Advice for starting up new woodworking shop


ON routers I also recommend a kit set only because if you buy a straight base router and later want the plunge base - they tend to cost more - vs having spent a little bit extra on the kit the first go around. There are a few exceptions.

I have a skill router kit and I am looking at moving to either the bosch or dewalt kits - the Dewalt 618 is one of the ones I’m most interested in.


I have (and like) the DW618 kit too - but it is not an all-purpose tool - especially if you want something to mount in a router table and spin big bits. For me the DW618 is one of a collection of 14 routers - from my newest diminutive Bosch GKF12V-25N cordless that I use for inlay work to a 3.25 HP Porter Cable 7539. I have a Bosch 1617 mounted via a lift in my router table - and guess that it is the closest thing that I have to an all-purpose router


An old fellow told me once that beginners don’t spend enough on dust collection and air filtration. I don’t know how he would know that, but it sounds right. I think you can do pretty well with an air cleaner and a shop vac with the right fittings, hoses, etc.That’s in addition to a good mask. My two bits, etc.


I do have to ask - why isn’t the 618 good for big bits or for general purposes. I mean it’s not as convenient as the bosch for a router table - as they have a fantastic base kit for that (also on my list too)

It’s the 2.5Hp model right or do I have that backwards.


huge +1 here.

Get a respirator they aren’t that expensive and much more comfortable



My bad - must have been having a senior moment. I have the DW611 kit - only 1.25 HP
The DW618 2.25HP tool would indeed be more appropriate as a general purpose tool


I understand completely you’d think they would use numbers that might mean something. Like I don’t know call the trim router a 222 (or something) call the mid power a 422 and then the bigger one a 652 or something.

but that would make sense


I’m sorry, I’m new to this and even more new to understanding subtle differences in routers… Just to clarify, can the Dewalt DW618 not be mounted to a table at all? Or is the Bosch just more easily mounted?

EDIT: Nevermind on the WEN miter saw question. Just discovered it has a nonstandard arbor so it can’t accept any blades other than the OEM. Obviously a dealbreaker.


So actually, I don’t know the difference between a mask and a respirator. Is a respirator one of those masks with a little fan that creates positive pressure inside the mask (which helps keep out dust and vapors)?


Another good place to get deals is the clearance shelf at Home Depot. Everytime I go in there, I always check the clearance area and have gotten some good deals that way. With Lowe’s I think the manager may have discretion, and if there’s a damaged carton, sometimes they will lower the price. Menards also has clearance stuff.

About the router I mentioned, Dewalt DW618, the dust collection was the deciding factor, better than other routers I’ve used. It can definitely be mounted to a router table. However, one of the ones Fred recommended has a built-in router lift if you decide to go that route. Not sure how well the router lift works, you should read the reviews on that. I have a large Triton with a router lift in my home-built table. The lift works well, I’d never use it outside the table, though. It’s way too big. I think a 2.25 hp router is the sweet spot for using in both places.

If you check Toolguyd, they often post deals of the day on Amazon and Home depot. Some of these are superior. Not always in season, but you have to be ready to buy it then and there. So, if you do your research first, you’ll know when one of these comes around. Also, you can check to find the lowest Amazon price and that can tell you if it’s a good bargain or not. Ignore the high prices on Amazon, though, since these are quite often inflated, sometimes a lot.

You can also set a price watch on camelcamelcamel, and they will notify you when something gets near your target price


The Dewalt bigger router (and I suppose the smaller one) can be mounted under for a router table. But adjustments of the height get a little bit complicated. Using it top side however I feel it’s a better device. Hard to say really I’ve only used one 3 times but I like the adjustment system. Why I say (and many others) that the bosch is a better router table mount device - is because they sell the base setup with a hole for you to run a long hex into and adjust the height from the top of the table. One of the few routers that has this.

The dewalt in a easy open table/cabinet I would think would be almost as easy to adjust but you’d have to be able to grip the body to adjust it. On the top side it has a very smooth/consistent/ and accurate adjustment system. Minor issues for me as it wouldn’t get used that much anyway - or so I think


close - mask I mean those paper dust masks. Respirator I mean those silicone rubber masks with the better head straps and the removable filters/pods. (Specifically the 3M series). yes it might cost you 35 dollars but it will work better, you’re breathe cleaner and cooler - and not fogg up your glasses. And you can put cans on there for vapors and fumes like spray painting and the like.


Ah. Then, I meant, “Buy a respirator.” I have an old Dustfoe, but it has been discontinued so I am checking out the Elipse P100 and Advantage 200 masks (“respirators.”) Both can hold canisters for gases. Retailers like Highland Woodworking call them “masks,” but six of one, half dozen, etc.

I have heard mixed things about the 3M masks. Do you like them?


I forget my model number and I guess mask is right, I’ve always heard them called respirators because of the one way valve at the nose piece.

Anyway I the 3M I got I went and purposely bought a Large sized one - based on a chart I found on the web. distance from top of nose to chin or something like that - leads me to a large size. it also as you can guess has slightly longer straps etc. I find mine comfortable for an hour or so - and it’s relatively easy to remove. Their new models have a drop release so they are easier to drop the mask down an hang. I’ll get one of those next time.

