Author Topic: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.  (Read 2464 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Qxzy-unbv2

  • Posts: 1
Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« on: November 16, 2018, 03:17 PM »
A bit of backstory on myself:

I'm a young adult (mid-twenties) and I'm starting to feel the effects on my wallet of not being able to do stuff on my own around the house and how expensive nice furniture is. I want to become autonomous and not have to rely on stores to provide me with what I need. If I'm going to spend a few thousand here or there on furniture, why not just do it on my own? And the fact I would enjoy the process of building my own furniture and enjoying it after.

My question is: Should I take the festool plunge? Or because this will be a hobby, could I get away with hand tools instead? (hand saw, chisels, planes, etc, and one power tool for making wood straight and flat on all sides)

I have no idea if I should go the strictly hand tool route, or power tool route... I do like having the best of the best, it's just that this best is quite considerably more than all other tools on the market.

I realize this is a life long journey, and there's some things I'd already like to start building for example:

Entertainment center, bookshelf, mail box, yard fence, liquor cabinet, and in the future kitchen cabinets and counter-top / droors. This is a really big decision for myself, I'm just hoping for you all to help convince me it's worth it.

Thank you.

(Ps, I realize I will have to get some hand tools no matter what if I want to incorporate art into my projects)

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Offline Ster1154

  • Posts: 64
    • WoodEyes Woodworks
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2018, 03:29 PM »
I'm 31 and started woodworking 6 years ago for the same reasons you did.   To keep it short regarding Festool:  you do get what you paid for but outfitting your entire shop in Festool isn't totally necessary IMO.  If I were to select a "top 5" Festools that I think you could own and use immediately with great results I'd suggest the following (in no particular order):

- Festool TS55 Track Saw:  Invaluable for breaking down sheet goods (which you'll use in furniture making) and an overall phenomenal saw to own.  Much cleaner and more precise than a circular saw and it's the bread and butter of the Festool system IMO. 

- Domino DF500 Q:  This is the one tool Festool owns that is in a class unto its own.  No other company makes something similar (other companies make dowel joiners / biscuit joiners) and its versatility is pretty phenomenal.  It's one of the first Festools I bought and a main reason I continued to check out their catalogue.

- CT26 Shop Vac:  Good all around shop-vac that is HEPA certified and will ensure that your working environment is dust-free.  Quiet, powerful, and mobile I highly recommend getting this.  If you buy it in unison with another power tool you'll receive an additional 10% off.

- Festool OF1400:  Great all-around router with a silky smooth plunge action with a litany of uses. 

- ETS 150/3:  Phenomenal sander and relatively cheap nowadays.  Low vibration and a dust-free sanding experience will make one of the more arduous tasks in the shop go by much more enjoyably. 

To me those are a great starting five that will show you plenty of what Festool has to offer and, IMO, are shop necessities.   I've owned several similar brands (Makita Track Saw, Bosch routers) and always go back to my Festools for their sound engineering and pleasing ergonomics.  If I'm going to be working I want to be enjoying my experience and I've found Festool is one of the only brands that affords that. 

Offline nvalinski

  • Posts: 45
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2018, 04:20 PM »
Honestly, if you have no experience with building stuff, I may suggest going a cheaper route to start. In my mind, it teaches you to know why Festool is better in the long run (better adjustability, flexibility, etc.) and to know when you can compromise and why. I went for years with just a circular saw (Ridgid), a 6' ruler, a speed square, some clamps, an orbital sander (Bosch 5"), a shop vac, a router (Porter Cable), a drill/driver combo, and some miscellaneous hand tools like planes and chisels. If you price that all out, it works out to be about $750 for decent enough tools that will still continue to be your rough carpentry tools around the house even with some Festool gear. Buy the stuff used or from bargain brands and you could start for under $500. That gives you a lot more cash on hand to actually buy materials to actually start doing projects.

When you start hitting roadblocks in your projects, see if you can maneuver through them before you get more tools. It will teach you to be a little more creative and really make you justify tool purchases by merit and not just "because I want this tool". There will be merit in having a tablesaw to rip narrow stock instead of trying to balance a circular saw. There will be merit in having a dust extractor to clean up after your tools to make your air quality better. But better to upgrade slow so that you don't lose track of it being a hobby where you get to learn and constantly improve your projects and not just a hobby of collecting expensive tools that you can't actually work with because now you can't afford materials. Trade up to Festool once you get a hang of it.

