This is the subject of a thread that I started at a couple of other woodworking forums and, on both of them, the thread resulted interesting discussions. So, I thought that I would launch a similar thread here.
I now have a very well equipped shop, but I find that I frequently surprise someone when I tell them that I don't have tool X, Y, or Z.
I decided to put together a list of tools in this category -starting with the ones that are most obvious by their absence.
1) Vise: Three months ago I got rid of a "mediocre" woodworking bench because it was not worth the room that it occupied. It had two "sub mediocre" vices. So, I find myself in the very strange position of not having a vice in my shop. All my life, even when we lived in a small apartment right after our marriage, I have had some sort of shop and, until now, there has always been vice in that shop.
2) Woodworking bench: I have two general purpose benches and one Festool multi-function table (MFT) that I am making do with until I build a "proper" bench.
3) Router Table or Shaper: These things scare me. But, I have recently decided that I will buy/make one in spite of this fear. That, along with the workbench, will be high up on my list of projects and/or acquisitions this winter.
4) Combination square: I simply never got around to buying one and, as near as I can tell, there is nothing that combination square can do that I can't already do with some other tool in my possession.
5) Powered Miter Saw: What with my table saw, my MFT, and a good non-powered compound miter saw, I simply can't justify getting one of these.
6) Dado Blade for Table Saw: I much prefer making dados with a guided router.
7) Wood Lathe: I might get around to buying of these some day but it won't be for a long time. It is more likely that I will get a metal lathe, a forge, and some welding equipment. I did a lot of metal work in high school and really liked it.
8) Wood Moisture Meter: No excuse -I should have one.
9) Laminate Trimmer: I will get one when I have a project that requires it. That will probably be this winter and I will probablty get the small Bosch unit.
10) Drum Sander: I simply don't need one of these. I have three Festool sanders and they easily handle all my sanding tasks. I do have the parts for a 18 inch V-Drum sander from Stockroom Supply and plan to get around to making the portable case for it "one of these days".
11) Mortising Machine: I have not had many projects where mortises were called for. The few mortises that I have needed to make were easily handled with drill and chisels. I expect that I will get one some day.
12) Dovetail jig for a Router: So far, I not made much that required dovetails, so have made do with cutting these by hand. As is the case with a mortising machine, I expect that I will get one some day.
13) Spray Gun: Up until now brushing and rubbing have worked well for me. I am only just starting to experiment with different ways of finishing projects and I expect that by this time next year I will have a spray gun.
14) Power Nailer: I don't like using them. I feel that I can use better nails and do a better job when nailing by and. And, I am very fast. Maybe, if I was working where time was money I would feel differently.
15) Compressed Air Machine: This is related to the previous two items.
16) Downdraft Sanding Table: Because of the great dust control with my Festool sanders, this would be redundant.
17) Radial Arm Saw: I am afraid of these and will never have one.
18) Biscuit Joiner: I don't think that biscuits are any better than dowels. But, I might buy the Festool Domino Loose Tenon machine when it becomes available in North America because loose tenons are better than dowels.
19) Belt Sander. I find them quite hard to control. And, now that I have a Festool Rotex 150 sander, a belt sander is redundant.