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Is it time to buy a new tool... router table / table saw / spindle moulder?

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weirdbeardmt

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Hi all,

I'm a hobbyist woodworker, doing it for approx 3 years, limited in space to a single garage and time/patience due to busy life/kids etc.

I admit that in the early days I was heavily informed by the school of YouTube, and went on a bit of a splurge buying all the tools I thought I needed based on what I saw in the videos. I think my first (and only post) on this forum was how to buy a huge table saw. Fortunately you talked me out of that! I still enjoy the videos but now use them for inspiration/entertainment rather than actual technique.

About 18 months ago I realised I was tripping over a lot of unused tools and so culled a lot of them, wanting to get better at the basics with a smaller selection and then build up the tools again when I was ready to use them properly. The stuff I make currently is mostly functional things - outdoor furniture / planters, basic utilitarian things (cupboard organisers etc.)... i.e., project thats are fairly forgiving if you're not completely accurate / make mistakes. Opted/forced to use pre-milled / edged wood.

More recently have wanted to start trying to make "nicer" pieces that are on display and require more time / accuracy... picture frames, and I made this little key box (below). Pre-moulded trim from the orange DIY shop but mitred corners and rebates to accept the backing etc. but nevertheless a step in the right direction, I think. I would like to start doing nicer joinery.. maybe box joints, dove tails, and cutting my own moulding/trims etc.

I currently have a decent compound mitre saw, circular saw (with rails), jigsaw, drills, small bandsaw, orbit sander, 1/4" palm router and a small selection of chisels. Admit I opt to use power tools over hand tools... laziness / time / skill mostly. In an ideal world I would do more with hand tools.

The other day I was making a box and it would have been nice to be able to cut grooves on the edges and in the middle etc. I attempted this with the palm router and a straight edge and the result was.... ok... passable but not really satisfactory.

So it got me thinking whether now was the time to invest again... so thoughts on options please... should I

(a) Don't buy anything. Get better at using the tools I already have, i.e., the palm router.
(b) Get a router table. It will enable cutting more accurate rebates and open up more moulding options
(c) Get a table saw... it will... alllow you to cut nice square boards... and possibly rebates. (I've seen the whole debate over dado stacks and whatnot.)
(d) Get a spindle moulder... can it replace a router table and a table saw? I watched an Axminster video which showed a replaceable spindle for a router spindle...? Size is definitely a restriction so if I can combine things, so much the better but a groover attachment would likely take care of the rebate side of things?

Anyway, appreciate any input and thoughts.

:)

key.jpeg
 

MikeG.

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For grooves, a plough plane or a combination plane, £50-ish on Ebay.......

You don't need a table saw. I suggest that the next logical step for you would be a 1/2" router, and then make yourself a simple router table. Again, less than £100 in all (before you start buying cutters) for a really nice one if you buy second hand.

"Nice square boards" come from planing, not from a table saw. If I were you (I was once, if you know what I mean), I would aim for a floor-standing bandsaw next (350/ 14"), and then a planer thicknesser. Add in some sort of pillar drill and that's all the machinery you'll ever need unless you go into business.
 

weirdbeardmt

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For grooves, a plough plane or a combination plane, £50-ish on Ebay.......

You don't need a table saw. I suggest that the next logical step for you would be a 1/2" router, and then make yourself a simple router table. Again, less than £100 in all (before you start buying cutters) for a really nice one if you buy second hand.

"Nice square boards" come from planing, not from a table saw. If I were you (I was once, if you know what I mean), I would aim for a floor-standing bandsaw next (350/ 14"), and then a planer thicknesser. Add in some sort of pillar drill and that's all the machinery you'll ever need unless you go into business.
Thanks Mike. Will check out the plane suggestions and am inclined to agree with you on not needing a table saw! The bandsaw I have is a small RP one... picked it up secondhand... old but seems fairly solid. A bit small perhaps but for now does the job. There's some nearby selling an Axminster 6" jointer which I'll look at later... might be worth it if cheap enough. A Triton benchtop planer/thicknesser was one of the tools I culled...

But you're saying router table first/next
bandsaw.jpeg
... ok, thanks. This was also one of the tools I culled... stupid really, looking back now, but hey ho. Live and learn.
 

