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post #1 of 14 Old 12-22-2015, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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New to woodworking.

So I recently have become very interested in woodworking and started looking at tools I need. Yes, you read right, I don't have tools yet. The only power tools I have at home are a circular saw, dremel, and drill. I have been looking at router, miter saws, and orbital sanders. I don't plan on doing huge projects, just things for the house like a coffee table or bench. Trying to figure out what tools I'll need for sure and what brands. I'm not looking to spend a bunch of money since I'm a novice. Could use your opinions on what I need to start. Also, I've been watching a ton of videos on the router and miter saw since they seem to be an intregal part of woodworking. Any advice is appreciated.
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-22-2015, 03:14 PM
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Welcome aboard. There are a lot of folks here that can help or give advice.

What tools? The list is endless!
A lot depends on what projects you want to tackle. My suggestion would be to keep it simple until you get more experienced.

Being able to make square cuts is very important. Some projects can be built using simple butt joints. Others need rabbets or dadoes for additional strength. And it gets more complicated from there.

So, here is the list of my tools I have aquired over the years. Note I said years!

Table saw - considered by many as the center of any good shop. You can build jigs to help make square 90 deg cuts or cuts of different angles. It also helps to rip your workpiece(s) to the desired width.

Miter saw - not a requirement but handy to have available, especially if you need to cut repetitive pieces by using a stop block. To some extent, that can also be accomplished with table saw jigs.

18 gauge air nailer - very handy for attaching your pieces together after you have applied the glue. Makes a pretty small hole that can be filled if needed. Air compressor required!

Jig saw - for cutting curvy stuff.

Tools to measure accurately.

Random orbital sander

Drill driver(s) - for driving scews

From there the list goes on and on...

Router - I would suggest a combo model - the fixed base can be mounted under a router table and the plunge base can be used for hand held operations. Most models make switching the motor easy. I have a pair of Bosch 1617's. They have been very dependable. And the little DeWalt DW611pk combo.

Joiner - for flattening one side and one edge of rough stock

Planer - for thickness planing rough stock (or regular) to the desied thickness for your project

Band saw - for cutting a lot of curvy stuff!

Drill press - very handy to have around - use it for drilling and sanding (using sanding drums).

Check out the Kreg pocket hole jig (and videos on You Tube). All you need is a plan and some stock that is cut to length and 90 deg cuts. You can build a lot of stuff that looks good and be functional. I use mine mostly for face frames for cabinets. The holes are not visible and the joints are good and strong.

Good luck.

Here is a simple cabinet I just completed using nothing but butt joints, glue and brad nails. I mounted it above the toilet to store extra TP and a few decorations.

Square cuts, curvy cuts, glue and nails. Oh, and a rabbet cut along the two sides so the back would mount flush.
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post #3 of 14 Old 12-24-2015, 02:17 PM
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Welcome here to this very friendly WW forum, where there is always room for one more. Great advice from MT Stringer, and will only add, - consider getting books, magazines on EZ build wood projects that (usually) list tools & material required for the project, & the proper use of tools. Learn, understand, and use each tool with shop safety, take pics of your progress, and enjoy what you are doing. Be safe.
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post #4 of 14 Old 12-27-2015, 03:14 PM
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My advice to you would be to take some wood working classes as a local Jr College or adult education college. Before you fool with any power tools you should be aware of the dangers and safety precautions.

You would also be able to get familiar with the various tools table saw, router, router table and how to safely operate the tools. Once you take a few classes you can decide which tools to buy that would fit your needs.

Of course this is only my opinion
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post #5 of 14 Old 12-27-2015, 03:36 PM
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Everyone has their way of learning so I'll throw my 2 cents worth.

Generally, before I made any tool purchase that cuts and has a potential for doing damage to the operator, I read AT LEAST one book on the piece of equipment I was considering purchasing. With no one to mentor me, I wanted to first of all, learn how to use the piece of equipment without hurting myself, and secondly, learn what the piece of equipment was capable of with the use of jigs and fixtures. They also help in making sure your new purchase is properly set up and adjusted. Routers and table saws took at least two books since no one author can cover it all and no amount of safety reminders is too many when learning.
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post #6 of 14 Old 12-29-2015, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your advice. I was told by another to take a safety class as well. I have watched numerous and I mean numerous videos now from woodworkers on safety and how each tool works. I plan on buying some books and reading up. I'm not sold on the safety class yet as I grew up with a dad who was very knowledgeable with safety and taught me how to handle power tools safely. I am very excited to get started but will be extremely cautious at the same time.
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post #7 of 14 Old 12-29-2015, 08:46 AM
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The best "tool buying" strategy is to start with simple projects and buy the tools you need to complete that simple project. Most of us own a few tools we thought would be useful in the future and after many years, we still haven't used them.

