New Shop - Machine Recommendations

Duane.S

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I am building a new shop and would like some opinions and recommendations on the major power tools and other equipment.

About a years ago we moved from the Los Angeles / Orange County area to San Luis Obispo in the California central coast. I had a 2 car garage shop in the OC where I built and repaired many guitars. When we moved, I sold most of the woodworking machines that I had at the time, either too big to put in storage or decided I’d rather have a different machine.

I am converting a 700 sq ft ADU (apartment) for my shop, which has 480 sq ft for woodworking, 160 sq ft clean space / office and 60 sq ft bathroom / spray booth.

I am a hobbyist and am not looking to build a lot of guitars. I have built mostly electric guitars in the past but will also be building acoustic guitars.

The machines that I kept are:
  • Powermatic (Jet) 16-32 drum sander.
  • Bench top spindle sander.
  • Dewalt 13” benchtop planer.
  • Delta 16” floor drill press.
  • Compressor, 2hp, 10 gal tank, 5.3cfm @ 90psi, and kept all of my finishing equipment.
  • Homemade buffer using a Shop Fox arbor.
  • I recently bought a used General 48-850 overarm pin router.
I’d like to get recommendations on what machines you think are the most useful considering my floor space. I’ve found that you can never have enough work bench space and plan to build my benches to fill up the shop.

I’d prefer not to get into the different brands, but focus on the type and uses of the equipment. I’ll have questions on brands or models after I decide what I need to get.

I have a decent budget, but I’m good with buying used. In the past some of the machines in my shop saw little use so I am open to benchtop machines that I can stored out of the way.

Here are some of the machines that I’m considering:
  • Table saw – Contractor or cabinet? I had an older 52” Delta Unisaw that got a lot of use but took up too much space.
  • Bandsaw – I had a Jet 14” with a 6” riser and 1hp motor. It was underpowered for resawing and am thinking in the 2hp range bandsaws.
  • Jointer – I had a delta 6” floor model jointer that didn’t get a lot of use, thinking of a 6” benchtop?
  • Edge Sander – 6”x 86” oscillating?
  • Disc sander - Thinking of a 12”, possibly benchtop?
  • Dust Collector – Want to go with a cyclone type, mobile vs fixed with ducting?
  • Router table – I had one before but is it needed with the overarm router?
There are other machines that in the future I might consider like a duplicator carver and or CNC router.

I am about 4 months away from having the space ready, but because of my OCD I need to start looking at these things now. :)

Thanks in advance for your help! Duane.
 

fatdaddypreacher

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i too have a small shop and am only a hobbyist. i bought my tools when i was more involved in larger millworks projects, so some of my stuff may appear as a bit of overkill for a hobbyist, but they have served me well. I like to buy american products when i can, but prices wouldn't allow that at the time i bought (apx 15 years ago). I can recommend the ones i have which are all grizzly. 15" planer, 8" jointer (comes in handy on 7 1/2" to stock for caps), 15" bandsaw, drill press, and 3 hp cabinet saw. I have all of them set up in a 12 x 20 shop, but added on about that again for assembly, as it got to be a real chore before i added on. a good rule of thumb is to buy the heaviest duty piece you can afford, as generally they perform better and last longer....good luck
 

fumblefinger

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Just a thought on a table saw. Hard to see in the pic, but there is a plywood top that slides on over the cast iron extension. It makes a great layout or work surface. The base lets me roll it anywhere I need it.
 

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56lp

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"Router table – I had one before but is it needed with the overarm router?"

For my guitar building needs, I prefer to use my overarm router, rather than my router table.
 

Duane.S

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@fatdaddypreacher, It is impressive that you can fit all those machines into that space. Do you have them on mobile bases? If you have a picture or 2 I'd love to see how you have it laid out.

@fumblefinger, I was thinking about doing something similar with a contractor table saw. I assume that it's a 110v saw, how does it handle thick hardwoods?

@56lp, That is what I was thinking with the overarm router, but you do find use for the router table? I was thinking about getting a table saw wing that has a router mount built into it.

Thanks to everyone that has responded.
 

fatdaddypreacher

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no, they are not on mobile bases, and no, i don't have a pic. i'll be glad to share my layout with you once i take pics and load them. i kind of remembering drawing a floor plan of the shop to scale, and cutting out scale footprints of each piece of equipment, including infeed and outfeed projections. i kept scooting them around till i found what i thought would make the most sense. i layed it out figuring 8 foot maximim lengths, and positioning the table saw where the outfeed would actually go outside where i had a bit of a veranda, or covering in case it was raining.
 

fatdaddypreacher

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oh, my bad...the bandsaw ended up in my addition, and i have a floor model 6 " belt sander in the main shop instead of drill press....been a long time since i've used it all. i forgot about the changes..
 

pshupe

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Here is a vitrual tour of my small shop. I've actually built another shop now and still have that one as well.

