Advice for starting up new woodworking shop

Thanks for the heads up. I think I saw the DW745 added to their website recently, which was $299 with the stand. Since they seem to be adding to their DeWalt models, I doubt it’s to make room for Craftsman, but we’ll see. Up until recently this saw was only sold at HD around me for the same price. I always keep an eye out at Lowe’s though, particularly at the end of seasons as the locations around me have had some really good clearance deals and as-is markdowns ($100 for an 80V floor model Kobalt mower in October that’s usually $400 was my best score), while HD seems content to put stuff into storage and re-sell it close to sticker at the holidays or the next season.

Despite the advice to stick with DeWalt and Bosch for routers, $169 for the Kobalt 2HP router, table, and edge guide is too good to pass up, especially where it looks like I’d spend a minimum of $350 to get a table and router of comparable power from one of those brands separately. I’m rescreening my porch now and cutting the small grooves for spline on the small width frames basically requires a router table, so Kobalt it is for this.

I suspect that the UPC on your Kobalt router package starts with : 692042
If so the OEM is Chervon (they are the firm that bought the Skil brand from Bosch)

This was mentioned on the main site last week, but it appears the tool sections of the stores are in the process of a reboot, so depending on where your local store is at in this process, they may be clearancing out stock they no longer intend to keep.

Personally, I’d avoid Dewalt and PC routers. PC routers used to be really good until Dewalt bought them and cut corners on them everywhere they could. I’d go with a Bosch 1617. I honestly think the “old” Bosch routers are the only good ones on the market these days. If you look at reviews for Dewalts, you’ll vomit after reading about all the crib deaths.

Miterbox, I’d get a Makita LS1040 on sale. I have one here at work and it is an excellent saw that can be had for ~$100 on sale. I had to partially disassemble it to tighten the table bolt a bit but other than that, it basically has no play at all and is just stupid precise and powerful. FWIW, my Bosch 12" axial glide at home is pretty tight for a “slider” but no where near the LS1040 and at least 6x as much money.

Tablesaw, probably Dewalt jobsite unit. I would be curious to put a dial indicator on one of these to see how precise it is from the factory. All I know is that the one my friend has, is MUCH nicer than most of the other jobsite saws out there. We had a ryobi? here at work that was just terrifying to use because of all the flex in it.

Jigsaw, Bosch JS470EB. It just can’t be beat for price/performance when on sale.

Personally, I have a Powermatic 66 at home that I paid about $1k for but I plan on picking up some Bosch tracksaw track and make a plate to use my M12 circular saw with it to break down sheet goods and for guiding a router.

I’m concerned about the similarities of the router combo I’m looking at to this Sears Craftsman unit. They appear to be identical but the Kobalt has a slightly more powerful motor and a die cast aluminum table top.

I’m not worried about the price difference as I think the aluminum top, more powerful motor, and edge guide are worth $60, but I am a little concerned about the similarities of the machines as I don’t quite trust Craftsman at this point.

I would bet it is “sticker” horsepower.

Either way, I’d pass since it looks like you have to remove the sub-base and bolt the router into the table.

I’d rather just buy a nice heavy duty sub-plate and clamp the router into a vise or something upside down.

There’s actually no horsepower marketing on it, but the Kobalt is listed with a 12 amp motor. While the Craftsman has a 9.75 Amp Motor and is listed as 1.75 HP.

Does anyone have any experience with the Shopmaster line table saws from Delta? There are not many reviews out there. The reviews on the Lowes website for a very similar saw without the outfeed support and rip extensions are few, but generally pretty good, and the only negative review is from a guy who says the saw blew his breaker, which says more about his circuitry than the saw.

Obviously they’re budget tools, but I do not envision using this for high precision tasks. I guess the question is whether this is of comparable quality to the mid-line Ryobi model. Not looking for a world beater, just something serviceable.

I would want to put hands on it to verify things like the solidity of the fence and the stand. but it looks better than the cheapo shopmaster I bought many years ago. I had a cheap delta when I first started out - it might as well have been useless. the fence wasn’t very square - and wouldn’t stay that way. biggest issue.

It had power cut with a good blade cutting wasn’t the issue - cutting square was. That looks alot better than the one I had and if the outfeed support actually does provide support (it’s actually meeting the outfeed) then seems reasonable.

I just went to look at what appears to be the same model at Lowe’s without the outfeed support or the extendable rip fence table portion on the right. The stand is just okay, a little flexy, but that seems to be what you get with any saw that includes a stand below $300.

The fence seemed pretty solid to me. It squared up well once locked and while there was a little bit of give in the back of the fence, it had a nut there to adjust fence tension that I think would help with that. The saw height and angle adjustments were very smooth.

I think the part I was most excited about was the table size and the stiffness of the body. The whole assembly felt very sturdy and I am pleased to report that the black portions of the body in the photo are in fact metal. I compared it to the DeWalt next to it and they seemed comparably stable, while the Delta’s table almost felt a little thicker/sturdier. The table wasn’t as large as the Bosch or the larger DeWalt (I think its the 7490), but it was actually a bit larger than the DW7480/DW745 table.