Offline BarneyD

  • Posts: 50
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2018, 04:57 PM »
I started making sawdust about 30 years ago with the same tools nvalinski mentioned except I had a cheap tablesaw to start with. When I got tired of dealing with crooked lumber, I bought a cheap 6" jointer and then a cheap lunchbox planer. I made quite a bit of furniture with just that arsenal. And don't forget about clamps. You'll be wanting lots of them of various types and sizes.

I got into Festool when my old Bosch ROS had some smoke escape. I bought the Festool RO125 to replace it and I was hooked. I now have 5 FS sanders, the CT 26, 500 Domino, TS55 with 7 tracks, OF1400, CXS. With the exception of the Domino, I could get by with some cheaper tools. But I really appreciate the lack of dust when using my Festools. And I'm able to be much more accurate now. As others have said, the Domino is really a game changer.  I probably use it on every project. Good luck on you adventure.
Barney

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 680
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2018, 05:36 PM »
Honestly, if you have no experience with building stuff, I may suggest going a cheaper route to start.

Snip

This!

Good tools don't necessarily make good furniture. What if you decided woodworking is not your thing after spending $8K on Festool?

If you have a bottomless budget, it is a different story: Get the best you can afford.

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2382
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2018, 06:29 PM »
I suggest dipping your toe and not taking a plunge.

I started by picking a project and buying the tools I needed to make it. It was a rocking horse for a niece. She’s still got the darn thing.

I would not start with furniture. I’d start with simple boxes, picture frames, cutting boards, etc.

If you have a Woodcraft or Rockler store in your area, a visit there would be a good idea. Rockler has some excellent project kits. Both stores sell wood that is already straight, flat, and not warped.

We all have tools that we thought would be wonderful but now just collect dust. Take your time and ease into the hobby.

Finally, the first thing you should buy is a pair of safety glasses. Put them on before you pick up any tool!
Birdhunter

Offline Svar

  • Posts: 1554
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2018, 06:33 PM »
I concur with the previous posters.
Get few basic tools, build couple simple projects, and decide whether you like it.

Offline JimH2

  • Posts: 632
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2018, 07:04 PM »
I'm 31 and started woodworking 6 years ago for the same reasons you did.   To keep it short regarding Festool:  you do get what you paid for but outfitting your entire shop in Festool isn't totally necessary IMO.  If I were to select a "top 5" Festools that I think you could own and use immediately with great results I'd suggest the following (in no particular order):

- Festool TS55 Track Saw:  Invaluable for breaking down sheet goods (which you'll use in furniture making) and an overall phenomenal saw to own.  Much cleaner and more precise than a circular saw and it's the bread and butter of the Festool system IMO. 

- Domino DF500 Q:  This is the one tool Festool owns that is in a class unto its own.  No other company makes something similar (other companies make dowel joiners / biscuit joiners) and its versatility is pretty phenomenal.  It's one of the first Festools I bought and a main reason I continued to check out their catalogue.

- CT26 Shop Vac:  Good all around shop-vac that is HEPA certified and will ensure that your working environment is dust-free.  Quiet, powerful, and mobile I highly recommend getting this.  If you buy it in unison with another power tool you'll receive an additional 10% off.

- Festool OF1400:  Great all-around router with a silky smooth plunge action with a litany of uses. 

- ETS 150/3:  Phenomenal sander and relatively cheap nowadays.  Low vibration and a dust-free sanding experience will make one of the more arduous tasks in the shop go by much more enjoyably. 

To me those are a great starting five that will show you plenty of what Festool has to offer and, IMO, are shop necessities.   I've owned several similar brands (Makita Track Saw, Bosch routers) and always go back to my Festools for their sound engineering and pleasing ergonomics.  If I'm going to be working I want to be enjoying my experience and I've found Festool is one of the only brands that affords that.

While these are no doubt in the top five, if not the top five, for someone just starting out would be some less expensive tools. I'd say definitely yes on the track saw, sander and vacuum. As for a router Bosch, Dewalt, Milwaukee and Porter Cable all make good routers at significantly lower price points. The Domino is not a reasonable purchase, for someone just starting out.

