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Tool Recommendations


Ralphus316
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I'm looking to get a couple of new toys, er tools, and I would like any input on what brands/models I should get. I've been researching but haven't decided yet. I'll mainly be building solid bodies for myself, so I don't need super-duper-really-expensive machines.

The first is a jointer. I'm probably only going to use it to joint edges, so it doesn't have to be a large one. So far I've looked at a Sears Craftsman model http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_0...aftsman+jointer and a Delta model http://www.amazon.com/DELTA-JT160-Shopmast...r/dp/B00006K00R Both have mixed reviews. Also found this model by Pioneer http://www.westerntool.com/product.htm?pid=613425 but I've never heard of the company. I'm looking to spend between $200-$300 tops since I don't expect to use it that much.

The other thing I need is a floor or stand drill press. I currently have a bench press but it's too small for what I want it for. It's fine for drilling holes like it's supposed to do, but I want to use it like a router since I really don't like using routers. I tried a router bit in it and it works fine, only problem is the distance from the spindle to the column is about 4", not enough clearance if I need to rout the top or whatever. I'm looking at the Delta 17-950L http://www.amazon.com/DELTA-17-950L-16-5-I...r/dp/B000IZ7BBI , Shop Fox W1680 http://www.amazon.com/W1680-1-Horsepower-1...3636&sr=8-4 , or Rikon http://www.amazon.com/Rikon-30-210-15-Inch...636&sr=8-13 . Also found this one at Overstock http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/16-sp...70/product.html It is made by Pro-Tech but I've never heard of them before. Price looks good which probably means the tool isn't.

There is one feature that I would like to have on the drill press. Many eons ago when I was in school, I used the drill press they had and there was a lever or lock on it so if you lowered the spindle down with the handle, you could lock it in place. Not a depth stop, more like a handle lock. Don't know the technical term for it. This is where I first got the idea to use it with a router bit. I put the bit in, lowered the spindle down into place, then locked it and routed the pickups and control cavity. My current drill press doesn't have this and I miss it. I contacted a couple of manufacturers and explained this to see if they have this feature and they all told me not to use router bits in the press because it will void the warranty. But for me, it makes for much easier routing.

Any recommendations on what is good or what to stay away from will be appreciated. I'm going back to my cave now. Thank you.

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As for drill presses: I have this one and am extremely pleased with it.

(It does not have the quill lock feature you mentioned, however. But here is an article on how to make the modification yourself. I have not tried this and don't know if it's applicable to the Jet 17" model. In any case, I'd be careful applying a lot of lateral pressure such as you would trying to use a router bit in it.)

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sounds to me like you better get a milling machine.

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sounds to me like you better get a milling machine.

If you want to rout using a drill press you will most likely ruin the drill. I agree with soap. The difference between a drill press and a mill is about 400lbs and a spindle almost twice as thick to handle the lateral loads. Plus there is no way to easily move the material through a slow moving router bit by hand you need to use a x and y axis table.

Neither a drill or mill rotates as fast as a router. You would need to look for a mill /drill which can be found for under $1000 on the low end. A better solution for routing is a woodworking mill, but its pricey and I am not sure you can drill with it, but I have never checked. I do have a large mill and use it for routing but the feed rate is much slower than a router.I can not use it for template routing so it is limited to straight line only work in wood. As a metal milll thats a whole other story.

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+1 on what has been said for the drill press.

In my experience, any bench top jointer is good for a paper weight. You spend more time readjusting the blades, the fence, and the tables. The short table also makes it harder to get a nice flat edge. You are better spending $50 or $60, and a few hours of practice a getting a jointer hand plane. You'll be done jointing boards in less time then it will take you to re-adjust the blades of the bench top.

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If you want to rout using a drill press you will most likely ruin the drill.

I found this excellent video on YouTube on how to carve a top

From about 4:27 to 7:35 he uses a cutter that looks like a large bit in the drill press. So if a regular router bit would possibly ruin the drill, wouldn't this ruin it too? And if it would, what other machine would you use this cutter in?

Before I got a chance to check back here for replies from my original post, I tried a bit in the press that I have. I used scrap pine to test it on. My press only has five speeds. At the highest setting, as soon as the wood touched the bit it kicked back so I immediately stopped it. I dropped it down one speed and tried again. I very carefully tried a few passes and there didn't seem to be a problem, no kickback at all and everything was working ok. Could this have been because of how soft pine is compared to say mahogany? I will mostly be using mahogany and maple on the bodies I plan to build.

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DO NOT USE the drill for routing its dangerous and stupid.

A drill uses something called a morse taper which is perfect for drilling but apply any side load to it and you'll cause yourself a mischeif. I don't even think that safety planer is a good idea.

hand tools is always more fun anyway.

Edited by joshvegas
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If you want to rout using a drill press you will most likely ruin the drill.

I found this excellent video on YouTube on how to carve a top

From about 4:27 to 7:35 he uses a cutter that looks like a large bit in the drill press. So if a regular router bit would possibly ruin the drill, wouldn't this ruin it too? And if it would, what other machine would you use this cutter in?

Yeah, that's Chris's video. He's a member here. Good stuff.

I haven't watched that video in a while, but if I remember correctly, he was using a Safe-T-Planer in the drill press. They take a very, very small bite out of the wood. I have one but I won't use it in my good drill press. I'm not sure how the lateral pressure from a properly set-up Safe-T-Planer compares to a router bit.

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A safety planer is not a router bit and is made for use in a drill press. You certainly dont want that thing spinning quickly. One note is because the cutters are further out the effective speed is increased. I probably would not try one on a cheapo drill press but I have one and have used it on occasion in a large delta drill press. yes it does exert lateral forces on the drill press, however the three cutters and increased speed will reduce these force somewhat. It also is a marginal tool and comments here have been posted about people too scared to use theirs.

Its the same principal when using large diameter bits in a router you then need to reduce the speed. The same is true for a small diameter router bit in a drill press, it will not be very effective because if the speed and the cut will be very rough.

Now everyone go to the drill press chuck in a router bit and see if it gives you q warm and fuzzy feeling in a piece of test wood. :D

Before I got a chance to check back here for replies from my original post, I tried a bit in the press that I have. I used scrap pine to test it on. My press only has five speeds. At the highest setting, as soon as the wood touched the bit it kicked back so I immediately stopped it. I dropped it down one speed and tried again. I very carefully tried a few passes and there didn't seem to be a problem, no kickback at all and everything was working ok.

Sure it will cut, kickback will be a very constant problem. You will never get the same quality cut as with a router and you will eventually ruin your drill press . But dont let me stop you. If I were you I would be considering a router as well and save myself a whole lot of grief.

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Routers are very cheap at harbor freight...that is where I bought my first one and it lasted a year or so...not bad for $20...and it worked very well.

The slightly more expensive ryobi routers with the big handles are pretty good too.Routers cost less than a good set of bits by far.

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I got the Delta jointer, and I couldn't be happier with it. I've never had any issues with the blades, though I DO have to spend about 2 minutes every week re-aligning the fence with a combo-square. Unless you plan on working with pieces longer than 2ft or so, the shorter tables shouldn't be an issue.

+1 on getting an inexpensive router. I use a pair of Ryobi routers. One of them came in a combo pack with a small table for $100 at Home Depot. They're well worth the investment.

If there's only one tool you don't go cheap on, make it the band saw. You'll find yourself using & abusing it constantly, soit's well worth a little more investment.

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