As for simple projects - start with a few shop builds like a simple storage unit or work bench. Shop builds are the best practice builds because they simply need to be functional - not pretty. The mistakes you make building your shop projects are the best learning tools you will ever have. Be safe!

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #8 of 14 Old 12-29-2015, 01:11 PM
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Hello All, Unlike Terry I have have some carpentry experience. Let's just say enough to be dangerous. I have never done timber framing and am about to get my feet wet. I just bought a Norwood saw mill to gut lumber to build my home. I have ordered two timber framing books which I am eager to read. What are the best books to read for a beginner on timber framing?

Last edited by 1styear; 12-29-2015 at 01:15 PM. Reason: forgot word
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post #9 of 14 Old 01-08-2016, 07:29 PM
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If I were just starting out (and this IS what I did), the first tool in my arsenal would be a radial arm saw. Though the RAS has fallen out of favor over the years, it is literally the most versatile woodworking tool on the planet. With available accessories it can crosscut, rip, miter, shape, mold, sand, rout... and probably a few other operations that I'm forgetting.

It sometimes gets a bad rap as inaccurate, but that's mostly because it is either fitted with a junk blade or it's allowed to get out of whack. A well tuned RAS with appropriate blade will cut as accurately as you can measure.

The only caveat with a RAS is that the motor and blade are above the table. It is extremely important to know where your hands are at all times, have good devices for stock feeding to keep your hands away, and don't cut corners with your setups when doing molding or shaping operations.

I framed and built my entire house using only my RAS. I then built all of the kitchen cabinets and built-ins to go in it with the same machine, including the raised panels in the cabinet doors. I kept it in tune and fed it good quality blades. I NEVER had a close call (although raising oak panels will make you pucker a little bit!). That project was almost thirty years ago.

It now sits in my shop with a 16 foot table extension on one side of the blade (left) and an 8 footer on the other. And it still gets more use than my table saw and compound miter saw combined (though I do all my ripping on the TS now).

Just food for thought.

Another $000,000,000.02 worth of advice,
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post #10 of 14 Old 01-08-2016, 08:06 PM
where's my table saw?
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nice little history lesson on the RAS

I've had one for a very long time also. I have several now and use one exclusively for 90 degree crosscuts, long extension on the left and shorter on the right. I had to rip ... there's that word.... about 20 or so 14 ft long pieces of Cypress to get a perfectly straight edge. I had the mill "straight line rip" them, but they weren't very straight. So I made this 28 ft long table and set the saw up in the center. Here's the thread I started and there was a whole lot of controversy about how safe it was .....

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #11 of 14 Old 01-08-2016, 09:18 PM
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In an effort to help you, let me ask you a few questions.
Do you plan to work from a garage shop?
Do you have the space for stationary tools?
Do you plan to use the tools to make projects or are you remodeling?
What projects do you have in mind to make first?
What is your skill level from 1 (beginner) to 5 (expert)?
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post #12 of 14 Old 01-11-2016, 06:54 PM
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Woodnthings, I cruised through your thread link, and though my newbie opinion may not mean much, I think your setup was as about safe as they come. As with any tool in the shop, if you shortcut your setups or don't pay attention to what you're doing, you stand a very real risk of losing a great deal of red stuff.

I have, unfortunately, been involved in more than one debate concerning the lowly radial arm saw. I remember a couple years ago, on a now defunct woodworking forum, a debate that was so intense two longtime members were banned over their nasty comments. My opinion about it's worth has always been strong. I don't need some cynical (and many times hypocritical) SOB to tell me I'm an idiot for employing a particular tool. Now, maybe if I had written that I prefer to run a 14" hog blade in a 10" machine (guard removed of course), turn it around backwards, and feed my stock from the other direction, that might be a different story.

So I still think the "evil" radial arm saw is the all around best bang for the buck. And since so many people have been traumatized by them, they can be had for a almost a song. Just be certain to do a thorough tune up on it so that you are not traumatized like the others!

Another $000,000,000.02 worth of advice,
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post #13 of 14 Old 01-11-2016, 08:42 PM
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The day I sold my 16 inch Dewalt RAS, I almost cried, I loved that saw, it was and still is a fantastic tool, I just didn't have enough room in my now small shop for it.

I have had several RAS over the years, there are some that is next to impossible to tune up and keep them that way. Those I got rid of but the bigger saws I had were great, hard as the dickens to get dead on but once they were set they pretty well stayed that way.


Anything is possible IF you don't know what you are talking about.

Last edited by BigJim; 01-11-2016 at 08:47 PM.
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post #14 of 14 Old 01-14-2016, 03:22 PM
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If you are looking at projects like coffee tables and money isn't abundant for hobbies,you don't need a shop full of machinery.For thousands of years people managed quite nicely with not much more than a hand plane,a tenon saw and a couple of chisels.A square would help too.No real need for more until you get a hankering for larger projects.
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