Offline JimH2

  • Posts: 632
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2018, 07:06 PM »
I'd also recommend trolling the FOG Classifieds as there are some tremendous deals. There are plenty of tool collectors here and you can easily find barely used tools.

Offline cpw

  • Posts: 84
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2018, 07:29 PM »
You should expect to save money on home improvement; you should not expect to save money on furniture.  By the time you buy lumber and tools, you could have gotten much cheaper furniture.  You will have a great deal of pride, however, in making it yourself.  Built-ins you should be able to save money on by doing it yourself.

I would not go mostly Festool.  Having a wide variety of power tools is useful, and to do that you'll end up hitting a price point.  Festool makes great tools, and I've got more Festool portable power tools than anything else now; but that is not how I started out.

Offline pixelated

  • Posts: 133
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2018, 08:02 AM »
I would recommend a slightly different tack, rather than initially spending a ton of money on tools, find some workshops and start with some guided learning. That could be a community college, workshops run by various furniture makers, or from entities like Woodcraft and Festool. You'll get a better idea of whether it's really something you want to pursue, tool choices, and skill building.

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1288
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2018, 09:52 AM »
Forget about building yourself to save money, it won’t happen.  You’ll make something with better quality materials, but you’ll spend more. 

Hand tools aren’t the cheap avenue to get things done.  They can be cheap, they can be expensive, or anything in between.  Ignoring the ultra high end where you pay for design, a name or fancy materials, the better tools give you something that works well out of the box.  The cheaper tools lack consistency or require work before you can use them (which requires learning another skill).  Most hand tools will require you to buy supplies and learn skills to keep them sharp.  My advice, skip them for now and buy as the need arises.  Your first purchase will likely be a set of bench chisels.

Power tools don’t have to be Festool purchases.  And whether Festool or not, you will have to learn how to set them up, use accessories to improve your workflow and accuracy and clean up after them because they can make a mess.  That last point is where I find justification for Festools.  Other brands are catching on, but none have quite the emphasis on it that Festool has.  But at 2-3x the cost, that’s a tough sell when you’re starting out and the extra money could get you another tool providing you another capability. 

Another thing to consider is do you have the room for machinery (and a dust collector).  The answer to that would influence my power tool selections. 

In terms of budgeting, especially with Festool, double the acquisition cost to account for other accessories and consumable or bits that you may need.  That may change your mind immediately about Festool.

Assuming you’re deciding on hand held power tools and not floor standing machines, I would start with a tracksaw, an aftermarket accessory to make repeatable parallel rip cuts, build your own MFT style table top and bench and a dust extractor.  Buy some aftermarket dogs, some clamps and a back rail.  With that you will be able to rip and crosscut repeatably.  Next, I would add a plunge router and get to work on that bookshelf.  This will give you the ability to rabbets, dados, grooves and edge profiling.  Finally I would add the sander, here my preference is Festool.  This will get your parts ready for finishing.  In Festool-land that initial investment will put you around $3k, maybe a little higher.  Going with other tool brands and shopping smartly could get you down to $1800 or so.  This is a good time of the year with all the promotions going on. 

Find a good lumber yard that offers planed and square (S4S) stock so you don’t have to deal with planing it.  It may not be perfect, but dressing rough boards gets you into a rabbit hole before you’ve built anything.  The goal early on is to minimize the rabbit holes (which cost time and money) and make something. 

Good luck and have fun!
-Raj

Offline ScotF

  • Posts: 2513
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2018, 12:44 PM »
Lots of good advice here. I think your space considerations are the first thing to consider. If you are very limited, then hand-powered tools gives you the ability to store them in a small space when not in use.

The advice @RKA gave on doubling cost to account for accessories is spot on - but one advantage to Festool I have found is that the accessories is one area where they clearly differentiate themselves - having things to make the tool more multi-use or to perform a job better is one of the things I appreciate about the brand.

