What do you have in the way of clamps and or a heavy duty vice clamp? I have done my share of cabinet making and repairs, so I have several clamps that I use to repair a broken drawer or door. I also have a heavy duty bench vice that is very handy for metal work and repairs.
I find my table saw to one of the most versatile tools I own. I can create all sorts of jigs to do just about anything I want.
Need a 2x4 but only have a 2x6 on hand? No need to drive to Home Depot, just rip the 2x6 on the table saw. Can’t do that with a miter saw and it could be fairly dangerous with a circular saw.
Need to cut a slot or groove in a board? Throw a dado blade in the table saw and cut away. This could be done with a router, but you don’t mention that you have one.
As for dust collection, being in a basement shop, that could be necessary to keep dust out of the rest of the house. My shop is in a garage, but I’m still planning on making a Thien Cyclone Separator from some cheap wood and a 5 gallon bucket. It attaches to a shop vac (you don’t mention if you have one of those or not) and keeps your filter from getting clogged too quickly. And it should only cost about $30.
I’m not sure how interested you really are, but most woodworkers and DIYers see shop made items as a badge of honor. Sure you can go buy a $300 DC with all the bells and whistles, but why? You can make one for a tenth of the price, learn some skills and have fun doing it.
It’s kind of cool to see pictures of some people’s shops and they have thousands of dollars invested in a tablesaw, bandsaw, planer and router, but everything else is made out of wood.
I take a lot of advice from my dad. A long time ago he kept pushing for me to get a compressor. What for? I had no idea, but after a while of him suggesting I finally did. I was soon glad I did not too long after. Among other things…
My brad nailer from Harbor Freight is my trial for a more-than-$10-item from them. I love love love that store for basics and impulse items, but not sure I’d trust a spinning saw blade. Oh wait, I also got an excellent bench from them. Not the greatest, but the greatest for $130. Anyway, that nailer has worked flawlessly for the handful of projects I’ve used it for. Amazingly convenient.
Funny thing is, since we got a new, larger fridge a year or so ago, the dorm-sized overflow/dinner party fridge has been empty. It needs to move out of the den. I mainly drink Scotch, but that just doesn’t seem to go with workflow the way beer does. Much more of a sit-back-and-admire drink. But then again, there’s something off about the beer/workflow/power tools combination I just can’t put my finger on. Maybe if I was missing one or two I’d understand.
(Which is a good reason to go miter saw and save until I can afford a SawStop table saw. Another Dad recommendation that would be good to follow.)
I’m not sure if what I have counts, but it’s been great to me. When we first moved to our own home (as opposed to city apartments/townhouses), I picked up one of those combo-deals. Among the kit was a 7.25” circular saw. It’s cordless, but the 18v battery has yet to let me down (and by buying matching items over time, I’ve got about seven batteries to ensure I always have a full charge). I know the power difference between my 18v drill and a corded drill, so get the difference—just have yet to run into it.
I’ll trade you what I think a Yankee drill is for what an ‘SDS’ drill is. A Yankee is an old fashioned hand-cranked drill. There are push models, this one looks like an old-school egg beater. I haven’t used it in ages, and frankly can’t remember why. I’ve had it for years, before other cordless drills and before I had one with a speed-sensitive trigger.
The Dewalt is a hammer drill and has settings for hammer and two speeds. The hammer drill really does make putting in the Tapcon anchors a breeze. I also have a percussion nail gun (one that takes .22 cartridges and with the squeeze of a trigger shoots nails into the wall). I have that because I’m adding a lot of furring strips (is that what they’re called?) to support pegboard. The drill is great for adding conduit and electrical boxes, but doesn’t compare to the ease of shooting in the nails. That and shooting a gun in the house is a bit surreal.
Good call. Back in March I piggybacked on to the Angle Grinder Question thread thread and thanks to the responses, now have a Porter-Cable grinder (I moved to using a conduit cutter for EMT, though. Fewer sparks but much safer, cleaner and easier).
Ah, ‘rafter angle’. I’ve been calling it a speed square. I have a cheapish plastic one, but damn does it come in handy. I should be using the combination square more often, but this little thing is great for laying out lines. I underutilize the hell out of it though. When I worked with real carpenters at Habitat they showed (and I’ve forgotten) just how much information you can get out of it.
I have taken the ‘you can never have too many clamps’ to heart, and don’t have enough clamps. Harbor Freight always has one or two of their clamps on sale, and it’s always a great impulse grab. Those Irwin-styled holding thingamajigs (not quite a clamp, but very easy to firmly grip) are awesome too.
I have a couple vices (well, more than that but that’s a different story). There’s a largish 6” metal Kobalt vice for heavier work (with soft inserts for squooshables) and the wood vice that came with the HF bench. I also have a piece of railroad track that makes for a great anvil. Not that I have a forge, but I’m ready just in case.
I love the “holy shit, I?! did that?” feeling when something comes together. I’m really starting to lean towards the self-made DC, especially since it’ll open up the budget without compromising quality.
This is great advice and really helping me think through what I have … I should probably start an omnibus thread on building this shop, especially as it’s kind of there but there are a ton of questions and great suggestions in the air.
Regarding Harbor Freight - I used to only trust them for things that were too simple to make poorly, like say, cable ties.
But, I’ve bought some power tools (and air tools, too) from them, and they all have performed pretty well. I bought a huge 1/2” chuck drill for mixing mortar, and it was 1/3 the price of a name-brand drill, and has done everything I wanted it to.
Just about every hand drill has a Hammer setting, but it makes hard work of drilling concrete compared to an SDS drill which is larger and has a piston mechanism. The bits are quick change too.
Advanced model have a non rotary setting for using a chisel blade.
Just google for more info.
Unless you do a lot of sanding and finishing I think an elabarote dust collector is overkill. Love the shop vac do it yourself idea.
I find a good table saw invaluable. My room is too small but I love love love what a friend of mine built in his garage. (more of a small barn guys’ playhouse, cars don’t fit…) He built out the table saw table into a giant workbench that he can slide around a 4x8 sheet of plywood any which way by himself. rest of the time the massive bench can have an entire project layed out. A thing of beauty.
Good miter saw is high on the list after the table saw.