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Newbie woodworking advice please...

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by rdwhitti, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    I have done DIY of one sort or another since I was a kid. My father was constantly building onto and modifying our house and I helped out and learned all that I could. I have done basic carpentry but no fine woodwork. Now that I am nearing retirement age I am getting the itch to do something more detailed. I only used a router once (and it didn't go well) and I have never used a table saw. For the kinds of things that I have in mind (small projects, boxes, shelves) I am thinking that those should be my first 2 tools beyond the basics that I have already. However I have 2 limitations:

    1) The only space that I have is in our very small 2-car garage, so everything must be able to be moved out of the way and stored in minimal space. I currently have a 2x4 folding workbench along one wall, and I have to fold it up to get the other car into the garage. Most of the time we only keep one car in the garage but I must be able to move everything so that the 2nd card can fit when needed.

    2) Since I am nearing retirement age and will most likely be moving in a few years I don't want to accumulate a lot of large heavy equipment that must be moved. Not only would I not like to move it later on, it would be very hard to get past my wife who insists on not accumulating stuff.

    With these 2 caveats in mind I think the best thing for me is to get a small portable table saw to start with; I can always get a stationary unit after we move into a larger place. I am looking at the Ridgid r45171 and the Dewalt DW745 units; both are about the same price, not too expensive so that I am wasting my money, and they can be easily stowed away in a small space. I have considered their larger brothers on wheeled stands but they are more costly and hard to justify unless they are really better, which is where your advice would be quite helpful. I know I will be limited by a portable saw (even a larger one) but my space constraints demand it at the moment.

    I am also looking at the Dewalt and Makita palm routers (with standard and plunge bases). I think if I learned to use a router properly it would be a very useful tool for rounding and dadoing and probably a multitude of other things that I don't even know about yet. I don't think that I need a full size router for what I plan to do at the moment.

    And of course clamps (all kinds of clamps). I have a few cheap things now but nothing really useful.

    Considering my limitations does this sound like a reasonable plan, and what are your recommendations for specific models? Thanks in advance for your help.

    P.S. I have scoured CL with little to show for it. It seems like everything is either too old and an terrible condition or newer but the same price as new. There are probably deals to be had with enough patience but even then I don't really know what to look for. New is probably my best bet.
     
  2. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm not sure what sort of woodworking you are looking at doing, but it seems like starting with a couple of folding saw horses, a table saw and a circular saw and a drill would be the most useful in your position.

    With those tools you can build a workbench, a router table, a runout table for the table saw, or an upright base for the table saw and any myriad of jigs and fixtures to do future work. If you live in Texas, and you are especially adventurous, you could use your tools to build one of these:

    th.jpg
     
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  3. eallen

    eallen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    They type of work dictates the equiptment need. At the same time, JueauMike has a good suggestion if you don't already have those items. If you already do, your thoughts on a portable table saw such as those listed and small router are decent starters. One caution is these are both dangerous tools! Learn how to use them safely above all! Check for a class at a local community college or school. Find a shop teacher willing to give a few lessons or tips.

    I often purchase used and have plenty to pick thru in a larger metro area. I currently find facebook marketplace to be my prefered source of searching qnd results.

    Have fun and post some project pics!

    Eric
     
  4. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the replies JuneauMike and eallen. At this stage I don't really know what I will want to make eventually, but just start simple with boxes and tables. I have a nice battery Makita drill and driver kit, a small circular saw (also Makita in the same line, maybe 3 3/8"?). Also a couple of folding sawhorses, wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, hammers, etc. I had more but left a lot with my ex several years ago and am just now building back up a little at a time. A table saw and router are the two biggest holes right now I think.

    Yes I realize these (and any power tool to some extent) are dangerous tools and need to be approached with caution. I plan to take an intro woodworking class, maybe something at the Woodcraft near me; they actually have a couple this weekend if I can still get in. I might also look for a meetup group in my area.

