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Woodworking tools - recommendations for a small home "workshop"

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Looking to get into woodworking a bit, mainly just to make toys for our one year old, tiny bookshelves, pushing carts etc. Planning to go with plywood and just cut out things in the back garden as I've got no actual workshop. Got tons of measuring tools for metal working, drill bits for metal / wood, clamps, squares, micrometers, calipers etc but missing some of the heavier duty machinery like circular saws, routers etc. Got a jigsaw, but it probably doesn't work that well for straight cuts. Also got a rotary sander which works wonders for flat surfaces, a small hand plane for chamfers and deburring and a simple manual saw.

 

Any recommendations for what might be useful? I guess I could work with what I have but I reckon a circular saw will speed things up for sure. Is a jigsaw any good in ply? It's shit in MDF for sure as the blade just walks side ways and flexes.

 

First two projects are:

 

A small book shelf like this:

 

https://www.amazon.ca/GX-XD-Kindergarten-Bookshelf-Magazine-B/dp/B07B49PMYD

 

And fixing the sides of a small toy piano which has curved cuts and pockets (router needed).

 

T.


Espresso: Londinium L1, ZR-71 grinder

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Circular saw is definitely a good buy, a mitre saw will make angled cuts and specific lengths a doddle. A good drill and impact driver are also super useful.

 

For a bit of DIY here and there the screwfix 'cheap' Titan brand is fine for most things, but if you want it all to last its worth stepping up to the cheaper end of the Dewalt/Makita/Miluwakee etc line. Its worth making a decision on what brand you want now and then investing in their brand for everything. You can then begin to buy tools without batteries for a better price. Its also much less of a pain keeping 4-5 brands of battery charged.

 

I'm sure Jimbo will be along to offer some more expert advice ??

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Just to mirror what has been said. Stick to one brand if possible.

 

Dewalt is my brand at the mo. The battery circular saw is great. I do have a few random ryobi bits though such as the battery router which is also a handy bit of kit

 

If you have the space then the Titan table saw from screwfix is a good tool for the money. Make yourself a sled and you can do a lot with it.

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I've got a mixture of different brands, but most fitted with a cord so it doesn't really matter. Got a Makita cordless drill, and then everything else power fed: Makita jigsaw, a tiny Bosch (old model) detail sander, Metabo random orbital sander.

Was eyeballing battery powered circular saws and routers, but I'm not sure I need a router that much if I have a jigsaw? How good are jigsaws in ply? The thing I love about routers is plunge cuts for pockets etc, which of course cannot be done with a jigsaw.

Leaning towards Makita tools but I know they are not what they used to be. Bosch pro has good reviews, but tends to be expensive, Metabo sometimes also gets good reviews but I'm kind of unimpressed with their orbital sander. Not tried DeWalt, so I need to have a look at them again.

T.


Espresso: Londinium L1, ZR-71 grinder

Photography: Flickr

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A router is good for it's shere versatility. Have a whole tool chest that used to belong to my grandad filled with hand tools which a router replaces with the change of a bit & maybe a jig.

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Laissez les bons temps rouler

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One word o warning about battery tools, they do not like being left unused for long periods, the batteries begin to die.

Although very convenient away from power supplies, for home / infrequent use corded tools can be better option.

Jig saws can be used for straight / clean  parallel cuts*, providing you use the correct blade.

There is an extensive selection of blades for jig saws depending on purpose required.

Trying to cut tight curves with the wrong blade  damages the guide rollers and causes rapid wear of the blade holding post, never to cut true again.

Jig saws with a pendulum action which is adjustable and can be turned off gives improved cutting depending on blade and material.

eg Tight radius cuts in thin material require no pendulum action,  straight cuts in thick material max pendulum action.

A very useful tool for jointing panels, framing joints, mitres, cupboard construction is Biscuit Jointer.

Simple joint but very strong.

