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Thread: $5k to start my woodshop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    Lancaster, PA
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    $5k to start my woodshop

    Hey all,

    So I am getting ready to move to a new (and larger) house. Currently live in a townhouse with no garage, so I've never been able to build my own woodshop. My new space will have a two car garage which is about 20x20 in space. Ideally I would still like the ability to park a car in the one garage at times, so my stuff will mainly be on the one side. Everything I make will be on wheels, so moving things around for when I need to park the car in the garage shouldn't be a huge deal.

    Anyways, I am essentially starting from scratch. I have a good portion of supporting tools. Cordless drills, drivers, saw, nailer, sanders, chisels, bench planes etc.

    I'm giving myself a budget of $5k, and outside of a table saw I'm not sure which additional larger tools I should focus on. I'm already prepared to buy a 1.75hp Sawstop PCS. I've done a ton of research, and this seems to be the best long term investment for my shop. Since I'll mainly be doing household type furniture type builds this saw seems to offer exactly what I need, but also have the capability to do more on the occasion that I'd need more oomph. I figure after that purchase plus the mobile base that will leave another $2k left in my budget unless I manage to find a Sawstop used where I can save some money. I know there is an argument to be made with buying a track saw, and putting more towards other tools, but I've definitely made up my mind about the PCS.

    Dust collection would be a logical choice. I was leaning towards the HF 2HP, and modify it with a larger impeller. That's about $3-400 with hoses, clamps, etc.

    Beyond that the possibilities are endless. Miter saw? Band saw? Planer? Router table? HELP!!

    My scope of work will consist of rough lumber and sheet goods. I'll mainly build house furniture.

  2. #2
    Sheet goods can be broken down into rough dimensions with a straight edge & a circular saw. If you're intent on using rough-sawn lumber then you're going to need a way to joint & plane it. I have a 12" jointer/planer combo but there are plenty of other ways out there to solve this problem.

    Skip the miter saw until you start a deck or flooring project, the table saw will be good for accurate crosscuts.

    A router & router table will make furniture projects a lot easier. But you can make a simple router table by mounting a fixed base upside down to a flat surface - look up "poor man's router table".

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    Alberta
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    I would suggest buying as much as possible used. With the budget you have you could have a complete shop this way. As far as what to buy and in what order that is up to you. What a lot of people would tell you is buy things only as you need them for a project you are building,this is real sound advice. For basic furniture building the trifecta of a table saw,jointer and planer give you solid wood stock that is square and flat . What do you want to build first ? Work from there.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Winter View Post
    ...My scope of work will consist of rough lumber and sheet goods. I'll mainly build house furniture.
    So, those two things are pretty opposite on the spectrum of woodworking. You'll never need a bandsaw for building cabinets and you won't need a track saw if you plan to build chairs. There could be some overlap but since your budget is pretty tight, I would try to narrow the scope of my goals. Can you give a more specific example of what you want first project to be?

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  5. #5
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    Jul 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Loza View Post
    So, those two things are pretty opposite on the spectrum of woodworking. You'll never need a bandsaw for building cabinets and you won't need a track saw if you plan to build chairs. There could be some overlap but since your budget is pretty tight, I would try to narrow the scope of my goals. Can you give a more specific example of what you want first project to be?

    Erik
    $5k is my starting budget. I do plan on adding to my shop over time. I would like to begin making end tables, and work my way up to a coffee table, and eventually a dining room sized table.

    Eventually, I would like to build all new kitchen cabinets, but that is probably 2-3 years down the road.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kees View Post
    I would suggest buying as much as possible used. With the budget you have you could have a complete shop this way. As far as what to buy and in what order that is up to you. What a lot of people would tell you is buy things only as you need them for a project you are building,this is real sound advice. For basic furniture building the trifecta of a table saw,jointer and planer give you solid wood stock that is square and flat . What do you want to build first ? Work from there.
    Used will definitely be my first avenue of choice! I live in Lancaster, PA so there is a pretty high woodworking population here.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Winter View Post
    $5k is my starting budget. I do plan on adding to my shop over time. I would like to begin making end tables, and work my way up to a coffee table, and eventually a dining room sized table.

    Eventually, I would like to build all new kitchen cabinets, but that is probably 2-3 years down the road.
    For now: Bandsaw (big as you can afford), jointer, and planer. You may not need a table saw at all but if you do, a contractor saw should be fine. A big table saw probably won't be necessary. I would not over-think the dust collection. Any single-bagger should get you by. Hope this helps,

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    Washington DC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Winter View Post
    I would like to begin making end tables, and work my way up to a coffee table, and eventually a dining room sized table.
    Then you will either need to buy pre-dimensioned lumber or you will need a way to flatten and square boards. I would suggest picking up an inexpensive 12" lunchbox planer (~$500 new) that you can upgrade to a helical head later.

