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post #1 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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Default Tools for a weekend warrior

Started this thread because I'm sure more people than just myself will find it useful. While I'm hoping to answer my questions primarily, others are more than welcome to ask away.

Because of this, I would ask that if you're answering a question specifically, please quote the question (questioner's post) so that things don't get confusing. Lack of quoting will have people wondering and clutter the thread.

I'm not a pro. I don't have a big shop. So what I get, I really only need it to do a little bit and not take up a ton of space. More importantly, I don't really want to pay for features I don't need. But I'm sure I'm not alone in not knowing what features I need (read: specs to do the jobs I want). So, I ask for advice. I've probably asked for some of this before, but one spot would be better.

What should I look for in a tablesaw?

What should I look for in a drill press?

What should I look for in a compressor?

What should I look for in a miter saw?



Goals for tablesaw - consistent width cuts for shelves, rip cuts, dados

Goals for drill press - right-angle holes, mortising

Goals for compressor - pin/brad nailers, tire airing, shop cleanup
(Thoughts on these? Link, Link, Husky 2gal hot dog compressor, page 13 of current Home Depot circular)

Miter saw - miter cuts, probably not any bigger than 2x6


That should do it for my questions for now. Not in the market for this stuff at the moment, but you never know what's a good deal and when it would crop up.
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post #2 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-12-2010, 03:57 PM
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Hello Chris
I know a bit about what You are going threw. I did about the same thing when i was a young man. Not knowing enough about power tools, because I had only been around hand tools, i didn't have a clue as to what I really needed for my hobby. I talked to a lot of guys when i would find a tool. I bought mostly used tools. You are making a wise decision in asking every one here. I still have a lot of the tools from 1960's Are You looking for all new tools, some use tools? And what do You plan on doing? You will probably get into some remodeling, and might want to make some furniture. I know I am not able to help to much, I feel a 10 inch table saw would be where You start, I have used an 8, and it just didn't do the 4 inch cuts, that You will want to be able to make. I may jump in later if I have some good ideas, but the problem that I have is that I am not you, and if I try to give you good help, I am afraid that I may lead You from what You want. and If you can give ideas on where You are wanting to do, it might help others answer. Happy hunting. PS If no one else post, Would You like me to anyhow

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post #3 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-15-2010, 06:12 AM Thread Starter
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New or used doesn't really matter. But I do need to know enough to know when a good deal is really a deal, and if it's going to be useful to me.

I'm certainly not looking for long-term items. If it lasts 10-15 years, I'm certainly not going to be upset, but I'm not looking to buy my first and last table saw, if you know what I mean.

I'm fairly well versed in the miter saw category, what size blade will do what. Not that I still couldn't use advice on it. But I have no idea how a $100 TS stacks up against a $500 unit at the store. I also don't know what kind of motor I should look at for a drill press, how much PSI I need in a compressor, etc.

Feel free to dispense any advice you have, certainly.
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post #4 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-15-2010, 06:51 AM
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You will probably get answers all over the map on this because everybody's experience is different, but not matter which saw you get put a good blade on it & it will improve & make it a better saw.

Tablesaw:
Contractor (1-3/4hp) style to cabinet style (3hp+). A good blade will make a difference & make it a better saw.

Drill Press:
Table Top or Stand Up, ajustable speeds

Compressor:
They will all hold more than 100psi & most will run your nail guns no problem. But if you want to spray or use air tools you will need more cfm & a larger size tank.

Mitersaw:
Adjustability & feel. I would go with 12" to lesson your limitations. A good blade will make any saw a better saw.

Hope this helps.

James
Whittier, CA.

Have a nice & safe day!
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post #5 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-15-2010, 07:48 AM
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Chris,

Just a couple of things I have learned along the way:

Air compressors- Forget PSI. most of the tools you need work at the 90-100 PSI range. Most air compressors advertise pressures higher than that. The key measurement is CFM or SCFM. You're going to have to shop for a compressor based on the types of tools you are going to use. Air nailers use so little air, that if that is all you are going to use, any of the small pancake or hotdog compressors will do you well.

I bought my compressor from a guy who did auto restoration. He had a bunch of compressors he was selling because he had started small and kept having to buy bigger compressors as he got frustrated that his sanders wouldn't work well on the smaller ones.

My compressor is too big for a lot of small jobs, and too small for my big consumers. It's a 36 gal horizontal with 6+ CFM at 90 psi.