For example, Festool Drills I think are some of the best out there - two designs (C-handle and T handle) along with the finesse of the trigger is better than many other brands, battery life is great and the accessory chucks give you the capability of several tools or a tool that fits the application in one package. Does it cost more than the other brands? In many cases, yes. Does it provide me with enough value to justify the cost? Again, for me, yes. Having a right angle drill, an eccentric offset drill, regular Jacobs chuck, the Centrotec chuck, and depth-stop chuck and socket chuck (should I need either one) with one body in an 18V package is great. YMMV. 

Dust collection of most Festool tools is better than anything else on the market - other brands are playing catch-up, but it works well for most tools.

Personally I love the MFT/3 - I think this is my most used tool in the shop - others disagree. Yes, you can make a top - but having one work out of the box and store compactly provides value to me.

I think that there are 7 core tools for a hand-powered world to consider (and you can substitute brands) in the order I would purchase them. I also do not include the extractor or work-bench (i.e. MFT/3) in this core 6, even though if you opt for Ferstool, they are indeed considered "tools":

1. Jigsaw - I would opt for Trion or Cordless Carvex if Festool - but other brands are also good here. I have owned and used them all - and currently I use Bosch and Mafell. I have been thinking about adding a cordless Carvex (I sold my corded version) and of the FT jigsaws, I really like the Trion as it was smooth and powerful.  I think a jigsaw is the most versatile saw you can own - you can rip and crosscut with one and you can cut curves and other joinery. It takes some practice to get comfortable using one and to get good results, but this is a tool I think every woodworker needs and a good starting tool. I have made furniture with nothing more than a jigsaw, router, sander and drill. Not the fastest method by any means and you need to account for extra work massaging the cuts in some instances, but they can be surprisingly accurate with some practice and the right blade. The good ones (Bosch, Mafell, Festool) allow integration with the guide rails - so you can get accurate straight rip-cuts, just not as fast as a track saw.

2. Drill - I love the "C" and "T" Festool drills - my go-to is the "C" 18 . Other's swear by the CXS or TXS - I have a TXS and love it for smaller work, but it does not have the oomph to be your only drill/driver in my opinion.

3. Sander #1 - I think that it is tough to be the versatility of the Rotex-style sanders - aggressive and fine sanding in one machine is great. Takes some practice to get the hang of using it and it is heavier than other RO sanders, but to me the versatility provides value. I like both 5 inch and 6 inch versions of the tool.

4. Sander #2 - a delta head sander - the DTS 400 is a gem and one of my favorites for all kinds of work where an orbital excels - edges of stock, along the sides of cabinets, etc... It also gets into corners, which is extremely helpful. OR the Rotex 90 - this is a great sander because of the versatility of changing heads between round and delta - I love this sander and the small round pad is the perfect size for face frames and for sanding into smaller areas - like contours of a seat, for example. It would be a tough call for me to choose between the two of these for this capability - I lean toward the RO90 just because of the added versatility of switching between round and Delta heads.

5. Router - the DC is what really separates Festool from the rest of the brands. I have owned and use most of what is out there and I prefer my FT routers over anything else. The 1400 is a good all-around size that will handle most things you need in a router. My favorite is the big OF2200, but I would not start out with that one. The OF1010 is awesome for more hand-held tasks - but you are limited to 8mm and 1/4 shank bits - not a huge deal, but something to consider if you go the FT route. I think that rail-guided routing is awesome and there are numerous accessories that integrate with the machines adding to the versatility as the need arises.

6. Track saw - 55 (better suited to sheet-goods, 4/4 hardwood, lighter, less powerful; cordless TSC in FT version is AWESOME) or 75 (better suited to thick hardwood, heavier, more powerful). I really like the HK series saw for hardwood - having the cross-cut rail and being able to use standard guide rails is a plus. The rip guide I think is awesome - and you can get accurate and repeatable rips off the rail. Dust collection is not as good as a traditional track saw, but again, the versatility of what it can do is really good in my opinion. I have been using my HK saws more than my track saws. If I did mostly sheet goods, then the track saw is the better tool. I work most solid wood and the HK has really been working out well for me.

