Here’s What Tools I Want …

In last week’s eZine, Rob asked woodworkers what tools — or wood — they’d put on their wish list if space and money were no object. It seems that lots of our eZine woodworkers have big dreams in the tool department. – Editor

“I’ve gotten along OK with my Craftsman 6” jointer/planer, but an upgrade would be the tool of choice. Since money is no object, a Powermatic 1285 jointer with helical head. One please, extra onions.” – Tim Harrelson

“I’d probably get a Domino. But, at a price that’s approaching what I bought my new Unisaw for a number of years ago, it’s a one-trick pony that, when broken down into cost-per-joint is cost-prohibitive unless I was doing a whole lot of tenonign work.” – Keith Mealy

”If money were no object, I’d get a Robust American Beauty Lathe. Wow; those things are remarkable.” – Joe Kramer

“The answer for me would be a complete dust collecting system.” – Rose Hogan

”If money was no object, I would buy Festool’s Kapex miter saw.” – Rudi Hempe

“If I won the lottery, I’d buy a #40 scrub plane – right after I bought a BENCHCRAFTED Glide Crisscross Leg Vise.” – Tom Barnard

“I would go out and buy a 14″ band saw and a Bosch jigsaw.” – Rich Flynn

“I would buy a Festool track saw and their air cleaner that turns on with the tool. Too many times have I run my saw without a dust collector (or mask!). I’m 71, reaching the end of my handling 4×8 sheet days and, frankly, I just deserve it.” –Valerie Brannas

“I have had my eye on a Powermatic 18” variable speed  model drill press but just haven’t dropped the hammer on it.  Of course, when one looks at one new tool, another also comes to mind.  How about a new Powermatic 3HP 50” with all the bells and whistles?  That is another upgrade that I have eyed for several years.  You did say space/money was no concern, right?  If I did go with this ‘improvement’ as well as the laser engraver I have had my eye on it would require a complete new workshop.  If one is going to dream, dream big or go home.” – Bob Hoyle

For some, the choices depended on their location. – Editor

“I had a bit of a dilemma in regards to Rob’s question about buying a new tool or a pile of wood.  Like most woodworkers, I would always like to have a new tool.  However, due to the fact that I live in Homer, Alaska, and my source of good hardwood is limited to one store in Anchorage (about 225 miles away), I would really like to have a nice truckload of a variety of hardwood.” – Charlie Franz

“I live in the west southern corner of Tennessee. It would be a large air conditioner for my workshop/garage!” – John Schelby

A few themes arose, incorporating wishes for the blade-braking technology found in table saws …

“Maybe a SawStop. Or a slider crosscut saw.” – Phil Zoeller

“First, SawStop. Second, dust collector. Third, all materials to extend my metal shop. I have three shops: auto, metal, wood.” – Neal Schwabauer

“With my record the past 35 years, I’d buy a SawStop!” – Jack Stanford

“My first thought was a nice new SawStop table saw. The largest one they make, with all the bells and whistles! I thought, well, I do already own a table saw, even if is a cheaper Craftsman. So I think I would definitely go with a nice CNC router. A nice top-of-the-line one. I’m disabled from a terrible motorcycle wreck that happened back in 2009. I was never supposed to live, or walk, or eat again. I just wanted to tell you this story because I will never, ever, be able to buy more tools. There is $0 left at the end of the month. I also told you this because I wanted to show that even a disabled man who can only spend small mounts of time in his shop because of severe back pain, can love working with wood! It’s my passion! I’m just happy that I had purchased tools, even though they were cheap tools, over the years before my accident. If not, I couldn’t enjoy woodworking like I do. I make mostly small projects and gifts for my family: birdhouses and feeders, routed signs, shelves and bookcases mostly. A CNC router, even a small entry-level one, is out of my reach, but I would LOVE to have one. That would be #1 on my wishlist.” – Dennis Reynolds

… and other “newfangled” tool technology, like CNC routers, laser engravers, and 3D printers. – Editor

“A CNC router would be my choice if money were no object.” –  Nick Nikkila

“I have been a woodworker for most of my 62 years of life and have acquired most all the tools I could possibly need to support my hobby. I hope to continue working with wood for the rest of my life so I would invest in a very good dust collection system.  Not only would that reduce cleanup time and allow more time to create, but it would keep me healthier by allowing me to breathe cleaner air. My next purchase would be a CNC router because as a retired engineer, they look like a cool piece of technology that would be fun to work with.” – Wayne Whitcomb

