or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Woodworkers Tools Question

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Good day everybody.

I've got a miter saw and a table saw from some earlier rough lumber projects I have done. I'm wondering what is next to get, as in addition to working on a home theater, I have other finished wood projects that I would like to try.

So my questions to the accomplished builders (home theater, furniture and other woodcrafters) are what tools are the most useful to acquire first? Which ones are worth paying more for and which are good enough at the entry level?
post #2 of 33
This really depends on what your next project is, because whatever you buy now, you will need something different for your next project.

But if I had to pick something in general, it would be a GOOD cordless drill. Probably not what you were expecting, but certainly one of the most used, least appreciated tools in your arsenal.

If you already have one of those, my next vote goes to the router. This is one of the most versatile tools you can own. Particularly when paired with a router table. There's just no end to what you can do with the thing.
post #3 of 33
After those two, a nice set of dado blades for the table saw.
post #4 of 33
From a woodworking perspective I would say a router.

And clamps: lots of clamps!
post #5 of 33
I've probably had a dozen electric sanders in my life and by far this is my favorite. It is a 5 inch random orbit. It uses sanding disks that attach with a Velcro like mechanism. I hook my shop vac up to it instead of the fabric collection bag and 95% of the dust that would normally go into the air/shop ends up in the vac.



Of course that brings up the issue of shop vacs and bigger is better there. Look for one that says "quiet" because some can get really get loud.
post #6 of 33
I do agree with the router, clamps and shop vac. But I also wanted to mention a tool that has been getting a lot of use during my build. I got a Rockwell Sonicrafter and I love it. It can make flush cuts in just about anything in just about any space. Ive used it on drywall, steel, wood, and copper and PVC pipe. Not a necessity, but very high on the 'Nice to Have' list. There are other makers (Fein I think was the original, but its $$$). I went corded b/c I didn't want to have to worry about keeping it charged up. Its not something you grab for all the time like a drill, so I like the plug in version for simplicity..
post #7 of 33
I agree with many of the suggestions above - router was first that came to mind, keyless chuck drill (corded or not), orbital sander - I held off on getting air tools until later, but once I got them, I wonder why I waited so long (brad nailer, stapler). Really depends what you want to build, just accumulate what you need when you discover the need when the project comes along.
post #8 of 33
Thread Starter 
Big - Sander is a good idea. What's the advantage of the random orbit? I think I know, but want to hear it. Would it eliminate the need for getting other sanders (belt comes to mind first)?

Gerry - as I have heard elsewhere - I assume you would say you can never have too many clamps? There is a harbor freight around here. I can add more clamps pretty easy if I can keep an eye on their ads for coupons.

Everybody - The router sounds like a good idea. I have a cheap, fixed depth one (and had an even cheaper table for it) that I have used a bit, but don't like using much. I can say I see the need for a non-cheap table, but what is the sweet spot for the router? Is the plunge capability critical? How much power?

Logan - I just picked up a set of the dado blades just last week. Saved me enough time I can post here now I still need to get a new insert for them however - but what I was doing with them it was not an issue.

Craig - That sonicrafter sounds like an interesting multi-tool. I'll definitely put it on the nice-to-have wish list.

Any thoughts on a jointer, planer, or combined tool? I've noticed on what I have done that what I can easily get my hands on is not the bestest wood out there. So I am concerned that when I start looking to do things that I want to look better (like the theater) and which people will be looking at closer, that I really will need to start with wood that is better (square and planar) to get good results.
post #9 of 33
Router with 1/2" collet. I like Porter Cable, but any major name brand will do. Doesn't have to be a plunge router. You can do the same thing with a regular router with a little practice. 1 1/2 HP or so is fine for most uses. Good source for bits is MLCS Woodworking. They have nice router tables and fences, too.

As Norm Abram on This Old House said: "You can never have too many clamps." If you do much woodworking you will find yourself needing lots of c-clamps and pipe clamps. Harbor Freight has both, but you will find you life much easier if you stick to major name brands like Pony and Adjustable.

A hand held belt sander is for removing lots of wood fast. It has almost no place in finish carpentry IMHO. It will put gouges in the surface and turn a nice flat surface into a wavy one in no time. The advantage of random orbit sander is that there the scratch pattern is more random. Sand a piece of wood in one direction with a piece of coarse sand paper. Now do the same thing to another piece of wood, but make every stroke a different direction. Take a look at the results.

If you are going to do a lot of work with rough lumber, you will need a surface planer, a thickness planer, and a jointer. Otherwise find lumber that has been surfaced on two sides to the thickness you want. You can joint with a router and a split fence or jig.

Find a real hardwood lumber store, not your local home improvement store. They exist in most large metropolitan areas, and others. Besides having the wood, many are capable of thickness sanding or planing, custom mill work, etc. If you cannot find one, an alternative would be to buy dimensional lumber from an online source such as Constantines.
post #10 of 33
#1 advice I can offer, don't buy cheap homeowner grade tools. Life is too short to mess with crappy tools.