I have a cabinet saw and am happy with the power and stability of it. I created an 8' x 4' table around it and I have removeable tops over my router table and spindle sander. Most of my other tools are up against a wall and have mobile bases so I can pull them straight out and use them with open space.

Small Shop

It really depends what you plan on doing with your shop as to what are the most valuable tools. If you want to use a lot of rough lumber or even cut down your own trees, as I do, then a wide jointer/planer combo is invaluable. I have a 16" wide combo unit and it is probably my most used tool.

Cheers Peter.
 

Duane.S

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@fatdaddypreacher, If you get a chance to post some pictures I'd appreciate it. What do you find is your least used but necessary machine?

@pshupe, That virtual tour of your shop is very cool. How many sq ft is that shop?

I noticed the CNC router and I'm wondering what tools would that replace? I am a retired engineer and am very comfortable using CAD but haven't looked that closely into CAM software. The CNC router intrigues me, but it feels like the cost of entry is high for a tool I am unsure about how useful it will be. This is probably a different thread.....

I don't plan on harvesting my own wood, I would have to travel quite a distance to find tonewood trees. In the past I've used the jointer to square up neck blanks, tops and bodies. Just a few passes and I'm done. So I'm wondering if a benchtop jointer will get the job done?

Thanks, Duane.
 

fatdaddypreacher

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by least used, i'm assuming you're speaking of guitar related building....i'd say my edge belt sander.
 

fumblefinger

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Duane.S -
Well, it's an older model, probably at least 15 years old. That said, I used to routinely rip 8/4 purpleheart with it. Come to think of it, I have recently also. I did need to have the motor overhauled earlier this year. That was a $200 expense, so if you look at a used model, keep that in mind.
 

Roxy13

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Cutech might be still having their Black Friday sale. I have their 8" benchtop jointer and like it a lot.
 

Tweaker

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@fatdaddypreacher, If you get a chance to post some pictures I'd appreciate it. What do you find is your least used but necessary machine?

I noticed the CNC router and I'm wondering what tools would that replace? I am a retired engineer and am very comfortable using CAD but haven't looked that closely into CAM software. The CNC router intrigues me, but it feels like the cost of entry is high for a tool I am unsure about how useful it will be. This is probably a different thread.....

These are the operations I run on my CNC: neck pocket routing, neck screw mounting holes, pickup pocket routing, bushing/insert holes for tune-o-matic bridges/tailpieces, potentiometer holes, switch holes, switch cavity, control cavity, binding channel, body profile, neck carve, neck profile, truss rod channel, tuner holes, nut slot, fret slots, fretboard inlay pockets, fretboard profile, fretboard radius, veneer profile, veneer inlay pocket...I'm sure I'm forgetting some operations.

I'll let you decide which tools the CNC replaces!

I use a jointer, planer, and a jobsite Dewalt table saw to get the body blanks/neck blanks ready for CNC. Once they come off the CNC, there are only a few things to do by hand, and then sanding. Things like drilling the output jack hole. The cost to introduce a CNC into your shop may not be as wild as you're expecting. Avid CNC makes great machines and the prices are fair:

 

Duane.S

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Cutech might be still having their Black Friday sale. I have their 8" benchtop jointer and like it a lot.
That looks like a very nice machine, probably I'll end up getting one like that.

These are the operations I run on my CNC: neck pocket routing, neck screw mounting holes, pickup pocket routing, bushing/insert holes for tune-o-matic bridges/tailpieces, potentiometer holes, switch holes, switch cavity, control cavity, binding channel, body profile, neck carve, neck profile, truss rod channel, tuner holes, nut slot, fret slots, fretboard inlay pockets, fretboard profile, fretboard radius, veneer profile, veneer inlay pocket...I'm sure I'm forgetting some operations.

I'll let you decide which tools the CNC replaces!

I use a jointer, planer, and a jobsite Dewalt table saw to get the body blanks/neck blanks ready for CNC. Once they come off the CNC, there are only a few things to do by hand, and then sanding. Things like drilling the output jack hole. The cost to introduce a CNC into your shop may not be as wild as you're expecting. Avid CNC makes great machines and the prices are fair:

Thanks for the info on how you use your CNC. The Avid CNC seems to be reasonably priced but I guessing about $4k to get a 2'x3' machine setup. Since I've got an overarm router I'll use it so start.
 

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