Bargain/Necessary Woodworking tools?

Hi All,

So first, if there is a better place on this site for this question, then I hope the mods will move it. I placed it here because I've been chatting with the subwoofer builders and, at least a few, might have some more context regarding my goals and skills.

I'm new to this community, but not to DIY in general, but, I'm by no means an experienced woodworker. I'm getting ready to start some building and I need a few tools. So, first, I was planning to use my old and dusty table saw until the motor started smoking, so now, I'll be using a shepach track saw to make cuts. I'm planning on grabbing some more clamps including a pair of those nice double sided straightedge clamps which would be usable for a lot of things, and whatever other simple tools that I need. I don't have a "fully stocked shop", but I have the basics including most standard hand power tools.

My question is twofold, first, it seems that I will find not having a plunge router irritating? I have a simple/cheap fixed base router but it's in a router table and I like it there. The question is about tradeoffs, do you prefer a smaller router for ease of handling, or, is the power of the larger routers really a benefit? Do you have any specific recommendations?

Second, are there any tools, small or large, that you find indispensable? Here I want to know if something really makes the process of putting together nice speaker cabinets much easier? I won't say that money is no object, because that's hardly true, but I will say that I don't mind spending money on tools that will save me a lot of time and headache. An example here from electronics is my Amazon.com: Hakko Desoldering Kit, With 808 Gun, 120 VAC: Home Improvementhakko desoldering kit That was one of the best investments that I've ever made. It saves SO much time for electronics repair, and mistake undoing, that I wouldn't hesitate to replace it if it died.

Thanks,
gs
 

ofesad

Member
2013-02-25 3:58 am
Hi there!
Im not a woodworker, but I always try to buy new tools that I dont have. I think that investing in tools, at least once a month.
The only problem is to find a suitable place where to store them! lol

Table tools, in my opinion are better that hand tools, but depends on what are you planning to do. For example, cutting MDF is easier with a table saw (and much more precise) than an hand saw (electric). In counter part, hand tools give you flexibility when working, like an electric sander.

On the router, I have a Black & Decker, is good for marking and copying figures/forms; for example, a guitar body.
When making cabinets its usefull for rounding edges and that sort of things. Also you can use it to drill to certain depth.

Tools indispensable for me:
-Digital Caliper. The one I use the most. to measure screws, holes, drill bits, and what ever I can find .
vU0uaZZ.jpg

-Clamps, a lot in different shapes and sizes.
-Tape. Double sided, masking tape (paper tape), duck tape, etc. Double sided tape is great when copying with the router.
-Sand Grids. 60, 80, 120. For polishing 800 or more.
-Sensitive hand drill
-Drill bits. A lot of them in different materials an sizes.
yF7BSEO.jpg

-Air compressor, paint gun,
nLPzE8x.jpg

-"Goot" Solder. Made in japan.
-"OLFA" cutters. Made in japan.
fgD8OYV.jpg

-Random pieces of wood in different shapes and sizes to use them as supports; or if you need to put a piece a little bit higher on the table to work with it.
Also when using clamps, you put a piece of wood between the clamp and the wood panel so it wont get bruces, scratchs or holes.
-Latex globes. Like the ones used in surgery (examination globes has talc powder)


I've many more, but thats the ones I always use when woodworking.
Also, I use a folding "screen" (folding room, to be more precise) that I designed for painting with the air gun. The walls are covered with clear/transparent plastic.
mH7BBJH.png
 
Last edited:
My question is twofold, first, it seems that I will find not having a plunge router irritating? I have a simple/cheap fixed base router but it's in a router table and I like it there. The question is about tradeoffs, do you prefer a smaller router for ease of handling, or, is the power of the larger routers really a benefit? Do you have any specific recommendations?

Second, are there any tools, small or large, that you find indispensable?
I hate changing bits, so have enough routers to cover all the bits I normally use for general cabinet construction. Although I owned a plunge router in the past,(went with the business I sold in 1992) I never felt the need to replace that feature.

I have one heavy 1.5 horsepower Porter Cable router using a downward spiral bit for speaker cutouts, the rest of the routers used for roundover bits are progressively smaller depending on the roundover size.