Router useful for grooving, moulding and trimming panels with a straight edge or using with a jig, bought or homemade

 

 

 

 

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Bosch Professional blue line, Werra screwdrivers

Quality counts

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keep calm and grind flat

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1 hour ago, jimbojohn55 said:

Bosch Professional blue line, Werra screwdrivers

Quality counts

+1 all the way

 

If you stick to one brand, there may be other accessories than batteries/chargers to share across different tools. Like guide rails. I have a blue router and circular hand saw that both go well with my guide. Which is a very handy thing btw, especially if space to stow away or put up a bench saw is an issue!

One thing to keep in mind regarding cords: agility. In a usual workshop you'll have plenty of power plugs everywhere. Even these power cubes dangling from the ceiling and all that jazz. At home you might have to use an extension cable of suitable length* which creates quite some hassle if you need to move around your workpiece a lot. This is especially true for routers.

The downside of cordless tools, on the other hand, is their price. Because I cannot copy the effect of dying batteries in blue Bosch stuff (Li-Ion and above) I'd highly recommend their 18V battery powered equipment. Always have one battery pack more than tools so you are fully charged when running low on one. My background? Building a wooden house plus interior with that blue stuff, none of which had ever let me down.

If I could've had afforded it, maybe I would've gone with Festool. But they really charge silly money. 

 

 

 

*Never use powerful equipment with a cable drum that has not been fully unrolled! Unless you feel like burning down the house that is. At my local fire dept. we did a test not too long ago: a 500W work light plugged into a cable drum was enough to nicely broil 50m of rolled up cord after 15 minutes. 

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Along with the power tools suggested, invest in a good quality set of chisels and keep them sharp. 

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Purely because I already have a Makita cordless drill with a battery and charger, I'll most likely go with their cordless range for the router and circular saw:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Makita-DRT50ZX4-Router-Trimmer-Blue/dp/B075RGW2HV/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?keywords=makita+router&qid=1558431057&s=gateway&sr=8-4

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Makita-DSS611Z-Body-Cordless-Circular/dp/B00ID86YVK/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?keywords=makita+circular+saw&qid=1558386110&s=gateway&sr=8-4

Now all I need is some plywood, any suggestions for suppliers in the UK?

T.


Espresso: Londinium L1, ZR-71 grinder

Photography: Flickr

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I'm finally getting prep'd to buy the above, but realised that circular saw + router + jigsaw might be a bit overkill for cutting 12-18mm ply for hobby projects. If I had a spare room or shed I wouldn't worry too much and have all three (and more!) but I've got really limited space so if I can ditch the circular saw for now, so be it. Plan is to use the jigsaw to do the rough cuts in ply not worrying too much about the blade wondering etc. and finish of with a trim bit on the router, that should produce a nice 90deg edge right? Kind of a shame as I was looking forward to doing 45deg cuts for mitre joints, but I guess I'd have to do with butt joints for now.

T.


Espresso: Londinium L1, ZR-71 grinder

Photography: Flickr

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A mitre bit in the router & a straight edge to run along should sort that.

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Laissez les bons temps rouler

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In the end I got the circular saw anyway, I'll just have to figure out where to hide it from my wife :)

T.

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Woodwork devolves down to the accurate removal of waste. All the tools for metalwork, that you already have, will work on wood; maybe less efficiently.  Joints are used both for location of mating surfaces and to increase the area for glue to act on. That about sums woodworking up.

Consider your needs to joint sheet material at 90 degrees and/or edgeways and how you will go about it;  possible solutions your anwer here will determine what you buy. I would avoid rushing out and buying any power tool. You can do most of what you need with basic hand tools most of which you appear to have. A coping saw for cutting curves; a tenon saw for cutting to shoulders; a few chisels for removing waste - 6, 12 and 25mm are a start. Buy others as you need.  Only buy a power tool when you really have a need.

But please buy a wooden mallet for striking chisels! Hammers are not suitable although the World and his brother seem to think they are these days.

A router 'could' be an almost complete solution with jigs etc, but there is little point for one-offs. 

A sturdy bench is an absolute priority; you can't get your shoulder behind a chisel on a rickety thing in the garden. Also bench hold fasts and a good vice are paramount.