Tablesaws- My first saw was in the $300s (new). It cut well, but had no weight to it, and was a little underpowered. It became a little scary when feeding heavy stock into it, because it would tip a little. I had to learn to work within the saws limits, to add weight to the base, etc. The old Popular Woodworking magazine "little shop that could" (September 1999) articles have a bunch of good resources on using the small saws well.

If picking up a used one, avoid the open grid type extension wings, they can be a pain to work with in my opinion. Also, with a cheap table saw, you aren't going to be doing dados- might want to use a router instead. Most don't have the arbor length or the power to get what you need done.

Drill press- If you don't need one often, the little wolfcraft drill guides can save you a lot of cash by letting you use the tools you probably already own. If you buy a drill press, go big. What looks big at first, is going to be too small sooner or later. Find a 12 or 15 inch swing benchtop, and go from there. Big drill press tables are nice, but you can always make your own. Motor power isn't super critical here, you'll just have to feed slower, or work your way up in bits.

Miter saws- I went big when I replaced my RAS with a miter saw, but it's too big most of the time. Instead of a 10 inch slider, If I had to do it again I would probably get a 12 inch fixed miter saw. When you go to look at them, make sure that they lock tight in position, don't flex, and there is no wobble in the blade. If it looks like the saw has been sliding around the bed of a pickup going from site to site, you might want to stay away from it.

These are just a few opinions based on my experiences, and I'm an expert by no means. I built a tall clock using a circular saw, a jigsaw and a router, and I built an entertainment saw with a cheap table saw. It can be done. It's a whole lot nicer with the bigger tools, but they're not 100% essential.


http://www.amazon.com/Wolfcraft-Atta...tag=dogpile-20 looks hokey, but it works surprisingly well.....

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Last edited by kp91; 03-15-2010 at 08:39 AM.
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post #6 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-15-2010, 02:21 PM
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Don't go for the cheap table saws. The fences are not that good on them and often the miter track is a non-standard 5/8" so you will end up needing to make all of your own miter slot bars for sleds and jigs for the table saw.

I have had a $100 ts, a $300 ts and now a $500 one. I haven't gotten to use the latest one yet since it came needing a new trunnion, but even without putting it all together I can tell that the fence will be much more solid than the previous two saws. I am not that happy with the more expensive saws miter gauge though. The other ones had click stops at various common angles and the expensive one doesn't. There are several aftermarket replacements or you can just use various jigs instead of the miter gauge.

As for compressors, I burned out a cheap 1ga pancake, but my dads 3ga hot dog works fine, if slow to fill up.
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post #7 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-18-2010, 05:29 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice so far.

Found a TS on CL that I've inquired about, it *looks* like this one:

Skil - Tablesaw - Benchtop - Circular Saw - Skilsaw - Power Tools

But I don't know if it is, mainly because no stand or extension are in the pics. Also, the guard and knife aren't pictured, unknown if it would come with it. For $40, would this be a decent starter saw?
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post #8 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-18-2010, 06:38 AM
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What type of projects do you plan to use it for? Cutting capacity is limited on these, especially on cross cuts. These table top style saws do better with a thin kerf blade than with a thicker blade, Just don't expect to run dense material thru it for a clean cut. The thin kerf blade tends to flex more.

I myself do not care for these as I'm used to larger saws, but for light projects $40.00 is a good start. You can always upgrade to a larger saw if this is not efficient enough. You might even be able to get your $40.00 back on the resale which would mean your use was free.

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post #9 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-18-2010, 06:43 AM Thread Starter
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I'm probably not going to be running anything thicker than a 2x4 through it for french cleats. At least, I see that as about my capacity.

Probably to cut shelving (16-18" wide, no more than 1" thick), square up stock, cut tenons, dados for 1/4" backer board, etc. I've never had a TS before, so it would be kind of a trial and error thing. See what I really want to do, and what I'm going to use it most for.
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post #10 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-18-2010, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cocheseuga View Post
What should I look for in a tablesaw?
Don't get the cheap $100 HF "Industrial" saw. Delta, and many others sell the same thing. It's got a plastic case, and is junk. Get a saw that has some weight to it, and gets good reviews.

Quote:
What should I look for in a drill press?
A quill that doesn't have a lot of slop in it. Run the quill down and grab on to it. If it moves back and forth, move on.

Quote:
What should I look for in a compressor?
How much are you going to use it? I just bought a Harbor Freight 21gal, 3hp compressor. I finally have enough air to use air tools.

Quote:
What should I look for in a miter saw?
Again, slop in the mechanism. Accurate angles. Read reviews.

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