Setup for a beginner - really long shopping list

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Val

Established Member
Joined
17 Jan 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
4
Location
Belfast
Hi everyone,

This is my first thread on the forum so this will count as a brief presentation as well!
I'm in my mid 30s, I'm Italian, I work in the IT, and I've been living in Belfast for quite a while now. During lockdown it hasn't been possible for me to pursue my usual interests and passions, and since I've always been quite crafty and good at DIY I have decided to get into woodworking.

I apologise for the length of this post, but I guess it made more sense to open a single thread containing all the different tools than spamming the forum with a dozen of different threads one for each category.

I will erect a 5x4m (or roughly 16'x13' for you 'imperials') log cabin in my backyard, which I plan to use as a workshop for the craft of indoor/outdoor small furniture (e.g. benches, stools, coffee tables, etc. but no cabinets) during nights and weekends. I initially intended to take a lutherie course at a local school and start building musical instruments, but as you can imagine nothing happened because of covid. However, I still plan to build electric musical instruments (basses, guitars) as soon as life restarts and I can take part in a proper lutherie course or - worst comes to worst - join an online course.

I have never been a woodworker before, but I have really good manual skills, a keen eye on detail, a passion for planning, and love for all things crafted. Starting with small furniture will help me see what it is like to actually do woodworking and in the future delve into more complex and delicate work like lutherie.

I am thinking of buying a set of tools that for now will help me into small furniture making, but that I will be able to use once I'll hopefully start making musical instruments too. I don’t have a precise budget in mind, and I could be willing to spend a bit more as long as I can buy tools that are proportioned to my needs and with a good balance between quality, durability and price.

I will build most of the outdoor/indoor small furniture using rough sawn timber (e.g. 50-100mm x 35-44mm, 150x47mm, etc.) or hardwood (e.g. 26-80mm x 100mm, 5-75mm x 150mm, etc.), so I will need to be able to easily work with these sizes.

Apart from a few chisels and a tenon saw, I do not plan to use manual tools as I would like to have hands-on training first; I imagine using a plane or sharpen its blade having just watched an online video could potentially lead to frustration and disappointing results. Of course with this I’m not suggesting that power tools are inherently easier or, even less, safer to use than manual tools, but while I have a minimum of experience with power tools, I have none with manual ones.

Please consider that I live in Northern Ireland, so choice of online shops is restricted as many vendors don’t deliver here anymore, and market for used power tools is practically non-existent.

After doing a bit of research I’ve identified these tools for the first step of small furniture making:

Portable table saw that I plan to integrate in a DIY table:

Compound mitre saw to integrate in the same DIY table:
In alternative to the above, I could opt for a flip saw:
In alternative to the alternative, I could opt to a combination table/mitre saw:
I am aware that either the flip saw or the combination saw are not as good as two separate saws, and both combination saws have the limitation of the table saw bit making only 90º cuts. However, given that I have limited space, having two machines in one would be a big pro.

Floor drill press:


Random orbital sander (taking into consideration only Makita for 18v tools as I already have combi drills and impact driver with several batteries):

Plunge Router:
Table Router (with DIY router table and fence):
In alternative to having two routers, I could buy one that has support for an additional fixed base, but it doesn’t seem to be very economically convenient:
  • BOSCH GOF 1600 - £400 - Manufacturer specs
  • BOSCH GKF 1600 - £100 - fixed base for the GOF 1600
Would a 1/4” router be enough for what I need to do, or a 1/2” router would be preferred? It seems there is much more choice in terms of routers on the 1/4” end.

Compressor, which needs to be low noise and with decent CMFs:


Thicknesser:
Planer:
I had a look at combined thicknesser/surface planers like the JET ones, but their price is really too high - even though I would love having one machine to do both things as I don’t have enough space. Even though for the moment I will use these two tools since I plan to buy rough sawn timber, I opted for a 12.5” thicknesser planer as I will need it later on for musical instrument body blanks, and similar reason for a 6” surface planer. I have to say that I haven’t found many surface planer model in that size, though.

Spindle sander:


Multitool:

Air filter:

HVLP Dust Collector with 1-2 microns filter and possibly quiet as it is a small log cabin in the backyard:
Choosing a dust collector has been the hardest task so far, as some of the tools I plan to buy in the future (e.g. Laguna 14BX 14" Bandsaw, Laguna 16-32 SuperMax Drum Sander, etc.) require at least 1000 m3/h. The Laguna seems to be underpowered with 884 m3/hour and has a small filter cartridge and no cyclone, the Axminster is part of the “craft” line of tools that is supposed to be used for around 100h per annum, so I fear either the motor or the bearings could abandon me soon if used a couple of hours a day, or the filter not being actually good. The JET seems to be the best of the lot with plenty of power and even a remote control, but it really costs a lot. I plan to use the dust collection system by plugging a 4” hose to one machine at a time: no ducts, no multiple machines attached, and the hose will be no longer than 2m (6’).
As a LVHP dust collector I plan to use my old VAX cyclonic upright hoover, and connect it to the hand tools.


