Text Resize

  • -A
  • +A
  • Your rating: None (3 votes)

    Set Up Shop on a Budget

    by Mike Bielski

    This article was inspired by an article by Asa Christiana titled “Set Up Shop for $5,000.”

    That headline struck me as discouraging. As an entry fee, $5,000 seems high enough to exclude a number of potential woodworkers, myself included. Christiana softened the blow by saying that used tools could cut the cost roughly in half. That figure seemed much closer to my experience, which involved buying a mix of new and used tools. Having said that, buying the right used tools is much more difficult than buying from a catalog or dealer who stocks everything needed to build a great shop. It requires a bit of guile and a good plan, but the payoff is worth it. Through careful choices and good fortune, I was able to outfit my shop with a blend of new and used tools for around $2,000.

    A shopping strategy: foundation before frills
    My approach wasn’t about buying cheap tools. Buying on price alone often costs more in the long run when a cheap tool doesn’t perform or fails and must be replaced with one that works. The trick is finding quality tools at an affordable price, and knowing how to make the most of them.

    My strategy was to buy the most basic and versatile tools before adding specialized ones, no matter how low the price. This led me to start with a tablesaw, a thickness planer, and a router.

    tablesaw and planer router
    A working shop has three hearts Start woodworking with a tablesaw, a benchtop planer, and a plunge router, and you’ll be equipped to perform a core set of vital milling, joinery, and shaping tasks. Plan on spending $600 to $1,200 for a used cabinet saw or new hybrid, $400 for a planer, and $200 for a plunge router or router combo kit.

    The tablesaw—This tool is the backbone of nearly every shop, and for good reason. It allows unmatched precision in ripping parallel edges and crosscutting at a variety of angles. Most woodworkers find it crucial for the basic milling of stock. It is also suited to many joinery tasks, easily producing tenons, box joints, and—with a reground blade—the tails for dovetail joints.

    Through my cabinet-shop connections, I managed a snappy deal ($200) on a used cabinet saw with a 54-in. commercial rip fence. That price would be hard to match, but it is possible to find a hybrid or used cabinet saw with a high-quality fence for $600 to $1,200. Some of them will run on 120v household current, meaning you won’t have to rewire your shop for 240v service, but be sure to check for compatibility before you buy.

    This style of saw will provide more power than a contractor-type saw and have the high-quality rip fence you need to do good work. However, because they are favored by professionals and serious amateurs, cabinet saws are harder to find on the used market. Scour the classifieds and online sales (be sure to check industrial auction sites as well), and do some networking. Check the bulletin board at your hardwood supplier and ask the proprietors if they know of anyone selling a saw. Also call local cabinet shops. They sometimes have a surplus tool sitting idle that they’d be willing to sell. Take your time in this step. A careful investment will pay dividends in the long run, but a well-intentioned compromise can cause long-term frustration.

    The thickness planer—A thickness planer will significantly expand the creativity and craftsmanship of your work by allowing you to buy roughsawn stock and use wood of any thickness in your designs. Nowadays, a new planer often represents a better value than a used model. In recent years, DeWalt and Ridgid have introduced portable planers with chip-ejection fans, which work as a built-in dust collector. Dust collection is important for all tools, but essential for thickness planers. This feature can help delay the expense of a dust collector and thus reduce the overall cost of a planer. Speaking of dust collection, I should mention that I don’t use a dedicated dust collector in my shop. I use a shop vac with a small hose for my sanders and a larger-diameter hose for the tablesaw and router table, and I depend on the built-in chipejection fan for my thickness planer.

    The router—The router is the master when it comes to flexibility. Its potential far exceeds trimming and decorative edge treatments. A router will cut mortises, rabbets, and dadoes, and adding a router table builds in even more versatility, including biscuit joinery and raised-panel doors. But where the router distinguishes itself from all other tools is in its ability to produce identical parts using a pattern.

    Other important power tools—A good jigsaw will help get you through many tasks, particularly cutting curves, that would otherwise require a bandsaw. Look for one with blade guides that keep blade deflection to a minimum. A handheld drill is also essential. A quality corded drill is much less expensive than a cordless one, and will never leave you without a charge. Also look for a quality random-orbit sander with a provision for dust collection.