It's really hard to make recommendations without knowing what kind of projects you have ahead of you. I recommend, in no particular order:

Dust collection system
Air compressor (various nail and staple guns, die grinders, air drills, chisels, etc.)
Fein shop vacuum
Clamps, Clamps and more clamps
Router table
Drill press
Band saw
Planer
Jointer
Corded tools (hammer drill, sawzall, jig saw, belt sander, orbital quarter sheet sander, two orbital disc sanders, planer, routers (a fetish of mine), Fein multitool, Skil model 77 worm drive saw, grinder, etc.)
Cordless tools (drill x2, impact driver, circular saw).

Non power tools - good hammers, nail pullers, hand saws, squares and other layout tools, assembly table, sawhorses, planes, chisels...

Go to woodworker.com, rockler.com, woodcraft.com and ask for their catalogs. Good reading for the loo.
post #11 of 33
Had a Port Cable Speed block sander years before my first table saw and still have it.. I agree dust collection back on the sander is a must.
If you are on a budget, a multi purpose tool is nice for repair type work http://www.coastaltool.com/rockwell/sonicrafter.htm
Router is good to have and a router table if you have room.. used can be had for about $60.
Can never have to many cordless drivers.. 2 is a must.. one with pilot drill the other to drive screws. Air compressor is something I can not live without.. compressed air is the best for all sorts of stuff from cleaning the mud from your shoe groves to the inside of the vacuum cleaner.. not to mention nail guns..
Wait for the project and just figure you will buy what you need as part of the project budget.. beats paying someone else and you will eventually have a nice collection of tools!
post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcthornton View Post

Any thoughts on a jointer, planer, or combined tool? I've noticed on what I have done that what I can easily get my hands on is not the bestest wood out there. So I am concerned that when I start looking to do things that I want to look better (like the theater) and which people will be looking at closer, that I really will need to start with wood that is better (square and planar) to get good results.

I have had a benchtop planer for years. Finally took the plunge and bought a big Delta 12" x5 machine. I use it with virtually every project. I can build some really nice stuff out of the cheapest home depot lumber by truing up the boards and getting consistent thickness. It's also great if you run across some nice old lumber that you can recycle.

I got this out of some old redwood paneling
post #13 of 33
jigsaw, circular saw, air compressor, framing nailer, finish nailer, brad nailer.


Pin nailers look cool too but I don't own one and have never used one.
post #14 of 33
Thread Starter 
I'm loving the feedback. Thanks, and keep it coming.

Here's the projects that I have on my list (some my better half doesn't know about, some she put there)
Garden boxes
Raised beds for roses
Gazebo
Arbor (x3)
Wood fence
Garage shelving
Coffee table
Headboard (King size)
Theater (everything including a lot of exposed wood, maybe even custom built seats)
'Gallery' with in wall storage for collectibles/collectibles boxes

Clearly, not all of this is in my capability yet, since I am just asking about tools. But, since I am looking to slip in and get the tools whenever I can slip a few bucks out of sight, I'm looking to get together a prioritized list for things to be looking for.
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcthornton View Post

Big - Sander is a good idea. What's the advantage of the random orbit? I think I know, but want to hear it. Would it eliminate the need for getting other sanders (belt comes to mind first)?

A belt sander gets a lot of work done fast. You have to keep it moving. It takes some skill to keep from damaging the wood. A finish sander is slower. They can vibrate in a single direction with the grain, or orbital (small circles) that can leave marks or random orbital that reduces marks that show up in the final finish.

If you have a lot of sanding, start with a belt and work your way down to a fine grit. Then finish with a random orbital with finer grit.
post #16 of 33
Very nice cabinet petew. Reminds me I have some extra tongue and groove brazilian mahogany flooring, wonder what I could make out of it...
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcthornton View Post

I'm loving the feedback. Thanks, and keep it coming.

Here's the projects that I have on my list (some my better half doesn't know about, some she put there)
Garden boxes
Raised beds for roses
Gazebo
Arbor (x3)
Wood fence
Garage shelving
Coffee table
Headboard (King size)
Theater (everything including a lot of exposed wood, maybe even custom built seats)
'Gallery' with in wall storage for collectibles/collectibles boxes

Clearly, not all of this is in my capability yet, since I am just asking about tools. But, since I am looking to slip in and get the tools whenever I can slip a few bucks out of sight, I'm looking to get together a prioritized list for things to be looking for.

