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Established Member
13 Aug 2004
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West Yorkshire
Having decided to take up woodworking as a hobby I am in the process of converting part of my garage into a workshop. I already have a selection of hand power tools including a good heavy duty router and I am waiting for delivery of a Festool TS55 circular saw. I also already have a floor standing pillar drill and benchtop saw (cheap, poor quality machines bought from Mhachinemart a while back) and a sliding compound mitre saw from Axminster.

I have set myself a budget of around £1100 to equip my workshop and I am about to order a bandsaw (probably an Electra Beckum BAS 316 G), leaving me with around £800.

The question is what should I use the remaining funds to buy?

Should I be looking at buying a table saw (as I'd like to, being a gadget freak) or would the money be better spent elsewhere, especially as space is limited with about 2/3 of a single garage available. I also currently have practically no hand tools.

Apologies for the rather vague question but any advice would be appreciated.

Hi Froglet, welcome!

Could you give us an idea of what aspect of woodworking you want to get into? No point us suggesting a lathe if you dont want to do turning, or a spindle moulder if you want to make minatures :shock:

Best advice is probably to pick your projects, begin and see what you need to finish the job. You will be amazed at what you can do without a garage full of nice shiny machinery :lol:

The bandsaw/table saw/both argument has raged long and hard with advocates and detractors on all sides. Try a search of the site for more info. For either, general advice would be to buy quality rather than cheap, even if you have to save and wait for it. Thats not to say you have to have a £2k unisaw or nothing, just that a £99 clarke saw will be a false economy :wink:

Short answer is everyone will answer this differently depending on the space they have, the budget they have, their priorities and experience. :roll: Having said that, tell us a bit more about your plans and we may be able to make some suggestions.


Welcome to the forum, Graeme

Phew. I hope you're braced for the answers to this one? :shock: :lol: My own thought is simply start a project and see what tools you find you're lacking. Oh, and read everything about woodworking you can get your hands on; books, mags, catalogues, the archives here, everything. You'll soon have a list of "must haves"... :roll: With the bandsaw, SCMS and Festool, a table saw seems a bit superfluous to me, fwiw (but then I would say that...). Especially given the space restrictions, although Adam will deny that's a problem. :)

froglet":2kqbf0e9 said:
I also currently have practically no hand tools.
<shudder> So what have you got? We could take care of that £800 just there, no sweat... :wink:

Of course everything depends on what sort of stuff you want to make, so any further flesh on the bare bones there will help. Presumably stuff in wood, but...? Ready-planed softward from the DIY shed? Stack of 30 yr seasoned oak boards you happened upon in a skip? Sheet goods? Furniture? Is the workshop the project (guilty as charged there myself, at the moment) or toys for the tadpoles? The more info the better. :D

Cheers, Alf

Edit Ooo, snap Steve! You beat me to it by a shaving :lol:
I think that my most useful tools are:

Cordless Drill!
Table Saw
Biscuit Jointer!

Although i am still very much so a beginner i still find my self wanting more more more but as Steve said, It's best to start a project and find out what tools would be most useful for yo from there!

Hope this helps


Seeing as you have had the good taste and sense to buy a Festool saw, and, presumably, the rails, then you don't need to buy a table saw at this stage. If you make yourself cutting table big enough to take the largest pieces you are likely to work on (in my case this is 8'x4') then you have your straight cuts and cross cuts sorted.
Consider a Festool MFT, multi function table as well. You can do a lot of good stuff with one of those. I think they are around £350, and worth every single penny. I rarely use my Electra Bekum table saw now.
You do, of course, have a suitable dust extractor for the saw??? The Trend 30AF fits OK if you don't want to pay the extra for the Festool
Space will shortly become your biggest need. DON'T fill it now with stuff you don't absolutely need right now.

As others have suggested, start with somthing you want to make and see how you get on. I reckon you really need to be thinking about handtools and in particular at this stage, good layout tools.
Hi Froglet - welcome to the forum :)

I can't add too much to the already sensible answers above - in particular trying out some projects to see what you want/need, and more importantly whether woodwork is a hobby you'll end up sticking with (£1100 is alot of money to spend just to find it's not the hobby for you).