7. Domino - I think that the XL is an engineering marvel and great for bigger furniture. However, I use the 500 much more and it works great for most smaller pieces and other things like cabinets and frames. You can buy adapters for the XL to allow it to take smaller bits, but I think the 500 is better suited to the task. While I like the XL better, I would choose the 500 if I could only have one. Keep in mind that you can accomplish much of what the Domino does with a router or a drill using dowels and making your own tenon stock or you can buy metric-sized router bits and use the router and buy Dominos as a workaround. If this is a hobby and   time is not as critical, then this would be a workaround. I have made lots and lots of furniture and cabinets long before Dominos were around - so while using one is awesome and saves a ton of time and effort, it is not critical to have one. I have not been disappointed with mine and I would not be without one today, however.

Hope this helps!

Offline Jesse Cloud

  • Posts: 1723
  • Festooling at the end of a dirt road in New Mexico
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2018, 02:06 PM »
I agree with pixelator.  Take a class or two at the junior college.  That way you can use their tools to build some furniture and get a chance to see if you like furniture making and if so what sort of hand tool/ power tool balance appeals to you.
 
I would agree that it probably doesn't make sense to buy Festool straight off, but also don't spend a ton of money buying different models of the same crap when they wear out.

Poor tools can't be depended on to hold their settings and require more effort and skill to make excellent products than high end tools.

Happy sawing!!

Offline ShadyMaple

  • Posts: 25
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2018, 06:02 PM »


The biggest thing is your space!  This is the most important issue!  What do you physically have space for?  Can you work all hours of the night without disturbing others?  Will it matter if you have dust everywhere?  Can you build much of your own organization, or are you tight on room?

Myself, I've moved my shop to two or three different places in the house over the last 10 years, and right now I have a very small space because the kids have taken over.  Initially, I didn't care about space because I had a whole garage.  Now, I'm down to less than 100sq ft in the basement, and I regularly take my tools to other houses to do work. 

Portability and dust collection are the two things I've found that set Festool apart and (I assume) why they are so expensive.   You can get pretty much the same results out of a Dewalt miter saw as you could a Kapex, but the kapex is more light-weight, has very mobile accessories, and collects dust much, much better.

If I had the room, I probably wouldn't own any festool.  Instead, I'd have a sawstop table saw, a good router table, a planer, a joiner, and a large dust collection system. I would build a whole wall of built-in shop cabinets for my organization and mount what I could to the walls/etc.

But, the Festool systainers and tools are really the best there are in my opinion when it comes to organization and portability.  It was the reason I took the plunge.  They are great tools, but not the be-all end-all.

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 806
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2018, 09:29 PM »
I agree with pixelator & Jesse.  Some of the advantages to taking classes when starting out:
*  You get to try a variety of tools and techniques so that you can choose what to invest it.
*  You (hopefully) are taught by people who have practical experience and success in woodworking.  It's worth it to vet the instructors on this point.
*  It's great to listen to several instructors in the shop discuss alternative ways of doing things.
*  Often when I would get stuck on some kind of problem, I'd find a good solution quickly just by having someone to ask.

If you consider hand tools, remember to budget for a heavy bench, esp. for planing.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2018, 09:32 PM by HarveyWildes »

Offline rst

  • Posts: 2036
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2018, 09:34 AM »
In my area we are lucky in that there is a three county co-operative Tech school for high school students that also provide evening adult class'.  Years ago I took two machine tool class' to learn metal machining process'.  They provide masonry, carpentry, and all sorts of practical courses.

Offline mcooley

  • Posts: 220
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2018, 10:58 AM »
I have a small furniture business where we design custom pieces. I also have many years of teaching art and design at the college level. From my experience one can get a lot done with a few critical tools. Sure not having all the legacy tools means things will take longer but sometimes I prefer more space in the studio over another large fixed tool. I think if one invested 3k-5K over time in the basic tools you'd be good for quite a long time. The Festool tools that I feel are worth it are listed below and were previously posted above. One tool not mentioned is the jigsaw by Festool which I find (mostly) excellent. I own the Carvex so can't speak to the older models etc. One thing I appreciate it does is very little blade deflection for 8/4 stock. I've been able to use it in place of a bandsaw at times for table legs etc. 

Also, I personally recommend keeping the shop somewhat mobile and not locked into one configuration. Unless you have the space and the capital to have many larger tools then keeping the shop spacious is helpful. I also think a hybrid shop as far as tools is the way to go. Some traditional and some more modern. I for one would like to have the Shaper Origin router in my wheelhouse for doing small repeat parts etc.

