I’m interested in creating a small home woodworking shop. I have a wide array of basic homeowner tools, but I’m looking to branch out into some more woodworking specific tools. The next tools on my list are a table saw, miter saw, planer, possibly jointer, and router. Space is at a premium – I’m working out of a half basement that is also our laundry room – and I’d also like to be able to use the table saw for some outdoor home repair projects I have planned for the spring.
I’m open to options on the used market, but would like some advice on what to prioritize as first purchases and where I can wait.
I do not plan to use premium roughsawn woods in the near future, so I thought I could perhaps get by without a jointer for the near future, as what I’ve read suggests that the benchtop models really aren’t worth it and I don’t have space for a full size jointer. In the interim, working with mostly cheaper stock lumber from Lowe’s while I learn some techniques and likely make mistakes, I thought i could get by with planing both sides of the boards on a benchtop planer and then “jointing” them square with a sled of some kind. I also think the planer is a tool I might go to the used market for, as there don’t seem to have been a lot of changes for this tool in recent years, and the big changes (like the shelix heads) can be added onto most models later and would not offer much benefit for my planned occasional use at this time.
As for the table saw, I’m thinking of buying new and I am mostly looking at “jobsite” saws given the space premium. I looked at the used stuff, and while I’ve read some positive things about old Craftsman belt drive table saws, I don’t think I can make them work in my space, and I’m hesitant to buy a saw without modern safety features like guards and anti-kickback pawls. I’ve learned proper technique, but I don’t want to risk a major injury if I make an absent-minded beginner’s mistake. My budget for this is around $300. Everything seems to have some kind of compromise – the DeWalt DW745 looks great in terms of power, smoothness, and a rack and pinion fence mechanism, but it can’t accept a dado set. The Kobalt table saw can take a dado set, but the reviews are more mixed and the fence seems to have a good bit of slop in it and is hard to square. The Skil 3410-02 seems pretty good for the price, and can accept a dado set, but has mixed reviews on the fence and seems to have general overall quality control issues. Any suggestions in this area are welcome. I’m also looking at the Ridgid soft start jobsite option, but the Dewalt seems better for the price. Is dado functionality something I should/could skip and instead use a router for?
For the Miter saw, I’m looking at the Kobalt 7-1/4" sliding single bevel. I like the size and the price, and the sliding feature seems to obviate most problems that would be associated with a smaller blade. I could also go for a used 10" non-sliding – suggestions?
Routers I’m honestly very confused as to what I need. Any suggestions here are welcome. The Kobalt router + router table combo looks great for the price, but not sure if it’s missing something I’ll later find myself needing.
After that rambling intro, really just looking for your opinions on how to set up a space-efficient shop and how to prioritize my purchases – what is a necessity and what can wait – what can I buy used and what should I stick to new equipment for.