    One of the best deals on portable power tools, including routers and sometimes planers, comes in the form of factory-reconditioned tools. These are primarily tools that have been repaired at the factory after failing quality inspections or being returned by customers. While they cannot be sold as new, they are identical to new tools in quality and appearance and usually feature the same warranty (be sure to check). Typical savings are anywhere from 15% to 30%, though you sometimes can find even bigger bargains. These tools can be found at Amazon.com and other online tool sellers. It is also possible to buy them through retail stores and, in some cases, directly from the manufacturer’s Web site.

    Put the right power in your hands.

    jigsaw drill and sander
    There’s a universe of handheld power tools, but a handful pay the largest dividends. Start with a jigsaw, a corded drill, and a random-orbit sander. Reconditioned tools are often a bargain.
    using a jigsaw Cut curves without a bandsaw. A jigsaw can often handle the task, even on thick stock like this 8/4 maple. On stock this thick, premium blades are worth the extra cost. Cheaper versions can deflect, creating an out-of-square cut.

    Used hand tools are plentiful

    Hand tools offer your best chance of finding a real bargain. Until the early 20th century, nearly all woodworking was done with hand tools, and their designs and uses have changed little. Most of the high-end planes on today’s market, for example, are just reproductions of the original designs. And because the originals were mass-produced, they are fairly easy to find at rummage sales and antiques stores. (For more information, refer to Matthew Teague’s article, “Buying Old Tools,” in FWW #180).

    Plan to invest in a set of bench chisels, both standard and low-angle block planes, a No. 4 or 4-1⁄2 smoothing plane, and a No. 6 jack or No. 7 jointer. Between them, these planes will true edges, flatten glue-ups that are wider than your thickness planer, and tame tricky grain that would tear out with a mechanized planer. They also do fine trimming better than any other tools.
    Low-tech tools are high on value A basic set of handplanes lets you true edges, flatten panels or wide boards, and achieve finish-ready surfaces. Start with a small cluster of handplanes—low-angle and standard block planes, a No. 4 or 4-1/2 bench plane, and a jointer plane. A set of inexpensive chisels is essential for chopping, paring, and trimming.

    A few words about auctions
    For any auction, live or online, make sure you know the current retail price of tools like the one you are bidding on. Then set your price and stick to it.

    Before you bid in an online auction, check the site’s rules of operation. At some sites, a winning bid is a binding contract, which can be a problem if you can’t inspect the tool before you purchase it. Don’t forget shipping costs. In some cases they can exceed the cost of the tool. Also, make sure the tool you’re buying will run on the power you have in your shop. Many former industrial tools run on 240v single-phase power. If your shop doesn’t have 240v service, you’ll need to factor in the cost of upgrading before deciding to buy. You don’t want to saddle yourself with a tool you can’t use, no matter how good the price.

    Jointing with a jointer
    A pair of jigs lets you mill stock straight and flat using only a thickness planer and a tablesaw.


    Use the tablesaw to straighten a wavy edge. The jig's plywood sled rides on a long runner that sits in the miter slot. Make sure the blade is parallel to the slot. Secure the rough lumber with hold-downs so that the rough edge overhangs the sled slightly along its length.



    face-jointing face-jointing
    The thickness planer can joint a board's face. On this simple jig, the stock is supported by twin rows of wood screws driven into a platform and adjusted to meet the varying clearances on the underside of the board. The stock rides the sled cup side up. Slide the board slightly sideways to adjust the screws, then seat it firmly on the screw heads for planing.


    This article was inspired by editor Asa Christiana’s piece in the Tools & Shops issue, titled “Set Up Shop for $5,000.”