My last bit of practical advise is not to get too hung up on the "woodworker" rhetoric. The principles are critical but there are so many different solutions to a problem that having a more diverse understanding of how things can be designed and built is important, meaning, a lot of creative ideas and knowledge come from outside the wood world. This forum is pretty good in that way. I don't feel like the perspectives here are strictly focused on a certain kind of wood working etc. If you want any other opinions about some of the more minor oversights of otherwise good Festool tools then feel free to message me. By no means is the product line perfect.

Good luck!

Ditto on this:

"- Festool TS55 Track Saw:  Invaluable for breaking down sheet goods (which you'll use in furniture making) and an overall phenomenal saw to own.  Much cleaner and more precise than a circular saw and it's the bread and butter of the Festool system IMO. 

- Domino DF500 Q:  This is the one tool Festool owns that is in a class unto its own.  No other company makes something similar (other companies make dowel joiners / biscuit joiners) and its versatility is pretty phenomenal.  It's one of the first Festools I bought and a main reason I continued to check out their catalogue.

- CT26 Shop Vac:  Good all around shop-vac that is HEPA certified and will ensure that your working environment is dust-free.  Quiet, powerful, and mobile I highly recommend getting this.  If you buy it in unison with another power tool you'll receive an additional 10% off.

- Festool OF1400:  Great all-around router with a silky smooth plunge action with a litany of uses. 

- ETS 150/3:  Phenomenal sander and relatively cheap nowadays.  Low vibration and a dust-free sanding experience will make one of the more arduous tasks in the shop go by much more enjoyably." 
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 11:00 AM by mcooley »

Offline lwoirhaye

  • Posts: 234
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2018, 12:07 PM »
The OP  cited several items I would consider "cabinet making" in the modern sense of cutting up sheet goods, making doors and face frames.  In the classic sense furniture builders called themselves cabinet makers and the range of things they knew how to do was wider.

I dislike the footprint required to conveniently break down 4x8 sheets on a table saw.  Space is expensive in some areas and cheap in others.  If space was of no concern I would prefer a large table saw just for speed and ease of setup in processing sheets and sizing panels.

Several track saw systems are on the market and while the pricier ones are all pretty good the range of accessories available vary.  The plunge saws excel at dust collection, which is nice for working in living spaces.  I use a Festool HK these days and while it is dustier than the TS55 I prefer being able to use the saw with the blade locked in the plunge position.   I also had an EZ-smart setup and I think the system has some good ideas that aren't easily transferable to the Festool system, and at a slightly lower cost to get similar capacities.   The Festool system has benefits as well but looking at accessories like the parallel guides it becomes clear that many woodworkers don't like Festool's solution to the problem and have pursued other methods of getting a similar effect.  I adapted an EZ-smart 24" rip guide to fit the HK.  The cuts may not be as nice as one could achieve with a long guide rail but it's cheaper, smaller and doesn't need to be handled with special care to avoid damage.

Making any but the most basic "furniture" type pieces without a band saw, jointer and planer sounds mildly unpleasant to me.  Mike Dunbar, a Windsor chair maker wrote somewhere of the influx of know-alls into his little chair shop on a busy thoroughfare telling him he needed a band saw.  In the work he was doing he could cut out the pine chair seats in a few minutes with a bow saw and told them so.       

I haven't felt a need to invest in a Domino. The cost of the consumables is a turn off to me and I have other ways of making joints.  While it is a versatile tool, much cheaper options can accomplish strong joints too.  These newer dowel jigs are pretty slick, even if they only do 90 degree joints.  For other joints a biscuit joiner can do in many situations.  In making some things like dining chairs I wouldn't be inclined to trust Dominos anyway - not that the sort of chairs where such concerns are relevant are the sort of thing most hobby woodworkers ever attempt. 

Pocket screw holes may be ugly but if you're in a hurry and don't have a lot of clamps they make certain things fast and easy.

I went through an early period of surfacing boards with hand planes on a bench.   I had a jointer but not a planer.   The thrill of that bench work gets old but it's a good way to get exercise and one gets somewhat skilled with hand planes and sharpening.  jointing board edges straight and square is more challenging and unless one is very committed to hand work I would recommend just getting a jointer, even a small one.