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Bought a recon Bosch green jigsaw over 30 years and two houses ago. Made by Scintilla in Switzerland. It has done worktop cutouts, worktop wooden edging, helped build cabinet carcasess, helped build a suite of studio furniture and countless other jobs. 20 years ago I promised I'd buy a blue Bosch pro one the day it expired. I'm still waiting...

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Buying a small hobby bandsaw will make a world of difference in the ease of cutting things out accurately and at 90 deg 


keep calm and grind flat

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Looking at the post showing the small bookcase, I would suggest you use timber instead of ply and for most of your other projects.

Most modern ply tends to be very brittle (veneers) which tend to splinter at edges often requiring considerable filling and sanding.

Another common problem is hollow pockets and missing portions of veneer in the cores. The splinters off these brittle plies can be quite evil.

For children's toys etc I would use timber.  Trying to mitre plywood is a P.I.A splintering edges and open spaces in the veneer's.

How do you propose to fix / attach these mitre joints ?   OK in thicker materials but not easy in thinner stuff.

A good hardpoint handsaw is invaluable,  just side dress the teeth with an oilstone to give a very clean edged cut, Sandvik are a very good brand.

For tight curves up to 20 mm thick you need  the Bosch T101 AO) blades, these cut up and down but must be used without pendulum action.

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Looking at the post showing the small bookcase, I would suggest you use timber instead of ply and for most of your other projects.
Most modern ply tends to be very brittle (veneers) which tend to splinter at edges often requiring considerable filling and sanding.
Another common problem is hollow pockets and missing portions of veneer in the cores. The splinters off these brittle plies can be quite evil.
For children's toys etc I would use timber.  Trying to mitre plywood is a P.I.A splintering edges and open spaces in the veneer's.
How do you propose to fix / attach these mitre joints ?   OK in thicker materials but not easy in thinner stuff.
A good hardpoint handsaw is invaluable,  just side dress the teeth with an oilstone to give a very clean edged cut, Sandvik are a very good brand.
For tight curves up to 20 mm thick you need  the Bosch T101 AO) blades, these cut up and down but must be used without pendulum action.
That's actually a very good tip, I'll look at timber for the book shelf, I've got a Champion branch nearby and could get some of their planned timber. Initially I wanted timber for shelves as well but for larger pieces cost is sky high so I might stick to plywood for shelving.

Also, thanks for the Bosch blade tip, I've been eyeballing those yesterday.

T.


Espresso: Londinium L1, ZR-71 grinder

Photography: Flickr

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Looking at the post showing the small bookcase, I would suggest you use timber instead of ply and for most of your other projects.
Most modern ply tends to be very brittle (veneers) which tend to splinter at edges often requiring considerable filling and sanding.
Another common problem is hollow pockets and missing portions of veneer in the cores. The splinters off these brittle plies can be quite evil.
For children's toys etc I would use timber.  Trying to mitre plywood is a P.I.A splintering edges and open spaces in the veneer's.
How do you propose to fix / attach these mitre joints ?   OK in thicker materials but not easy in thinner stuff.
A good hardpoint handsaw is invaluable,  just side dress the teeth with an oilstone to give a very clean edged cut, Sandvik are a very good brand.
For tight curves up to 20 mm thick you need  the Bosch T101 AO) blades, these cut up and down but must be used without pendulum action.
Forgot to add, I was only planning mitre joints for some tiny drawers on a different design, if it's done with a router bit it cuts a groove so I reckon it's easy to glue together. We are talking drawers which are 10cm wide, so it shouldn't be an issue.

And re ply, I've read most generic ply is shit, ie. with loads of empty gaps within, premium stuff is uber expensive yet again.

T.

Espresso: Londinium L1, ZR-71 grinder

Photography: Flickr

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High density  fibre board H D F is totally different from MDF, if you can find / order it. It is often used in display cases (with a melamine finish).

I have built complete kitchen with it (non coated) then gone for painted finish. Also built Chest's of drawers with Oak veneered HDF.

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