    I know I have a LOT to learn but plan to take it slow and easy (and careful!). The more things that I learn how to do the more ideas I will get for what I want to do. I am in awe of the people on here that build such beautiful stuff. Some of the amp cabinets I have seen are quite inspiring; maybe sometime in the distant future?

    As I mentioned I have very little room so I probably won't be building a workbench, router table, or runout table anytime soon unless they can be folded up and stored easily.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
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  5. sonofiam

    sonofiam Tele-Meister

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    Circular saw track systems seem like a great alternative to tablesaws, especially when you have limited space, and allow for cutting of full sheets of plywood, MDF or particle board. For a "workbench", a pair of collapsible sawhorses and a partial sheet of 3/4" MDF @ 3'X6' works just fine. Use a piece of construction foam or styrofoam insulation to protect the bench when cutting.

    https://www.dewalt.com/products/power-tools/saws/track-saws
    https://www.woodcraft.com/products/...21e069702d0676000f61,5764019669702d6582000ed1
    https://www.kregtool.com/store/c48/saw-attachments/p425/accu-cut/

    For cutting lumber like 2X4's 2x6's etc..., a sliding miter saw will do the job easier and safer than a miter gauge on a small table saw.

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ryobi-1...Miter-Saw-with-Stand-TSS102L-RMS10G/205336808


    As far as routers, given your limited experience, try a lower powered model that's less than 1.75 Horsepower. It will be easier to manage and get comfortable with. Unless you are consistently removing a lot of material, they will have plenty of power.

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Porter-Cable-1-3-4-HP-Router-690LR/203162807
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/DEWALT-...eed-Compact-Router-with-LEDs-DWP611/202562625

    Above all, read the safety instructions, follow all safety guidelines and be 100% focused on what you're doing when working with power tools and you should be just fine. I've seen a some gruesome things and had a few near misses in my years as a cabinetmaker/woodworker. The sobering thing about working with power tools is more often than not, you can only make a mistake once.

    My granddad taught me to use power tools at a young age, 10-12 years old if I recall correctly, and the first thing he told me was to never be afraid of a tool but respect what it can do. He also said never use a tool if I had any fear of it.

    He also told me several times to quit teaching his hammer how to bend nails :).
     
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  6. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    You can do a lot with a trim router and they aren't that expensive. I am in the process of making a table to hold up my new tv purchase. I used a jointer, compound chop saw, bandsaw, and router table to prep all the parts which included mortise and tenon joinery. I have a cheap table saw but it's no more accurate than my bandsaw so doesn't really get used much. I'd consider buying good machines and moving them.

    See if there is a makerspace in your area.
     
  7. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    All good advicesonofiam. I had thought of using a miter saw instead of a table saw for reasons of simplicity, better angled cuts, and more compact. I have tried to ream many forums on woodworking that posed the same idea and they were all shot down very quickly and urged to go with the table saw because it is "more versatile". I don't know enough about either to really know what is the truth here. If I have a good sliding miter saw and a good router, what more can the table saw do? Is either combo going to be considerably better, easier, or more versatile?

    And as for the router I was considering one of the smaller palm or trim routers already, such as the Dewalt or Makita. I have been really impressed with my 12v Makita drill and saw set, so I am leaning toward the Makita (corded however).

    And actually I do have a simple project for my first, a stand floor stand for my wife's Jang Gu drum (Korean dance drum). Something like this:

    janggu stand.jpeg

    IMG_0474.JPG
     
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  8. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    You mentioned a bandsaw. I have never used such a tool but am curious. What can you do with a bandsaw? How does it fit in with the other types of saws that we have discussed (table saw, miter saw)?
     