Collecting tools is fun but if the goal is making interesting and useful things out of wood high-end tools aren't necessary, just commitment to learning and getting the work done.


« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 12:34 PM by lwoirhaye »

Offline ChuckM

  • Posts: 680
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2018, 12:58 PM »
As a hobbyist, I never have to worry about using or cutting 4x8 sheets (plywood not being something I use often, to start with) even though my shop is small, and I wonder why handling 4x8 is a critical consideration for most hobby shops.

All vendors who sell 4x8 in my location offer free cuts (for all cuts or up to 2 cuts, for example) to size down the sheets. Can't a hobby woodworker determine the rough dimensions and have the lumberyard roughly precut the sheets?

Most fellow woodworkers I know don't have a vehicle large enough to handle 4x8 sheets, in fact. I have a cross-over that could handle one or two sheets of 4x8 -- with some struggling. But, I always have the sheets size down to 4x4; 4x6 etc. depending on the project needs.

Offline jacko9

  • Posts: 2378
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2018, 01:18 PM »
I started woodworking 43 years ago and I suggest that you start with a minimal tool set to see if you are going to like doing it.  My first purchase was a small tilting table table saw (Inca Major - Swiss made) that had a Mortising table attachment, a set of Japanese bench chisels, hand planes, router, and some marking tools and sharpening stones.  My first project was a work bench one I copied from a Tage Frid design in "Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking".  That project taught me that you really can't buy straight hardwood and I invested in a 8" wide long bed jointer.  I kept buying tools over time and I made a house full of furniture for my self and my children.  I did find my way to Festool at first with the Domino Joiner after I sold my Inca table saw and replaced it with a Powermatic 66 with a sliding table.  I loved the dust collection with Festool tools and now I have a collection of their sanders and both Domino joiners.  I did get the Mafell Track saw because I liked their track joining method better than Festool.  Welcome to woodworking and enjoy.

Offline travisj

  • Posts: 229
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2018, 02:12 AM »
I will echo what has been previously stated.  Find a knowledge base.  Be it a class or a mentor.  My father was/is mine.  When I bought my first house about 15 years ago, I relied on his tutelage fairly heavy.  That was about when I got into woodworking (other than helping him as a kid).  The biggest lesson he taught me about tools, is to not try to plan too far in advance, meaning don’t buy something until you have a need for it.  Looking back, I started out with a Rdigid 18v combo kit, a cheap 1/4 sheet sander, a little Craftsman table saw, a craftsman router w/bench top table, and some basic hand tools.  I finished my basement including several built ins with those tools.  I also was able to do some small furniture pieces for my nieces.  I added and upgraded tools as the need arose.  I would recommend starting your shopping on Craigslist or Facebook.  Or possibly Black Friday deals.  Wait until you are either comfortable with the tools or confident you want to continue with woodworking before you spend thousands of dollars.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline Tinker

  • Posts: 3665
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2018, 03:49 AM »
There has been all kinds or knowledgeable and really great advice for you @ Qxzy-unbv2. A lot of thought and time spent in reply to your cry for advice.

So now, where are you? I hope you have been reading and THINKING.
Tinker
Wayne H. Tinker

Offline Kodi Crescent

  • Posts: 733
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2018, 10:52 AM »
There is a lot of good advice here.  I'm going to go a bit against the grain.

First, don't buy any tools yet.  Go to some classes to see if you even like it.  Some have mentioned local Community Colleges.  Check the local woodworking stores or maker collectives for classes before making any purchases.

Please re-think the idea that you will save money on home improvement projects.  If you don't know what you're doing, you will spend a lot of time and effort just learning how to do what you think is a simple job.  I've made the mistake of dismissing many trades as "simple", only to take on many "simple" tasks that resulted in failure.  I did learn, but was the cost of that "education" a better value than hiring someone who actually knew what they were doing (once you find someone)?  In most cases, no, it isn't.

Please check your assumptions on what "furniture" you think you'll build.  Even building a simple frameless cabinet carcass (a simple box) is harder to build than it looks.  Building one may not be a problem.  Building two or more that sit side-by-side with consistent door reveals and in-line door and drawer heights is much harder than it looks if you haven't had any experience.  You will spend lots of time and money on wasted material and fixing mistakes.  You may have been better off buying what you wanted in the first place.

