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Thread: Starting out?

  1. #1
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    Default Starting out?

    Hi, just getting back into woodworking after years of using others shops, ect.

    Right now I am looking for a router and a tablesaw or bandsaw recommendations?

    Mainly interested in fine/custom furniture (think modern plywood furniture- still have access to a 8'x10' 3-axis CNC, large vacuum bag, ect).
    Still I'm getting to the point where I'm looking to start out and invest in a few tools.
    Up north I have a few inherited tools - an old inherited Myford ML8 Lathe from the 50s w/ plainer (works great-thinking of getting a four-jaw chuck for it), Lee Valley workbench, ect. I also have a small JigSaw, drill, and Worm-drive circular saw.

    Right now I am looking for tools for home renos in the city, as well as my hobby furniture building.
    I think a router and some sort of saw system (track/table/band) are on my shortlist though. Sanding stuff is going to wait until I need it though.

    I would like to do this right, what do you think is the direction to go with building a small (urban) shop?


    Cheers

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Starting out?

    budget, space, needs (what you want to do with the table saw/band saw), all could vary a lot and are important factors to consider.
    You could start from a contractor table saw (at the low end) all the way to huge sliders; similar thing with band saws.
    So unless we know a little bit more info we cannot provide a useful advice/comment.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Starting out?

    Hi, thanks for the helpful reply.

    I live in the city so space is a concern. I simply do not have the space today to bring the tools from up north down to the city.
    I was looking at contractor saws (higherish end ones) as a mobile and esaly storable alternative to cabinet saws (which if I were to buy one would have to be installed at the cottage with the lathe. Which would suck)
    I was also looking at tracksaws, or maybe just a really nice full-size bandsaw (smaller footprint but might have to live up north)
    My biggest question is what sawing solutions do other furniture makers and remodlers find are effective in small shops (or shops which are packed away after use)???

    My secound question is router selection - what's a good midsize router? What do people feel are the best features in one? I like the DeWalt 618 kit from HomeDepot. I was also looking at the OF1400. Wondering about track comparability (is this even very usefull?)
    Also wondering if say something like a OF1010 and a 3hp router table is not in the long run the less expensive way to go???

    As far as budget goes I am willing to pay what I need to to get quality prescise tools. This is my hobby so don't want to be fighting my tools. I will buy new if I have to, but considering the cost of tools on the secondary market and of a little elbow grease, I would prefer to buy the right tool used.

    I think right now I am looking at sawing solutions, routers, and hand/measuring tools you find indespensable or small luxeries but really really awesone to have (I have many already, just looking for pointers)
    Right now I have a bit of a shop but not enough to get much done or started. Plan to buy as needed, but looking around at investing a little money and getting the core of my shop together in the city.
    Last edited by Nanook; 05-23-2012 at 12:18 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Starting out?

    For cutting, portability and storing you can't beat a track saw. Combined with a $70.00 plastic fold up table from the depot and a piece of rigid foam on top you can slice up anything. A 2 1/4 HP plunge combo router will do everything you need. Combined with some measuring marking and drilling tools you won't spend more than $1500.00.DSCN0332 (Small).JPG
    "Do it Right!"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Starting out?

    Thanks Rusty, thats a big help. Just the kind of advice I was hoping to get.

    Whats your perspective on routers+guide rails? Its a new idea for me, so curious?
    Also wondering how you find the shop made table is w/ the Festool saw? I was wondering if the saw tended to push you towards buying their table (something I'm not all that eager to do so at current pricing, lol)
    Lastly how do you like the Festool saw - I was also looking at the Makita and DeWalt.....? Do you find you often wish for a bandsaw?

    Cheers, Nanook

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Starting out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nanook View Post
    Thanks Rusty, thats a big help. Just the kind of advice I was hoping to get.

    Whats your perspective on routers+guide rails? Its a new idea for me, so curious?
    Also wondering how you find the shop made table is w/ the Festool saw? I was wondering if the saw tended to push you towards buying their table (something I'm not all that eager to do so at current pricing, lol)
    Lastly how do you like the Festool saw - I was also looking at the Makita and DeWalt.....? Do you find you often wish for a bandsaw?

    Cheers, Nanook
    I have a band saw, a table saw and most everything else you could name. In other words a full shop with more tools than I need.

    I do not own or see any need for a different table.

    Festool is in my humble opinion the best of the track saws. It will break down sheet goods as precisely as any tool on the market and a ton better than most. It will rip a 1/16 inch strip off a piece of 8 foot 1x4. It will do anything but cut a curve. A good jigsaw can do that.