Is there any tool that I am forgetting? Is there any tool I could avoid buying (at least for now) without making my life too hard? Are there other models I should consider?
Thanks everyone and apologies again for the long post.
 
Last edited:

billw

The Tattooed One
Joined
26 Apr 2009
Messages
1,690
Reaction score
857
Location
Sutton Coldfield, UK
That's a lot of machines. I admit I use a few, but you really need to play around with hand tools first because machinery doesn't generally get you to the finish line they just make a short cut.
 

Val

Established Member
Joined
17 Jan 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
4
Location
Belfast
Buy some hand tools and learn the basics of making joints first. Very bad idea to buy loads of machines before you have made anything.

Log cabins are somewhat notorious for rotting and letting damp in.

Invest in some training.

Spend money on wood.
Hi AJB, thanks for your feedback. As I said in the post above (but I understand it is very long so it might have gone unnoticed) I had already invested money in training that never happened because of covid, and it will not be possible until likely the summer or later.

I have seen online videos of people of squaring edges or thicknessing rough sawn timber with a couple of hand planes and some sandpaper attached to a block of wood, and I believe I could achieve the same results with a thicknesser, a surface planer and an orbital sander in much less time. This would leave me free to have more time to actually make something rather than tediously plane everything by hand or spending a fortune in squared logs.

With regard to the cabin, it is a 40mm plane log double tong&groove, with floor and roof insulation, 26mm tong&groove flooring boards, built on a concrete base with damp proof membrane - I believe humidity levels inside should be reasonable.
 
Last edited:

JoeSheffer

Established Member
Joined
3 Oct 2018
Messages
71
Reaction score
21
Location
London
The issue with all these tools is they never work out the box how you expect them to particularly with planers, thicknessers, table saw and routers. Once you understand what you're doing they make work very easy, but if you don't understand what you're trying to achieve, they can frustrate as you won't get the results you expect. They all need fettling with to make straight cuts or decent finishes - and you won't get that without the basic knowledge.
 

Val

Established Member
Joined
17 Jan 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
4
Location
Belfast
That's a lot of machines. I admit I use a few, but you really need to play around with hand tools first because machinery doesn't generally get you to the finish line they just make a short cut.
Thanks billw, I would say I'm not particularly concerned about "taking a shortcut" if it brings me where I want to be in a shorter amount of time. As I said above, I would really love (and I tried!) to take some evening classes in woodworking, but at the moment (and for the foreseeable future) it's not going to happen.
Furthermore, where I live almost every course in woodworking is aimed at school leavers, and there aren't many evening/weekend courses where I can learn how to use a plane or how to sharpen its blade.
 

billw

The Tattooed One
Joined
26 Apr 2009
Messages
1,690
Reaction score
857
Location
Sutton Coldfield, UK
Thanks billw, I would say I'm not particularly concerned about "taking a shortcut" if it brings me where I want to be in a shorter amount of time. As I said above, I would really love (and I tried!) to take some evening classes in woodworking, but at the moment (and for the foreseeable future) it's not going to happen.
Furthermore, where I live almost every course in woodworking is aimed at school leavers, and there aren't many evening/weekend courses where I can learn how to use a plane or how to sharpen its blade.

Sorry, what I meant was machines do save time, but machines don't get you to a finished standard (mostly) and you'll still need to know how to use a plane or chisel to finish things off. I knocked up a small box over the last couple of days in decent time by using a bandsaw, thicknesser and a router, but it's going to need a lot of fine work doing to make it look finished, you need to do that by hand.

You don't really need a course for basics, just get a few cheap(ish) tools and play around with them. YouTube can give you a relatively decent start, although don't take any tips on machine safety from Americans :LOL:
 

Val

Established Member
Joined
17 Jan 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
4
Location
Belfast
The issue with all these tools is they never work out the box how you expect them to particularly with planers, thicknessers, table saw and routers. Once you understand what you're doing they make work very easy, but if you don't understand what you're trying to achieve, they can frustrate as you won't get the results you expect. They all need fettling with to make straight cuts or decent finishes - and you won't get that without the basic knowledge.
That's a very good point, Joe. Since we're all going to be in lockdown for a while I'll not have the chance to enrol in a woodworking course. What I assumed was that getting the power tools to work in an acceptable way would be easier than obtaining acceptable results with a hand tool. Same goes for maintenance of the power tools I listed, that appeared to be easier than hand tools to me. But I could very well be wrong, so please let me know in case!
 