    Comment viewing options

    Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
    James Gambit writes: Turning Woodworking From Hobby to Business Woodworking is an art/craft, depending on how you look at it, that can see you earn quite substantial amounts. There are people who love woodworking, but just do it as a hobby. The good news is that if you have interest in the subject than transforming it from a hobby to business is quite easy and this article is just going to show you how. Have tools that you will use for your woodworking. The kind of tools that you will need for your projects will depend on the vastness of your business. If you want to start small, then having simple hand tools will prove to be adequate. You need to buy high quality tools like a hand drill, a timber saw, measurement tools and more. On the other hand, if you want to have large scale production then you will need heavy machinery like a power saw and more. Make sure that the space that you plan to use is adequate. You need to have clearly marked out your niche. Woodworking is a broad subject that can see you produce anything from a simple birdhouse all the way to production of office and home furniture. You need to copyright your products to avoid cases where people can steal your ideas for their own benefit. Make sure you advertise. Know that you are no longer doing your woodworking for the fun of it. There are many ways that you can advertise your products. You can use the internet. Using the internet will need you to put up a website. You can have a variety of sample pictures on the website. You also need to know all the ways of putting up a good website if you want to get enough traffic. You need to use the internet to not only advertise, but also to sell. With the website you will be able to tap into potential market that cuts across country boundaries. Still on the above, you can also make use of word of mouth. Inform your friends and neighbors of your business this is a very inexpensive way of getting your word out there. Use the internet to get new ideas for your woodworking. There are many plans that are available on the internet of which some are free. You need to use the plans that are available here to improve on your skills. You can always get to learn new ideas using the available plans. http://woodprofitfromhome.com
    Black Men writes: There are many plans that are available on the internet of which some are free.. cccam server
    kenjie westfield writes: To start your business it is best that you have prioritize your company or business name that deals specifically for furniture and woodworking. To get help with that you need to check this http://eatmywords.com/.
    peter jhon
    peter jhon writes: Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work ipro academy
    Marie Henriet writes: Thank you for the article. I follow you. my french website mutuelle Comparatif mutuelle santé
    peter jhon
    peter jhon writes: Do not let your body be subjected to a lot of stress. Over exerting can eventually result in some drastic events that might even end your carrier. So be careful about Victorino Noval Foundation
    peter jhon
    peter jhon writes: To qualify as a multi-operator, the person must be trained and certified for 60% of the job stations within the production area.high res textures
    peter jhon
    peter jhon writes: A simple bookmarking tool that makes it easy to save, organize and share your favorite web pages. Access your bookmarks from any computer, phone or tablet. Listango works on all modern web browsers…leads tunnel
    peter jhon
    peter jhon writes: Your use of formatting when making your points makes your observations very clear and easy to understand. keybiotics review
    peter jhon
    peter jhon writes: Then flip the square over and see if your mark again lines up perfectly with the blade of your square. Any variation means it’s out of square Marketing1on1 professional search engine optimization company
    peter jhon
    peter jhon writes: Aan items binnen HRnetwerk.nl kunnen geen enkele rechten worden ontleend. Gebruik is op eigen risico, HRnetwerk.nl kan niet aansprakelijk worden gesteld voor het gebruik. Niet bestemd voor commercieel gebruik. info
    peter jhon
    peter jhon writes: The flyover’s foundation stone was laid by a former caretaker government chief adviser, Fakhruddin Ahmed, on December 17, 2008. My boss Birthday also 17 december our website
    peter jhon
    peter jhon writes: Then flip the square over and see if your mark again lines up perfectly with the blade of your square. Any variation means it’s out of square. sabo terlik
    peter jhon
    peter jhon writes: According to the report, this set of rankings measured secondary and tertiary enrollment rates and the quality of education as evaluated by the business community. The extent of vocational and continuous on-the-job training was also taken into account. glucosamine chondroitin msm hyaluronic acid http://intelligentlabs.mywapblog.com/intelligentlabsglucosamine.xhtml
    adora deny writes: It is important for a business or for a professional, even though he builds products for his home as well, to find the necessary parts and components for its machines when they need to be repaired. For example,big manufacturing companies have already started to sell their products online, like the one at http://www.usabelting.com/product-category/hay-balers/ for agricultural belts. An online store will always increase the profits, therefore, besides, helping the clients to find the necessary machine parts, a company increases its annual profit.
    peter jhon
    peter jhon writes: Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time. http://my-xareltolawsuit.com/
    peter jhon
    peter jhon writes: all of them coming from Fuad Reveiz. What a disaster! I would like to say that I learned from my mistake but 18 years of health, leisure and perseverance later, I am still pretty bad at fantasy sports. my site
    avi man writes:

