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KG6
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2009
10737 posts

Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
About a year ago I got an estimate for a custom built in for our laundry room. Guy got busy and we just never got it done. Don't know why, but I started roughly looking into the cost to build it all myself, and I can pretty much buy the tools I don't have and materials to do it myself and come in around $1k less than the quote. I might not become a full on "woodworking is my hobby" type of guy, but I do enjoy projects like this and I'll save money and build my tool collection.

This will basically be cabinets, shelves, clothes folding table with dog kennel below, and a mud-room locker. Shaker style cabinets...nothing too fancy.

I've done a lot in the past (installed doors, installed tile, laminate flooring, built rough shelving, etc.). But I've never done much finish work. I have basic tools: small miter saw, circular saw, nail gun, compressor, drill, etc.. But lack some tools I know I'll need or at least want.

If you were starting, what tools would you really want? I'm trying to price this whole thing out before I get into it. So far I have

-Track for circular saw to rip plywood (~$80)
-Router table and new router (have one, but it's harbor freight garbage)(~$250)
-Kreg Jig for pocket holes(~$100 if I get a fancy one)
-Kreg Jig for adjustable shelf holes ($35)
-orbital sander (~$90)
-Lots of clamps (~?)

Anything I should account for before making a leap into this (probably will build up arsenal over next few months)? I feel I don't really need some things like a table saw even if it would be nice. I can just get it done with other tools.


CoachChappy
LSU Fan
Boudin Capitol of the World
Member since May 2013
21233 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
quote:

Track for circular saw to rip plywood (~$80)
-Router table and new router (have one, but it's harbor freight garbage)(~$250)
-Kreg Jig for pocket holes(~$100 if I get a fancy one)
-Kreg Jig for adjustable shelf holes ($35)
-orbital sander (~$90)
-Lots of clamps (~?)


This is my exact current shopping list except for the router. My FIL had one in his shop that he has never used, so he gave it to me.

The only thing I would add is a planer, but I want to start building tables and counter tops.
This post was edited on 3/14 at 12:41 pm


KG6
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2009
10737 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?


For reference, this is what I've drawn up so far (lacking details like cabinet door and drawer details.


Wtodd
Missouri Fan
Tampa, FL
Member since Oct 2013
40925 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
IMO buying the wood you want in the proper size will be the problem. If you design something 12" wide, the piece of wood you'll most likely get will be 11 3/4" wide. So to get the size wood you want, you'll to over buy and cut it down.


KG6
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2009
10737 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
Most of this is going to be plywood. And I'm well aware of dimensional lumber named vs. actual measurements. I plan to cut the plywood down. A 4x8 sheet of 1.5" thick foam insulation and a track saw to just cut it on the floor should be sufficient in my opinion, but I'm definitely looking for other opinions.


bbvdd
Alabama Fan
Memphis, TN
Member since Jun 2009
16540 posts
 Online 

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
For cabinets like that you will want to build them out of plywood and then trim with wood. A biscuit cutter makes that job much faster and easier.

For the vertical pieces you will need to make dados. You can do that easier on a table saw but a router makes pretty quick work of them as well. Just have to take a little more time measuring and layout prior.

The Kreg jig is a must.
A good drill/driver should also be high on your list.

lastly, be sure you lay out everything prior so that you have good access to studs when installing.


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Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
23113 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
Table saw w/ dado blade
Miter saw (I have a radial arm version)


KG6
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2009
10737 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
If I have a router table, is a table saw w/ dado blade any better?


Wtodd
Missouri Fan
Tampa, FL
Member since Oct 2013
40925 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
quote:

Most of this is going to be plywood

OK I "assumed" other types of wood....nope you're good then.


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Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
23113 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
quote:

is a table saw w/ dado blade any better?


You are going to get a lot of tear-out from a router cross-cutting rabbet joints. If you can live with this then a router will work. But I still think having a table saw makes life much easier for so many other cuts. I am making cabinets right now and have used my table saw quite a bit.


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gumbo2176
Member since May 2018
3016 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
My table saw is the most used tool in my shop by far.

I made my own router table for my large router. It is a 3 HP Porter Cable that I use for things like raised panel doors, heavy profiling, etc. That router is a beast and not one to be used by hand for the most part.

I also use my jointer/planer a lot to get nicely finished edges at 90 degrees for edge gluing boards to make door panels, carcass sides, table tops, etc.

I'd get a table saw for sure and they can be found relatively cheap on places like Craig's list or similar sites.


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Sigma
Michigan State Fan
Fairhope, AL
Member since Dec 2005
3394 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
You don’t really need a router table. Just a router will be fine.

