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SVreX MegaDork
9/6/12 4:24 p.m.

In reply to scardeal:

Do you have a budget in mind?

It's pretty clear a lot of the recommendations are heading in very different directions.

If you are looking to spend less than the cost of buying an entertainment unit, most of the recommendations in this thread have overshot your budget.

The nicest, most accurate, and most efficient wood shops have quite a bit of money tied up in them. My shop is closer to Norm Abrams' shop than the average homeowner (though I lack his corporate sponsorship). It is possible to build an entertainment unit with less equipment than the cost of buying such a unit, but most of the posts in this thread have shot higher than that.

To answer your original question (which we all seem to have missed), you do not need a planer to do this. You also do not need a miter saw. A table saw would be nice, but not a need.

daeman Dork
2/27/17 3:28 a.m.

Ummmm Canoe?

EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
2/27/17 4:31 a.m.

Canoe deleted. Heads up y'all, 5 year old thread.

Brian MegaDork
2/27/17 6:42 a.m.

In reply to EastCoastMojo:

Still a good read. Now I want to do some wood working.

T.J. UltimaDork
2/27/17 8:28 a.m.

Well, since it has been resurrected, I finally bought a table saw last year, and it is very handy. Ripping with a circular saw and straight edge isn't too bad once you master it, but it is easier with a table saw. I don't have a dado stack yet, but when I need to make dados, I just make multiple passes until I get the size I need. Same result just takes a little longer.

If I were building an entertainment center, I would use my table saw, miter saw, router, drill and a handsaw. Oh yeah and you can never have enough clamps.

gearheadmb Dork
2/27/17 11:28 a.m.

Yeah, tablesaws are kind of the centerpiece of the shop. Most of my woodworking stuff has either been cheap stuff or hand me downs, I make do with all of it and most works out just fine, but now that I know how much I actually use the tablesaw it is the first thing I am going to spend real money to upgrade to high end model.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
2/27/17 11:39 a.m.

As much of a tool-junky as I am, spending much of 2016 in an apartment 338 miles from home taught me to make do with less. I built a surprising amount of add-hock furniture with a cordless drill and impact driver, a pocket-hole kit, a Japanese pull saw and a few clamps.

Rufledt UberDork
2/27/17 12:33 p.m.

Even an old thread can have new life! I do hand tool wood working and I would say even if you have space for power tools, get some simple hand tools. A block plane and a jack (#5) plane can do almost anything plane-related. Just don't cheap out on them. Get Lee Nielsen or Veritas planes. If you must cheap out, get wood river planes. Anything else new I wouldn't trust at all. Same for chisels, a few decent chisels can work wonders for small details. Flex cut makes some good chisels too. A few high quality hand tools go a long way, but they can be even more of a money suck than power tools. You can fit a lot more hand tools in the same size shop...

patgizz UltimaDork
2/27/17 2:36 p.m.

Since this is zombified...

You want to use sheet goods for things. You don't want to cut it. Take your measurements to home depot and have them run it on their panel saw. Most of them are first 3 cuts free then .25 each after 3. Even as a professional carpenter with all the tools, i'm always having them run stuff through the panel saw for me.

bluej UltraDork
2/27/17 3:56 p.m.
patgizz wrote: Since this is zombified... You want to use sheet goods for things. You don't want to cut it. Take your measurements to home depot and have them run it on their panel saw. Most of them are first 3 cuts free then .25 each after 3. Even as a professional carpenter with all the tools, i'm always having them run stuff through the panel saw for me.

Pat's right, but don't assume they'll be anywhere close to what you'd want for a final cut for furniture or other finer woodworking. I do it often for transport and handling reasons, but always plan to leave material to clean up their quick first chops.

also, have fun: https://paulsellers.com/

M2Pilot HalfDork
2/27/17 10:38 p.m.

I wish I could help but the only thing I've ever successfully built using wood was a fire.

smokindav Reader
2/27/17 11:03 p.m.

Here's a list of tools my dad and I used when we built my dining room table.

Originally Posted by smokindav

As for what tools you need - here's a list of the major stuff we used for the table: Table Saw Band Saw Drill Press Cordless Drill Planer Hand Plane, large - very effective in getting boards flat, used it extensively on the table top Hand Plane, small Wood working clamps Wood glue Circular saw Random orbital sander Mouse Sander Files Wood chisel C-clamps Various t-squares to make sure things were 90º Belt sander Router Biscuit jointer cutting tool


jimbbski Dork
2/28/17 2:59 p.m.

One type of saw not mentioned is a "track saw". It's portable and it's designed to make long cuts in large pieces of wood. It's sort of a circular saw but comes with a long metal "track" the it rides in so your cuts are super straight. You can get similar results with a circular saw and a straight edge but it takes more set up time and you have to be careful when your cutting as the saw can still wander.

gearheadmb Dork
3/1/17 2:18 p.m.

What is a scroll saw used for? There are a ton of them on CL all the time for dirt cheap. I just cant figure out what their purpose is in life.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
3/1/17 5:53 p.m.

In reply to gearheadmb:

Usually small, decorative pieces.

Schmidlap HalfDork
3/1/17 7:46 p.m.