Terrytpot

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(a) Don't buy anything. Get better at using the tools I already have..
(b) Get a router table...
(c) Get a table saw...
(d) Get a spindle moulder...
For my two penneth I'd say:
(A) From a young age in my first engineering job I knew I wanted (felt like needed) lots of tools but couldn't afford them so made myself get a new tool with every wage packet..say a screwdriver, or put that weeks contribution aside for a more expensive purchase the following week. Now I'm a fair hunk older the tools I want are much more expensive so getting better with what I have is always going to be my "A game" up until I can say for certain that I really can justify making a plunge for something as it will make a big difference to my output not just my perceived idea of how it might improve my output.
(B) I'd opt to make one...its not that hard and there are lots of videos out there along with free plans. Buying one wont provide you with a deal more unless you spend large amounts of £££ Manufactured router lifts don’t come cheap.
(C) Not had the best experience here as I started small (woefully inaccurate ), spent more (still had substantial accuracy issues) and as such am now contemplating spending substantially more. Some folks get by ok with cheaper saws but be prepared if you do opt to get one to not get the instant hit of accuracy you were expecting. A decent circular saw with a straight edge and 2 clamps will do most if not all of your board dimensioning for you.
(D) No...just no. Very expensive for not just the machines but also the cutting tooling and more suited to a professional workshop with high output requirements. Only way I'd entertain one would be if it came as part of a combination machine ie a saw with built in planer/thicknesser/molder/mortiser as the footprint that one machine would take up in a limited space would be handy but the thought of having to set the machine up differently for each task would really bug me.
 

MikeG.

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.......There's some nearby selling an Axminster 6" jointer .........
No they're not. They're selling a 6" planer. "Jointer" is USA-only.

The issue with bandsaws is their strength (and power), not their size. Little ones like yours are less able to tension a bigger blade, and so are not great for ripping. If you get a more substantial one then you'll be able to rip and re-saw comfortably, and that transforms woodworking.

Again, a little bench-top thicknesser doesn't have the capability of dealing with larger boards, and your experience of a hobby-type machine may have put you off, when a decent machine is actually hugely capable. I have a nice P/T which cost me £90 plus a new belt.
 

weirdbeardmt

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No they're not. They're selling a 6" planer. "Jointer" is USA-only.
OK thanks. I'll correct them later since that's how they advertised it... this is what it is. Is this worth an amount of money or am I better off going for a combination machine like these Planer Thicknessers - Planers & Thicknessers - Machinery | Axminster Tools which I guess does both jobs?

planer.jpg


The issue with bandsaws is their strength (and power), not their size. Little ones like yours are less able to tension a bigger blade, and so are not great for ripping. If you get a more substantial one then you'll be able to rip and re-saw comfortably, and that transforms woodworking.

Again, a little bench-top thicknesser doesn't have the capability of dealing with larger boards, and your experience of a hobby-type machine may have put you off, when a decent machine is actually hugely capable. I have a nice P/T which cost me £90 plus a new belt.
Thanks again, and noted on the bandsaw. I'll put it on the list to replace in due course... !
 

weirdbeardmt

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For my two penneth I'd say:
(A) From a young age in my first engineering job I knew I wanted (felt like needed) lots of tools but couldn't afford them so made myself get a new tool with every wage packet..say a screwdriver, or put that weeks contribution aside for a more expensive purchase the following week. Now I'm a fair hunk older the tools I want are much more expensive so getting better with what I have is always going to be my "A game" up until I can say for certain that I really can justify making a plunge for something as it will make a big difference to my output not just my perceived idea of how it might improve my output.
(B) I'd opt to make one...its not that hard and there are lots of videos out there along with free plans. Buying one wont provide you with a deal more unless you spend large amounts of £££ Manufactured router lifts don’t come cheap.
(C) Not had the best experience here as I started small (woefully inaccurate ), spent more (still had substantial accuracy issues) and as such am now contemplating spending substantially more. Some folks get by ok with cheaper saws but be prepared if you do opt to get one to not get the instant hit of accuracy you were expecting. A decent circular saw with a straight edge and 2 clamps will do most if not all of your board dimensioning for you.
(D) No...just no. Very expensive for not just the machines but also the cutting tooling and more suited to a professional workshop with high output requirements. Only way I'd entertain one would be if it came as part of a combination machine ie a saw with built in planer/thicknesser/molder/mortiser as the footprint that one machine would take up in a limited space would be handy but the thought of having to set the machine up differently for each task would really bug me.
Thanks muchly for the 2p; all makes sense to me. (A) and (C) are very familiar. I realised the old table saw I was using was actually making things worse; haven't missed it. I suggested (D) on the basis of the discussion in Dado Arbor. Re; the combo machine, that definitely looks like a plan... I mean, hubba hubba: Axminster Craft AC250CM 4 Function Combination Machine but... £3k... :eek:

RE: (B), ideal, thanks. Going to give some thought to building my own; I have a small sheet of kitchen worktop left which would probably be a good starting point...
 

marcros

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OK thanks. I'll correct them later since that's how they advertised it... this is what it is. Is this worth an amount of money or am I better off going for a combination machine like these Planer Thicknessers - Planers & Thicknessers - Machinery | Axminster Tools which I guess does both jobs?