Wanted to report back that I got the Delta Shopmaster S36-300 saw shipped from Mendard’s referenced above. Paid $14 for shipping from Ohio + tax, I think it was about $183 all in. The saw was delivered timely (about 3 days via FedEx despite a quote for 8 days for economy shipping). The box arrived shrinkwrapped and in excellent condition. I talked to a rep beforehand and they advised that while I would have to handle return shipping if I returned without a real reason, I would not have to pay for return shipping if the saw arrived damaged or broken. I am happy to report the saw arrived in good shape.

The saw as far as I can tell is probably the same base saw as far as the base materials, motor, arbor, and stand as the S36-295 now being sold at Lowes. However, the 300 has in my view, a few notable upgrades. It appears to be being discontinued, at least at Menards, and I have not seen it advertised elsewhere. It has the following upgrades:

  1. a significantly better fence system. The fence is removable and clamps down on bolts on the rails at the front of the saw and the back of the saw. There are three bolt positions – one to the left of the blade primarily for stop block use on crosscuts, one to the right of the blade that rips very small widths up to about 16 inches, and one on the extendable portion of the table to the right that rips up to 31". The fence adjusts by basically moving the clamped on fence and the attached outfeed extension along the rails, which results in moving the right extension of the table a bit further out, so maybe not the best for small spaces. The fence locks by locking down the table extension. I may not be explaining this well, but it was a very smooth adjustment, especially for a non-premium jobsite saw, that locks firmly and stays very square. The 295 comes with a T-style fence similar to the Bosch fence (but skinnier, flimsier), that slides and clamps on the front rail only. It was by no means the worst I have seen, and is likely better with tuning, but the system on the 300 needed no tuning and remained consistently square and easy to adjust.

  2. Greater rip capacity. While the saw table tops appear to be the same size and material (paintend aluminum) on the S36-295 versus S36-300, the rightmost portion of the table appears to be permanently affixed to the table on the 295 with I think a 16" right rip capacity, while it extends out to 30+ inches on the 300. The table extension is very convenient for cross cuts on larger pieces as well.

  3. Outfeed support extension. Not the most robust piece, but adjusts to be compact for storage and extends out about a foot and a half from the table for outfeed support. I did find it helpful when ripping a few 5 foot sections of 2x4. I imagine it would be even better if cutting a large section of plywood.

Now, I didn’t throw a whole lot at the saw this weekend. I was working with cedar 2x4s to repair some portions of my deck, but it had plenty of power to rip down the 2x4s. We’ll see if it can handle hardwoods down the road, but it did not struggle at all with this task.

I can’t comment on precision at this point because I was only doing deckwork with rough 45 miters for outdoor screen framing rather than picture frames or something requiring tons of accuracy, but even without truing everything up, the corners fit together quite well.

The included stand was very sturdy compared to others I have seen. It has bolts that do not come out of the stand when the saw is removed (so they cannot be lost), which was a nice touch and should prevent some frustration and/or unsafe practices down the road. There is also a small hole on the side of the saw table for storing the allen wrench. Also a welcome touch.

As for downsides, there were a few, but they are not dealbreakers for my usage, and appear to be consistent with other saws in the sub-$250 price range.

First, the Menard’s website appears to be incorrect, as there is no dust collection port on the saw. Again, I plan for mostly outdoor use, so that’s okay with me. If you’re going to be doing a lot of work, you may want to consider rigging up a bag to the bottom.

Second, there was a curved plastic piece that was mounted to the motor housing and extends below the blade of the saw. It appears to be intended to prevent people/ animals from accidentally coming into contact with the running blade from underneath. Mine was very closely mounted to the blade, such that the blade actually cut into it and would not run with it installed. I do not know if this is typical or not, but I ultimately removed it. It worked wonderfully after removal. Just be careful if you have kids or animals in the area (which you probably shouldn’t with a running saw, anyway).

The miter gauge is kind of junky, but everything at this price point is, and it is in some way a product of the need to use and store it on a small jobsite saw, so I won’t knock it for that. I don’t know if the slots on the table are standard size or not, but they are squared off (not T-shaped) and should work well with a cross-cut or miter sled. On saw storage for the blade guard and anti-kickback pawls is also lacking.

That’s really it. I’m very pleased with the saw, and I feel the online gamble worked out really well, especially for the price. The saw feels just as sturdy as the DeWalts I was looking at, and the stand feels even sturdier. I think the double rail fence system seems to work as well as the rack and pinion setup at least at this point, with the only downside being that rips beyond 4 inches or so require a wider work area compared to the rack and pinion setup. I’d say the Delta is a vast improvement over the $180 and $250 options from Ryobi that I played with in store at least from a fence mechanism standpoint, and it is way, WAY better than any of the real bottom of the barrel stuff from Blue Hawk, Craftsman Evolv, etc. that’s at a comparable price point to the sale price.