“My tool of choice would be a laser engraving system.  So many things are possible with this device that one of my friends, who is fortunate to already have one, is doing more with that than with his woodworking.  Of course, I would never let that happen.” – Gordon Patnude

“ I think I would like a 3D printer so I could make any tool I want.” – Thomas Norman

There were also quite a few wishes for a jointer of some type (those of you wishing for an 8” jointer should keep an eye out for the forthcoming March/April print issue of Woodworker’s Journal – and check out the tool review article). – Editor

“I am in need of a long bed jointer. I have a tabletop jointer, but it just doesn’t cut it for long boards. I’d also love to get a lathe.” – Bob Mayfield

“My purchase would be an 8″ jointer.” – Greg Matuszak

“If money was not an issue, I would run out and buy a nice, big 8-inch jointer! After that one, probably a nice drill press.” – Dan Beeson

“After I listed off a dozen tools, I ‘want,’ I went back to, ‘What do I really want to accomplish?’ I’m sure that’s different for different folks. I want to learn how to work with hand tools more but my CHIEF problem is getting stock into an easier to work form. I’m not sure running out and buying a planer (if I could afford it) would be the answer. I don’t think so. Perhaps if I could get the jointer working and my table saw working better that would be a start. I’m not sure.” –  Dan Reynolds

Some would choose to focus on their shop space itself, rather than the tools. Well, at least at first.  – Editor

“The item I would purchase isn’t a tool, but an addition on to our home to get my shop out of the basement. (Some days, it is extremely hard fro me to go up and down the stairs, without talking about crrying supplies, lumber and finished products and up and down. Although going down is easy: I can always fall … it is just that sudden stop at the bottom I am not as fond of.) Once the shop was built, I would upgrade the dust collection and get a stationary planer. After that … the list could get longer.” – Mike Grawvunder

Sanders and table saws also got votes. – Editor

“I would purchase a cabinet saw to replace my Craftsman table saw. While the table saw does what I need to do with some constraints, it would be a blessing to have a cabinet saw. Also, because of the cost of lumber, I would definitely buy some sheets of quality plywood.” – Robert Rodrigues

“A new table saw would be my first choice, for sure. I already have a nice pile of wood, even though my wife thinks it is excessive.” – Jeffrey Murray

“I have been looking at a new Grizzly 5hp cabinet saw probably in the spring but, if you’re buying, I will go ahead and place my order now.” – Blake Dozier

“I have a well-equipped basic shop; my next purchase will be a Shop Fox 18-inch wide belt sander.” – Ted Fischesser

“I would love to have an open-end drum sander. One of those 19-inchers.” – Ken Koehn

“There are many machines that really enhance our woodworking, but the one worth its weight in gold is the oscillating wide-belt sander. By the time you set enough aside to purchase a 24-inch one, hold the reins and wait for the 37-inch one to fit the budget.” – John Schmitt

As did accessories. – Editor

“This article was perfect timing. I just saved up and bought my new contractor’s Delta 10-inch table saw! Right now, I’d buy a dado stack to further complete my table saw purchase and finish my box joint jig setup!” – John Hutton

“First of all, I will admit to being a ‘tool junkie’ and over the past 50+ years or so have put together what amounts to a pretty large, well-equipped shop. There are few tools that I actually  need, or can even imagine needing. That given, what I would seek first, given Rob’s conditions, would be spiral insert cutterheads for my jointer (first) and surface planer (second), then a small ‘pen’ lathe (third). I wouldn’t promise, however, not to come up with additional tools/accessories to put on my ‘want list.’” – Gerald Garrison

And for some of you, “new” tools appears to be a relative concept. – Editor

“I’d replace my Grizzly band saw ($175) from 1985. I could use increased height capacity for resawing and bowl roughing. My table saw, Walker Turner from 1949, is in pretty rough shape, too, but I don’t do much table saw joinery and the motor is new (also 1985). After that, maybe some of the newer hand tools to replace my reconditioned Stanleys.” – Dave Krichten

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