Deadeye

Established Member
Joined
21 Aug 2017
Messages
679
Reaction score
162
Location
Buckinghamshire
Buy some hand tools and learn the basics of making joints first. Very bad idea to buy loads of machines before you have made anything.

Log cabins are somewhat notorious for rotting and letting damp in.

Invest in some training.

Spend money on wood.

This. This. This again.
More this.

Did I say this?
 

JoeSheffer

Established Member
Joined
3 Oct 2018
Messages
71
Reaction score
21
Location
London
That's a very good point, Joe. Since we're all going to be in lockdown for a while I'll not have the chance to enrol in a woodworking course. What I assumed was that getting the power tools to work in an acceptable way would be easier than obtaining acceptable results with a hand tool. Same goes for maintenance of the power tools I listed, that appeared to be easier than hand tools to me. But I could very well be wrong, so please let me know in case!

There is tonnes online - you don't need to attend a course. Paul Sellers is an easy start on youtube and despite his detractors, nobody can argue that he isn't down to earth. Start with his advice on how to prepare a hand plane (from ebay), followed by prepapring your chisels. Buy a basic work bench (or some kind of vice for your workspace) and begin slowly from there. You'll want a hand drill to start probably, a marking gauge, a combination square (bahco from screwfix a good beginners choice) and a saw.

Don't start working with rough sawn soft wood. You will cause yourself a huge amount of bother. Get yourself some cheap planed hardwood to start yourself started and under way. The power tools will follow with time, as you outgrow the basics.
 

TRITON

Established Member
Joined
5 Oct 2014
Messages
2,182
Reaction score
1,356
Location
Sunny Glasgow
Invest in some training.

+1
We have a very nice thread on "How not to operate a miter saw" I recommend you check it out.
 

Val

Established Member
Joined
17 Jan 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
4
Location
Belfast
There is tonnes online - you don't need to attend a course. Paul Sellers is an easy start on youtube and despite his detractors, nobody can argue that he isn't down to earth. Start with his advice on how to prepare a hand plane (from ebay), followed by prepapring your chisels. Buy a basic work bench (or some kind of vice for your workspace) and begin slowly from there. You'll want a hand drill to start probably, a marking gauge, a combination square (bahco from screwfix a good beginners choice) and a saw.

Don't start working with rough sawn soft wood. You will cause yourself a huge amount of bother. Get yourself some cheap planed hardwood to start yourself started and under way. The power tools will follow with time, as you outgrow the basics.
I am planning to build my own workbenches, to be fair, and I've found some interesting blueprints for the main one where I intend to do most of the work. I already have a hand drill, and a set of rulers, a set of combination squares, protractors, angle finders, small set of chisels, calipers, mallet, etc. I have bought these tools over time as I needed them for some DIY projects I did in the house. The only tools I don't actually have are handsaws (apart from a coping saw and a couple of panel saws) and hand planes or hand routers.
I'll give Paul Sellers a look, thanks for the tip!
--------------------

To all the people who are saying I should invest in training: yes, I know :D I said that in my first post at the top of the thread because I too believe that it is incredibly important, and I will invest some money on that once the situation with covid improves.
 

Padster

Established Member
Joined
16 Jan 2020
Messages
210
Reaction score
517
Location
Leicester
There are a lot of very knowledgable guys here who know far more than I, but I would say if you have come to this forum for advice and have been reading a while before joining or posting it must of been because you considered the people here worthy to get advice from.

It seems like a pretty big wish list you have and it also seems like you don't have a vast amount of experience (apologies if I'm wrong). I appreciate you may not want to use hand tools and I don't use many but I have a knowledge of them, and you need that basis to make automation of a process (that is effectively what machines do) useful to understand what the machine is doing and not to misuse or endanger yourself through attempting something you should't.

If you intend to continue without the knowledge then simplify the process, pick a small simple project that will require maybe just one or two machines maximum and perfect the use of those machines/tools and final work, before you look at the next slightly more complex project that may require the next tool/machine.
I would suggest woodworking is like chess to an extent in that it can be quick to get started but takes a lifetime to master.