The only other thing I'd add (as I've learned over the years) is to buy the best you can afford tool wise - i.e. that which meets your needs but generally steering away from the bargain bucket end of the market.

Again, it depends on whether you think you'll stick with it, but I've found time and again that buying cheap is money down the drain because you invariably end up buying a better (and more expensive) version of the same tool later on.

That said, I think you've got the right idea - the EB BAS 316 is a good bandsaw (I have the 315), although you can probably find better in the same price bracket - check the reviews/postings on this and other sites.

Thanks for the replies.

Currently the workshop is the main project along with some stuff for my wifes workroom. So I am mainly using sheet goods at the moment but the aim is to progress on to making things in hardwoods everything from boxes to furniture, although in reference to Steve's reply woodturning doesn't really appeal to me. My next actual project will probably be a router table.

I do agree with the idea of buying quality rather than cheap, having bought rubbish in the past I have no intention of doing it again. With that in mind what do you think of my choice of bandsaw? Having looked at a few it came down to a choice of the Electra Beckum, the Scheppach Basato 3 and the Record BS300. While the BS300 has a greater throat capacity the other two just seemed to be that little bit better made and of the two of them the EB was cheaper and besides I like the colour :)

Alf when I said I had practically no hand tools I should have capitalised the word 'NO'. My tools have been accumulated when I needed to do a specific job and as I love gadgets I have tended to buy a power tools, the mitre saw was bought to cut up lumber for some partition walls, the Festool I have bought because I was fed up trying to accurately cut up sheets of ply with my cheap circular saw, and so on. In fact the only actual hand tool I can think of at the moment is a Stanley #5 plane that I found in the garage when tidying up that must have belonged to my wife's ex-husband.

By the way how do I add the graphics smileys to the text?

I must learn to type my replies faster in order to keep up and I notice it auto converts your text smileys for you.

John when ordering my Festool saw I was seriously tempted by the multifunction table, it seemed like the perfect solution to repeatably and accurately cutting panels, one of the problems I have been having. Although my workshop area is limited to part of a single garage space this is part of a double garage with a wall down the middle and the other garage is available to use for dealing with sheet goods and I have been using a cutting table knocked together from lumber to deal with 8x4 sheets.

I have an Axminster WV100 dust extractor (another tool bought for a specific job) that I am hoping will cover all of my extraction needs for the time being.

froglet":1ud624v6 said:
......I do agree with the idea of buying quality rather than cheap, having bought rubbish in the past I have no intention of doing it again. With that in mind what do you think of my choice of bandsaw? Having looked at a few it came down to a choice of the Electra Beckum, the Scheppach Basato 3 and the Record BS300. While the BS300 has a greater throat capacity the other two just seemed to be that little bit better made and of the two of them the EB was cheaper and besides I like the colour :) .....

I'm generally happy with my BAS 315 - the only slight niggle is that the fence adjustment is abit sloppy (i.e. you set it for distance from the blade, but when you then tighten up completely the fence seems to pull towards the blade a little, ruining your set-up).

This seems to be a consequence of the fence design. Perhaps they've fixed this with the 316 - I dunno - haven't seen one in the flesh so to speak...

I'm pretty sure there was a bandsaw thread in the not too distant past that compared/discussed the EB 316 vs Basato - perhaps worth you doing a forum search...

Welcome Aboard Graeme..

Going by the list of stuff you already have, it seems to me you're pretty much in shape to build that router table with the addition of a couple of tools...
How are you at research..??
I'd say the most important tool you'll need is a damn good router; a look through the tool review section will highlight quite a few recommendations.. obviously the addition of some decent router bits is a must too. In addition, arm yourself with something like the Axminster catalogue and take a look at their layout tools, I'm talking about tape measures, large framing squares, combination squares, small engineering squares, marking knives etc etc... In addition... clamps... you can NEVER have enough clamps in all shapes n sizes, styles an guises... there's another project for the shop right there in building a storage system for the layout tools and clamps..
Next; most important tool in the shop... a good bench. If you're focusing on power tools, you're unlikely to meed a traditional cabinetmakers bench, but you'll still need an assembly bench that's big, strong and perfectly flat / level.
I wouldn't worry too much about kitting out the optimum shop from the get go; you'll always fine that the next project will run a little easier if you only had an........ you can fill in the blanks over time...
For now, I'd focus on the basics; make sure your lighting is good, dust extraction is up to the job, your safety gear is up to spec etc...
You've already taken the hardest step by committing yourself to outfitting a shop; you've taken one of the most logical steps by joining this list... about the only advise you need at this stage is ... don't be afraid to ask... it's that simple...

edited frequently cos I'm fulla the flu.....
You are going to need planing equipment.