With multiple routers having the best quality is not so important (other than the cutout router) since they don't see as much use.

I also have a lot of drills so they are set with screwdriver bits, drill bits for pilot holes, and a countersink.

With unwarped plywood seeming to be a rarity, I often need several pipe clamps to pull pieces together for assembly.

An air compressor is useful for blowing out dust.

The most important "tool" is hearing protection. The Peltor brand is great, and now 3M is distributing them widely under their name.
I was surprised to find they have as much as 10 dB more noise suppression than several other pairs I had picked up over the years, and are more comfortable, even though they are larger and heavier.

I also have GK Ultraphones using the same Peltor deadphones with Sony MD7506 elements in, great for listening to music at low (or high) levels while using shop tools, and indispensable for pre-fade listening while mixing.

If you buy a pair, say Hi to Gordy from Art.
 

TMHutson

Member
2010-12-02 8:21 am
SoCal
I purchased a nearly new circular saw at a swapmeet for 40 bucks. Sold new for 110 with tax at local stores. Not a bad score. I needed a circular hand saw, as I have no room for a table saw. It is my first time cutting with a clamp and guide set up. So far, it's ok. I need more practice. A table saw is much better for precise cuts. But the guide is better for larger cuts, like ripping a sheet down... And so far, I have not cut any out of square. Only the measurements were slightly off... I will just sand some of the edges down once I test fit. A little more work, but there will be NO gaps like my previous boxes. So less work filling holes...
I also went to swap meet to buy used clamps. Way cheaper than buying new... I have bought nice long metal ones for a dollar each... It will save me money when I have like 20 of them :D
I made one bad purchase. I got a Chicago router for 10 bucks. It looked brand new. Not a mark on it. No dust even. I even plugged it in and tested it with no bit. But when I put a bit in it and used it the first time, it seems like the shaft is bent and the bit does not cut correctly. It does not cut where you line it up. I will relegate it to cutting random holes for braces, or things that are not precise.....
I also love my new corner clamps. I didn't even know they existed until recently... I have built more boxes than I can count. Obviously I never cared how they looked, or how priced the edges were :D Such a simple, cheap and easy thing to buy...
I bought mine at Harbor Freight for less than 4 bucks each. At Home Depot, they were the SAME quality, just a different color. And almost 9 bucks a piece! I will spend less if the quality is not better...
I have a feeling I will love a jasper jig a lot more than making one...
I just got a job at a home renovation store... No employee discount, but I have income again and can catch up financially. And I will be around tools and stuff all day, so I will have ideas. And tool rental. So I can try other stuff... I will see how cheap the table saws are to rent... :D

I bought the most expensive headphones I could afford a few years back (70 bucks) and got the inner ear style. They sound way better than my 150 dollar "dj" style over the ear headphones, and block enough noise that I can wear them while working with tools. I can listen to music AND protect my hearing. I don't blast music at all... I wore them to a club once, as I forgot my regular hearing protection and they were in a bag in my car. They were WAY better than I thought. Not as good witih blocking deep, loud bass as the foam in the ear style plugs... But better than nothing...

Caulk does not last too horribly long once it's opened. But wood glue has lasted me years before. I always have some around... Also, keep a bunch of the wood dust you make. I use it later for filling gaps and things if need be. You don't need a ton. A medium size ziplock bag. Or maybe an old plastic bucket with lid...
 
Big subject. I have decades into making sawdust, so along with ear protection I would say lung protection is paramount. So my suggestion is a plunge router with integrated dust collection. Not from Harbor Freight. Too cheap is just that.

Point taken. I've never used dust collection with my hand tools but I do have a relatively new shop vac and all of my hand tools have dust collection ability. I'll pick up the appropriate adapter nozzles and hoses for my tools. FWIW, I work outside as my allergies prevent me from working for more than a few minutes inside. Even so, my better half will appreciate less sawdust in our small yard.

Based on my own experience, advice here, and a review of the actual tasks that I'll need to do, I decided on the small makita 1.25hp router with the many bases. If it turns out that I need a more powerful router, I'll buy something used, as, taking other advice from this thread, having more than one saves time. The Jasper jig looks neat, if you mean the jasper circle jig, but, I'm going to draw the line. I think that I can make a fairly simple jig for the makita and use it with the offset base to route small holes. I did pick up a set of the digital calipers, man, what a time saver.