I’ll add the caveat that this is my first table saw experience outside of using my father’s portable Craftsman saw probably 15-20 years ago, which I really can’t remember, and after using a SawStop cabinet saw at a woodworking class a few months back, so I do not have a ton of experience on which to draw comparisons, but so far, I’m very happy.

the 745 does seem small when you look at it.

For the price it’s probably a decent starter. My cheapo delta saw the fense just wouldn’t stay straight and square. It was made of sheet metal folded as a box so it was only ever going to be so straight. It was great are ripping things if I didn’t want a exactly size to the 1/32

if you get what I mean. That one looks more solid

Does anyone know what the heck is going on with the Delta Shopmaster line?

They seem to have their own dedicated website:

The website includes several coming soon model announcements for 2018, but does not appear to have been updated since that time and there is no detailed information for the models.

The regular Delta website includes Shopmaster models S36-290 and S36-300, but does not include the S36-295 that recently became available at Lowes. The 290 is only sold at ToolMarts, and the 300 is sold there and at Menard’s, where it appears to be on closeout.

It just seems odd to me that they planned a new set of saws in 2018 in a competitive space with Ryobi, Ridgid, and others, and then seemingly abandoned the line entirely from a marketing perspective?

As I noted above, I really like the 300, and particularly think that the fence system is excellent. The 300 and 295 seem to be the same saw without the extendable table and with a different fence system.

I guess I’m wondering whether perhaps the S36-300 was too competitive with the main Delta jobsite model (the Delta 36-6022, both of which come with the outfeed extension, right table extension, locking table extension, and dual rail-locking fence) such that they couldn’t command the price premium for it? Looks like the only real difference between the two models is the wheeled stand and the dust removal port on the 6022.

Just seems like a really weird move for Delta to seemingly abandon these saws a year after these things came on the market.

Since Delta was sold to the Taiwanese company Chang Type Industrial - you would probably need to get into their heads to know.

I’m happy to have bought my Unisaw in the 1970’s and it was my first choice back then because I knew the feel of it better than the Powermatic. If I were buying today I might still be looking at it - but there are other alternatives like Sawstop and Hammer that would be in the hunt.

Gotcha. Well, it would be interesting to know why they ended up going in this direction, as I think they’d have a real winner in the $200 price range if they advertised the Shopmaster line even a little bit. They just seem a lot better than the similarly priced Skil and Ryobi options out there.

After looking at DeWalt’s jobsite saws again in store the other day, it’s interesting to observe that the fence design on the Shopmaster S36-300 is effectively identical to the fence on the DWE7480 and DW745, just without the rack and pinion system, in that the fence clamps down at three different positions (two on the DW745) to bolts placed on rails on both sides of the table. On the DeWalts, the rack and pinion keeps those bolts aligned and keeps the fence square, while on the Shopmaster, it seems that the table extension keeps everything square. Two different avenues to the same result.

I get the sense that it’s hard to explain these things written, so I’m considering doing a video review on the saw. It doesn’t seem like there’s anything out there on this model, unlike basically everything else on the market.

For what it’s worth, I just bought a second Powermatic 66 tablesaw for $230 with a 3hp 1ph motor on Friday.

If you know where to look, are patient and are willing to spend a little bit of money and time replacing bearings and such, you can get excellent deals on some really nice machines.

Yup, I was looking at a few contractor cast iron Delta models from the early 2000s that I nearly pulled the trigger on, but space constraints and an outdoor project had me rethink it, at least for the time being.

A few thoughts on the Kobalt router table combo I mentioned above. Just finished assembly last night.

Seems to be a pretty nice router itself. The base is lit and has interchangeable covers to close off the side of it or add a vacuum.

There is an above-table height adjustment operated with a Z-hex wrench that goes straight through the table down to the router, where a hex bolt turns a rack and pinion style mechanism that moves the router up and down in the base. A clamp locks and unlocks the height adjustment. The guard over the fence also has space to add a vacuum for dust removal to the back, though it’s quite wide. The featherboards work quite well. The table has a brushed aluminum finish and is quite sturdy. It’s very smooth on top, and the measurements for the fence are cast into the table surface on each side of the cutter head, making keeping it square pretty easy.

One downside I can see is that Kobalt doesn’t seem have a marketed plunge base for the router at all. However, the included edge guide was also a nice touch.

The router accepts 1/2" and 1/4" bits (through use of a 1/4" adapter).

The downsides are that it was somewhat difficult to assemble, the miter slot is a non-standard T-style (less of an issue when they provide you with 2 featherboards), the instruction manual could be improved (it jumps back and forth from assembly instructions to use instructions constantly). Included storage on the side of the table for the miter gauge, wrench for the cutterhead, and the edge guide would have been a nice (and presumably easy to manufacture) touch, but I’m wondering if that was perhaps omitted to encourage people to attach the table permanently to a bench rather than keep it portable. Finally, the underside of the aluminum top was a bit rough to the touch and could have used some additional deburring.

All in all, for $150 after a coupon, it looks to have been a great buy. I was wondering for a while whether I should have saved the money and gone with the HF router table combo for $100, but after watching a review on that, and seeing this thing fully assembled, there’s no comparison.