hitachi, Bosch, Makita, PC, DW, Craftsman, Ridgid, etc. Be sure it feels good in your hands. If you end up getting one for a router table be sure it has variable speed.

    FWIW, I only use my miter saw for molding or super long boards.
    Got Wood?

  7. #7
    Thanks so much everyone. I have a jigsaw and 18v 1/2 drill and actually a drill press I forgot (I don't know how). It sounds as though it is almost unanimous that a router should be next. It looks like one that plunges is a good way to go

    Thanks
    Brian

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Clark View Post
    Thanks so much everyone. I have a jigsaw and 18v 1/2 drill and actually a drill press I forgot (I don't know how). It sounds as though it is almost unanimous that a router should be next. It looks like one that plunges is a good way to go

    Thanks
    Brian
    I am partial to the Milwakii dual base, others make em too. The Milwakii I got for $99.00 from Amazon
    "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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    Another vote for a dual base router. If you can only have one, the plunge base is the way to go, but the kits with dual bases are better, in my opinion. My multi-base router is a Porter-Cable 690, which is kind of on the small side. Still, I used the stationary base under a router table for a couple of years, and the plunge base (and D-handle base, too) for the handheld stuff. I've since upgraded my router table router, but still use the 690s (I've got two motors) for handheld work. I've not used the Milwaukee routers, but they're very highly regarded, and I haven't used a Milwaukee tool I didn't like. Some of the guys who use routers more than me may offer other good brand suggestions, too. There are a number of really good routers out there.

    Regarding some of the other tools mentioned...

    I almost never use my jointer when I'm doing flatwork, but here again, it's because I've got a good, accurate tablesaw that I can get glue-ready cuts with. But the caveat is that I almost never buy lumber that's not at least surfaced on one edge, if not both. If your local supply is rough lumber, then a jointer (and planer) would be higher up on the list than for me.

    My bandsaw is the second-most used stationary tool in my shop, but that's because I'm primarily a woodturner, and I use it a lot for rough-cutting blanks. When I'm doing flatwork, there are some projects where the bandsaw gets no use, but there are others that couldn't have been done without one.

    Random orbital sander? Yes, for sure. I use one of my three (2", 5", and 6") on pretty much everything I make, round or flat.

    Of course you could save yourself a lot of time and money and just buy yourself a lathe from the get-go. Then you won't be needing all these flatwork tools. Just a whole slew of woodturning tools instead.
    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

  10. #10
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    The 3 most used tools in my shop that I would have a hard time doing without are the table saw, miter saw and jointer. I don't utilize my routers any way near their capabilities. I pretty much only use them to add decorative edges.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

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