Regarding an air compressor and painting, well, I have an air compressor, but it's not suitable for painting. I use it to inflate tires, blow dust out of stuff, and power my finish nailer/stapler. That's about all it's good for. Do most of you guys spray on finishes? Quite honestly, I was just going to roll it on.

At any rate, keep the tips and ideas coming!

tnx,
gs
 
You can eliminate all but 2 clamps if you buy a nailer set for your compressor. You can get the job done in a few hours instead of waiting for glue to dry and you can do a lot more than just hold things together temporarily. :) You still need two clamps to hold things while you blind nail through cleats.

What do you mean by "nailer set"? I have a small finish nailer that shoots 1" (I think 1.25" max) brads or staples. What size nails would you use for this purpose?

tnx,
gs
 
Two clamps? You must mean two of each and every size and kind. Not, surely, just two altogether. And not just two nailers. That ain't gonna get it. And you have to have two air compressors, one portable and one big air for spraying. Yeah, two of everything, that's what you're talking about. Two table saws for sure, one left tilt, one right...As for the router, I like the smallest one that will do the job. Emphasis on do the job; size being secondary for once.
 
As for the router, I like the smallest one that will do the job. Emphasis on do the job; size being secondary for once.

Well, the only thing smaller than the Makita that I'm getting is a dremmel, so hopefully the Makita will do the job. We'll see.

As far as a nailer, would I really need anything more than something like this?

Hitachi NT65M2S 2-1/2" 16-Gauge Finish Nailer with Integrated Air Duster (Grade C Reconditioned)

My stapler fires fairly short 18 gauge nails that would not hold heavy plywood for very long.
 
What do you mean by "nailer set"? I have a small finish nailer that shoots 1" (I think 1.25" max) brads or staples. What size nails would you use for this purpose?
I mean a set that contains a stapler, finish and brad nailers. Cheaper when you buy the set. The nails are determined by the material you are using. I have found that if you are using 3/4" material and 3/4" cleats, a 1.25" nail works even though you have only 1/2" penetration.
Two clamps?
Just two, They're only used to snug the pieces before you nail. The nails are the clamps. Don't get me wrong, I still have tons of clamps but I only use two when assembling boxes.
And you have to have two air compressors...<snip>
Yup! Redundancy in tools is really good the older you get. If you can't find the first just go get the second and worry about it later. :D
As far as a nailer, would I really need anything more than something like this?
That's bigger than I use.
My stapler fires fairly short 18 gauge nails that would not hold heavy plywood for very long.
Doesn't have to. Use cleats, as long as it holds it long enough for the glue to set, Bob's your Uncle. Glue and nail the cleats to one panel and by the time that's all done you can start assembling your box, using the cleat as a guide so there's never a misalignment.
 
Do most of you guys spray on finishes? Quite honestly, I was just going to roll it on.
I have sprayed on paint in the past, but find getting everything set up right takes some time, for painting a cabinet or two it is faster to paint by hand.
I now use Duratex and a small texture roller which gives a very nice finish and cleans up with water in less than a minute.

I use screws rather than nails, nails can loosen with road abuse.
 
I don't think you need a 16ga nailer. What Cal says; the fasteners are clamps that remain after the glue cures. You can get 18ga nailers up to 2 1/8" but they don't seem to work that well past about 1 3/4". I'm spoiled; as a retired finish carpenter I have all but the new 23ga micropinners. My stapler goes up to 1 1/2 and is the key piece in banging boxes together. 1 1/4" will get it done.
 
I don't think you need a 16ga nailer. What Cal says; the fasteners are clamps that remain after the glue cures. You can get 18ga nailers up to 2 1/8" but they don't seem to work that well past about 1 3/4". I'm spoiled; as a retired finish carpenter I have all but the new 23ga micropinners. My stapler goes up to 1 1/2 and is the key piece in banging boxes together. 1 1/4" will get it done.

The detail helps, thanks guys.