But I can’t argue with the price mine was 34 and it came with a charcoal filter can - with P95 filters. I then got a 3 pack of p100 filters on line. I get no dust in my nose and throat now. far better than a paper mask - I’ve had a mind to wear it when I mow the yard even (riding mower stirs up a lot of dirt when it’s dry here)

Specific to this thread - I should have gotten one over 10 years ago. I had them for work with metal shavings, chromate primers, etc etc - but only used them when needed. Should have had one at home too.


Alright, so I’m rethinking all of this a bit in terms of priorities. I think it would be good to go for a higher powered router with a plunge base combo kit and a separate fence. That should run me about $240. A benchtop planer and jointer should run me about $600 if I play my cards right on the used market. So I’m trying to cut back on some other things where I can.

As far as a table saw, at least to start, I’ve ruled out a contractor/hybrid saw or larger. It just won’t work in my space, and on top of that, to get one at a price I’m comfortable with, I’d have to give up things like anti-kickback pawls, and a modern adjustable and removable riving knife, which are important to me. Maybe down the line, if I find the need, I’ll rewire and insulate my attic to make a shop up there with a bigger saw, but not now.

For jobsite saws, I previously really liked the DeWalt DW745, but after visiting HD and playing with some of their floor models, I left with the impression that all of the hype over the rack and pinion fence might be over the top marketing wank. I say that not because the DeWalt fence was bad by any means, but because even when adjusting the non-rack and pinion fence on the floor model Ryobi RTS11, I didn’t notice it moving out of square at all, and it seemed to lock in place quite well. My impression was that the guys who complain about the fence unsquaring itself constantly in video reviews may never have set it up correctly to begin with – as it appears a few Ridgid models on the floor had either not been set up right or broke and had this problem. I personally did not see nearly the amount of play in these saws that I often see in videos. For nearly half the price, the Ryobi can also run a 6 inch, 1/2" stack dado – which the DeWalt can’t. The rip capacity lags behind at 12", but I’m not sure that should be a driving force in my decision, as I don’t plan to do a lot of sheet goods, and I would use a circular saw with a straight edge guide on those rare occasions.

So aside from the rip capacity, and the fence, is there anything to substantially recommend the DeWalt DW745 over the Ryobi RTS11. The Ryobi certainly looks like a good deal at nearly half the price, but if there’s something I’m missing I’d love to know now rather than later.


funny you should mention that. SO for the planner/jointer discussion I’ve been reading and had people tell me to pass on that. and Go for a thickness planner instead - you can make a sled to use the thickness planner into a jointer if need be - though limited to 5.5 inch wide boards - which honestly I think will be fine.

Also few benchtop jointers seem to go a really good job at it - so you end up spending a lot for little. Vs 300 gets you a reasonably quality thickness planner. So again where I’m thinking I’m heading.

On the opposite end - I wouldn’t worry one lick about the dado capacity if you are going to own a router anyway. Also personally I see no reason to run more than a 1/2 inch stack dado anyway but that’s another rant for another time. Use of a Dado is part of why I suggested the bigger dewalt saw. But it’s not really needed.

I would give thought to not getting a table saw at all and getting a track saw of some flavor. As far as a different brand quality table saw I was looking at the ridgid when I bought my Dewalt. And I’ll say this - the few minutes of setup on the dewalt makes the fense a dream to use. Yes at 300 and up dollars some of the other jobsite saws have a fairly square table fence (bosch came to mind too) but for the few dollars more the dewalt (7491) had more table, more extension - better support. Which lead me there. I doubt there is anything wrong with the newer ridgid device.


I see the track saw as an adjunct to the table saw not a replacement. I have both a 1970’s vintage Unisaw (bought new) and a Bosch 4100DG jobsite saw - both have Dado capability - but I really mostly use the old cabinet saw for dados. I bought a Festool TS55REQ some 40 years after I bought the Unisaw. I like it for prepping sheet goods - and I guess I could use it for final cuts on things like cabinet door fronts and sides - but still mostly rely on the Unisaw. Both table saws can rip things like moldings. This can be done but you might find it a bit more awkward with the track saw without investing in parallel guides/extensions and or setting up some jigging.


I’d recommend a rigid instead of the ryobi but either will spin the blade. I’d recommend the jobsite saw that has wider rip capacity (you’ll never get cabinet saw capacity out of a jobsite but it can work for most stuff).


I was just in Lowe’s and noticed that they had one of the DW 7xx series table saws on sale for $299, $100 off the normal price. Not sure which one. They also had many other Dewalt tools at greatly reduced prices, better than the holidays, I think, some great miter and sliding miter saw sales, for instance $549 down to $349. If you have a Lowe’s near you, you might want to check it out. Not sure if it’s on their website, because the prices can vary by store. I wondered if they were clearing out DeWalts to make room for more Craftsman. I’ve gotten amazing deals at Lowe’s when they did this. If I was looking for tools when I first started and saw these prices, I might have gone with yellow tools for my main platform.


thanks for the heads up. I’m looking for a new router and mitre saw. If the jig is on sale well I might buy one though I really want a bosch barrel grip