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larry r 11-23-2013 02:57 PM

little background in woodworking
What tools should I start with to get into building things out of wood? My wife wants me to start with some book shelves.
I have an old radial arm saw, good for cut off but not ripping, a circular saw, an electric belt sander, a scroll saw, drill of course, a orbital sander, a 4" grinder (use mostly on iron work), various files, squares and other assorted hand tools.

I have been looking for a table saw on Craigs list, looked at some but most have had what looked like a problem with a bearing. Closing in on a Rigid at Home Depot for $499.

Any comments would be appreciated.


MNsawyergp 11-23-2013 04:56 PM

I use the Ridgid saw in this link. I like it because it is movable, dependable, and the table expands to rip stock over 24" wide. It also can handle a 3/4" dado stack.


Next on your tool list should be a good miter saw and a router with several bits. Look at this link for router bit ideas...


Eventually, you may want to get a planer and/or a jointer. I would buy a planer before a jointer. You can mount your router in a table and use an offset fence and a straight bit to create a jointer setup. The planer can be used to joint the edges on boards after you rip them on the table saw. I do this all the time to get perfectly parallel stock.

wood_chucker 11-23-2013 05:24 PM

If I was going with a rigid saw I would get the 4512 it has a portable base so its still moveable, and its still a belt driven model. I use it everyday and have no complaints. The miter gauge kinda stinks but that is something you usually want to eventually upgrade anyway.

BernieL 11-24-2013 01:04 AM

Welcome to the forum Larry. We always encourage 1st time posters to introduce themselves in the Intro section - let folks know you are here and let them get to know a bit about you.

Now to your woodworking goals... never buy a tool until you need it and always buy quality over price! Many of us own tools we never used.

Bookcases are excellent first projects. They are simple and excellent teachers to basic furniture woodworking. They will teach you how to square your builds with the corner too corner measurements and the joinery can be simple using rabbit dado joints. When building book cases, I always use a glued shelf ( 12 inches from bottom) and adjustable shelving for the rest of the build.

As you start - remember that your shop can be your best teacher. Build yourself a workbench - an assembly table - tool storage cabinets - workstations etc. Shop builds need not be perfect but functional.

Don't throw out your cut-offs. Use them to practice your joinery. Go to your local library and check out some woodworking books and magazines. Educate yourself on different joints and practice them!

Da Aardvark 11-24-2013 07:10 AM

Much depends on the type of woodworking you want to specialize in. Some thought needs given to that.

I personally have been in the construction trades for decades in one form or another. I always allowed the upcoming project to fund a new tool or two, and never bought anything until a real need arose, and I couldn't survive the job in any other means. In other words, if you are paid for a project, the price of the job must reflect the tool cost, and not out of profits.

SO, I have nearly everything to actually build a house (and I'm beginning remodeling one right now for myself). My table saw is top notch. A Delta contractors saw with a upgraded 3hp motor, feed table and all on wheels, but for the wood products I build (live edge furniture) the saw gathers dust and hasn't been turned on in 3 years.
Sometimes you shift gears in what you want to build.

Also look for used tools. My table saw was bought from a contractor/cabinet builder who was in financial straights. Other tools have been bought in pawn shops. I don't do this but frequent garage sales. Craigslist is fine but the sellers can be deceptive so be careful.
Also you have to drive distances just to take a look.
Rarely do I buy new tools, but I will be buying a few new things for this house remodel (It's a 1909 farmhouse with mucho damage).

Be frugal. You might find out you don't like woodworking OR you might shift gears due to desires to build differing projects.

Welcome to the fold.

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