    I would also suggest a jointer. You can get a used 6" jointer with regular knives reasonably easily. But I have been happy that I spent the money up front to buy an 8" helical head jointer ($1500). From what I can tell, the 6" jointers don't hold their value well--new or used. You can also do what I'm doing and learn to flatten boards with a hand plane. But I do that to learn by making mistakes. If I am actually trying to build something in a reasonable amount of time, I plug in the jointer!

    Don't forget a benchtop drill press. Inexpensive but really important at times.
    Last edited by Sam Shankar; 04-07-2020 at 1:31 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Cambridge Vermont
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    699
    The standard style dust collectors are pretty easy to find used. People are upgrading to the vortex style so they get rid of their older one. The same is true for 6" jointers. I think I would try to focus down a little and then as you expand you can pick and choose which tool will be the best fit. Also if you stick with s4s lumber you can get by without a planer and jointer for now.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
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    768
    I kind of started the same way as you. I bought the 1.75 SawStop and later upgraded the motor to the 3Hp 240V unit about 3 years later. I've been very pleased with this saw. I bought the industrial mobile base as I had to move my saw each day to allow my wife to park her car. The mobile base is wonderful, don't scrimp on this.

    I have a couple of Forrest blades for the SawStop, one is a 40T Combo Woodworker II and the other is a 24T rip blade. This gives me a glue line finish cut which isn't quite as good as a jointer, but if you don't have a jointer, will suffice.

    I made a cheap straight line rip jig which again gets you to a nice straight working edge. With this I can rip rough sawn boards and get that edge to dimension from.

    I bought a Jet DC and converted it over to a 2 stage, my cost for this was about $900. I initially used Schedule 20 6" sewer pipe and put about 30' of this in with two drops down to 4" blast gates. When I moved, I installed 5' metal pipe from Home Depot.

    I bought a DeWalt 735 planer and this worked well.

    As time moved on, I then started adding other tools as the budget allowed.


  11. #11
    The way most seam to start is to pick a small project and figure out what you need to build it. Things will be upgraded over time but I try my best to not to buy things i know i wont use in the future.

    For end tables you could get buy with a kreg jig, drill set, sander, and maybe 3-4 clamps. Depends on the design I suppose. Start there and then next project add what you need.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Western PA
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    632
    $3,000 on a 1.75 hp table saw wouldnt be my first choice--or ever a choice i would make--but thats why it's your money and not mine! With that said, i think EVERY shop needs three tools--table saw, jointer, and planer. On top of that, if you are making furniture, then i think you need two more tools--band saw and router table/shaper. If you only ever wanted to make cabinets and built ins, then i think you could skip the bandsaw. In fact, i went years without owning a bandsaw. They are amazingly versatile tools, but you can build a lot without them.

    How i would spend your budget
    - $1,000 on a used unisaw or PM66
    - $1,000 used 8" jointer like a dj-20, older dovetail way powermatic, or the grizzly clone of the dj-20.
    - $500 on a DW735. Great little machine that you wont outgrow anytime soon
    - $500 on a router table. Id hope to get a used incra setup or used jessem setup
    - $300-500 on single stage dust collector. Its not a health thing, but it helps to get your workspace tidy. These come up used all the time for a couple hundred. I think i bought one for $100-150 years ago.
    - $400-500 on a used 14" saw. If I was fortunate enough, i would really be looking for a 18-20" saw in the $1000-1500 range. That will be a rare deal, however, so be realistic.
    -$1000 on clamps, wood, other miscellaneous shop stuff. You will need to build a work surface early on. A good miter gauge is helpful to own. Dado stack is worthwhile. saw blades and router bits. This last $1,000 will go quickly, unfortunately. All crucial stuff for working effectively.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
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    9,937
    Step 1 is dust collection, if you're going to move things around then a portable 2 HP dust collector with a HEPA filter would be a good place to start.

    I would guess that would take up $1K

    Step 2 since you want to make solid wood furniture would be a band saw and jointer and planer.

    As others have said, skip the mitre saw.

    A method of making mortises will also be required so a benchtop mortiser, maybe $500 or do them by hand with a chisel and mallet.

    You will also need chisels, hand planes, layout tools and a method of sharpening these tools.

    You'll typically need a method of making dado, rebates and grooves which would be easiest with a table saw or router..........Rod.

  14. #14
    Scott, check out Steve Ramsey 's Weekend Workshop online course. It's his version of how to make a flexible workable small woodworking shop. As you'll see from the replies here, there are as many viewpoints as there are variations of experiences.

    https://woodworkingformeremortals.co...n-woodworking/

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    52,362
    Instead of approaching things from a "here's my budget" standpoint...zero in on what you absolutely must have for that first project. Why? Because you'll waste less money that way. And don't forget hand tools. Those and the skills they use are really important even when one is primarily machine based. Being in the habit early will greatly improve your work over time. Many smaller "first" projects don't really require big machinery, but they do benefit from the finesse work that hand tools bring. And yea...a proper, level and flat work surface is NOT optional. It doesn't have to be fancy, but it does need to be flat, level and sturdy.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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