Padster
 

Yojevol

Clocking on
Joined
29 Jan 2017
Messages
931
Reaction score
391
Location
Cheltenham
I would concur with @AJB Temple on your choice of workshop construction. I have had to spend a lot of time and money keeping mine going over the last 15 years.
The main problem is moisture getting into the corner joints causing rot which cannot be seen until it's too late. You may be OK if it's in a sheltered position, but why risk it?
Brian
 

Val

Established Member
Joined
17 Jan 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
4
Location
Belfast
There are a lot of very knowledgable guys here who know far more than I, but I would say if you have come to this forum for advice and have been reading a while before joining or posting it must of been because you considered the people here worthy to get advice from.

It seems like a pretty big wish list you have and it also seems like you don't have a vast amount of experience (apologies if I'm wrong). I appreciate you may not want to use hand tools and I don't use many but I have a knowledge of them, and you need that basis to make automation of a process (that is effectively what machines do) useful to understand what the machine is doing and not to misuse or endanger yourself through attempting something you should't.

If you intend to continue without the knowledge then simplify the process, pick a small simple project that will require maybe just one or two machines maximum and perfect the use of those machines/tools and final work, before you look at the next slightly more complex project that may require the next tool/machine.
I would suggest woodworking is like chess to an extent in that it can be quick to get started but takes a lifetime to master.

Padster
Thank you for your words, Padster.
Yes, I did some research before posting here, hence the big wishlist based on the first project I wanted to make: a bench for my back garden. In the posts above I explained why I thought I needed the tools I indicated (basically a table/mitre saw, thicknesser, planer, router and orbital sander).

I am not against using hand tool at all, I do it all the time. For all the applications where hand tools would be recommended I would surely use one and based on what I've read I will surely need to do some chiseling, sawing or sanding by hand. However, if a power tool would simplify my life I would make sure to figure out how to use it properly and safely and spare me some time.

You're correct in saying that I do not have experience in woodworking, but as I said before I do have good experience with DIY projects and using many power tools from an impact driver or angle grinder to a jackhammer. However, even though I have no experience with table saws, routers, mitre saws, planers or thicknessers, I know well how to treat dangerous implements with the respect and attention they deserve.

Your suggestion to start small is a good one, do you think that a garden bench is too big of a project? Where would you suggest me to start?
 

Sachakins

The most wasted of days is one without woodwork
Joined
4 Apr 2020
Messages
1,018
Reaction score
684
Location
Liverpool
Hi AJB, thanks for your feedback. As I said in the post above (but I understand it is very long so it might have gone unnoticed) I had already invested money in training that never happened because of covid, and it will not be possible until likely the summer or later.

I have seen online videos of people of squaring edges or thicknessing rough sawn timber with a couple of hand planes and some sandpaper attached to a block of wood, and I believe I could achieve the same results with a thicknesser, a surface planer and an orbital sander in much less time. This would leave me free to have more time to actually make something rather than tediously plane everything by hand or spending a fortune in squared logs.

With regard to the cabin, it is a 40mm plane log double tong&groove, with floor and roof insulation, 26mm tong&groove flooring boards, built on a concrete base with damp proof membrane - I believe humidity levels inside should be reasonable.
You say floor and roof insulation, but will it have wall insulation too?I have a similar loglap shed (5x3) After a couple of years added 50mm insulation to my walls before lining with 18mm ply, Wish I had done it earlier, so much better now.

That's a lot of machines in a 5x4 shed, plus bench(s), plus space for storing glue ups, plus cabinet storage for finishes, glue, hardware and timber etc plus leaving space to maneuver timber and projects.

You mention HPLV and HVLP dust extraction, and catching down to 1 or 2 microns, I would look to catching down to less than this as its the smaller microns that do the most permanent and irreparable damage to your lungs.
I would add air filtration inside the shop and if possible and put a cyclone on dust extraction and if you have space to put a small lean to on outside of shed, then accoustic insulation that and you can house the dust extractors and compressor in there. It will greatly reduce airborne particles and drastically reduce noise to.

I admire your approach to setting things up right first time, but it is a big expense, plus you never know what you will really need till you decide on the projects you want to tackle first.

I would also consider a good bandsaw, since getting myself a used Kity 513 bandsaw, I use that far more now than either my table or sliding mitre saw.

Best of luck my friend, and remember the enjoyment is in what you make not what you make it with,.
 

Sachakins

The most wasted of days is one without woodwork
Joined
4 Apr 2020
Messages
1,018
Reaction score
684
Location
Liverpool
Also, your first project should be your workbench, shop cabinets and tool stands, and mobile bases for some of the machinery.
Take a look at Izzy Swan and Matthias Wandel on YouTube too.
 