For the first 4 you got what you need if you have the cordless drivers.. maybe a couple of clamps.. just built 4 raised bed boxes this week.. 3 are 8x4 by 11" tall and one is 12x4x 11" tall.. 2 screwguns, clamp, tape measure and miter saw.. 45 minutes each.. loading topsoil and mushroom soil.. all day!.. oh.. shovel and concrete rake.. Have fun!!
LL
post #18 of 33
Looks like from your list of projects the air compressor and a couple of nailers (framing, finish, etc as mentioned earlier) would be a HUGE help.
post #19 of 33
Thread Starter 
Here is the list of the important tools I do have

Cheap router
Corded Drill
Circular saw
Jigsaw
Tablesaw (w/ dado blade set)
Miter saw
6 24"-36" clamps
Chisel set
Shop vac
carpenter's square
4' straightedge
various levels

I have other miscellaneous stuff, but it is basic homeowners (screwdrivers, etc.) or will be replaced.
post #20 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colm View Post

As Norm Abram on This Old House said: "You can never have too many clamps." If you do much woodworking you will find yourself needing lots of c-clamps and pipe clamps. Harbor Freight has both, but you will find you life much easier if you stick to major name brands like Pony and Adjustable.

Curious what the difference is between the Pony/Adjustable clamps and the Harbor Freight ones beyond durability.
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcthornton View Post

Curious what the difference is between the Pony/Adjustable clamps and the Harbor Freight ones beyond durability.

Harbor freight is cheap junk.. you buy it knowing it may not last longer than the current project.. other wise buy better.
If you watch the local hardware store ads you will find they put the Quick Grip clamps on sale .. I have a lot of them and use them a lot. I have pipe clamps and only use them once in a while.. go for the 12" 18" and 24" quick grip bar calmps ..at least 2 of each but start with the 12 and 24 and you will be good to go for most things.. I guess you could try out a couple of Harbor Freight units if the good ones are not on sale when you need them.. I do own some HF stuff but I know it has a limited life time and don't cry when it stops working
post #22 of 33
From a woodworking perspective, I'd recommend the router next, with some sort of table. After that, a drill press is nice. I'd wait on the planer or jointer, unless you are really serious about starting a new hobby.

From a theater-building perspective, I recommend an air compressor with a nailer and a stapler. You will wish you had one. And when you get one, you will wonder why you never had one.
post #23 of 33
If you are planning on using a lot of screws you might want to look into an autofeed/collated screwdriver

http://www.amazon.com/Senco-1R0004N-...4108101&sr=8-3

I haven't done nearly as much DIY here as some people but the settable depth + auto feed ability made hanging drywall a breeze. It will almost certainly make putting down the subfloor quick and easy too (Or anything else requireing a lot of screws)
post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcthornton View Post

Curious what the difference is between the Pony/Adjustable clamps and the Harbor Freight ones beyond durability.

Pony pipe clamps are easier to adjust than the Chinese ones at Harbor Freight. Handles are integral instead of slip on, they have feet that raise them enough that you can turn the handle when the clamps are sitting on a flat surface, and they have slip on plastic faces. Adjustable c-clamps are just built better than the Chinese ones at Harbor Freight. Better alloy, better threads, better alignment etc. Vise Grip Quick-Grip clamps work reliably. The Chinese knock offs at Harbor Freight tend to slip. In tools, you generally get what you pay for.
post #25 of 33
Good quality:
- Drills both coordless and powered (anything good)
- Driver
- Sanders (Festool or Rupes)
- Router with an Incra Router top/table/extension for your saw
- Good quality dust extractor (again, Rupes or Festool or something larger, but these are the best portables)
- If you want to make a lot of furniture - get yourself a Domino, it'll be the best thing you ever bought
post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcthornton View Post

....I am looking to slip in and get the tools whenever I can slip a few bucks out of sight......

I'm all for designing a project to force the acquisition of a new tool. Thing is, once you have the tools, you realize how many new possibilities open up.

I've been a woodwork enthusiast far longer that my affliction with the HT curse. But a project that might have taken six months (and sucked) is now an easy weekend cruise.

Forgot to mention earlier:
  • Biscuit jointer
  • Kreg jig for pocket holes
  • Sturdy bench with a good vice
  • HVLP spray rig
  • Shop tunes
  • Beer fridge (but when the fridge opens, the scary power tools get put away)
post #27 of 33
Great suggestions here. I'd add good cordless drill (at least 18V), then a good router (think something on the level of Freud). Afther that, I'd follow them up with a set of pneumatic nailers (finish nailer, brad nailer, possibly a framing nailer if you think you will do more framing), and finally a panel saw. I really like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Festool-TS-75-.../dp/B000LZ31PU I think you will want a KREG set too. This tool is well worth the money!


Good luck!
post #28 of 33
I like the festool cordless drill. Although a little expensive these drills and other tools by festool are very innovated. The drill comes with several chucks that snap on and off.
post #29 of 33
TS75 is awesome, I'll never be without mine......cant beleive how cheap you can get it for, 2x that here.....total BS
post #30 of 33
TS75 is fantastic. Next purchase will be the the 2200 router and accessory kit.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home