    This has given me a detailed explanation to set my own shop, which is my dream for the past several years, so quantity doesn’t matter all that matters is quality, here they have explained the strategy to be followed for shopping. Thank you for providing various tricks to find quality tools at an affordable price, excellent one 

    Windows 10 OS

    Black Men writes: Thank you for providing various tricks to find quality tools at an affordable price, excellent one. cccam server
    Katy Lewis writes:

    Many of you probably know that it's not that easy to set up a workshop, so these guidelines might come in very handy. After deciding what tools you'll need, you should also take a look on http://www.elitetoolboxes.com/,  such toolboxes are perfect to store all your equipment necessary for further projects.

    peter jhon
    peter jhon writes: everything you share with us is current and very informative, I want to bookmark the page so I can return here from you that you have done a fantastic job sabo terlik
    peter jhon
    peter jhon writes: leader was submitted to the prosecution panel of the tribunal in connection with their alleged wartime crimes against humanity. Tarotalia
    ryan johnson writes:

    I was so lucky having a coupon with this similar product. I almost got a 50% off for it. They do great job! Well, this is a streal price as well.

    peter jhon
    peter jhon writes: Your content is nothing short of brilliant in many ways. I think this is engaging and eye-opening material. hampton bay
    iuliancezar cezar writes:

    These are really great ideas and combined with the ones from http://www.bardellrealestate.com/ you can really save money while building your dream shop. It is refreshing to find out that people are willing to help others who are just starting their own business.

    Nick Milter writes:

    Such a very useful article. Very interesting to read thiasdads article.I would like to thank you for the efforts you had made for writing this awesome article. https://sites.google.com/site/superiorsingingmethodreviewd/

    jack nicholas writes: By reading books of business and start-ups from this site http://eatmywords.com/book/, you can know more about various ideas.
    tim morgan writes: It is good to start business like because this is one of the prominent business type that never fails, and the continues demands remains. However, you need to have good investment, dedication and time in order to this business run properly. For thing you must have is to have your business effective brand names which will hold your ownership and property once registered. Choose one that is unique and catchy to encourage potential customer, then followed by right aspects of marketing and promotional strategy.
    adora deny writes:

    For this you need a long term personal financial plan. At this time, the high yield short term investments are very used not only by the small companies, but also by the families. You can give it a try. I did so and I am pleased with my wise decision.

    Janice Regana
    janice regana writes:

    My boyfriend has started to work with wood and, so far, I'm really impressed of all he does. I couldn't help but notice that he constantly has to go to the store to buy new tools. He said it's

    jennifer luce writes: Grocery shopping can be a dreaded task for many of us. It is an event that can cause even more frustration if you do not enjoy shopping. When food supplies are low and the errand can no longer be ignored, it is time to hit the aisles. read more
    Siena Miller
    Siena Miller writes: Obat Herbal Penyakit Gondok amazon Plus Penyakit Gondok merupakan pembengkakan dibagian leher karena kelenjar tiroid yang kian bengkak. Sebab-sebab Sakit Gondok Penyakit gondok disebabkan oleh semakin besarnya kelenjar tiroid pada leher. Hubungan antara jenis penyakit ini dengan kurangnya konsumsi yodium sudah diketahui lebih dari 130 tahun yang lalu. Makhluk hidup ataupun hewan mamamalia muda membutuhkan hormon tiroid untuk pertumbuhan dan perkembangan yang normal. Kurangnya dari hormon tiroid ketika kandungan berakibat menurunnya mental dan daya pikir pada anak tersebut. Kekurangan hormon tiroid pada tingkatan rendah pada orang dewasa berakibat hypotiroidism, dengan tanda-tanda misal malas, obesitas, & kulit yang mengering obat gondokan alami.
    Login or register to post comments