  9. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    A good bandsaw is a pretty useful saw. A cheap one is kind of useless. Mine is a Delta 14 with 24" fence rails, so I can do a ripping operation up to 24" from the blade. Ripping is cutting along the grain, as opposed to crosscutting which is across the grain. Bandsaws cut curves where tablesaws cannot. My main focus is in the instrument world, so there are way more curves than straight cuts that you may find in cabinetmaking. My compound chop saw is really good at crosscutting and doing angles, so with those two saws, I have the best of both worlds. In the occasional use area, the table saw could cut large sheets of plywood type goods. I haven't used it in 5-6 years. Other folks find them more useful.


    https://www.lowes.com/pd/PORTER-CAB...MIqsLwlIW33gIVU0wNCh2QkAioEAQYAiABEgL-avD_BwE

    The bad part of getting started in woodworking is the investment in power tools if you go that route. Good hand tools are pricey too though. My most used Power tools over the nearly 40 years have been a drill press, jointer, and bandsaw, and router table.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
  10. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    A table saw is good. I have an aluminum Ryobi I bought many years ago and it's great for a lightweight saw. Readily moved to the side. I probably use the Table saw and small bandsaw the most other than a small drill press. For my routing I use a small trim router which is a one handed tool and easier. Good brands are like 25-30 bucks at the pawn shop.
     
  11. sonofiam

    sonofiam Tele-Meister

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    For the project you shared, the answer to the first question is nothing. The answer to the second is the sliding miter saw and router. Cutting multiple pieces to length is far easier to repeat and more accurate with a miter saw than a table saw. The sliding miter saw adds even more versatility with the increased width you can cut.

    Another point, the smaller table saws are going to be underpowered for any substantial cutting. They're good for paneling, laminate and maybe up to 5/8" particle board. The other problem you'll encounter when using them for larger pieces of wood is the surface area of the top. This is going to be even more of an issue when you try to crosscut longer pieces of lumber. Using a portable table saw on a bench is just an accident waiting to happen. A sliding miter saw is typically going to allow you to crosscut up to 12" boards which covers most any project. Also, some circular saw system's tracks are two pieces so it's easier to work with smaller pieces of lumber which makes them more versatile.

    With the availability of most any width of pine, hemlock, hardwood or other linear lumber, needing to rip thinner pieces really isn't an issue anymore. If you do run into a situation where you need something very specific, any good lumber yard (not Home Depot or Lowes) should be able to do this for you at minimal cost.

    You'll find that the woodworking culture is a lot like the guitar culture. Some insist there's only one right tool for the job and anything less is beneath them even if it does just as good. If I didn't already have a decent table saw, the track systems would definitely be something I would have to seriously consider. I saw one demonstrated and it was actually quite impressive how accurate, stable and simple it was.
     
  12. stephenbishop

    stephenbishop TDPRI Member

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    Hello rdwhitti. If you are interested in taking your time and enjoying the process, I would recommend an unplugged workshop. I am a furniture/cabinet maker and use only old-fashioned hand tools. It can be a time-consuming process at first, but the benefits (to me) are numerous. There is no noise, no need for electricity, little risk of cutting off fingers, and no dust everywhere. If you enjoy the work as much as the result, this might be a good approach for you.

    Another benefit is cost. My entire shop was under $10k, and that includes many tools that I honestly don't use very often. You could easily assemble a complete shop with new, high-quality hand tools for under $5k. If you don't mind buying used, check out antique stores and farm auctions. You can often find incredibly well-made old tools for practically nothing that, with a little work, will outperform most newer tools. Just my 2 cents. Here are some pics of my shop and some of the tools that I work with daily (and my daughter helping with clean up).


    20180422_190453.jpg 20180808_161038.jpg 20180808_161118.jpg
     
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  13. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Bench top drill press is surprisingly useful. Table saw is best to get more cast iron in it but if you build a smaller lighter version into a workbench it can be better and give you the sides and out feed you need. A twelve inch bandsaw can do a lot of work, 14 is nice but the prices double or triple.

    The work bench I built is based on a video I couldn't find quickly. Concept is 8x4 rolling table with table saw mounted flush to the top surface, flip open sections to hinge up the bandsaw, drill press, chop saw, spindle sander, pocket for the router. vacuum dust collector. Roll it under another bench when not in use, roll it out to work inside or outside the garage depending on the weather.




    Build a dust cyclone and your shop vac will work much more effectively



    Clamps ... best deal is Harbor Freight 'F'-style clamps. Get a bunch of 6" and 12" clamps and you'll still be short of the number you'd like to have when you are in the middle of a project, lol.



