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· where's my table saw?
32,680 Posts
all depends on your wood source

1. If you want to use rough sawn lumber from a saw mill, then you'll need some hand planes to joint and plane the surfaces.
2. If you want to use wood that has been surfaced and planed in a lumber mill (S4S is the code) then you don't need a jointer or planer, but you'll still want the hand planes for truing and touch ups.

3. Is you want to use plywood and face the edges and mix in some hardwood, then you won't need the jointer or planer, just the hand planes.

Also depends on the project. Large tables made from planks glued together will require some means to flatten the surface. Hand tools will work and you may enjoy the process. As Advaark says you can have them sanded in a cabinet shop. on a wide belt sander. Smaller projects can be easily done with all hand tools, like boxes and chests. Chairs are another complex project that can and almost have to be made with hand tools.

One tool that often goes unmentioned is a bandsaw, one of my favorites. It is the most versatile shop machine, and will get you 80% of the way to a surface that need only to be planed smooth by hand. It can also resaw thicker boards into thinner for use on the smaller boxes. I would get a bandsaw before a jointer if just starting out.

My first shop tool was a table saw, then a 6" jointer and a planer came much later. I was only 18 yrs at the time and didn't have a clue, a mentor or even a good book on woodworking. I bought presurfaced wood and plywood and made a workbench and a stool. Now 50 years later, I have a several tablesaws, jointers and planers and a 24" drum sander as the size and scope of my projects increased and I wanted to make accurate edges and surface with less hand work and save time.
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