    You could lay a sheet of rigid foam on the floor and use the track saw. The foam is just sticky enough to hold your material from sliding around and obviously will not damage your blade.

    Routers and guide rails are fine if you can see a use for them. There are several ways to guide a router in a straight line without paying for a manufacturers total product line. Take a long look at The Bosch 1617 evs combo set. As good as any out there.
    "Do it Right!"

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Starting out?

    Thanks Rusty --what are your thoughts on the jobs that the track saw works well for vs the full size Table and Bandsaw?
    I am thinking the best way to go might be a Tracksaw, and then as I add space a Bandsaw and then Table Saw? That said if the tracksaw is going to be quickly obsolete in that progression, then I might lean towards buying something else/waiting.

    Defiantly familiar with routers -- this whole router+guide rail system though is totally new to me and I wonder how much value people feel it is vs conventional straightedge or guide brushings?
    Will look at the Bosch 1617 evs, to me its a toss up between that and the DeWalt 618. Love the feel of the Festool OF1400 - dont see what it really adds though?

    Cheers
    Last edited by Nanook; 05-23-2012 at 01:27 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Starting out?

    As mentioned previously it will do everything but cut circles. Mine will never be obsolete.

    Maybe you should ask yourself and then tell us what it is you think the table saw or bandsaw will do that the track saw won't do. Curves and dados is all I come up with and you can do both of those with a Jigsaw and a router so what is it that the bandsaw will do for you because I sense from your comments that the bandsaw may even be a preference for you over a table saw.
    "Do it Right!"

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Starting out?

    Track saw is good especially if you are going to be working a lot with sheet goods; otherwise I'd choose a good table saw over that without hesitation.
    Forget about those plastic job-site saws and I don't think a cabinet saw is less movable than a contractor saw (it certainly doesn't take more space
    than a contractor, in fact it takes less).

    I have the Dewalt 3pack combo and I'm somewhat neutral about it. I've heard good things about Bosch. Milwaukee is another good one to consider.

    My general comment is wait and see what you do and you'll see what you "need" before deciding what to buy.
    Buying based on what others do/need might not be a good idea JMHO.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Starting out?

    Thanks, right now I just have a set of Ritveld Z-Chairs on my list. So the router and finger joiner bit are pretty much essential.
    After the boards are built up I would like a high quality sawing solution - so wondering about the merits of a table/track/bandsaw.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Starting out?

    Hi, the track saw really shines if you need portability, or want to handle large pieces of sheet goods.

    For my use, I use a tablesaw and a bandsaw, I don't own a track saw, probably never will, I do own a router which gets used maybe once every 2 years.

    The tablesaw will dado, groove and rebate in addition to through cutting, jobs which could be done with a router, however probably not as conveniently.

    Bandsaws of course cut curves, and resaw thick sections, something difficult to do with other machines. If you don't do a lot of that work however, you should probably wait to see if you need one.

    Regards, Rod.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Starting out?

    i have to disagree with rusty

    if you are going to be building furniture using primarily hardwoods, then a tablesaw is a must. of course a jointer and a planer are going to be needed too

    if all you want to build are basic plywood boxes with trimmed edges, ie kitchen cabinet type stuff, then yes the tracksaw type system is the way to go, but building furniture from solid lumber? no way

    handling and cutting sheet goods is where the track saw system stuff works great, but working with solid rough cut lumber for say a set of dining room chairs? not a chance
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Starting out?

    Quote Originally Posted by stevem View Post
    i have to disagree with rusty

    if you are going to be building furniture using primarily hardwoods, then a tablesaw is a must. of course a jointer and a planer are going to be needed too

    if all you want to build are basic plywood boxes with trimmed edges, ie kitchen cabinet type stuff, then yes the tracksaw type system is the way to go, but building furniture from solid lumber? no way

    handling and cutting sheet goods is where the track saw system stuff works great, but working with solid rough cut lumber for say a set of dining room chairs? not a chance
    No worries Steve.

    The track saw will do it but the table saw is definitely the center of my shop. With no alternatives on site I can certainly cut straight and true 1/2 inch slices off the edge of a 1x4 Maple board with my track saw but if I had a TS with me I would use it first.

    The reason I mentioned the track saw was the op said he could NOT place a cabinet or contractor saw where his LITTLE shop is now. I believe he said he would have to take it up North because of the space constraints. When I read that I could have said; "Go talk to Steve about a little Beaver TS," but reality is the Beaver footprint on a work top or legs would take up as much space as a cabinet saw without a great big surface table.