I have a question about circular saws, specifically, was I an idiot when I used mine this weekend. I was using a Black and Decker 12A circular saw to cut some 1/2" thick oak plywood this weekend. I made a couple of cuts across the plywood (48" direction) to get it to a more manageable size for my small table saw. After a few cuts, I noticed the saw wasn't turning as fast as it used to, and after 8 or so cuts, it really sounded off, and I noticed a bit of smoke coming from the cooling vents for the motor. The saw is only a year or two old and used only a few times.

What could I have done to kill it so quickly? Was the blade not sharp enough? It wasn't very old, so I don't think so. Was the blade turning the right direction? Yes, I checked that many times. Was the saw not powerful enough? It was only 1/2" plywood and I wasn't cutting very fast. Was I twisting the saw or "clamping" the blade between the two cut pieces, forcing the saw to work harder? That's my guess, but I'd love to hear opinions from others before I replace it and destroy another (or replace the motor brushes on this one and hope that fixes it).

smokindav Reader
3/1/17 8:24 p.m.

Was it oak plywood or oak planks? Oak is pretty dense - might have burned it up.

In reply to Schmidlap:

jimbbski Dork
3/2/17 9:46 a.m.

I always like to use carbide tipped blades as the brazed on carbide is just a bit wider then the rest of the blade giving it clearance to spin freely and not bind up as you make long cuts. You could also stop after you make part of the cut and put a wedge of wood in the cut end to keep it from closing up and binding up your cutting blade.

Normal circular saws, that is direct drive, are not as powerful as the worm gear drive saws. Almost all of your more expensive "pro grade" saws are worm drive.

KyAllroad UberDork
3/2/17 10:13 a.m.

In reply to Schmidlap: Black and Decker as a brand is pretty much crap. The saw is likely done. The good news is that this is a great opportunity to purchase an upgrade. Mine is a Porter-Cable and will likely outlive me. As opposed to some of the other brands, it's 14A and the deck is made of magnesium so it's lighter by a couple of pounds compared to the other contractor grade tools. This makes a difference when cutting all the way across a sheet of plywood.

SVreX MegaDork
3/2/17 10:55 a.m.

In reply to jimbbski:

Track saw seems particularly useless to me. OK, perhaps not useless, but thoroughly redundant.

There is NO difference between it and a decent straight edge guide for a circular saw. Kreg, Festool, Bora, Rockler, Shop Fox, Freud, Empire... pick your poison.

SVreX MegaDork
3/2/17 11:00 a.m.

In reply to KyAllroad:

I'm not a fan of lightweight saws for accurate panel cutting. They tend to wander.

A worm drive circular saw is heavy enough to stay put, and the handle placement gives about 8" more reach across a 4' panel. The heavier motor also bogs down less.

If you are holding your saw at arms length, you're doing it wrong.

I do most of my basic utility cutting with a lightweight battery powered saw, but always reach for a worm drive when I want accurate panel cuts.

Schmidlap HalfDork
3/3/17 7:19 p.m.

In reply to KyAllroad, SmokinDavand Jimbbski:

Thanks for the recommendations. So the consensus is a better saw and a better blade. It was oak plywood from Home Depot, not plank. I feel bad about wrecking the saw because it was a gift so I'll hold on to it even if it's not working very well, but I'll also likely get a Porter Cable for doing actual work. The funny part is when my mom gave me this one, I passed on my grandfather's ~50 year old Black and Decker circular saw to my brother, and it's still going strong despite getting a lot more use in the last year than my fairly new one.

3/6/17 8:05 a.m.


I work in construction and for me the Makita 5007 series saws is the best saw for the money. I have two, one is set up for cutting wood, the other is used for cutting metal, backer boards, etc. They have never let me down. A good blade and a good saw can work wonders.

dculberson PowerDork
3/6/17 8:56 a.m.
SVreX wrote: I do most of my basic utility cutting with a lightweight battery powered saw, but always reach for a worm drive when I want accurate panel cuts.

I was ripping a 10' length of maple butcherblock in half and also cross cutting it to make the bar at my house, and a worm drive Ridgid saw was just the tool for the job. It paid for itself with just that one use, and I've used it so many times since. I'm sure the other main brands are good too. Plus there's the visceral reaction of hoisting this thing when setting up for a job; it looks and feels like something you would see in a first person shooter as a melee weapon:

Not my hand, just some random photo grabbed off the 'net. I smile every time I use this thing. It is so much better than any direct drive saw I've used.

Also, I found it works best to - while of course cutting from the underside of the piece, opposite the side you'll see most - screw the saw guide down to the piece. It makes it so much more solid and is much easier to get a straight cut. Make sure the screws you use are sharp and not so long that they'll poke through the top of the work piece!

collinskl1 New Reader
3/6/17 11:18 a.m.

I'll stack on another vote for worm drive circular saw.

When I worked in construction, I reached for that saw 90% of the time over setting up a compound miter or table saw. With a good straight edge and some clamps, it cuts just as straight and makes me feel safer.

Also, when compared to the "normal looking" direct drive circular saws, I much prefer the worm drive's blade being on the left. That way I can see the blade when operating the saw. Again, making me feel safer.

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