    .
     
  14. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    A lot of great advice so far.... I'll throw my two cents in as well. Though much of it is a repeat.

    Since you'll be moving and need to keep things small and lightweight-ish. I'd go with a track saw system two. Ot, at least buy a good circular saw and build a nice track. I am partial to worm drive saws for cutting sheet goods. I've had a Ridgid that's lasted on the job, every day for about fifteen years. It's big, and kinda heavy, but that weight translates into a steadier cut. The wormdrive configuration allows for a straighter push and straighter cuts (for me, anyway).

    As for routers, I love my little trim routers for a lot of things. But, I also have a little Bosch router table (the one with the cast iron top). It's a lot safer for a lot of things! Plus, it's more accurate as well.

    I built my first Tele with a little benchtop band saw... What a nightmare. Go big or go build little tiny things.

    I have built many, many things using a Ridgid Contractor's saw (the one with the folding stand). Made a lot of money doing it, too (I'm a full time carpenter/custom woodworker). I cannot imagine my shop without a table saw... But, I am moving and sold mine off a few weeks ago. I've gotten by... But, when I land, I am getting a nice big honkin' one! Because i still need to make a living. However, I've also done a lot of field work using a Kreg Rip guide.....

    Powered, small and portable really limits the sizes of your projects, but it will also help get you started and on the way.


    My best advice, build your wife something first. That way you can justify the cool tools and hopefully make her happy too!
     
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  15. PapaWheelie

    PapaWheelie Tele-Meister

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    As a long time married man and woodworker, this is seriously good advice.

    I haven't much experience with bench top or portable table saws, one of my first purchases many years ago was a full sizes saw, but have owned my share of routers. I like my Bosch trim router but my go-to routers are the full size just for their versatility. A Porter Cable PC-690 would be a good start that will last you for years. I love my PC-100 but I see they don't make them anymore. If you can pick up a good used one they are compact yet powerful enough for most jobs. A router table is a must - buy one or make your own - plans are everywhere on the internet.
     
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  16. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I agree with PapaWheelie the PC-690 is a real work horse, myself I have two (have others also) I do have a Bosch palm router the palm router has it's place but it's meant for light duty work. With a bigger router you can still do the light duty work and have plenty of power to spare. I have a 3-car garage all my big tools are on wheels and I can fill all three spaces up with tools. So think wheels. Someone mentioned clamps yeah, your going to need more, pic is about a third of the clamps I have. The big question is how much do you want to get into woodworking that will determine what tools you really want/need. Budget is another big factor. Budget/Tools not sure if those words look good together. Only Rock-solid advice I have on thing I learned in over 50 years of woodworking buying tools always buy something that will last.
     

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  17. rdwhitti

    rdwhitti Tele-Holic

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    Thanks all for the advice. I went shopping yesterday and bought a small drill press (Harbor Freight) and a DeWalt DW715 12" miter saw. Based on my research I was all prepared to get the Hitachi C10FSHC 10" sliding saw but it was almost double the cost of the DeWalt which seemed to get rave reviews, and the 12" blade gave me almost as much horizontal cutting depth as the Hitachi. The one bad thing about the DeWalt is that it does not have a laser guide but I found a YouTube video review of one for $21 that seems to work well and is very simple to add on. I have not even had time to unpack the saw yet, and won't until this evening because I have an intro woodworking class at Woodcraft today. I did try the drill press and it seems to work well for what I expect that I will need.
     
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  18. PapaWheelie

    PapaWheelie Tele-Meister

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    I don't know how others feel but imo the laser is a waste and looks better on paper than in use. It is probably great for carpentry but the width of the laser beam is too wide for fine work, even at a 1/16" - 3/32". Again, just my opinion but save the $21 for new strings or lumber.
     
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  19. joealso

    joealso Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Don't forget about pawn shops for great deals on tools. I picked up a $200 Bosch router table a few weeks ago in pristine condition for $75.
     
  20. joealso

    joealso Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Dupe post
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
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