advice on buying tools

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I,ve been itching to get a small workshop together for ages and was wondering if any of you keen woodworkers could guide me on buying some workshop power tools. I have managed to turn the shed into a workshop 12ftx8ft...and made myself a bench, but with a budget of £250
I dont want to spend it all on one thing, my aim is to make some home
furnishings such as cabinets, bedside tables, tv cabinets etc..anything that would compliment my small abode. A few questions are:
1. would i be better off with a mitre saw than a table saw?
2.Routers, what should i avoid ?
3. spray systems, are the cheap ones any good?
all replies very welcome
Tom :? :D


Hi Tom,

What a subject and vertually impossible to answer, its like saying how longs a bit of string, but here's my 2p worth.

Go for a table saw, it will do all that a mitre saw will and more, so it would be your best bet, well I think so. Try and avoid the very cheap type TS's as they will drive you up the wall, they kick up hell from the noisey motor, as most cheap saws have an induction motor. They are rarely accurate, especially the fences. Like everything in the UK, if you want good stuff you pay for it! and as you have already set yourself a budget, have a look around for a second hand saw, there are some good ones around and within your price, at least that way you should get a better quality saw, even if you use all your budget. It will pay in the long run, especially with the projects you want to make, a good saw will be a god send.
Routers, get a 1/2" model if you can, that also takes 1/4" cutters as well, that way you won't be limited on which cutters you can buy, it will take them all. B&Q do some desent routers that are not to expensive and they work OK. So have a look round and see what takes your fancy, we can all say what you should be buying, this or that, but at the end of the day its your money and everyone has their own perticular fancy.
Hope this helps and good luck with building your projects.


Established Member
6 Nov 2002
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Welling, Kent
Tommo - Woodtek's advice was spot on. My ten bob's worth would be to spend your budget on the best table saw you can find and a decent router. That will get you going and enable you to do a helluva lot. The rest can wait until you've sorted out some more dosh! B&Q do a budget 1/2 router in the Power Pro range for under £100, and I've read that it's well up to sctratch. However, for the kind of work you'll be doing and your budget, a 1/4 router seems appropriate. Try and pick up a 2nd hand 'Henry' type vacuum cleaner. A strategy I'm sure many of us have used is to convince the wife/partner that a 2nd vacuum would be a good idea - that way you might get it out of a different budget! If you get the TS & the router, you'll need it - especially in a 12x8 shop and MOST especially if you intend using MDF for anything. On the other hand, you could buy a nice set of hand tools and do things traditionally, adding the power tools as you go.



I don't want to put you off or sound disparaging, but is your only source of information the New Yankee Workshop et al, by any chance? If so, include a copy of the Collins Complete Woodworker's Manual in your budget before anything else. It'll give you more in depth info on how to do things, and a better idea of what tools you really need. You'll find info about it in the Recommended Books section, and if you get it via that link you'll be supporting UK Workshop, which is a bonus. :wink:

Cheers, Jester


Hey Tommo,
Jester's advice is bang on the button, IMHO. Power tools are great, power tools are fast etc etc - but developing your skills with hand tools can't be equalled in terms of your personal skills and satisfaction. Also, you'll understand the advantages of power tools and how to use them better if you've spent time supplying the power yourself. No matter what you've got in terms the latest go-faster, laser lined gizmo, you're always going to need a plane, some good chisels......


Thanks to everyone for the advice,
Although not a complete novice my only handywork before now WAS with
hand tools on a government scheme, of which i still own a plane, Diston hand saw, square,etc.
As far as power tools go i dont have much experience but like most lads walking past a tool shop window is like "toys r us" to a 5year old
as for the new yankee workshop, it is a bit off putting to have to use such a small workshop (12ftx8ft) but "hey" we all must start somewhere...even Norm must have started in a box the size of mine! :lol: the only advantage to me is i aint got the money to fill it with "use once a year tools" as an old joiner once called them :lol: :lol:


If it is not to late I would suggest a good circular saw and blade. I have built quite a bit of furniture this way. All you need is a good straight edge and some clamps and you are in business. Do you have clamps, a hand drill, lay-out tools? It takes a little longer, but it can be done! I have also seen plans for mounting one upside down on a sheet of plywood and using it like a table saw. Buy a good router and a few good bits needed for your next project and you are in business. Do you have a work bench? Build one. Save your money and/or look for a good used table saw down the road.

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