I'm struggling with space vs buying up for yet another hobby vs common sense.

 

I currently have:

a router and table.  

a japanese hand saw.  

a drill press.  

a rotary saw

 

seems like making the neck, adequately,  requires more power tool than I currently have.  And trying to do some other stuff by using the router seems less safe than using a table saw.

 

If I were to get only ONE other tool, what would it be?  I only have space in a corner of the kitchen in my townhouse, and a lot of that is taken up with my router table.  I don't have a man cave, other than the inside of my house.

 

Seems like priority to me is:

 

Band saw

table saw

scroll saw

jointer

 

And, know of any good deals on whatever it is you recommend?  Good quality, not real expensive.

 

 

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Replies to This Discussion

Funny you should post this.  I have 2 routers (1 on a table), drill press, belt sander, table saw, jig saw, numerous hand saws and drills, Dremel tool, buffers and grinder, besides all the accompanying hand tools (chisels, files, screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers, clamps).  But I've been jonesing for a band saw.  Finally broke down (since the wife's away for two weeks and can't say anything anyway) and went to Harbor Freight today and picked one up.  I think they have really good value for home shops - $129.  I'm still learning how to set it up properly to cut straight, but I think it will help considerably with neck fabrication. 

BTW - here's some shots of my workshop (all in a one-car bay sharing space with my bike):

God, I never realized what a tool junkie I am!

I think I could do a lot more with my japanese if I had a jig that made me cut straight!  Let me know how that band saw works out.  There's a store very near me.

Hi David & Hal.

You guys are way ahead of me power-tool-wise. Except my computer and my electric hand drill, all my tools are manual hand tools.  Wish I had some big place for my wood-working shop, then maybe I could invest in power tools. My primary work area is 1/2 my desk that I share with my computer, in a bedroom originally designated as my office / guest bedroom. So, there's also bed and chest of drawers taking up valuable space. We have a kind of big box window that serves as my secondary work area and tool/supply storage area. I have 4 half-height (3-shelf) bookshelves in the room (2 in the box window area blocking a lot of sunlight, one in the corner up on my desk, and one on the floor near the door. I have more tools and supplies stored within these bookcases. On the floor, in-line with the bed is my lumber supply. The bed is usually cluttered with stuff as well. On the walls hang maybe 20 instruments with a half dozen more propped up against the wall, on the bed, or on top the dresser. When I have a build going on, the place is really a major mess. I try to clean up between builds, but the room is never totally cleaned up. And my wife says "No!" to every request to buy a major power tool. She suggests going out to rent a shop, but that takes bucks I don't have, and with my feet /mobility problems, it will likely never happen. So, I have to be happy with what I have, and learn to use basic hand tools to build my instruments, and be satisfied with less than perfect results. Since my foot operation to remove bone spurs from my right foot I've been wheelchair or crutch bound. It's particularly hard do move around in my small, very cluttered workspace while seated in a wheelchair; I barely have room to turn around. So, now I just take it slow and easy. In a couple weeks from today, I can try walking again. In the meantime I'm building a cane/walking stick with a built in 3-string cigar box stick dulcimer . I decided to build it very strong using oak... boy is it heavy!  Well, live & learn. Next one will be laminated cherry trim wood.

 

-Rand.

Just an update...

Since the last post, my feet have healed completely and I get around great! It took a year to heal. While I was in the hospital, they took my blood pressure 3 times a day, and ended up increasing my blood pressure medication by a factor or 3. After the operation, both of my feet swelled and I couldn't get around w/o crutches or a wheel chair. We went to a bunch of doctors and had a number of treatments to get my foot / ankle swelling down, mostly nothing helped. The best was acupuncture but it only helped somewhat. Each time I'd see a new doctor they thought I had kidney problems and after testing 3 or 4 times I'd tell them "It's not my kidneys!" Then I read somewhere on the Internet that some folks had foot swelling due to high blood pressure medications, and realizing that my BP medications were tripled, I quit taking them for about a week, and the swelling in both feet disappeared. So, I told my HBP doctor, and he prescribed alternate medications and it hasn't been a problem since. So, maybe my experience can be enlightening to others...

Also since then I have lost a fair amount of weight (12 Kg or so) on a "no wheat, minimal starch (mainly beans), no soft drinks or coffee" diet. I need to see if I can continue to loose another 25 or 30 Kg. As it is now, I feel a lot more energetic and people have commented about how much more I move about and faster I walk. So, shedding the weight looks like a answer to most my health problems. The devil is in the wheat and sugary drinks.

As for tools, in the States I joined a woodworking club that has a pretty good collection of woodworking machines. I have built several instruments (mostly paddle-box dulcimers) and a ukulele using the machines. I have sold two of them this past month so as to have some extra $$ for Christmas. They are the only two I've sold. The rest have either been lent out indefinitely, or are still in my possession (some in the U.S. but most in China), and some have been cannibalized for parts to newer, better instruments. The machine tools I now have experience with include the chop saw, the band saw, the drill press, the router table and several types of sanders. They make neck building a wiz. My workmanship with these tools still needs to improve. This next summer, I'll try to tackle the table saw and the planer.

-Rand.

Hello Rand!

Glad to hear that your health issues are on the mend.  My wife and I are on the same blood pressure meds and she experiences feet swelling, though I don't.  I will mention your experience to her and hopefully she can talk to her doctor about it.