Please check your assumptions on how great you think Festool equipment is.  The equipment looks like the answer to all your woodworking dilemmas, and it is good for a lot of things.  However, there are MANY shortcomings in actual use that you may have to deal with and need to buy extra stuff to overcome.  It detracts from the experience.  It's "death by 1000 cuts".  What you thought should start with just a few simple tools balloons into a garage full of accessories and a much lower bank account balance.  All to work around design/use shortcomings.




Offline jacko9

  • Posts: 2378
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2018, 09:41 PM »
At your age if you are mechanically inclined and you like to build then I would suggest that you get some fundamental books on building like;

Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking by The Taunton Press.  He set up a program at the Rochester Institute of Technology and then joined the staff at the Rhode Island School of Design as professor of woodworking and furniture design.

This book is basic and when he published it a lot of tools like Festool were not on the market yet but, he gives you a basis on joint construction and how to build with hand tools as well as machine tools.  The evolution of tools makes these steps easier sometimes (more difficult at others).

Modern fine furniture is sometimes built in shops with NC controlled machines running into the hundred of thousands of dollars for a production setting but you can do it all with hand tools.

James Krenov once mentioned that if your getting into woodworking and going to build a Hope Chess as your first project build it for small hopes.  I read that in one of his fine books on furniture building a long time ago and the thought never left me as doing something that looks simple but in fact is quite complicated takes a lot of thought and skill.

Good luck

Offline rst

  • Posts: 2036
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2018, 09:42 AM »
My original occupation was finishing in a custom wood crafted kitchen factory, Wood Mode.  My experiences there gave me insight into what proper tools and machines were necessary to produce good work.  One of the biggest influences in pushing me into woodworking was Fine Woodworking magazine.  I still have all the original issues that were in B&W and probably a hundred issues.  I gave up my subscriptions as family expenses became more important but till then I was well into the craft.  I also have Krenov's books as well as many others.

Offline krudawg

  • Posts: 21
Re: Getting into Woodworking. Thinking of taking the plunge.
« Reply #26 on: November 29, 2018, 03:42 PM »
A bit of backstory on myself:

I'm a young adult (mid-twenties) and I'm starting to feel the effects on my wallet of not being able to do stuff on my own around the house and how expensive nice furniture is. I want to become autonomous and not have to rely on stores to provide me with what I need. If I'm going to spend a few thousand here or there on furniture, why not just do it on my own? And the fact I would enjoy the process of building my own furniture and enjoying it after.

My question is: Should I take the festool plunge? Or because this will be a hobby, could I get away with hand tools instead? (hand saw, chisels, planes, etc, and one power tool for making wood straight and flat on all sides)

I have no idea if I should go the strictly hand tool route, or power tool route... I do like having the best of the best, it's just that this best is quite considerably more than all other tools on the market.

I realize this is a life long journey, and there's some things I'd already like to start building for example:

Entertainment center, bookshelf, mail box, yard fence, liquor cabinet, and in the future kitchen cabinets and counter-top / droors. This is a really big decision for myself, I'm just hoping for you all to help convince me it's worth it.

Thank you.

(Ps, I realize I will have to get some hand tools no matter what if I want to incorporate art into my projects)

I recently retired and decided I needed something to keep me busy, so I decided to get into woodworking.  As a kid, I used to build and fly balsa wood model airplanes and loved the whole building experience.  I started out with a small portable jobsite saw (Bosch) bought a circular saw, set of chisels Brad nailer and a few other basic tools.  In short order, I realized that the tools( and me too) had limitations and I wanted better stuff.  So I started buying better stuff.  I now have several Festool products (MFT/3, Domino 500, OF1400 router and TS55 track saw).  Yes, they were VERY expensive, but quite functional and a moderate learning curve.    There are some very good Compound sliding Miter saws on the market, so I bought a non-Festool Miter Saw. My most expensive purchase was a new table saw: Hammer K3 Winner 31X31. My woodworking has improved but still has a way to go before I consider myself a journeyman woodwork but I'm enjoying the whole woodworking process.
Ted
Mft/3, DF 500, Hammer K3 Winner,
Former Marine E-4