Val

Established Member
Joined
17 Jan 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
4
Location
Belfast
I would concur with @AJB Temple on your choice of workshop construction. I have had to spend a lot of time and money keeping mine going over the last 15 years.
The main problem is moisture getting into the corner joints causing rot which cannot be seen until it's too late. You may be OK if it's in a sheltered position, but why risk it?
Brian
Hi, I have a really cheap shed in the driveway where I store my bike and when I check with the moisture meter it doesn't go further than 16%, which for the climate here in NI sounds about right (hint: lots of rain and little sunshine). I don't think a much better build should have any problems if erected and maintained properly.

Also, I don't have a brick garage and I can't erect a brick one in the garden as it would be next to a boundary, so a log cabin is all I can do short of selling my house and buying another one with a bigger brick garage - if buying a bunch of power tools seems to be too much, moving house I guess would be the ultimate exaggeration :D
 

Padster

Established Member
Joined
16 Jan 2020
Messages
210
Reaction score
517
Location
Leicester
Thank you for your words, Padster.
Yes, I did some research before posting here, hence the big wishlist based on the first project I wanted to make: a bench for my back garden. In the posts above........

.......Your suggestion to start small is a good one, do you think that a garden bench is too big of a project? Where would you suggest me to start?
The size of the project isn’t what matters here it was more about the tools/machines you would use, keeping it to as few as possible to start with...

Also as you don’t have all the machines yet can I suggest you look at the many threads about table saws vs track saws - its worth some consideration, as are MFT’s and rails used with said track saw....

As I said I’m no expert and just offering a point of view... at the end of the day it’s what you feel is right for you - good luck!

Padster
 

Val

Established Member
Joined
17 Jan 2021
Messages
55
Reaction score
4
Location
Belfast
You say floor and roof insulation, but will it have wall insulation too?I have a similar loglap shed (5x3) After a couple of years added 50mm insulation to my walls before lining with 18mm ply, Wish I had done it earlier, so much better now.

That's a lot of machines in a 5x4 shed, plus bench(s), plus space for storing glue ups, plus cabinet storage for finishes, glue, hardware and timber etc plus leaving space to maneuver timber and projects.

You mention HPLV and HVLP dust extraction, and catching down to 1 or 2 microns, I would look to catching down to less than this as its the smaller microns that do the most permanent and irreparable damage to your lungs.
I would add air filtration inside the shop and if possible and put a cyclone on dust extraction and if you have space to put a small lean to on outside of shed, then accoustic insulation that and you can house the dust extractors and compressor in there. It will greatly reduce airborne particles and drastically reduce noise to.

I admire your approach to setting things up right first time, but it is a big expense, plus you never know what you will really need till you decide on the projects you want to tackle first.

I would also consider a good bandsaw, since getting myself a used Kity 513 bandsaw, I use that far more now than either my table or sliding mitre saw.

Best of luck my friend, and remember the enjoyment is in what you make not what you make it with,.
Thanks for your reply Sachakins. The log cabin will not have wall insulation, but it is of good quality and not a shed (e.g. one of those cabins used for offices/additional living quarters).

With regard to the size, I know that 5x4m is not big, but I have CAD plans of the workshop and its content (I have measure of all the tools I put in the list above) and it seems to be just good enough to accommodate what I need.
The centrepiece is a 90x180cm workbench with ~1m free on three sides, plus ~1.5m free on the side I'll be working the most. On one of the corners I'll keep the mobile base for the table/mitre saw, and the drill press will be next to an additional workbench sitting at another corner, hosting the spindle sander on top and the compressor at the bottom. There is allowance for a 120x80cm wood storage, as well as for a big dust collector with cyclone like the JET 1.5hp.
In the list I've also added an air filtration system, do you think the one I indicated is good enough?
With regard to the dust collection system, apart from the really big machines I can't find ones that filter efficiently under 1 micron. The Laguna and Axminster I indicated filter 99.9% > 1 micron, while the JET filters 100% > 2 micron. Do you have any suggestion about it? Unfortunately cyclone systems with a 100mm outlet are really big.

I've also considered a bandsaw, as I said earlier I was thinking of a Laguna 14BX and I have already allocated enough space to it.
Also, your first project should be your workbench, shop cabinets and tool stands, and mobile bases for some of the machinery.
Take a look at Izzy Swan and Matthias Wandel on YouTube too.
Absolutely, as I mentioned earlier I was already planning to build my own bases, tables and cabinets.

Thanks for your help!
 
Top