View attachment 90948



Thanks again, and noted on the bandsaw. I'll put it on the list to replace in due course... !
I had the same model of Axminster planer- ct150. it is a nice planer and with the space I would prefer to have separate machines. it served me well, but I did find it slightly restrictive at times, only being 150mm wide. If I could have replaced it with an identical 9" one, I wouldn't have hesitated.
 

weirdbeardmt

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Unless you have more space than you know what to do with, and you are planning going into production.
Absolutely not, on both counts.

Problem is the 2nd hand market where I live is really limited and so can't be too fussy... and any of the mainland UK secondhand places like eBay shift themselves shipping big machines.

(PS. Are Axminster suffering a covid related stock crisis? Pretty much everything seems to be out of stock...?)
 

NickM

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Problem is the 2nd hand market where I live is really limited and so can't be too fussy... and any of the mainland UK secondhand places like eBay shift themselves shipping big machines.
Where in the Channel Islands are you weirdbeardmt? I hail from Guernsey. All my family are still there but I've been in the UK since uni days, and in Hampshire for the past 17 years or so.
 

weirdbeardmt

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Where in the Channel Islands are you weirdbeardmt? I hail from Guernsey. All my family are still there but I've been in the UK since uni days, and in Hampshire for the past 17 years or so.
Guernsey! Originally from the Westcountry, spent 10 years or so in Hampshire and then moved here about 15 years ago :)
 

clogs

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have a look on the French sites....LeBon Coin....for starters...it's nearer anyway...
The French make good smallish combined machines ie, table saw and planner....
and quite a few where u dont have to change anything for the thicknesser...no probs with spares....
I've bought and sold a few....some come with two motors so NO messing about with belts.....
as for that Axminster it's just a jointer....def want a planer thicknesser in one macine...seveal makes out there....
6" is way to small 9-10" is so much more useable.....and if u clip a nail or blunt one 1/2 on heavy knots u can move over to the the unused side of the blades.....I'm lucky that I have a DeWalt 10" on legs...new about £1400....but also a 40 cm prof planer thicknesser...next move for me is to fit a carbide blade conversion to the DeWalt....
personally I'd make the sawbench the priority over the bandsaw --unless u turn wood as well.....
theres plenty of cast iron topped machines with a 9-10 blade out there...I sold a stunning Wadkin that size converted to 240v for just £350...wish I hadn't tho.....but u cant keep everything.....
 

NickM

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Guernsey! Originally from the Westcountry, spent 10 years or so in Hampshire and then moved here about 15 years ago :)
Nice. I normally come over several times a year but haven't been at all this year because of the covid situation. I'm missing the place dearly, but it's great that you can go about life on the Island as normal. I really hope it stays that way for you.

It's worth speaking to Axminster as they will deliver to Guernsey. My Dad bought a big Jet lathe earlier this year. I think Covid is causing things to be out of stock, but they're helpful if you speak to them.
 

NickM

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If only...


Presumably not far from you Nick!
Yes, that's not too far and it's a nice looking machine. However, I've got an order in to Axminster for one of the spiral p/t machines which I'm hoping might arrive in a couple of weeks or so. The little Clarke bench top machine I've got has been OK but it's a bit of pain to use and so I've decided to upgrade!!
 

weirdbeardmt

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Nice. I normally come over several times a year but haven't been at all this year because of the covid situation. I'm missing the place dearly, but it's great that you can go about life on the Island as normal. I really hope it stays that way for you.
Thanks, yeah, we've been pretty lucky with the response... been 'back to normal' for ages now, bizarre really to think and how serious it still is elsewhere. Only thing that's really still affected is off-island travel... which when you have the beaches / Herm / Sark etc. and it's been amazing weather it's not really a huge deal!

It's worth speaking to Axminster as they will deliver to Guernsey. My Dad bought a big Jet lathe earlier this year. I think Covid is causing things to be out of stock, but they're helpful if you speak to them.
Thanks yeah, that's why I'm tending to look up their stuff as have used them (and Rutlands) in the past. Gaudions is on-island and they can get Record Power stuff but that's about it IIRC.
 

NickM

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I was impressed at how much stuff Gaudions sell when I last went there. It's where I always bought petrol as a teenager; not least because I could put it on my dad's account there! It was a lot smaller in those days.
 

weirdbeardmt

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Yeah, they're great for the smaller power tools, peripherals and hardware; have some smaller machinery too... they will order bigger stuff in... think they can get Scheppach too... but i've got a vague memory of them doing something weird with pricing... like you'd pay full UK mainland price or something. Maybe it's worth asking the question again.
 

Terry - Somerset

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Perhaps it is worth thinking about what you generally want to make, rather than salivating (as I do occassionally!) over nice bit of kit.

Volume production (semi-commercial?) - efficient, quick

Extensive varied home projects - versatile, speed less of an issue

Hobby - enjoyment of the task is more important than what is produced

Some are more interested in the kit rather than what it helps make. Just look at sharpening threads - debate over how to get the best edge seems more important that what you do with the chisel once it is sharpened.
 
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