But without a table saw and sled, you’re going to struggle with any sort of fine cutting, if things don’t fit off the circular saw cut. Especially if you don’t have a 12” or sliding miter saw. Problem is, any table saw worth buying is going to run you at least $500 unless you’re willing to go used.

IMO, you don’t need any of the Kreg jigs. I have both you mentioned and prefer to build cabinets without them.

You might think about some sort of paint sprayer. If you’re spraying latex, the mid range wagners will work. If you’re spraying non-water based, you might get by with a harbor freight gravity fed gun and using your compressor.


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TheBoo
New Orleans Saints Fan
The Bay Area
Member since Aug 2012
2035 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
As stated above: Kreg Jig, Miter Saw, and a Planer 14" feeding width.


LSUtigerME
LSU Fan
Walker, LA
Member since Oct 2012
1982 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
Table saw, miter saw, and drill driver. Kreg jigs are very useful, noteably the pocket hole jig. The track saw jig is a nice tool, but not great.

You are way underestimating the usefulness of a table saw.

You can buy S4S material fairly easily, so a planer is not critical.

Cheap routers work fine for limited usage.

Another thing I used a ton for cabinets and trim is a staple gun.


EsquireReb
Ole Miss Fan
Member since Jan 2014
15 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
1. Drill set - most name brands are okay
2. Kreg jig set
3. Miter saw
4. Sander - orbital
5. Circular saw
6. Clamps
7. Tape measure, speed square, straight edge
8. Dust mask - often overlooked by beginners but use especially when sanding indoors.

You can do a lot with the above and get experience. To go a step further I would then look to add:

5. Table saw
6. Planer
7. Router - possibly two depending on what you are doing. I use a small trim router a lot but also a larger router for mounting in a table/etc. with plunge capability.
8. Jointer - I put this last because you can buy surfaced wood in the beginning even though a jointer is very nice to have.
9. Jigsaw - maybe higher on the list - depends what you want to make. I don't use one a whole lot.
10. Air compressor with nail gun set.

I use a festool track saw a lot to break down plywood but you can make a guide for a circular saw that works and is a lot more economic. There is a lot of youtube videos on making a circular saw guide. OR like mentioned, Kreg makes a guide too but I have never tried/used it before.
This post was edited on 3/14 at 5:49 pm


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KG6
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2009
10737 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
I guess a table saw might be worth replacing the router table on the list. A little too pricey to get both. I could get by with my current router to do the limited rounding over I plan to do.

My reasoning was that I had seen a lot of people getting by pretty easily with just the track saws. Also dont absolutely need dado joints, but figured I could get it done with the router as I'd like to include them. Sound like table saw is very useful though.


brokelikeajoke
Member since Jan 2019
5 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
if you will be doing rabbits on a table saw for cabinets (highly recommended as above) then you will need to build a cross cut sled -- look up videos.

I've been building custom cabinets for years as a DIY'r and it is amazing to be able to reconfigure a kitchen or add customs in some portion of the house.

With the router you will be able to match existing profiles if needed (sometimes you must combine bits and do multiple passes to match a hard to find or outdated profile).

I have made approx a dozen 5 piece raised panel cabinet doors (some fairly large) with just a router and table, be warned that it will take ~5 passes for each side of the raised panel. The amount of wood removed is ridiculous. A shaper is much better and can be found on craigslist/etc all the time if you really get into the hobby.

Don't expect to make heirloom quality stuff your first half dozen cabinets, lol.



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mtcheral
LSU Fan
BR
Member since Oct 2008
1144 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
You can do a lot of things with a router without the table, especially for the project you are doing.

I have done similar and got a lot more use out of table saw.


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The Dude Abides
Alabama Fan
Atlanta, GA
Member since Feb 2010
2136 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
quote:

If you were starting, what tools would you really want? I'm trying to price this whole thing out before I get into it. So far I have

-Track for circular saw to rip plywood (~$80)
-Router table and new router (have one, but it's harbor freight garbage)(~$250)
-Kreg Jig for pocket holes(~$100 if I get a fancy one)
-Kreg Jig for adjustable shelf holes ($35)
-orbital sander (~$90)
-Lots of clamps (~?)
I'd ditch the track for the circular saw and buy a table saw, it's something you can always use, plus when you start ripping down plywood with a circular saw you're going wish you had one

A random orbital sander (corded) is about $50
Harbor freight is the place for bar and trigger clamps. Anything over a couple of feet and you're better off with pipe clamps. Be sure and post pics when you're done.


eng08
LSU Fan
Member since Jan 2013
3574 posts

re: Starting Woodworking, what should I get?
You can get the aluminum tube clamps at harbor freight then stick a piece of wood down the tube to firm it up nicely to prevent it from twisting. Just dimple the rear ended so the wood stays in.


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