Dont waste time on an electric hand planer , go for the big job on the stand, particularly as you have a bandsaw.

My advice after 5 or 6 years of playing with wood is don't buy anything else other than a dust extractor now.

Build some projects and buy what you NEED rather than what you think you'll need. You will very be surprised at what you can build with only a few tools

If you think this advice is rather poor, then spend it all on the most useful and beautiful tools available at - I certainly would :lol:

I think that if you search the forum you will find many people started out with a plethroa of power tools only to find the joys of hand tools a year or two down the line and they now have cupboards with very rarely used power tools covered in dust :wink: and shavings from hand planes :p

I have sold a few unused power tools to feed my LN habbit :)
Hello froglet and welcome,

It's sooo easy to blow £1100 isn't it?. FWIW (not much probably!), as others have suggested, first identify what sort of stuff you want to be making.

When I finally got my own workshop, I initially invested in a planer thicknesser, a site saw and a drill press. In retrospect, I wrongly focussed on buying all the "must have" power tools at the time, and not enough on traditional handtools. Several years later, I'm now keen to 'go back' to more traditional woodworking purely for the pleasure of it and to challenge myself, and hone skills I learn't years ago but haven't practised enough. The exception is when I get the opportunity to do paid carpentry and of course the power tools are just great for speed, efficiency and profit.

My advice is not what specifically you should buy but rather how to. For 'big ticket' stuff like machines, think maybe secondhand to start with - there's some great bargains on ebay for example. My first (and only) bandsaw is an old Whitehead Junior circa 1946. It was free to collect. All it cost me was a set of guide bearings, new blades and a tin of Hammerite! It looks old fashioned and crappy but works just as good as any new machine.

But from the start don't skimp and buy cheapo handtools - buy quality and you'll only ever need to buy once.

Sorry if this post in any way sounds patronising. I hope it doesn't cos it's not meant to be.

happy hunting!

I'd agree, buy high quality hand tools, for me, the only major power tool purchase I'd suggest (as I agree with John Elliott that with the Festool circular saw, you don't really need a table saw) is a Planer/Thicknesser. It allows you to buy in cheaper stock and process it to be square and precisely dimensioned. This applies only if you are intending to make furniture, and want to make savings on buying hardwood.

Why not simply start building projects and see what you need. Alternatively, invest some of that money into a training course. Then you'll get a good feel for high quality equipment/tools etc. A router is the only other thing that springs to mind. Don't skimp on the quality of the cutters, they soon dull.

For any given task, their are normally loads of differnt ways to achieve the same result, so you don't need a workshop full of tools, you just have to find ways to use the stuff you have got. This quickest way to do this is to read lots of books, magazines, take a training course, do an evening class or find some people local to you. Nearly everybody on here would be happy to demonstrate a particular tool if you are considering purchasing the same I'm sure.

I would certainly have suggested you buy a good tablesaw especially if you deal a lot with sheets, however seeing as you have the TS55 Festool circular saw, you are already well equipped :D
I agree with JohnElliott, get the Festool multifunction table. You can then get the router table to go in it along with the OF1400, and then the Festool vaccum, and then... ahahhaa [gone crazy]
Seriously, because you say you want to get a router table, getting the festool multifunction table should work well for you. You can use it with your circular saw then with your router and it's compact enough to accommodate your restricted working area.
Tony your muscles must still be expanding, mine are starting to contract these days, so power machinery is therefore needed.
Welcome Froglet :D ,
As Tony wrote
I certainly would
,And he certainly HAS :lol:

I agree with what's gone before, and you yourself have said,
start creating and buy what you need :!:
One thing that hasn't been mentioned......CRAMPS & lots of them


( If you start buying now, you might end up with........
20 or so hand planes, for instance) :roll:

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