    No table saw can give you the stowage and portability of a track saw and with a 32 inch rail it offers a real small space requirement. So in my thinking, mentioning a TS of any kind is useless info to a guy who already said he does not have the space. However I don't think the op is giving out the real straight goods and doesn't even realize it. To the point, If he believes he has space for a bandsaw he probably does have space for a table saw but not both.
    "Do it Right!"

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Starting out?

    the basic issue is that woodworking does take space, lots of it usually.

    even all handtool work is going to need a fairly large decent bench

    operating a tracksaw setup takes space although storage as you say is minimal, i dont use a track saw, i have the veritas guide

    and yes the footprint of my 3200 is probably bigger than that of a unisaw, especially with the motor sticking out the back!!

    i wouldnt want to be without a tablesaw of some kind even on a jobsite. a tablesaw also provides a work surface for other chores, even glueups in a pinch, most can accomadate a router table of some kind

    so my first choice would be a tablesaw of some kind, the choice being determined by budget and portability as well as function
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Starting out?

    A wise man with a hammer once told me that tablesaws are good at one thing..., and that's ripping. It isn't until you enter the world of sliders that a tablesaw truly becomes more than a one trick pony. Sure you can build yourself a crosscut sled, but unless you have a large table surface and/or an outfeed table, you're stuck working with small lumber. Some may not agree with that, but it makes sense to me.

    Personally, if I was stuck with extremely limited space, I'd go for a bandsaw first. A tracksaw for breaking down sheet goods. ....And if it got to the point where I wanted to make quick work of multiple miters, then a compound miter saw.

    Minus sheet goods, a bandsaw will do everything a tablesaw will. Plus have more cutting capacity, better dust control, usually less noisey, oh and far safer to use, unless someone has a bandsaw kickback vid I haven't seen yet...lol.
    Last edited by J. Vibert; 05-25-2012 at 06:24 AM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Starting out?

    Steve I agree, I wouldn't want to be without my table saw either but if he doesn't have the space then that's it. I hope everyone reading this understands I'm not being arguementative but I am trying to adhere to the OP's original question.

    In reality his only option may come down to a couple of good folding sawhorses and some handsaws and planes. I've made a lot of stuff without power tools but I am trying to stay true to the original question. The only power tools that will fit his space may be a router, random orbit sander and a drill/driver. It really all depends on the space he truly has. An apartment and balcony are not really conducive to any woodworking of a major nature.

    Jarrett, noise could be a huge issue for his neighbours and a bandsaw is definitely quieter but portability is still the issue unless it's a small bench top saw of course. If it were my wife involved I can guarantee there wouldn't be any power tools in the dining room anyway. I'd be lucky if I got to use a balcony.

    Injury wise my understanding is there are a lot more laceration type injuries on bandsaws than there are on table saws. Whatever he does he better not bleed on the carpet. LOL
    "Do it Right!"

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Starting out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nanook View Post
    Thanks, right now I just have a set of Ritveld Z-Chairs on my list. So the router and finger joiner bit are pretty much essential.
    After the boards are built up I would like a high quality sawing solution - so wondering about the merits of a table/track/bandsaw.
    Nanook,

    I looked up and am here offerring a link to the Zig Zag chair designed in the thirties by Rietveld, part of the previously unknown to me "De Stijl" style, heavily influenced by the art movements of cubism and modernism:

    http://www.modernclassic.cn/html/Zig_Zag_Chair.htm

    If this is what you are building - and are using solid wood - you could do it pretty much with handtools; panel handsaw, hand planes, clamps/cauls for creating the solid rectangular panels and chisels for dovetail joints.

    I could also see a router for making finger joints and with a modified "thicknessing" sled for machining 'bang on' uniform bevels and triangular reinforcements.
    (For a single all around router, I would get a 2 hp plunge router, definitely with built in dust collection take off to fit into a shop vac; I have a DeWalt 621 which works great but there are newer models around from other manufacturers that I would also look at. )

    I could see using a track saw to get clean cut lines if you are using plywood for the rectangular panels...... I don't use plywood a lot, but I wonder if the uncapped edges, unless you find some really good plywood with no voids, etc. (marine plywood, baltic ?) will give you a sufficiently attractive edge for 'fine furniture'.

    I have a cabinet saw, bandsaw, circular saw. etc., but in recent years having been going 'retro' with handsaws, both Japanese and refurnishing and sharpening classic used Western handsaws.... and find that for non protection use, they are reasonably quick and without the noise and without most of the health issues around wood dust.

    good luck

    michael

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