My Woodworking Philosophies (and other ramblings...)
Purchasing - Hand
Tools - Bits,
Blades, Etc - Sharpening
There are plenty of good safety devices that you could/should employ. My tablesaw is equipped with an overarm blade guard and a splitter. A good dust colletion system is often viewed as way to keep the shop clean, but it also plays a major role in preventing health problems caused by airborne dust (reference Bill Pentz' site). Gaurds are often a PITA, but use them anyway. Unguarded tools like a router table, bandsaw, power miter saw, etc can cause a lot of heavy damage before you know what happened. Personal protective equipment is also a must. Items like hearing protection (Peltor ear muffs are fantastic), eye protection (I can hear Norm now), and things as mundane as closed toe shoes and gloves when handling rough lumber are invaluable.
OK, enough with the lecture....Tool Purchasing:
On the "Tools" page, I discuss my major shop tools (you can get there from the previous page - after you finish this one). I made the choice up front to stay away from an "all-in-one" machine like a ShopSmith and purchase individual machines for several reasons. I had/have the shop space for dedicated single-use tools. The setup changes necessary when switching operations on the all-in-one tools is something I wanted to avoid. I've heard problems with accuracy such as table height variations, etc. I also wanted to avoid shutting the shop down if the motor in the all-in-one dies. Looking back I think I made the right choice, but others opt for the all-in-ones for valid reasons. The choice is yours, but think carefully. You don't want to find after you've invested major $$ in tools that you went the wrong way. The only saving grace is that woodworking tools generally hold their values well.
There is a lot of advice on the net to buy the best tool the first time you make a purchase. That makes a lot of sense if you know you're going to stick with this hobby. It can get expensive to keep upgrading a tool to get a "bigger better" model. I know this from painful first hand experience - I'm on my fourth (and last) tablesaw.Hand tools:
Hand tools have their uses and are indispensable in many instances. Although I don't talk about them much on these pages, I have a decent selection of hand planes, hand saws, scrapers, etc. It's very refreshing to work with wood without a motor screaming and a cutter head turning ominously at some crazy speed. I'm certainly not a Neanderthal, but I do have a healthy respect for hand tools. Every shop should have a few indispensible items like a block plane, a couple hand saws (dovetail, rip, crosscut, dozuki), and a good set of chisels.
Last revised: 4/18/06
© Copyright 2006 Chris Billman