Losing weight is always the best thing for your health, but it is so hard to do.  Congratulations on your success and hope you reach your goal.  When you do, post some before and after pics!

Thanks, Hal.

Yeah, have your wife's doctor change the prescription for a month to a different form of HBP medicine and see if there is a change (hopefully, for the better) with her feet swelling. My feet problems came on very slowly and I now wonder if the bone spur was really the problem, or it was the HBP medication all along.  In any case, that is all behind me. Hopefully, if I can get my weight down, I can get off the HBP medications all together. My B.P. is better now than it has been in many years, like 127/78 or so, so likely I can get off one of the two medications I'm on. I'll be asking the doctor next time I see him.

-Rand.

My recently acquired bandsaw is one of my favorite toys, cut a cross halving joint in oak this morning for the latest build in no time with little effort.

Another favourite is my planer/thicknesser ,saves alot of time and sweat using a hand plane.

Sounds like you also need a hut !

Rand,

Remember it's not how many tools you have, it's what you can do with them.  My tools are a collection gathered by my father and me that goes back more than eighty years, but I can't hold a candle to his craftsmanship or, judging from the pictures, yours.

I am really sorry to hear about your foot problems.  I have suffered with bone spurs, gout and tendonitis and I know it's no fun.  I don't know about your situation, but a lot of my problems were due to weight.  After I got married (second time) I balooned up to almost 230 lbs. (Mar's a good cook!).  I finally made up my mind to do something about it and in 16 weeks on Weight Watchers I'm down to 195!  Twenty more to go, but already I can feel the difference when I walk. I really hope that your recovery is swift and full.  Tell your wife you've earned that next power tool with all your suffering!

I'm sending you good thoughts with a prayer, buddy!

Rand Moore said:

Hi David & Hal.

You guys are way ahead of me power-tool-wise. Except my computer and my electric hand drill, all my tools are manual hand tools.  Wish I had some big place for my wood-working shop, then maybe I could invest in power tools. My primary work area is 1/2 my desk that I share with my computer, in a bedroom originally designated as my office / guest bedroom. So, there's also bed and chest of drawers taking up valuable space. We have a kind of big box window that serves as my secondary work area and tool/supply storage area. I have 4 half-height (3-shelf) bookshelves in the room (2 in the box window area blocking a lot of sunlight, one in the corner up on my desk, and one on the floor near the door. I have more tools and supplies stored within these bookcases. On the floor, in-line with the bed is my lumber supply. The bed is usually cluttered with stuff as well. On the walls hang maybe 20 instruments with a half dozen more propped up against the wall, on the bed, or on top the dresser. When I have a build going on, the place is really a major mess. I try to clean up between builds, but the room is never totally cleaned up. And my wife says "No!" to every request to buy a major power tool. She suggests going out to rent a shop, but that takes bucks I don't have, and with my feet /mobility problems, it will likely never happen. So, I have to be happy with what I have, and learn to use basic hand tools to build my instruments, and be satisfied with less than perfect results. Since my foot operation to remove bone spurs from my right foot I've been wheelchair or crutch bound. It's particularly hard do move around in my small, very cluttered workspace while seated in a wheelchair; I barely have room to turn around. So, now I just take it slow and easy. In a couple weeks from today, I can try walking again. In the meantime I'm building a cane/walking stick with a built in 3-string cigar box stick dulcimer . I decided to build it very strong using oak... boy is it heavy!  Well, live & learn. Next one will be laminated cherry trim wood.

 

-Rand.

I'll echo the comment it's not the tools but what you can do with them. I have table saw/band saw/drill press/ routers, and my brother has a palm sander and whole lot of hand tools in his shop. I make a lot of dust. He makes almost none. I am stunned to see that he does his woodworking in the same room he does all his electronics hobbies (he's a robotics guy). I at times resort to hand tools to keep the noise down (my basement workshop is below where my wife watches television - bad decision!) and I get a sense of satisfaction working with a hand file and a hand planer and 'working the wood' that I don't get with a table saw and a router. I do use a router on my necks, but only because I'm lazy ;-) I could do the same thing with couple of hand files. If we do move into a condo, I may be using my computer desk as my workbench as well.   

Well, looks like I don't have many excuses.  My biggest needs for the table saw are small angle cuts, like scarf joints, and perhaps long tapers on the neck.

 

Perhaps I can improvise a jig that would allow me to use either my rotary saw, or hand saw on those.

 

I keep hearing that band saws are the devil to get set up right to cut straight.  Particularly in the range I can afford.

I purchased a 12" Craftsman bandsaw in the early 1980s, put a more powerful motor on it, and used it for commercial purposes making rocking horses and other primitive reproductions. Can't tell you how many thousands of pieces it helped make. When I sold out and got rid of my equipment the band saw was the one piece I kept. Still using it 30 years later. It is arguably the most versatile power tool one can have.  

 I'd have to say that my most used and important power tool-is my trusty Dremel multi-tool. At / Horsepower it just any fine. delicate cutting and sanding I ask of it. Everything else I use either-pocketknofe, craft saw, handsaw, ballpeen hammer, screwdriver, hand planer and sandpaper, with paintbrush for oils and finishes.

  Do NOT take my Dremel from me.  :D

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